Read this blog post from Greg Ellifritz.
This is an old blog post, but Greg recently posted it on his Facebook page, and I found it quite good and wanted to share my own personal takeaways from it.
1 - Fancy guns and gear are worthless if they aren't reliable
This is something i've observed numerous times in the classes I have attended. There are often guys who come to class with tricked out handguns and rifles worth thousands of dollars with the fanciest optics, barrels, muzzle devices, and what have you. Like Greg mentions, almost every single time I have also been able to point out who will be able to get through the class without issues and who is very likely to have problems just based on looking at their equipment. Fancy guns are cool and all, but if they aren't reliable then why would you be taking such a high risk as to be training and carrying tools that are prone to malfunctioning? If you are serious about your training and survival, do your research and most importantly, get out on the range and actually put your self defense equipment to the test. If it fails, throw it away, sell it, or one way or another get rid of it. There are enough complications in a self defense situation without adding another variable of uncertainty.
2 - Physical fitness is vitally important
It is unfortunate that this needs to be constantly re-enforced, but for some reason it is evident that it does. The idea that since you carry a gun you will be able to foresee a situation escalate to the point of needing to use lethal force, draw your gun and shoot without the need to quickly move or physically fight your attacker is based largely on ignorance and self deception. I would think that most of you reading this have gotten past that line of thinking and if not, doing some basic self defense research or taking a self defense class or two from a well rounded professional should clear it up. So assuming we can now agree that self defense situations will most often involve at least moderate to intense physical exertion, why wouldn't working out and eating healthy be towards the top of your list? As Greg mentions, the amount of money spent on firearms and survival training would be much better spent on a gym membership. The skills you attain at firearms or survival classes will be largely nullified if in the moment of fighting for your life you are incapacitated by exhaustion or simply aren't able to move your body quickly enough to find proper concealment or cover in time. So please, if you do not maintain a basic level of fitness, primarily focus your efforts on self discipline both in your diet and in your activity level so that you can become more effective at self preservation and the protection of your loved ones. And by the way, your overall quality of life will drastically improve, I guarantee it.
3 - Mental rehearsal is almost as important as physical practice
This is an interesting thing I quickly learned as I attended more and more classes. Last year I attended Pat McNamara's Sentinel class, and one of the biggest things I remember from that class was when he said: "Your mind is the ultimate weapon, all else is supplemental". This is so very true and has been proven time and time again in self defense situations, and even in other life activities. My wife is a marathon runner, and one of the things she says is key in getting her to the finish line is her mental state. Your mind ultimately dictates what your body does. Of course as noted in point two above, physical fitness is extremely important, but your state of mind is ultimately what will drive you to act on improving the condition of your body. The interesting thing about this point is that some of us attend a lot of firearms, self defense and survival training, but some of the most important training you can do is actually largely gained and practiced at home. This is something i'm working more and more on, and that is exercising my mind, understanding it, loading more information into it by reading good books and having good discussions. What you put into your mind is what eventually will come out in your actions. When it comes to self defense, that means both filling your mind with knowledge and skills, but also putting yourself in a mental state of confidence in whatever abilities you have and convincing yourself that you WILL win the fight, no matter what.