Which Comes First, the Chicken or the Egg?

Here at TMP we believe in continual improvement. Either you’re getting better or you’re falling behind. It’s that simple.

However, science has shown us that while an object in motion does typically stay in motion, objects at rest definitely stay at rest. What does this have to do with milsim you ask? Well, the milsim community is definitely an object at rest at the current time. Very few organizations are successfully moving forwards and pushing the envelope of what’s been done before. There have definitely been advances in equipment but we’re focusing more on human development here; so the question presents itself:

Do we heighten the level of player first or the level of game?

Members of the leadership school One Shepherd go about life on their camp deep in the Ozark woods. For two weeks a year, the group practices leadership through paramilitary tactics, using rifles, night vision, and a host of other military equipment to train.
Davis Winborne/Missourian

Malcom Knowles taught us quite a bit about how adults learn and his research is used today throughout professional development. One of the major points he makes is that adults arrive with their own motivations, and those motivations must be engaged for an adult learner to engage in a class. Furthermore, adult learners are problem centered. They learn and improved to fix problems. For instance, most people could care less how to fix the brakes on their car until those breaks go out. Suddenly they are invested and will spend hours online or talking to friends learning how to fix their brakes.

So how does this apply to milsim? Simple. First, milsim games need to present a problem and a solution. The problem it presents is that the event is one not to be missed. Attendees will gain something that those who do not attend will miss out on. Obviously, the solution to this problem is to attend the event.

One Shepherd members joke around during down time between missions. When not working in the field, the men live on a “FOB,” or forward operating base, which is composed of around a dozen surplus military structures.

Secondly, the event must require a level of competency to attend. Often this requires the attendee to make a significant equipment investment, and this investment serves as a threshold for those who are serious and gives attending the event a feeling of accomplishment.

Obviously all of this must be marketed to potential attendees effectively and I feel that is an area that the few milsim organizations that are attempting to encourage progress fail at. This is understandable because the marketing and tactical worlds often draw different people. That said, numerous gun, equipment and non-milsim events have successfully targeted this market so it can absolutely be done.

Special thanks to David Winborne for the photos!