Strengths and Weaknesses
Everything has strengths and weaknesses. This applies to physical skills, our individual mental abilities, and the gear we carry. Part of learning how to fight is to identify your strengths and weaknesses, discovering what you do well, where you are weak and need improvement, and exactly how your equipment functions. Identifying a weak area means you can compensate for it, striving for improvement, and insures you perform well during a fight.
When it comes to physical skills it’s usually easy to recognize our limitations. Our abilities are determined by genetics, limited due to injuries, plus we all face the gradual effects of aging. For example I know I can’t run long distances due to knee and foot injuries, and I have to be careful about movement due to an old back problem. Since jogging is out, I workout with other exercises to increase my aerobic endurance. I stretch to keep my back limber, and avoid certain movements that will create problems. By acknowledging these physical weaknesses I work on improving, and compensate for them as needed.
When it comes to mental skills they can be harder to evaluate. This is where training under an instructor or practicing with friends is valuable. Other people help us spot potential problems. When I started studying fighting with firearms I had a real problem with being too aggressive. Don’t take this wrong, when you fight you want to be aggressive, but at the proper time. You don’t charge into trouble unless you have to, and then you want to make sure it’s done smartly. After hearing this from a couple my instructors I toned down the aggression, taking time to think about my options, and learning to apply my tactics with intelligence. It’s more difficult to evaluate your own mental skills, and it’s something that only you can improve.
Learning how your equipment functions, its strength and weaknesses, is also critical. Training and practice are definitely the times to do this; you don’t want to discover a problem with your gear during a fight. Consider the sights on your weapon. If you only shoot during daylight hours you may not realize you can’t see that front sight in the dark. Use your gear under a variety of conditions, not just those that you enjoy. Practice during the dark, when it’s raining and your hands are slippery, or during a cold spell while wearing heavy clothing and gloves. This way you’re building a valuable data bank of information, and reducing the possibility of an ugly surprise.
During a fight we want to bring our ‘A’ game, so by identifying strengths we know what will work well during a violent confrontation. Evaluating weakness insures we won’t make mistakes during a fight, we can compensate as necessary, and we can improve on these areas during training and practice. Learn the specifics of your equipment. Victory in a fight is a result of knowledge, not ignorance.
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