I should just start filing these under a “Pet Peeves” section! Recently, there seems to be an uptick in certain groups of instructors purposely using others exercises or drills and passing them off as their own. Bottom line, if you didn’t think it up, give credit to who and where you got it from. Flashback to before the creation of Practical Performance: I was teaching for a company called TICTOC Training with my good friend Raul. We were invited by a regional SWAT team out west to put on a few days of carbine and pistol training for them. We both jumped at the opportunity. So, we headed out west to a newly established training center, which at the time had only had two other instructors there. Things were not kosher the minute we arrived. The training center had their own “guru” who felt he should have been providing the training to the team rather than us. He constantly interrupted our classroom portions of training and even hijacked our class one morning to give them a plug for his own programs! This same individual had, just a week or so before, had a serious negligent discharge as a student in another notable instructor’s course on the premises. This individual was about as unprofessional as they come. Anyways, class concluded and we voiced our displeasure with said individual to the facility owner.
During the class, we conducted several downed officer exercises requiring officers to engage targets as well as apply tourniquets and SWAT-T’s. These were tiered evolutions, each building on the previous, integrating vehicles, low light, etc. Fast forward several months. There I am, enjoying my coffee and perusing my new edition of S.W.A.T. Magazine, and who’s name do I see but this “SWAT team of one” instructor. I immediately flipped to the article which was basically an ego stroke written about the fantasy camp that was this training event for civilian end users. It was about this time that I saw the pictures in the article. And what did I see? An almost exact replication of Raul’s and my downed officer evolutions. Shooting position by shooting position, shot for shot, evolution by evolution, almost word for word, a copy of what we had taught at that class! Now, this wasn’t the first time I had been ripped off, and it certainly wasn’t the last. But this was the first time I had seen an article almost completely written about something that had been directly stolen from one of my/our courses with no credit given, and totally misapplied I might add.
When I teach a course, I make sure credit is given whenever and wherever possible. If I use a drill or exercise from another instructor, I will go out of my way to make sure they get credit for it. If I get a unique technique from someone, I credit them. I will also spend the time to find out the origin of said drill or exercise if I can. Don’t get me wrong, people are going to come up with similar or the same drills now and again. The more complex the drill or exercise, the less likely this is to occur. But if you go to a class and your instructor, Tactical Timmy, says “Here’s my drill. It’s called a Bill Drill and I came up with it for this…” then he’s part of the problem. This isn’t hard and its common courtesy. Treat it like a college research paper. If it has a non-generic name (“Bill Drill,” “Iron Cross,” “Squatch,” etc.) then it has an origin and deserves credit. Even if you don’t know where it originated, give credit to where you got it from. We ask this of other professions, and we should hold ourselves to those standards in this one.