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My descent into and out of madness: GUE Fundamentals, or Instruction vs Evaluation

Discussion in 'Technical Diving Specialties' started by tmassey, Apr 4, 2019.

  1. AfterDark

    AfterDark Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Rhode Island, USA
    @tmassey just dive, enjoy diving you'll learn what you want and more.
  2. chillyinCanada

    chillyinCanada ScubaBoard Supporter Staff Member ScubaBoard Supporter

    Maybe he should try to get in on this trip and get what he wants from Guy whilst he's there with you folk.:D
    MykaDives likes this.
  3. KevinNM

    KevinNM DIR Practitioner

    You don't need to go with any given instructor. Any GUE instructor can do a tech upgrade. With at least some instructors (like Meredith), they will do it during breaks in another class, particularly fundamentals. If you are willing to go to Florida, Kyle reserves at least a half-day a week for one-one stuff. If the first instructor doesn't get back in a timely fashion then try another.

    If you aren't able to travel than it will probably be hard unless you live close to an instructor.
  4. Heat Miser

    Heat Miser DIR Practitioner

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Perth
    I understand disappointment and GUE fundamentals here is a link to my much more abridged review of my poor showing, but I can't write a book on it!! :) Given what you have said why are you so stressed about a tech pass?

    I think there are some great merits in GUE standardisation. When I did the Padi rescue, the one thing I came away thinking was "gee people have alot of different gear setups". I have been a patrolling surf lifesaver/lifeguard for 15 years, and getting a swimmer into a inflatable rescue boat isn't half as hard as doing some of the rescues I did on the Padi course, because of equipment. It's nice to be diving with people that have similar gear, know the same dive plans and objectives of a dive as you do i.e. the team work side. I love the ability to calculate turn pressure and MDL on the fly because of standardised Nitrox and skills.

    The one thing I note that appears different, is that you mention trim and buoyancy weren't too much of an issue for you. But from my experience they were numero uno for our course. At one stage we were flutter kicking in formation and I was signalling for someone to speed-up, this apparently was not OK. It was up to me to slow down. However when we were hovering, and ascending up a SMB line in formation, it was OK for others to signal for me to hurry up. As I said in the link above - my trim was awful, but now getting better. Still I really never got the juxtaposition and probably never will. Except that GUE want divers to look good underwater.

    Remember that famous ex-fireman that got the kids out of Thai cave, he's not GUE, I think he is self trained. So don't sweat the Tech pass. Im sure it will come.

    P.S. if you want community join an Australian Surf Club, never has there been such a mobilisation of community minded youth .... its 3 times the size of peacecorp in human capital.
  5. bikergirl

    bikergirl Garibaldi

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: washington
    Changed to protect the innocent. Apologies. Wont happen again
    taimen likes this.
  6. Goingforsound

    Goingforsound Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Philippines / Burkina Faso
    I have been partially affected by this. I have a rigid work schedule and my original instructor also moves around quite a bit. I exchanged a few emails over a few months and he was not available at the right moment. Tried to find an instructor in the philippines to do the upgrade and no availability for my schedule. Local instructors migth not want to travel localy for an upgrade and foreign instructors that are coming to teach are already quite busy.

    I changed my mindset and enroled in the class again. It already has been two years since my course and my diving has been significantly better. I know a lot more than before and I have different questions in mind. While this is not the most economical way of doing it, I think I will have a lot of fun for a second time. I will also have the opportunity of meeting another instructor.
  7. tmassey

    tmassey Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Shelby Township, MI USA
    Someone flipped me a like for post #1 in this thread (thanks!), and I'm *just* narcissistic enough to re-read my old writing. It was really interesting to do so, now that I'm a year past my class. In addition, I've recently had an opportunity to dive with some other divers and try to help them within my very limited ability to assist them to improve. It has created a very different perspective for me.

    Rereading all of this has been humbling. Just remembering the pain I felt coming into this thread was difficult -- still. And thinking about that reminds me how important it is to be aware of this when mentoring others. There's a *lot* of emotional baggage out there, and it's really likely even *they* don't understand it -- and I *never* will. But it's also been motivating to remember just how far I've come in the past year.

    It really has taken me a solid year to integrate the lessons of my GUE Fundamentals class into my diving -- and even my regular life. But the effort is worth it -- it is bearing fruit. There is no question I move slower during a dive. In one way, it's deliberate: something I work on intentionally moment by moment. In another way, it's subconscious: the outward manifestation of skill and confidence.

    I am now becoming aware of the feeling of rushing. And also noticing when I do it. I do it when I'm unsure. When I'm uncomfortable. Nervous. Intimidated. When I'm confident and assured, I don't. I know what I need to do and I can do it -- smoothly and calmly. GUE Fundies gave me the procedures and training to begin to create that confidence. For that I am grateful.

    The coronavirus has put a big damper on challenging diving for me. I don't want to travel to Florida right now for cave diving, and I don't want to potentially trap myself on a local dive boat with irresponsible people (IMHO, anyway), so the diving I can (or will) do is limited. But having the opportunity to dive with others just for the sake of getting better has been rewarding in its own way. It's nice to dive with people who want to get better.

    For me, "getting better" as a diver has had very little to do with being in the water. My issues are not mechanical. They're mental. Really, they're *emotional*. And for a Kramer-like "pod", trying to understand and address emotional issues is like trying to read Sanskrit. It's slow going. It's taken me a year. But progress is being made, and will continue to be made.

    For the people I've dove with recently, getting better is about mechanics. Buoyancy. Propulsion. Skills. Drills. And as a non-instructor who is barely able to take care of himself, I'm not even qualified to *identify* issues, let alone try to help them resolve them. I'm little more than an imperfect mirror. "Here's what you're doing, and here's my understanding of what you *should* be doing." A video camera probably has more value than I do.

    One thing re-reading this has helped me to recall is how important *how* someone *feels* is. How they feel might not seem related to whether they're overweighted or not. But I'm seeing that it is -- because it is related to how they feel *while* they're diving. Not just how they feel mechanically, but how that mechanical feeling affects their emotional well-being. And when you change that, it messes with their emotions. Not only how they feel, but how they feel about how they feel.

    Sometimes, it's enough to point out unmistakable mechanical items: 'When you stop moving your fins, you rapidly sink to the bottom: maybe you want to adjust that?' But going straight to the mechanics usually ignores the emotions. And for non-pods, it seems that ignoring the emotions is doomed to failure. And why not? Even us pods get tripped up by emotion once in a while, too...

    It's been interesting reflecting on this progression against the juxtaposition of other recent SB technical training threads. It's taken me more than a *year* to come to see results from the emotional journey I've been on since signing up for my class. And that was after me taking roughly a *decade* to even identify the emotional issues involved here -- and writing several tens of thousands of characters about it here and other places. Why wouldn't it take others just as long to understand that as well?

    Especially because such issues are usually attacked -- and "attacked", with all its connotations, really is the right word -- exclusively from a mechanical perspective. I'm at least as guilty as anyone else. But if the recipient isn't emotionally able to absorb the lesson, our mechanical perspective won't just be ineffective, it will be actively harmful. How you get a pod like me to even remember that -- let alone to properly address that in our communication -- is more than a small challenge.

    And looking back, I still think that is the most beneficial part of my GUE Fundamentals class. Mer's ability to overcome mental and emotional difficulties to address mechanical issues is outstanding. Looking back (and trying to perform a tiny and terrible imitation myself), I think *that* is the secret sauce of the class.

    I still recommend the class. And I am grateful for the opportunity to reflect upon these lessons again -- and to hopefully renew my efforts to practice them in my own life, diving and otherwise.
    Smelly G, Heat Miser, Ayisha and 9 others like this.
  8. Ryan Neely

    Ryan Neely ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Akeley, MN USA
    @tmassey I want to begin by expressing my gratitude for your willingness to discuss the emotional side of this process. There is a machismo that seems to surround the world of diving that effectively nullifies emotional awareness and acceptance, and that's a shame. You mentioned how many of the people you've dived with were interested in mechanics--and that's important, to be sure--but those mechanics are going to be drive (consciously or not) by our emotional underpinnings. Being confident and cognizant enough to recognize this is a tremendous first step.

    Second, rather than write my own book on my recent Fundies experience (and it would be a book ... a novelette at its shortest), I thought I would simply say that your in-class experience, from the classroom to near-water to on- and in-water work, was almost identical. I took the class from German "Mr. G." Arango at Buddy Dive on Bonaire, but everything you detailed here seemed almost identical. In fact, it was your original post that prepared me to go into my Fundies course with the hope that I would pass but, also, with the acceptance that even if I didn't I would be a better diver and, honestly, that's all that really mattered.

    For what it is worth, we do share some differences. First, when I took Fundies I hadn't been Open Water certified for even a year. (Your original post was part of why and how I knew I could--and should--take Fundies so early.) I had 30 dives under my belt when we made it to Bonaire, and an additional 15 dives prior to the start of class. Class consisted of me, my wife, and Mr. G.

    I, also, have struggled with the Evaluation vs. Instruction balance in every class I've ever taken. A huge part of this comes from my insatiable need for information. If you've ever introduced yourself to StrengthsFinder, you'll understand when I say I am a high Learner/Input. One of the things I was struggling with (and still am to an extent) is finding instruction that is "serious."

    There are a lot of folks who have said, "Just dive. You'll figure it out." But there's a huge difference between diving and potentially creating bad habits and having someone who is highly trained and highly skilled point out things you're doing to fight yourself in the water.

    That being said, I think that @stuartv made some great points early on about the need for Evaluative-only courses. His advice I've received on this board have always been sound and well thought-out, and I find this no different. At some point there is only so far an educator can lead us before we must begin teaching ourselves (and that's the best educators, too--not every instructor was born to teach).

    One final difference (and this likely has to do with the difference in our skill levels going into Fundies in the first place), I am a GUE fanatic. This could be down to the fact that I've never taken any other course that leans to the technical, but it could also be the sheer amount of information GUE deems necessary for a fundamental, beginners class. How much more in-depth will their Rescue Diver equivalent course be when compared to other agencies?

    For what it's worth, I wasn't expecting to pass but I did: a Recreational pass. I'm not certain I could have earned a tech pass even if I had been prepared for that. The fact of the matter was, I only had a wetsuit and had never dived doubles, so I was only interested in the Recreational pass to begin with.

    That being said, I am trying to schedule a Drysuit Primer with Guy Shockey for later this year ... so long as this Covid thing drops to a simmer ... (thanks @MykaDives for the Guy recommendation), and with a little bit of time diving dry maybe a Doubles Primer down the road. Perhaps I'll go for that Tech Pass with time.

    Between now and then, I'll continue to dive with my wife in the mine pits and spend every dive drilling at least one skill we learned during Fundies. I think I've learned almost as much from reading your posts here @tmassey as I have from class. The need for introspection is super important, and I wouldn't have thought that without reading these posts.

    We both share a tendency to move too quickly when under stress, and thanks to you I now have something else to add to my repertoire of things to think about while I'm training.

    I will say this, though, about the Evaluation vs. Instruction comparison. Each of us arrive at this moment with a wide array of experiences, and those experiences work as the prism through which we create our worldview. For me, I know myself well enough to be able to say that a major factor in feelings of disappointment or dissatisfaction with a course or an instructor eventually boils down to my own incessant strive for perfection.

    When I took my PADI Open Water course, it wasn't good enough to simply read the book and watch the accompanying DVD. I immediately signed up for ScubaBoard and read everything I could find about diving. I watched YouTube videos about gas management and decompression illness. I got onto DAN's website and read articles there. I found outdated (and likely pirated) copies of course material from SSI and read that. I laid on my living room floor with my fins on and watched television and moved my legs around. (I still do this, by the way, but now I have fifteen pounds of ankle weights strapped around my feet.)

    The point is, for me, I spend so out-of-classroom time absorbing information and practicing the material that, by the time class rolls around, I've surpassed the minimum requirements. This has always been a curse for me. (It's why I graduated after my junior year of high school, and why I slept through my entire junior year of high school.)

    The point is (and I think you make this point in your original post, even if you didn't do it consciously), as someone who seems intent on learning and bettering oneself, it might always feel like an evaluation because you're doing a lot of that "just dive" thing and figuring it out on your own before class.

    Anyway, thanks again for the write up. You definitely made my Fundies class easier.
    Ayisha, tmassey, RainPilot and 2 others like this.
  9. Heat Miser

    Heat Miser DIR Practitioner

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Perth
    @tmassey You have expressed some very similar feelings to what I had experienced a year after washing out from Fundies. Clearly the important thing is that you took the comments on board have made improvements as a result. From other posts I have read your willingness to help others is clearly valuable, and I wouldn't discount giving up on the local dive boat attendees, you can probably help them as well ! Obviously some of them may not think they need help and therefore it may take longer and may never happen.

    After having similar feelings to you, buying a BP/Wing and trying to get better, I've now graduated to a rEvo rebreather and when I was trying my new drysuit on in the pool last w/e (wife watching for safety), I just stopped moving, tried to stabilise (Oz spelling) and what I thought were my floaty legs, were quickly fixed by a little air in the suit and little out of the rEvo wing, I couldn't have worked that out without learning the techniques taught in my Fundies class (Steve Ho Sydney)

    I remember posting here that some of the Thai cave divers that rescued the soccer team weren't GUE trained. It turns out I'm going to listen to Craig Challen OAM (Order of Australia) speak next week at my sons' school, it will be interesting to ask him what his views are about the evolution of a Tech diver.

    I do have to say some people get a touch zealot about all this, in another post when I said I'm not going down the GUE route i.e Fundies>Tech1>CCR1+25 dives, mainly because I live 2,500 miles West of the nearest class, not mentioning Australian state borders are hard closed and I would prefer to pay for my kids college fees next year. Allegations arose on taking shortcuts in both time and money, versus the GUE alternatives. I'm just continuing to dive I have found good instructors who know what their doing and training me up for Bikini in 2022.

    If its convenient Ill have another shot at Fundies, but I'm not sweating it, (anymore)
    cathal and stuartv like this.
  10. rjack321

    rjack321 ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Port Orchard, WA
    Sump diving in a raging river of runoff no vis with single unmounted tanks and FFMs is nothing like DIR or GUE. It would be criminally negligent to train people in these conditions or even to purport to train them in these conditions. Sump diving is learned from the caving community (which have been doing it a long time) not from the scuba diving community (who you might be shocked to learn are relative newcomers). The rift between caver's way of doing things and the DIR/GUE etc way of doing things goes back 30+ years. There are some highly competent cavers who also happen to swim underwater occasionally. You will almost never hear or see them on a scuba oriented board or in scuba magazines. To them diving is merely a mode of transportation to explore more cave.

    Here's a pic of one of my sump dives, note that I'm sidemounting an al27 in a plate-less harness, not wearing a wing, not even wearing fins. I "walked" on the ceiling to pass this flooded section which was about 1m high floor to ceiling. I am Cave1 & Cave2 with GUE but this kind of "diving" is completely outside of their universe. This sump led to about 375m of previously unexplored (dry)passage which we walled out.

    This is a timely article. Notice how completely different the training is. No courses at all, dry caver competency first, application to a club, 12 to 18 months apprenticeship.
    Meet The British Underground

    Which isn't actually all that different than getting involved with cave diving projects. Once you get past the tourist caves whatever cards you have don't matter very much.

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