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The extreme novice mindset

In many, if not most, martial arts one of the first things learned is how to fall safely. Often this is incorporated into a roll allowing the individual to quickly move and pop back up in a position of their choosing. Hell, grey belt training in the USMC was pretty much just 10 hours of break falls. As students of these martial arts learned to do take downs and throws, their training partners know how to safely fall, and better yet roll out of those take downs and throws.

This is a good thing, but like all good things, there are downsides. Sometimes students get so used to rolling out of a throw or take down that they will throw them selves and roll out of it when they see someone start to perform a throw or take down on them. Sometimes they don’t don’t even realize they are doing this. It can get so bad as to where you start to do a throw on someone and before you even touch them they throw them selves and roll out of it. They end up doing you a disservice as they are not giving you a good training partner.

On the other side, if you meet Joe Averageman on the street and attempt to throw or take him down, he is deathly afraid of going to the ground. His conscious and subconscious mind knows that his head hitting the asphalt from 5’10” up could well kill him. Every grain and muscle of his body is going to be resisting that take down or throw and the person performing the technique is going to experience something completely different from the experience of training with an experienced training partner who has no fear of falling.

Working with professions is so very different from working with the extreme novice that it is not comparable. Imagine being a teacher for college post-graduate students, or being a teacher for Pre-Kindergarten. As gun nuts, the consummate informed professionals we are (or think we are), we end up being so far removed from the total extreme novice that it can be easy to forget just how ignorant they are.

I often see people say stuff like how the AK is better for novices and the AR is better for experts.

So what’s wrong with this picture?

I find when I hand an AK type rifle to someone who has no experience with one, they often can not even insert a magazine. Same with the M14/M1A. Rocking in the magazine is an unknown concept. Sometimes people will even manage to get the mags stuck in the wrong position by rocking them in back to front.

Who would guess what little button, and where, holds the action open? How obvious is it?

I once had a novice shooter tell me it was not possible to lock the bolt open on the AR15 with out an empty mag inserted because there was no control for it. He was trying to argue with me over it while I locked the bolt to the rear on his AR15. His argument quickly subsided.

Now there is no good justification for a gun owner to be that ignorant. But keep in mind so much of what we would considered inanely obvious are actually complete unknowns to the masses.

Don’t get me started on novices and the Beretta 92FS safety.