Knowledge, Experience and Intellectual Curiosity
Knowledge, experience and a good dose of intellectual curiosity are requirements for elevating performance on a consistent basis. Know what you do, why you do it, how it works, what the failure points or most likely mistakes are and refine the action…then begin looking for a better way or listen to someone else’s way. If it’s good, use it. If not there is still knowledge in it; at least you know one more thing not to try. Don’t have an emotional attachment to your answer, just the best answer.
It is my belief that adaptability is a byproduct of experience and applicable knowledge. My last unit in the Army was widely known as one of the most adaptable military organization that any military has created. It was that way culturally when I arrived in the late 90’s and for good reason. As a relatively young organization tasked with countering a peculiar threat (international terrorism) its members had to be flexible and adaptable to be effective. Inside that compound we questioned each other and everything we did at a level of detail that I had previously seen only on very rare occasions within special operations. That made it somewhat of an unofficial institutional quest to “find a better way”. Once refined…the quest began again immediately for an even better way making ruts and stagnation almost non-existent.
On the other hand I’ve witnessed countless instances of people that were either unwilling to change a technique or unwilling to even entertain a new one. Those people often had some good experience and knew a way that worked for them and had become comfortable with it over the years. Often times they wouldn’t even acknowledge there was validity to a competing technique. Those people were caught in the learning doldrums and those doldrums invariable stunted their performance. Being open to new things just like being closed to them is a learned trait.
Over the years I have found that the more people know the less rigid their responses are. I’m convinced the more applicable and adaptable knowledge you possess the more open you are to new techniques and the more capable you are of applying them in different variations for different reasons, with different implements under different conditions.
“Bring the mind into sharp focus and make it alert so that it can immediately intuit truth, which is everywhere. The mind must be emancipated from old habits, prejudices, restrictive thought processes and even ordinary thought itself.”
– Bruce Lee, Tao of Jeet Kune Do
Mike Pannone retired from the Army’s premier assault force (1st SFOD-D) after an explosive breaching injury. A year after his retirement America was attacked on 9/11 and he returned to help serve his country as the head marksmanship instructor at the Federal Air Marshals training course and then moved to help stand up the FAMS Seattle field office. In 2003 he left the FAMS to serve as a PSD detail member and then a detail leader for the State Department during 2003 and 2004 in Baghdad and Tikrit.
In 2005 he served as a ground combat advisor of the Joint Counter IED Task Force and participated on combat operations with various units in Al Anbar province. Upon returning he gave IED awareness briefings to departing units and helped stand up a pre-Iraq surge rifle course with the Asymmetric Warfare Group as a lead instructor. With that experience as well as a career of special operations service in Marine Reconnaissance, Army Special Forces and JSOC to draw from he moved to the private sector teaching planning, leadership, marksmanship and tactics as well as authoring and co-authoring several books such as The M4 Handbook, AK Handbook and Tactical Pistol shooting. Mike also consults for several major rifle and accessory manufacturers to help them field the best possible equipment to the warfighter, law enforcement officer and upstanding civilian end user. He is considered a subject matter expert on the AR based Stoner platform in all its derivatives.
Gunfighter Moment is a weekly feature brought to you by Alias Training & Security Services. Each week Alias brings us a different Trainer and in turn they offer some words of wisdom.