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This past weekend I had the privilege of taking one of Pat McNamara’s T.A.P.S. classes in Elkin, NC. As I sat down to write an AAR I immediately found myself listing the content of the class (safety briefing, drill 1, drill 2, lunch, drill 3…etc), however as in my everyday life the process of the course was far more important than the content. Thusly, I wish to share the process.
If you have ever met “Mack” you know what it is like to stare intensity in the eye. I have heard him compared to the likes of “The Macho Man Randy Savage” and while I agree with this comparison, he really reminded me of the Showtime portrayal of Spartacus. None-the-less, think contagious intensity. This energy was displayed in all aspects of his class, and even beyond his service to our great nation, this energy demanded respect, a desire to learn, and the belief that “this guy cares about our progress.”
As part of the process of the class I quickly learned that he wasn’t an over explainer, nor was he going to fill the class with stories of why he teaches what he teaches (even though we all enjoyed the stories that were shared). He clearly stated the content of the class and expected the students to use discovery learning to grow. Of course one of the major themes was marksmanship, and he helped us clearly define our inadequacies/growing edges. He modeled every drill, and challenged every person. Wisdom as pertains to marksmanship flowed quickly, and at times, if you were not paying attention you would miss a huge nugget of experience. For the exception of the need for persons to sight in their rifle the class was never stale (Why someone would bring a gun to a class that was not sighted in I’ll never understand) and ultimately the class was fun and entertaining.
The processes flowed seamlessly, and each skill was built upon. There was only one “Up Drill” that I remember. Most of the drills involved movement, and this is the only class I have taken to which I found myself physically sore on Monday. This class taught me how to train, and in everyway challenged how I have practiced rifle/pistol in the past. We were tested in many ways as pertains to marksmanship and movement, however the challenge I enjoyed the most was mental. Another theme of the class is leaning how to problem solve and think through a situation. I don’t know if Mack plays chess, but if he did he would be the Happy Gilmore of chess and I bet he would dominate; or as he would say, “BURN IT DOWN!” Additionally as an enthusiast of sports psychology I know quite a bit about performance psychology and the way the class is taught is consistent with increasing the three main components of performance: 1) self image, 2) conscious skills, and 3) subconscious skills. If this lingo doesn’t make sense reference Lanny Bassham’s “With Winning in Mind.” (Available on Amazon).
To say that I was impressed with the class would be an understatement. Additionally, it would be an understatement to say that my desire to train has increased. If you ever have the opportunity to take one of Mack’s classes, jump in, you will not regret it.
Also, a special thanks to Jeff Franz from Aesir Training for arranging the class.