0309 – CFS Instructor Conference AAR

This past weekend was the annual Combat Focus Shooting Instructor Conference. It was four days packed with professional development, end user courses, observation, discussion, shooting, lectures and various other learning opportunities. For those that invested the resources to attend, the conference had a big payout. Today we are going to take a look at some lessons taken from the 20012 CFS IC and how we can maximize our time at conferences.


Sponsor of the Day: Dale Fricke Holsters


The CFS Instructor Develpment Conference

  • 4 days
  • Zainesville, OH
  • Centered around development


  • Instructors, Instructor Trainers, End Users
  • Ages ranged from 25-70 years of age
  • End users from 14-old
  • Skill levels from beginner to solid as a rock
  • Backgrounds from average Joe to LE and Mil all four branches represented.

What was accomplished:

End user courses:

Instructor Development:


  • I.C.E. and CFS updates
  • Spent time observing other instructors on the range
  • Took advantage of some trigger time in the APH course with Mike Riter who taught a solid course.
  • Had a chance to work on a couple of special photo projects
    • Major firearm and ammunition manufacturer catalog project
    • Photo shoot for a major industry magazine article

Major Take Aways:

We specialize in perishable skills

As I observed and shot photos and video of several of the courses taking place on the range I was reminded of the perishable nature of our skills.

  • This is true for students and instructors
    • physical skills are obviously skills to be honed
    • so are the intellectual concepts that we study
    • add to that the idea that an instructors skills are perishable
      • a lot of instructors are subscribers to the SSA Podcast
      • you need to be teaching your material on a regular basis to keep your skills sharp
      • you need to have the opportunity for critical analysis of your teaching by other instructors to hone your game
      • the CFS ID Conference is an awesome opportunity to achieve these goals


There are two kinds of folks at events like these: those that are present and those that aren’t.

  • Both people are at the event, but only some of those folks are actually present.
    • Pike’s Place MarketThe Fish Philosophy
      • Be There
      • Not just physical presence
        • Emotional
        • Intelectual
        • Pshycological
      • When I’m away I miss my kids and my wife
      • If I dwell on missing them, I am wasting my time in being there, I miss the reason I am there and dillute my purpose to attendance.
      • Be There
    • If you are going to make the financial investment and the investment of your time to do something, don’t stop there. Invest fully in that activity or cut bait.
  • This concept really rings true if you are training for defensive purposes
    • either side of the training fence student or instructor your commitment could be a life or death choice
    • you owe it to yourself and those around you to be there.

Implicit Learning


Implied but not plainly expressed

When you take part in a conference in a motivated fashion the learning really begins to take place on an amazing level.

  • The sum of the parts truly is greater than the whole
  • The learning is individualized
  • It becomes unscripted and takes on a life of its own

I could try and describe some of the implicit learning experiences that I gained from the conference, but something would be lost. You had to be there. Now I understand that some of you don’t really “need” to be at a CFS Instructor conference. but you need to be where you need to be.

Find that synergistic place:

  • local range “defensive training night”
  • a state or regional conference
  • Or it might be at a CFS event as an end user or otherwise

When you find it, commit to learn and the implicit lessons will be there if you are looking for them!


Looking forward to next year.


If you were intrigued by the SSA Podcast, remember to:

Check out our Sponsor of the Day: Dale Fricke Holsters




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