In 2005 Bernie took a course change and attended Executive Security International where he graduated with honors and has worked in the protection field since then. In 2010 he opened Defensive Tactics Institute in Roland, AR bringing his years of martial arts experience into the realm of the gun.
We asked Bernie to answer a few questions so that people reading this blog could get a better feel for what to expect if they attend a course at DTI.
Why did you decide to become a trainer?
I have been involved in training all of my adult life, either in the protection of others or teaching people to protect themselves. I have a genuine interest in helping people learn ways of self- reliance.
In what ways do you teach shooting differently? What sets you apart?
I am a martial artist first. Therefore I think like a martial artist. To me, shooting is an integral part of the use of force spectrum. The use of a firearm must become an extension of the person wielding it. I am also a perpetual student. As long as my body will allow, I will train and continue honing my skills, I periodically seek correction under other qualified instructors and I will pass on the knowledge in a well thought out manner. What may set me apart is the fact that I don’t believe in “trainertainment” The students must receive good value during their time with me and that means sound techniques, real world concepts and tactics.
|Bernie coaching a student.|
I’ve always been the type of person that didn't do well with self-promotion. I’m even a bit uncomfortable answering these questions. I want my actions and skills to speak for themselves. I guess I motivate students to learn by finding out their hot points, by helping them towards their goals. Students are treated with respect and never treated like military recruits. They are the star of the show – not me.
What can students expect to take away from your courses?
Usually more than they expect. It has been repeated several times by many students that they get great value for their money spent. We all do things to gain pleasure and avoid pain. So a student who takes a class wants to gain knowledge, skills and tactics to avoid the potential pain they would experience if confronted with a violent attack without the training. They’ll be taken care of and accepted at their present level of expertise and helped along to attain the goals laid out in the course or by the student. And that’s to prevail.
What is your training philosophy?
I expect students to have an open mind, to listen to why a technique is applied in a certain manner. Then whole heartedly try to perfect that technique until the student’s efforts are exhausted. If the technique really does not feel natural, discard it. But replace it with something else that. Try to be ambidextrous; you can’t customize the fight to fit your preferences. I expect a student to have some self-discipline, not just to control emotions but to practice methodically “perfect practice makes perfect”. I want students to be patient with their progress. You can’t short cut technique. As an instructor I try to stay physically sharp so that I can demonstrate with a level of proficiency. I also try to stay current in training trends and methods to deliver information effectively. I stay in a student mindset because the training journey never ends. I realize that I am not the best at everything but I always seek ways to improve. But I promise my students my best.