Preparing for a beatdown, my initial training was similar to when I was training for Sealfit. Heavy rucks, long trail runs, and hill sprints were on a 3 day rotation and nutrition was intensely analyzed daily. Living in Bozeman, Montana, I took full advantage of the surrounding mountains and made sure that I was peak physical shape before showing up to Helena, Montana for the Freak Frog.
When I arrived to the restaurant where were meeting before heading to the event, I looked around and was surprised. At 20 years old, I was the youngest person there by 4 years. Most of the people signed up for the course were older, and ready to learn. Dan Cerrillo, the lead instructor and former Navy SEAL, quickly introduced himself and did a quick overview of the course.
“This is not a beatdown. Most of you have done some sort of Sealfit, Goruck, or similar event, but this is about learning and having fun. This is SEAL training, not BUD/S. There are no tricks, and we will not mess with you. Everything is straightforward and tailored to your skill level. So expect to shoot, get dirty, and have a lot of fun.”
The first morning, the other instructors introduced themselves. Years of experience were shared between them, and would be shown in the days to come. The range brief the first morning was focused on safety, and after we divided up into 3 groups based on skill levels. Thousands of rounds were spent, hundreds of magazines were changed, and many smiles were cast. Overall, the shooting was a blast.
The next evolutions consisted of stalking, shooting, emergency medicine, room clearing, hand-to-hand combat, and other skills a SEAL would have. The instructors were straightforward, and they delivered on their promises. Not only did they deliver, but they went above and beyond my expectations.
After lunch the second day, we went back to the range. One of the lesser experienced shooters was having trouble with his gun, and like instructed, raised his hand for help. Dan walked over to him, and somewhere during a magazine change, the gun was pointed uprange and in the face of Dan. No shouting came out of his mouth, only a swift pushing of the gun downrange, and a cease fire. Dan briefly talked to the man, and then explained to us what happened. He instructed the man on proper shooting safety, and told us that it wouldn’t happen again (it didn’t). He spent the next few drills side by side to him, coaching and encouraging.
On the last day of the course, during the shooting competition, a competitor was having trouble hitting the target. After a magazine change, she still hadn’t hit the target. The pressure was high, and she got frustrated almost to the point of tears. Observing her shot pattern, Dan suspected her sights may be off. He ordered a new pistol to be given to her, and shot it first to make sure it was on then handed it to her. He spoke to her in only a positive manner, giving her words of encouragement and coaching her. After going through the course without missing a single target with the new pistol, she made her weapon safe and turned around to be greeted by a hug from Dan.
The man who pointed his gun downrange had never shot a gun before this course. By the end of the course, you would have thought that he had been shooting for years. After Dan talked to him, there was not another safety violation and his confidence in his abilities skyrocketed. The competitor who got frustrated during the competition had tears of joy streaming down her face after she completed the course perfectly. She encountered something that was difficult and pressed through to see it to the end.
Everything about this course was laid out in an extremely positive mindset. Your skill level coming to this course did not matter. What mattered was that there was improvement both physically and mentally. Learning SEAL tactics and skills was a lot of fun, but the growth that was achieved during the course mattered far more. This course will teach you not only how to defend your family and improve your marksmanship, it will teach you how to do things right every time and how to set a goal and achieve it.
- Turner Rowland