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 It Isn't Cool To Be An Amateur

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onthecasey
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PostSubject: It Isn't Cool To Be An Amateur   10/21/2010, 21:24

Whether you are 25 or 55, you are not new to pressing the trigger on various firearms. I've spent 30 years in traditional shooting, but in studying Martial Arts, or the theories behind it, the more I learn, the less I know. I've found, though, that principles are universal, whether applied to hands, feet, sticks, knives - or guns. I've trained hard, fought and outlived better men than me. This article will explain what I believe - that premption and ambushing opponents before they get to you is the best tactic. You can only win with skill, deception and discipline.
An ancient Japanese Martial Art expert Miyamoto Musashi wrote in The Book of Five Rings, "development of technique is essential to understanding of purpose. Once a specific technique has been understood, the warrior stops using it on a conscious level because in combat having a conscious identity imposes limitations." In other words, the more you practice, the easier it becomes and the easier it becomes, the more you become the thing itself.

I am a poor trainer. I don't have patience with students who refuse to practice the basics — they want to be "high-speed, low drag" but ignore administrative handling of a handgun, the strongest possible grip and stance, use of sights, trigger control, etc. You can't do the "cool dude!" stuff until you have mastered the basics. You need "...a thousand days of practice for training and ten thousand days of practice for refinement."

Basic Pistol and Rifle Marksmanship, the genesis of all programs, came from the military. The steady hold factors, proper breathing, front sight/rear sight alignment, and squeezing not pulling (or jerking) the trigger, all came from military precision marksmanship training. This may be the type of trained discipline one needs to have when participating in competitive shooting events. However, the goal of any serious shooter is to become a master shooter with an expert rating.

Every drill will involve some movement but the ability of shooting while moving is essential to an ambush or to deceiving an opponent. Offensive shooters need fighting footwork concepts, while competitive shooters will benefit greatly from shooting-while-moving drills. Use of cover and concealment, fundamental skills of grip, stance, precision speed shooting, reloads, and stoppage reduction and essential tools in mastering the art of deception infiltration.

I'd never tell you that I use only Weaver or Isoceles. Terrain, circumstances, combat, adrenilin determine techniques. The shot is from where it is: one-handed, on your back, your weaker hand, even with the gun upside down. I've spent years perfecting my technique, and can handle the gun expertly even under stress. I don't think about it - just do it. You can't get there without years of focused, repetitive training. You don't make a gunfighter by watching a YouTube video or listening to a CD while stuck in traffic.

"The Way cannot be learned through frivolous contests in which the outcome is for the name of a school or a large trophy. It can only be realized where physical death is a reality."

If you're going to spend your limited time, money, and ammo learning to shoot, spend it at a reputable, high-quality academy where the instructors have real-world experience. Killing another man is a result of occupation and circumstances or sometimes just the bad luck of being in the wrong place, wrong time. But the depth and breath of the trainer's experience lends credibility to the theories the instructor teaches. He will reject, adjust, refine or embrace what's worked in the "real world" and will teach you those things that kept him alive.

There is nothing new in fighting or in shooting. Eyes in the sight, center on the target, compress the trigger. Quality training, years of practice, instinct, intuition, all have a place, but only after a solid foundation, cemented in the basics, has been built. There are no shortcuts, and from arrow to sword to musket to M40a5, there never will be.
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