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I'm starting a new class. Sort of. Not a prerequisite class... not exactly... though sometimes it will be useful as a prep curriculum. Not a remediation class... not exactly... though some people may find use for some remediation. It's just a new class, sort of, that classes in the past have turned into somewhat unofficially, but for which, now, I'm finally working on a more formal syllabus.

Called CALM.

It should not come as a surprise, when you think about it for more than about 15 seconds, that just as often as not people who think they are ready for an advanced diving course are not quite as ready as they think they are.

I do my best to discuss with prospective students before scheduling a class to ensure that they're in the best position to get the most out of their time here with me before they show up. But how can someone, looking to come to me to learn, tell me about things that they don't yet know about themselves? So I do my best... but sometimes it turns out that someone needs a little extra work on this, that, or the other core principle.

Or sometimes someone has never worn doubles or sidemount before and, while they know they want to train for cave or deco Intro to Tech or Sidemount courses are great for familiarity with the kit and the procedures but a little light on some of the cardinal points.

Not as frequently, but occasionally we do get the stray guest who recognises a certain facet of their diving on which they'd like to focus and improve. We've even had a little handful of guests over the years who are looking to upgrade credentials which requires certain levels of skill performance at a greater level of precision.

Or there's the folks who look at their dive guides and say, "How the hell do they float like that without seeming to move a muscle?" Well... it ain't a magic trick. It's a teachable skill.

It's for all these various folks that I've been whacking away at CALM.

I have often pointed out the somewhat obvious conclusion that when you are calm, cool, and controlled in the water everything else about diving is easy. Even the most onerous tasks or failures... actually really easy to manage... as long as you're calm.

Fin fell off and mask strap broke at the same time your right first stage erupts and your buddy is swimming away in a current? Yep, that's a pain in the ass, for sure. First step... stay calm.

Hold still - work through the problem.

That's the "class." Hold still and work through the problem. This is a 5-day workshop on that.

There are classes offered by the various agencies that, in theory, cover what I want to cover. But this isn't an agency course... thus the "sort of" when I say it's a new class. It isn't. There's no card (not until Nelly and I decide that this sort of thing is funny enough to justify the expense of a card printer).

Which means there's no performance requirement, exactly. It's not pass/fail. There's no agency dogma. There's no skills requirement. You don't have to back-kick with no fins or mask in a perfect circle in the time it takes to say the greek alphabet to "win at scuba."

It's a workshop to get any diver as controlled and aware as they, themselves, are capable of getting. Controlled and aware of themselves, their team, and their surroundings in such a way that they can be safe divers and team-members and prepared students for whatever the next phase of their diving might be.

Controlled and Aware Like a Motherfucker, ideally.


And ready to move on with a sidemount Intro to Cave class... or to go diving in a single tank in a jacket BCD on the reef. Or whatever diving means to them. That's the neat thing about workshopping: bespoke flexibility.

So my question, as I write and rewrite and painfully delete stuff that I thought was important but there's simply no way to make it fit elegantly and then get mad and try to force it anyway, etc... basically, as I go through my editing process... what would you like to see included in such a curriculum? What would you not? What do you keep thinking, "I wish they would include XXX in a class" or "why do they keep teaching that nonsense?"

There are plenty of people who can't understand how spending 5 days underwater learning to hold perfectly still is weirdly valuable. How does one explain it to them?

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