Neural Based Training, Paradigm Busting, and Principles of Training Design

by | Apr 21, 2021


My old friend and colleague Dennis Martin just posted this video review of NEURAL BASED TRAINING: BOOK ONE as part of his series on training books. In his usual Old School English Gentleman-Samurai fashion, he modestly glosses over his own significant influence in the development of neural based training for hard skills. He tells a little bit about the background and evolution of our training approach which helps fill out the backstory in this initial compilation of writing and research in a field that while long-established, is just now getting recognition and support from the academic field and larger training community.

I have an ongoing project with some colleagues affiliated with the Joint Special Operations University. A new paradigm shift in the Special Operations Community, led by former sniper-artist-researcher Dr. Ofra Graicer of the Israeli General Officer’s School, is integrating principles of design and creative thinking into the notoriously rigid mindset of the military world. Someone pointed out to me was that I’d been integrating principles of design and creative thinking into training for 30 years. I never thought about it that way. I saw it as the best way to do necessary work.

And now the military and security training field is shifting — slowly — to accept that new paradigm.

In coming days I’ll be doing a series of pieces on the lessons I’ve learned from doing training design that integrates accelerated learning and stress inoculation into hard skills training like firearms. I’ll also link to the recent research that supports the field work I’ve been doing for 30 years. I’ll also be doing a series as a lead up to the release of NEURAL BASED TRAINING: BOOK TWO – SITUATIONAL AWARENESS.  The US Army just released it’s training circular on ADVANCED SITUATIONAL AWARENESS; the US Navy has its SENSEMAKING manual, that covers the same subject; the US Marine Corps has LEFT OF BANG which summarizes the Combat Hunter Program that was the first step into teaching practical combat situational awareness at the individual soldier/sailor/marine level.  The focus on enhancement of the perception and decision process these recent military training programs display mirror exactly what I’ve been doing and developing for 30 years.

Except I don’t lecture much. The below comes from an online dialogue with a friend and colleague at JSOU

“…Which was and remains my focus from day one — bypass cognitive resistance by providing experiences that redraw the cognitive map in real time at which time you can foster intellectual understanding based on PERSONAL EXPERIENCE, instead of traditional learning which starts with the hallucination that you can lecture your way into a new cognitive map and then shoehorn exoerience/skills into the imaginary (by the instructor) new cognitive map. It works but it’s way fucking slow as opposed to the opposite method…”

Stay tuned.