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Back in 2005-ish when the U.S. Army began instructing reflexive fire as part of their train-up for deploying soldier there was much concern about range safety. The training value for this exercise was to be able to neutralize a threat with your weapon with minimal response time and maximum lethal force in a 360 degree field of fire. In case you have never seen reflexive fire training on a range, it pretty much looks like a row of soldiers doing a line dance with a loaded weapon and body armor. You move and face different directions and fire on command while the soldier next to you is not more than a few feet away. Needless to say that there was a huge risk of somebody negligently shooting his or her buddy during training. The concern was that the new soldiers who never handled a weapon outside of training would panic -OR- the older seasoned veterans would be so set in their ways that they would involuntarily reject the training. It wasn’t more than a half hour (maybe less) into the training when a salty old former SF Sergeant who must have joined when Christ was a Corporal stopped everybody and calmly stated, “Slow is smooth, smooth is fast!” He really didn’t need to explain much more than that. When a soldier got his or her footing wrong and/or started to become overwhelmed with the commands, he would call a cease fire, reset, and yell, “Remember: Slow is smooth, smooth is fast!” Between being clear minded and focused on my movements and reacting to commands, repetition lead to muscle memory. After a couple of days of this training, I found myself less anxious and able to execute commands with minimal though and maximum calm.

I realize that this sounds cliche and appealing to the lowest common denominator, but when I find myself becoming overwhelmed and on the road to making a bad decision, I always remember that crusty old NCO saying in his baritone voice, “Slow is smooth, smooth is fast”. I took that thought with me overseas and now apply it to my everyday civilian job. It’s what works for me.

"Blessed are the meek for they make easy targets."