I posted a depressed comment on Facebook yesterday:
“I need to start charging over a hundred dollars for a half-day seminar. Apparently.
This explains why I’m poor!”
A couple of my friends replied:
“Why don’t you charge more?“
“Do you think aren’t worth more? Or do prefer to be the better value?“
“Truth? I think that my combination of training, experience, and practice in armed and unarmed self-defense plus the fact that I’ve actually been researching this topic (instead of depending on anecdotal evidence) means that my training is worth quite a lot (especially in self-defense classes)—and not only more than I’ve been charging, but much more than a lot of the crap that is taught around here by people who are teaching based on their background and experience, which doesn’t actually match the topics that they are teaching.*
…but if I charged that, it would price my courses out of the range of many people, some of whom REALLY NEED to learn some things. But…many people don’t really understand what they need, and instead spend things on what they want. (I’m all for fun adventure-camp weekends, too.) But people often will not spend much on what they need, though they’ll dump tons of money into what they want.
I want people to get trained. And I want them to get trained in things that they need. So unfortunately for my business, I don’t use Magpul-style marketing, don’t play to the adventure crowd, say flat-out that I’m not teaching military or law enforcement tactics because they aren’t applicable, and don’t make up some sooper-sekret black ops past (or LEO past, or make up stories about my time in corrections when during this one escape attempt I…) which means that I don’t pull the people that others do.
BUT, it also means that after a class, I can sit back and think to myself that what I taught actually will do what I say it will, and it is relevant to what I say it is, and the students in my classes will have better chances at defending themselves afterward because of what they learned.
It DOES get amazingly @*#$&%^$ing irritating to see lots of people extolling the virtues of “Class X” in which they learned “really cool stuff!” (based on incorrect information poorly applied, with a misunderstanding of percentages and absolutes, using situations and experiences that don’t apply and techniques that are detrimental to good practice) …where they paid three times my class fee for something where the ONLY plus for the class really is the fact that they got more trigger time and had fun shooting.
Rant, rant, complain, complain.
If I didn’t care about whether or not my students really learned to defend themselves better, I’d change my marketing, up my prices, and pull in a different class of students and teach them crap that made them think they were amazing, so they’d tell everyone how much they learned and how much fun it was.
But—-I can’t do it.
Here’s a thing: I’ve got a seminar coming up in February, which is all about the fact that you probably won’t be alone when you have to defend yourself, called Partner Defense. You probably won’t be a lone gunman, you probably will care about the person you are with, it will probably be someone you spend a lot of time with—and you probably have not ever actually discussed and practiced with them anything useful regarding self-defense. (And contrary to popular belief, being individually any good does NOT mean that you will work well together.) The seminar is only $60 per pair of people, an evening seminar, guns needed but no live fire (practice and scenarios all in the classroom with guns with barrel blockers and such)—this really IS something that is important if you actually have a spouse, significant other, or child that you spend time with in public.
Anyone want to guess how many people have signed up?”
Apparently it was my day to rant.
I’ve made the study of self-defense (unarmed or armed, reading the actual research, delving into social versus asocial violence and process versus procedural predators, finding the best techniques and practice for perception, awareness, and avoidance, etc) for the last 25 years (more, actually). This is something that has been important to me for a long time. I’ve spent a lot of time finding out what is REALLY HAPPENING in terms of citizen self-defense situations.
So it sets me off when someone makes up random nonsense based on things they read about but didn’t understand, added to it their unrelated experiences, and then passes it off as “advanced technique.”
Most people don’t know what they need. And they tend to only pay for what they want. Which often doesn’t give them ANYTHING that they need. (Other than trigger time.)
I strongly suggest, for people interested in learning self-defense, that you actually attempt to learn what you NEED before giving yourself an weekend adventure taking a class on what you merely want.
No, you don’t need to take those classes from me. (Sure, that would be great, but it isn’t necessary.) But you SHOULD take classes that actually teach you what will actually work in the self-defense situations that apply to your life.
*If you don’t believe me about curriculum, teaching, experience-as-related-to-topic, and technique, you don’t have to take my word for it. Take a look at what national-level trainers like Tom Givens, Claude Werner, Chuck Haggard, and others are teaching. Compare that to the marketing you read, and what you are going to be taught in your “advanced self-defense course.” DON’T take my word for it–research best practices and what is actually known about citizen self-defense requirements. Look at what the people who look at research say about what you need to learn.