In today’s episode of Old Man Conjugate I’m going to go over why it is important for you to be a good student. At whatever it is you are doing. And I mean whatever you are doing, from watching a YouTube how to video to being in class. You never know what you’ll learn if you do.

Or what you'll miss if you don't.

It’s been a long time since I was in school but I still try my best to learn one new thing every day and continually educate myself. Lately, almost all of my education is for my other company, TPS Method Tactical. TPSMT is Boston’s Best Civilian Firearms Training and I am constantly taking classes to be a better instructor.

By the way, the amount of carry over between fields, or any other field where you teach people is insane. I’m sure most of you who train or teach get that. But if you aren’t a teacher or Instructor,  it is interesting to point out that teaching is teaching. Doesn’t really matter the subject matter.

Anyway, getting back on track, I do my best to be a good student when I go to anything. I do this for a few reasons, here’s a couple:

  • You learn more this way
  • I paid for it, so why not get the most out of it
  • You never want to be “that” guy

Let’s skip the obvious ones and go to #3 on the list.

If you pay to go to something or even if you have to for work and they pay, don’t, I repeat don’t be "that guy."


You know him, he’s got an answer or a story, or a better way to do something.

And all he does is interfere with his learning, and everyone else’s.

I was at a class recently and there was one dude who was hemming and hawing at every correction/coaching cue that he was given. He was making noises (ppsssttt) after he was coached. I’ll tell you, I wanted to say something, but it was not my place. After a while, the Instructor got fed up and gave him a good dressing down.

And it stopped.

It also appeared that the student in question actually improved and learned once he stopped being that guy.

Let’s move on to me as another example.

My co-worker and good friend Marty and I just got back from two days of Advance Pistol training classes with Rob Pincus. Rob is a very well respected and established Instructor who I had enough faith in to give him my hard earned cash for two days.   

That turned out to be a great idea because I learned a ton.



Because I went into the training with the attitude that I would Be a Good Student.

Listen, absorb, apply.

Rob introduced us to some concepts and movement patterns that were either new or different than I currently practice or both. And I had some difficulty executing them. My body kept reverting back to what I usually do. This is common.

What we do in training we do under stress is an old adage and it holds true for many things.

As an example, Rob wanted us to keep our eyes focused on the threat (target) as we moved laterally. OK, simple enough concept.

But, he wanted us to turn the hips and move in a natural running pattern. I was doing a lateral shuffle. It’s programmed into me from Boxing and Kickboxing for so long. Rob saw what I was doing wrong, but he also saw me either shake my head and say fuck, or attempt to do it as he instructed.  

And he corrected me.

shop band packs

But, I did not respond like “that guy”.

Here is a sample exchange:


Hey Murph, what the fuck are you doing over there?


Fucking your drill up sir. I’ll try to do better on the next round.

And the class had a good laugh and no one’s learning was affected negatively because of my attitude.

Being a good student will help you learn. Every time.

On another drill we were doing Unreasonable Distances. This was shooting a pistol at a torso sized plate starting at 60 yards out to 105 yards. Rob explained that this drill is not a reasonable scenario, but a GREAT teaching tool because if you simply follow the basics and do what you do at short distances, you will hit the target.

I had little confidence in hitting a target at 60 yards never mind 105 with a 4” barrel Glock 19x and iron sights. But I did my best to follow the instructions and go with it.

If you don’t know or don’t care about shooting stay with me.    

Rob wanted us press the trigger in a way that I do not normally do. I do what is called prepping or staging the trigger as I was trained. It works for me and many others. He wanted a full trigger press with no prep.

As we were shooting at the 60 yard target, he saw me prepping and things went something like this:


Murph, what the fuck are you doing over there?


Not what you said to sir.

Now this was not because I didn’t want to do it his way. It was because I reverted back to my old habit.

On the next shot I paid much more attention to my trigger press.

Guess what?

I hit the plate.

Then we moved back to 105 yards.

I paid a lot of attention to doing it his way.

Guess what?

I hit the 105 yard plate a few times.

I guess being  a good student worked.

Here are a few tips on being a good student so that you will absorb more at your next class or whatever it is you are doing to learn:

  • Have a good attitude, you do not know everything
  • Be open to doing new things
  • Don’t be afraid to do something that is the opposite of how you normally do it
  • Participate positively
  • Pay attention and take appropriate notes
  • Ask intelligent questions when appropriate
  • Take the coaching cues or criticism, that’s’ why you are there
  • Don’t just pay attention-be present
  • Do not be “that guy”

I hope you took something from this that will help you learn and improve at whatever it is you want to be better at.

Did you see my episode of Table Talk?

Did you miss last week’s log?

owning a gym, MDLP, C.J. Murphy
Open a gym they said. Itll be fun C.J. Murphy

Read it here.



Vincere vel mori

C.J. Murphy

September 14, 2023 

Total Performance Sports