Most of us have seen the YouTube videos of “shooting instructors” doing questionable and dangerous things. What sane person would take a class with the guy who advocates running at his assailant while shooting? “Shoot you to the ground” I think he called it. Stupid is what those of us who watched the video call it. And even when you find an instructor whose philosophy you trust, it can sometimes seem as if they’re speaking a different language. So what are the qualifications of a shooting instructor? There’s actually two questions: what are the actual qualifications of the instructors and what should they be? Ideally, that Venn diagram would have 100 percent overlap, but the world is not a perfect place . . .
Different types of shooting means you need different qualifications to teach them. I wouldn’t go to a bench rest shooter to learn about room-clearing techniques. Does anyone think that the best instructor is a person who has no experience in what they are teaching?
On a gun blog to be named later, the issue of Jeff Cooper’s qualifications as an instructor came up. And when it did, a whole bunch of people started making some bold statements about them, while simultaneously attacking me for asking the question. Rather than providing Cooper’s qualifications, I kept getting asked who was a qualified instructor. I mentioned that Massad Ayoob seemed qualified. Better qualified than Jeff Cooper anyway. Well, that just opened the floodgates for people to start besmirching Mr. Ayoob’s reputation.
What is a reasonable person supposed to do when he hears two drastically incompatible versions of the truth? Compare the facts.
Massad Ayoob has made his c.v. public, and his qualifications are easy to find if you look for them. But where are Cooper’s qualifications? Did he ever compete in the courses he created, let alone in anyone else’s class? Did he win any marksmanship contests? Even the most staunch members of his cult of personality angrily try to change the subject when you ask these questions. Did Cooper keep his resume in the same safety-deposit box as Obama’s birth certificate?
Here is what is available:
- The Facts
Whole lot of white space in the left column. I asked repeatedly, but none of Cooper’s kool-aid imbibers would provide me with any information about their tin god’s qualifications. (And, there is the issue of whether I could decipher Cooper’s resume, given his tendency to pompously butcher the English language to sound learned). The offer still stands: provide me with documentation of Cooper’s qualifications, and I will post a correction and apology.
Would you enroll in a martial arts school where the sensei never competed or sparred? Do you think a celibate priest is the best source of marital advice? Bottom line: which of the two men in that chart is the person you want to teach you how to use your gun to defend yourself? To quote Bo Peep in Toy Story, I’ve found my moving buddy.