Some years ago, I went to a cardiologist for some tests. Nothing serious, just a precaution because some Army doctor heard I had a heart murmur when I was ten years old.
The cardio Doc was an older guy with the obligatory gray hair and glasses – very Marcus Welby looking. After the tests we sat in his office as he scanned the results. As he looked at the paperwork, he glanced over at me several times and finally said, “Mr. Glemboski, I have some good news. You’re boring and in this building, boring is good.”
I chuckled as I had been called many things before, but not boring. I then asked how long he’d been a doctor. “About forty years.” I felt safe. In general, the training it takes to become a cardiologist includes:
- Undergrad - 4-6 years
- Graduating medical school - 4 years
- Residency - 3-7 years
- 3-5 years of cardiovascular training.
So, it takes between 10 to over 20 years to become a fully qualified cardiovascular doctor. That means my doc had been a practicing cardiologist for 30 years or more. I figured he knew what he was doing. Now, If I had walked in and seen someone who looked like Doogie Howser, I might have been a bit more skeptical. I mean a doctor is a doctor, right? Remember the old joke, “What do you call a doctor who graduates at the bottom of his class … Doctor.”
The point here is I’m sure most people would want to go to the physician that had the most experience to draw from so he/she could render the best diagnosis and treatment plan. I know I would. But I am lucky. I have excellent insurance and I can go to just about any doctor I choose.
But I still have to pay medical bills and after several major surgeries, I can tell you they can mount up quickly. However, I have never ‘shopped around’ for the cheapest doctor/hospital to take care of me. Why? Because I’m worth it. My health is important and ‘cheaping out’ on it is not an option. According to InternationalInsurance.com, an initial consultation with a doctor will cost around $100 - $200. Visits to specialists are typically more expensive depending on their specialty and the nature of your visit. On average, specialists will charge $250 or more for a consultation.
Now, how does all this pertain to personal protection/self-defense/firearms instructors? Let me illustrate ….
I have been teaching self-defense/firearms for 50+ years. I have taught thousands of students – civilians, military, and law enforcement. I have done it through agencies, private organizations, individuals, and my own company. In the beginning, some of the training was done at a reduced rate but most of the time there was little quibbling over cost. I’m not selling used cars.
So, here’s my rant … I field calls and e-mails all the time requesting information on our classes. I generally refer inquiries to our website which contains all the necessary information to make an informed decision about attending a class - including price. It also lists my phone number and e-mail address if there are any additional questions. I speak to several individuals weekly addressing concerns about our programs and self-defense and firearms in general.
When I speak to folks who are inquiring about a self-defense class and I tell them the price and what this includes, one of two things usually happens – I get, “That’s great! When can we schedule a class?” or “WOW! That’s expensive. Can we get a discount?” or “We thought you would do it for free.” Others might ask for a written proposal which I happily send outlining the program and costs. In many cases, after sending it …. Crickets. If I want to get any updates, I must chase them around only to find out that they found someone who could do it cheaper and they “forgot to get back to me.”
When people call to inquire about classes I usually let them broach the subject of cost. In truth, I’m not really trying to sell anything. My product is not something you can physically hold in your hand and take with you, so it is difficult to explain what makes me different (i.e., better) than ‘Do-we Cheat-Em and How-we Self-Defense’ class down the street.
Many classes that are offered today are based on long term contracts that keep you coming back 2-3 times per week for several months. The classes, while offering some valid self-defense moves, are generally set-up like aerobics classes with about an hour of pseudo punching, kicking, and striking with gloves on and maybe hitting some pads. Lots of sizzle but no steak.
The same thing holds true with buying quality equipment. Is the ‘good stuff’ expensive? Not prohibitively so. But think about why you are buying it – to protect your life and the lives of your family. Would you buy bargain basement fire extinguishers? Second-hand tires or brakes for your car? What about medicine from the trunk of a car? So why skimp on other potential life saving equipment? So too with training.
In the martial arts many receive their black belt and believe they have reached the pinnacle. They may give lip service to “a black belt is only the beginning of the journey” paradigm but often lack the discipline to work harder and get better. Instead, they rest on their meager laurels.
I have spent the past 55 years studying, training, and teaching others how to perform a certain set of physical and mental skills. I have had years of practice, tens of thousands of hours of training and have honed my skills in the crucible of practical, real world experience which gives a huge leg up over many other instructors. In short, I have a pretty good idea about what I’m doing. However, several times annually, I try to attend some training with competent instructors to (a) keep my skills sharp, (b) test myself against others, and (c) see if there is anything new or if there is another/better way I can present information to my students.
Similar to my cardiologist mentioned above, I have literally spent a lifetime working to perfect my craft. I have met with some success and have been extremely fortunate to be able to keep training and teaching. I think I have earned the right to be compensated fairly for the knowledge I have gained in over a half a century of work.
If you choose to go with the lowest bidder, that is your right but, sooner or later you’ll want to move from ground beef to filet mignon. The fact is, our classes are more expensive because I'm worth it as the instructor and I believe you're worth it as the student.
BE SAFE. BE EFFECTIVE. BE READY.