Posts Tagged ‘training’

File-cabinet

The ability to respond to threats quickly and effectively is based on pattern recognition or schemas. A schema is a “scenario,” or a pattern of events your brain recognizes based on training, experience or pre-programmed mental rehearsals. Having a host of these developed patterns or schemas gives you a thick file folder to draw from. The more experience, training, or mental role-playing you do, the more patterns you will be able to recognize.

Have a lot of schemas stored in your brain is important because your mind and body recognize these patterns and develop sub routines or responses based on how much experience, training or mental rehearsals you have developed. If your brain is a large file cabinet, you have a drawer in the cabinet that stores information about threats to your safety. In that drawer there are dozens of folders each containing specific information about a threat event and the instructions, or rather the exact sequences of neurons that need to fire and the chemicals and hormones necessary to create an effective response to the threat stimulus.

What is intriguing is that a lot of these schema or folders cross reference each other. A human body articulates in certain ways and even when using a tool as a part of the threat sequence (gun, knife, etc.) it does not change how the human body articulates when attacking. These patterns of movement are also information you store in your schema file folders. The way a person moves also triggers responses, for example, when you see someone cock their fist back to throw a punch, your brain fires the necessary sequences to initiate a subconscious startle / flinch response and you throw your hands up to protect yourself… how you respond after that depends on your training.

There is a branch study here of human behavior and body language that I’m not going to touch on in this article. I bring it up to point out to you that facial expressions, movements, and overall behavior in life can reinforce and “thicken” the data in your folder. I will be doing some articles on behavior and body language soon, so keep following the One Weapon Any Tool & Home Defense Gun Blogs.

One of the best ways to build schema is to go through training scenarios that imbed the proper pattern recognition and response sequences into your subconscious mind. The military and police forces are a great example of how this works. During a police academy or a military boot camp, you are shown visual, audible and physical cues of how an enemy soldier or suspect is going to attack you. You open a new folder in your file drawer and your mind starts recording this information for later use. You are then taught how to respond to the threat pattern or behavior and that information also gets recorded and stored in the file.

A common explanation of this is when an infantryman is taught to respond to an ambush by an enemy. They are given a briefing about counter-ambush tactics, they assemble and go practice their responses by going through the motions of how they should respond, followed by dry runs carrying all of their equipment and weapons in a patrol formation. Finally after the instructors are satisfied the infantrymen are proficient they simulate an ambush attack (apply stressors like gun fire, smoke, simulated explosives and chaos) and allow the men to respond effectively.

They placed data into their files during the briefing, added in muscle routines, created neural connections, strengthened those connections via repetition and then applied the learning under stress to flesh out a complete file. While this is a generalization of a training scenario, you can see the steps used to create a schema for the soldiers. Should they ever encounter an actual ambush, their brain (file cabinet) will go to the threat section (file drawer) and open the ambush (file folder) and respond. The key takeaway from training, those who take training and those who conduct it, is to make sure they curriculum you teach will build a schema your student can create a mental folder around and that your training fills that folder with good information and responses. Bad training can create neural pathways as well and a bad information in your folder can get you killed. Vet the training you take!

If you ever study or talk to anyone who is a part of the Special Operations community they will tell you about a nearly constant cycle of training. From basic, to advance, to specialized, to combat workup and then onto combat, they come home for very brief time frames before they begin training again. They are constantly training in every arena available so when they encounter a threat and their brain opens the file folder it is stuffed full of data that is acted on, unconsciously and near instantaneously without taking the long road through the brain called conscious thought.

The other way to build a thick folder is to have experience. They say that experience is the best teacher but getting experience isn’t easy. Most of the things we learn in life are taught to us by experience. We all learned not to touch a hot stove cause we were told not to, got close and discovered that for ourselves, or we just touched it. Experience can breed self-correcting behavior usually because of the negative consequences associated with it. Not all experience is negative. In a life threatening encounter that you survive is one way you build and learn from positive experiences. Doing something well and right is rewarding especially when reinforced with positive affirmation.

When recognizing threats or danger the more experience you have is better. Police officers who grew up in rougher neighborhoods start off with a much higher recognition of threats and danger signs than those who did not. Not to say they are better officers than the ones raised more affluent areas, it is just the rougher neighborhoods taught them at an early age to be wary of certain people, times and places.

Survival becomes more important at an earlier age to some people and as a result their folders get created and filled with data faster. Later in life they have more schemas to draw from and can respond faster and more effectively.

Mental rehearsal is the third way you can add data to your file folders. Research has found that running through scenarios in your mind or mental practice can be up to 80% effective when applied under stress. Mental rehearsal alone will never make you 100% proficient, but it does help and work. Here is how: By imagining a scenario in your mind and going step by step in detail through the events and your actions/responses causes neural connections to form and fire sequences/networks of the neurons necessary to perform the actual actions.

When I studied martial arts and was learning to perfect a kata, I would spend time visualizing each move, hand position, foot position and I would imagine the strike or block I was performing as actually hitting or stopping a blow. Going over and over the images and motions in my mind really helped me when it came time to perform. The moves, strikes, blocks, etc. were much sharper and more defined. Daniel Coyle talks about the importance of mental rehearsal in his book The Talent Code. Top talent from all over the world in sports and music use the mental training to hone their skills. It is no different and can be used effectively in personal protection as well.

The reason creating schema is important is to make sure you are prepared to respond appropriately to a threat stimulus. If you are placed into a stressful, potentially life threatening situation and there is no schema for you to draw information from, (if you open the drawer and there is no folder) then you will freeze and your brain will begin running through the Fractional Response Pattern trying to develop a plan using data from dozens of other drawers in your file cabinet. While your brain compiles this information you are essentially frozen in place for seven to ten seconds.

While that does not sound like a lot of time, imagine standing perfectly still and defenseless while someone punches you for seven to ten seconds and you are not allowed to respond. Now give an attacker a knife… how many times can you be cut in seven to ten seconds? Now give the bad guy a handgun and imagine how many rounds he can fire in seven to ten seconds? I’m pretty sure I can empty at least two full magazines in that time frame including a mag change, if not more.

The bottom line is you need to have a plan. You need to have a schema or a folder full of information for the threats you are most likely to encounter. Train hard, train accordingly!

Be safe and remember – Your mind is the weapon, everything else is just a tool!

Scott S – Founder of One Weapon Any Tool Firearms Training.

www.oneweaponanytool.com

Follow us on Facebook! Also on Twitter: @1weaponanytool

Couple shooting

As times become unpredictable and criminals are emboldened by weak laws and corrupt politicians, concealed carry of a firearm is rapidly rising across the nation. The fact that Americans are starting to take active self-protection measures is encouraging. You and the ones you love are never safer then when they are at the side of an armed and trained family member. One of the newer trends emerging in self-protection arenas is women carrying firearms, and as a result that means that couples are now armed and can act as a team when confronted with threats. Let’s talk for a minute about armed couples and some of the unique aspects.

The biggest advantage is teamwork. With an armed couple you can now maintain overall vigilance longer, share the carry of equipment, shoot, move and communicate and work together to protect each other and children or other loved ones during a violent encounter.

Having a second set of eyes and your arm around some one means you will be allowed to take a moment’s break from trying to stay on point at all times. No matter how good you are or well trained, you cannot stay in condition yellow for long periods of time without being distracted and lapsing in concentration. Having a partner means you can switch off and each of you can have an opportunity to shop, enjoy the sights and still know someone has an eye on your six. Having a second set of eyes also means you can overlap the areas you scan to prevent a potential threat being overlooked.

A man and a women often see the same object but will pay attention to different details. One example is a suspect description versus the vehicle he fled the scene in. If you want a good description of the clothing ask the female half. Women are keen on the fashion side and can usually give you a better physical description. If the suspect is fleeing in a car however, ask the male half as he is usually more familiar with the make, model and description of a vehicle as well as the direction of flight. No offense ladies, but most of you do not keep tabs on cardinal directions as well as most male counterparts.

Now we can start talking equipment. Equipment is a huge part of everyday concealed carry and it is very personal and specific to each individual. Chances are that a man and a women are not going to choose the same type of holster, belt, firearm, or even carry position. With the advent of firearms manufacturers courting women we have seen an unprecedented surge in off body purses, bra holsters, corset holsters, thigh holsters etc. Despite being tough and armed, the fairer sex will always want to maintain her feminine appeal. A woman is not going to switch her entire wardrobe over to tactical pants and baggy shirts to hide her 1911.

While men are less fashion conscious and have no qualms about a single preferred carry method like outside the waistband, inside the waistband or appendix carry, women are diverse and will choose the carry method based on the season, outfit and personal style.

What this means is when it comes to accessing your firearm, as a woman, you will have to develop several different draw stroke proficiencies. What this also means, is that the man in your life will have to know where you are carrying your gun and be equally familiar with how to access your weapon if necessary. You might want to spend some time as a couple using unloaded firearms and practicing drawing from a corset, bra or a purse. Lingerie and firearms might lead to more loved ones to watch out for as well. Who said training can’t be fun? J

In addition to the weapon, what other personal security tools do you carry that your partner can share the use of? Flashlights, multi-tools and folding knives are usually the responsibility of the male half, or if carried by a woman they are not typically in easy to access locations. No one wants to dig through a purse in an emergency trying to find a flashlight or pocketknife so if your better half is part of your self-defense plan, discuss the carry location of equipment items.

One final suggestion you should consider under the equipment category, is standardizing the caliber and type of firearm you carry. I bring this up because some police agencies in America make their officers carry the same or similar firearms of the same caliber so ammunition can be passed between officers during a critical incident. For example, various models of Glock, XD and Sig Sauer pistols come in different frame sizes from a full size, compact and sub-compact that use interchangeable magazines. This is worth considering in case one of the handguns stops functioning, you can keep the other one running with the additional ammo source. This also allows you diversify how many spare magazines need to be carried by each half of the self-defense team.

If the threat is so great that you have to bring out your firearm, having a partner in a gun fight is a priceless resource. No matter how skilled the bad guy may be, he will have trouble taking on two armed citizens both keen on stopping him. Any enemy that has to fight in multiple directions at one time is going to make decisions slower and lose the initiative. If you and your spouse can get inside the OODA loop of the bad guy, you are going to win the fight.

The other major advantage is that bad guys these days are cowards and need the support of their friends when they set out to perpetrate crimes. A solo sheepdog confronting a group of two or three threats is at a disadvantage, but a husband and wife with a plan and training can easily outflank, outsmart and out communicate a group of bad guys.

The key to being successful is always founded in good communication. As a couple I suggest you work out a short series of phrases or key words you can use to communicate the following: A particularly dangerous or suspicious person, an area that is suspect, when it is time to exit an area that is becoming uncomfortable or dangerous and a go word that it is time to draw your firearm. I suggest keeping these fairly mundane or something you might hear in an actual conversation to avoid drawing unwanted attention or the attention of the bad guy.

For example, if you see a suspicious person starting to approach you, don’t point to him and say, “Tango, left flank,” and begin describing the suspect’s clothing. Think of something more casual like, Honey, let’s check out the store on the left.” That will identify to your spouse or girlfriend you spot something out of place or a person with evil intentions on your left and you are alerting them.

If you are in a bad area where you feel uncomfortable you could say, “Honey, I left something in the car, we need to go get it.” This is a simple signal that only you two understand but that does not sound unusual and those who may overhear it will interpret differently.

One of the signal phrases my wife and I use when we are out and a large crowd gathers or we start to notice a situation turning badly and it’s time to get out, I tell my wife, “Honey, time for a smoke break.” Since I do not smoke the phrase sticks out to her, but to others who do not know me it sounds benign. When my wife hears that she knows it’s time to drop what we are doing, grab the kids and get out of the area.

If you do get stuck and have to resort to violence to save yourself, have a signal for that as well. For example, you can say, “Looks like I’ve been painted into a corner.” If your significant other hears that common phrase, he or she knows its time to draw a weapon and get ready to fight or flight. If it is a fight signal you should have a pre-planned out triangulation attack, a plan for a bounding extraction, or a flee signal which means one of you grabs the kids and goes with the other half covering your rear with the firearm. As you make your plan also consider non-verbal cues as well.

Whatever you decide, it needs to be worked out well in advance. You can’t expect these signals and plans to work without a bit of rehearsal and discussion so spend some quality time with your spouse or girlfriend and work out your offense and defense plan.

Remember, you are only as strong as the weakest link of your team so train hard, train together and stay safe.

Scott S – Founder, One Weapon Any Tool

www.oneweaponanytool.com

 

TRAINING UPDATE:

I am deeply saddened to announce that Bob Mayne will not be coming to California in 2014. He is battling cancer and it has taken an unexpected turn. Due to his health, he will not be here on October 18th as previously announced.

We will however have a training course that day. I am running Offensive Pistol, our very own intermediate firearms skill building course. You can register online at the One Weapon Any Tool website and I am offering it at a discounted rate of $150.

We will try to host Bob again next year. In the meantime, he would covet your prayers.

 

flight

If you carry a (semi-auto) handgun on a daily basis, you need to remember that it is a finely tuned machine that requires a certain amount of maintenance and care to function. We want to make sure we take proper care of our machine because the moment we need it… it has to work! Since we have busy lives and some of you (admit it) do not give your handgun a thorough cleaning each time you shoot it, make time in your daily routine for a quick operational check. A quick two minute assessment could save your life.

First, start with a safe and empty weapon. Perform a mechanical, visual and physical check of your handgun to make sure it is unloaded. Grab a cleaning cloth and a couple of Q-tips as well. Once you have a safe and empty weapon, close the slide and visually inspect the exterior of the gun. If you carry concealed wipe the dust bunnies and fuzzy stuff off, especially around the hammer, safety and any recessed portions. Overtime, dust binds with lubricant and can cause a malfunction or stoppage.

Now, lock the slide open and check the rails. There should be a light film of lubricant visible. If your gun is bone dry, you should stop at this point, break it down and properly add lubricant to the recommended areas. If you are unsure where lubricant goes and how much, consult your owner’s manual.

Next look at the recoils spring and barrel to make sure they are seated properly and the guide rod is intact. Now that some manufacturers are using plastic for guide rods, you need to pay attention. Plastic cannot withstand the same punishment as steel. Look down the barrel and also make sure it is free from obstructions. You don’t want any debris or dust bunnies in the barrel either. Give a quick check of the feed ramp and extractor to make sure both parts are intact. Finally look down into the magazine well and make sure that area is also clean and free from obstructions. Now you can begin a function check.

A function check is a quick easy way to assess the features of your handgun to see if they are working. Depending on the model of handgun you have, not all of these will apply, but follow along and tailor the function check to fit the needs of your particular semi auto handgun.

Close the slide and de-cock or engage any safety features associated with your handgun. Once the safety is engaged, pull the trigger and make sure the gun does not dry fire with the safety mechanisms engaged.

Starting from your carry position- striker fired, hammer down or cocked and locked, check the trigger pull and listen for the audible striker functioning. For guns with a hammer, watch the hammer fall and on both types, keep the trigger buried to the rear after the first press. Now, keeping the trigger buried, cycle the slide which should reset the striker or cock the hammer into single action. Now, slowly let out on the trigger and listen for the reset. If you have a handgun with a hammer, now press the trigger a second time to test the single action trigger pull.

Now that you have a ready and functioning handgun, holster it and grab a magazine. Just like the handgun, give it a visual inspection and make sure it is also clean and free from dust bunnies and debris. Make sure it does not have an excess of lubricant on the magazine. I have seen a few well intentioned handgun owners over lubricate their firearm causing the excess oil to get onto the magazine and gum it up. Now we can check the feed spring. I always like to pop a couple of rounds off the top of the magazine to make sure they slide easily past the feed lips and the spring tension is sufficient enough to push the next round into place instantaneously. Now, replace the couple of rounds you pushed out and make sure the feed lips retain the rounds properly.

Now, insert the magazine well into the firearm and give it a tap and tug to make sure it is seated properly. If the magazine comes out without depressing the release, you need to have your handgun serviced.

Draw your handgun (point it in a safe direction) and charge it. Engage any safety features and safely re-holster the handgun with your finger outside the trigger guard. Now press the magazine release and check to make sure it also functions properly. You should be able to pull the magazine clear of the handgun without it reengaging, catching or feeling any unnecessary friction. Now, reseat the second round that was in the magazine (now the top round) and top off the magazine with an additional round so it is at full capacity. Re-insert it and again listen for the audible click to tell you the magazine is seated firmly. Give it a tug and you are ready to go!    

If you carry a spare magazine (which I highly recommend), perform the same check and place it in your magazine carrier. Lastly, if you carry a holster with any type of retention device, make sure it is working properly as well.

While the narrative is long, this quick pre-flight check takes seconds and will give you comfort knowing your tool is ready when you need it.

Till next time, be safe and remember: Your mind is the weapon, everything else is a tool!

For more information about One Weapon Any Tool or for firearms training in Northern California visit our web site at: www.oneweaponanytool.com or find us on Facebook!

If you are on Facebook and want more information on personal or home protection, visit my friend at Home Defense Gun! An excellent source for firearms, personal protection and related information.

 

Stay safe

Scott S

 

Riots-looting-gunfire-and-chaos-near-Ferguson-Missouri

 

Two words-

This week I’m going to speak on current events and use what is actually happening to emphasize the importance of what I’ve been preaching about since I started writing articles. Now, more than ever the importance of owning a firearm and being trained in how to use it can be summed up in two words: Ferguson Missouri.  

An American city has spiraled out of control in a matter of hours and as I write this, it is literally burning, citizens are scared, business owners are defending their livelihood, shots are being fired and gun sales have skyrocketed! While I welcome into the fold a host of new gun owners, they are under the false assumption that having it will provide protection.

Having a firearm is a great first step, but mere ownership is not enough. You have to know how to use it, and be willing to use violence to stop violence. A firearm is not a magic wand that you can wave around and scare away a predator with. It is a tool with a specific purpose and its intent is that of the one handling it. You have to be skilled at using that tool and ready to use it for protection. Is your level of training sufficient to wield, retain and fight with your firearm? Have you considered what areas of your home provide cover and how much defensible space is around your residence or business?

If you watch the news clips you can tell which businesses are unmolested and those businesses have armed citizens guarding them. Just like the Korean market during the L.A. Riots, citizens have taken positions and displayed arms as a deterrent. Make no mistake, I firmly believe that those citizens plan to do more than display their rifles should someone try to threaten them, or their livelihood. While I do not endorse the killing of a human over an item of property, there is a limit to how much destruction is permissible. You have the right to protect your home and your business. Check your local laws to see if castle doctrine applies in your area.

If there is another (obvious) lesson you can learn from this tragedy is that the police are not coming to help you. You are on your own, and the police will get to you when they have time. By then, they’ll take a few photos and document the incident and go back to the greater problem at hand. The Thin Blue Line is very thin… there are not enough cops out there to stop masses of evil doers hell bent on hurting you and taking your stuff. After a while, even the police will not be able to protect buildings or property and if the situation gets really out of control, the National Guard will have a hard time containing it. The bottom line is you are on your own!

This brings me to a second part of the tragedy we need to address, preparedness. Every family in America should have at least (minimum) of a month’s supply of food on hand. Canned food, dry goods, meals ready to eat and some long term food stuffs should be kept in your pantry. In a major crisis like the one in Ferguson may prevent you from getting to the grocery store when you run out of your normal stock of food. If you do get to a store safely, chances are it will be looted and they will not accept any form of payment except cash. I should also add to this recommendation a good supply of clean water. Each person will need a minimum or a gallon a day to survive. That does not include bathing, only drinking, and cooking.

While I sit transfixed watching evil reign and looting go unchecked I am gleaning dozens of lessons from what I see and hope to apply those to my training and the courses I teach. I hope this type of incident never comes to my city or yours, but wouldn’t it be a comfort having the skills, tools and equipment to survive such an event.

I’ll close by saying this about the shooting event. While concrete evidence is still being gathered, the basics are: A larger, more aggressive male subject attacked a police officer causing a significant orbital injury and at one point attempted to take the officer’s firearm. As a result the male suspect was shot as the officer defended his life. Every sign and initial indication shows that the officer acted within policy and case law. This was a justifiable homicide.

 Scott S

One Weapon Any Tool –

fight-girl

Too often when thinking about personal protection we focus on the defensive aspect. We talk about being ready to defend yourself and those you love and we have a plan to defend our homes. I think this is a misconception that is going to get someone hurt or killed because when you are on the defense that means one thing… Someone is doing something to you. Being on the defense means you are being attacked, you are covering, hiding, fortifying, or blocking and there is no victory in defense.

I think we need to turn this on its head and start talking as a community about the Offensive Mindset.

Think about it, there is nothing defensive about pulling the trigger and actively trying to kill another human being who is a threat to you. There is nothing defensive about striking, kicking or inflicting damage on someone that is try to do the same to you. You want to be on the offense. You want to be the one moving forward on the balls of your feet, with your head down and ears pinned back.

When it comes time to protect yourself you want to bring the maximum amount of violence to bear as fast as possible and overwhelm your opponent. Reread that last sentence and ask yourself… is that the definition of defense? We need to talk about the offensive mindset and we need to start now!

While we should never discount a defense completely, the defense is what we establish to ensnare our opponent and slow him down to give us the initiative and use our offense to win the fight. When you are attacked initially, you may be surprised or startled and begin the fight in a defensive posture. You have to move from defense to offense as quickly as possible and be the one who dominates! You have to act with intent! When the fight is on and your life is at stake you have to act decisively. There is not time to assess and come up with a plan. This is the moment that the training you have (or don’t have) is going to kick in. There is only one goal, be the one who walks away and take as little damage as possible during the altercation.

Your intention is to use violence and inflict pain, damage or death upon another living breathing human being. You have to do this, or you will become the victim. You have to think about this now while you read this in your living room in front of your computer rather than thinking about it when you are faced with a lethal or dangerous threat.

Violence is nothing more than a tool. Bad guys use it to intimidate, harm, rape or steal. You use violence to fight off the attack, protect yourself and the innocents with you. Using violence is not a bad thing and you need to reconcile yourself that hurting someone, may be what saves your life. You have to establish your own rules of engagement now so when it comes time to fight… You FIGHT!

Fighting is always a last resort and even as a deputy I hate getting into fights… but I will if I have to and it’s going to end badly for you. I will give you every opportunity to submit to arrest or comply, probably more chances than you deserve, and the choice lies with the evil doer which way they want the encounter to go.
When not on duty I will walk away and give you every opportunity to leave me alone and go away. If you want to push your luck, make sure you are ready for what’s coming. I’m ready, are you?

Are you?

Remember, it is not for you to start the fight, but it is for you to win it. Fighting is a last resort but I will book anyone a ticket there if they try to physically harm myself or a loved one. Go forth and train!

Hopefully I’ve shaken up the way you think about personal protection and self-‘offense.’

I’ll leave you with one of my favorite quotes:

This is the law: The purpose of fighting is to win. There is no victory in defense. The sword is more important that the shield, and skill is more important that either. The final weapon is the brain. All else is supplemental.
-John Steinbeck

Be safe – train hard – Get into the Offensive Mindset
Scott S
One Weapon Any Tool
http://www.oneweaponanytool.com

images9LVSCV6J

In the majority of my articles I discuss the importance of training, reasons why you need to train regularly, and how to find quality trainers. While taking a course from a local certified instructor is very important, as is practicing what you learn on the range, this week I’m going to give you a couple of tried and true methods for improving your firearms skills on your own through the Stare, Study & Steal methodology.

While this method focuses on your visual side of learning, it will help all types of learners since your brain will capture and store the images and what you see you can practice for the tactile learners and usually when watching there is an explanation which will help my auditory learners as well.

The first step is to select a highly skilled source to stare at. I like to watch professional shooters on TV, Youtube and even some of their instructional DVDs because these guys and gals are at the top of their game and have solid foundations that make them successful shooters. Some of my favorites you can watch and glean knowledge from are Max Michel, Jerry Miculek, Pat Rogers, Travis Haley, Jessie Abbate Keith Garcia and Chris Costa.

When I say stare that is exactly what I mean… Watch them closely with a critical eye so you can pick out small details and movements that make them successful in their craft. Hit the pause button and look at how they grip the gun. Observe the direction their feet are pointed, how they bend their knees and how they walk. Watch in slow motion how they manage the recoil of the gun, and look into their eyes as they fixate on the front site. Watch how they lean and how much of a bend is in their elbows. Stare and take mental photos of what you are seeing.

Study each individual movement and if you have to, make notes in a notebook so when it is time for you to practice later when you do not have a video player. Deep, focused and intense staring and studying is a great way for you to lay the basic mental foundations of good habits.

Like boxers and football players watching films of how other perform and how you perform gives you a valuable insight into strengths and weaknesses. Teams watch hours of footage of how other teams play looking for gaps in their defensive line, looking for weaker players they can exploit and stronger players to cover or avoid.

Boxers and UFC fighters study themselves looking for ways to deliver more effective strikes, how to spot weaknesses in their own defenses.
Once you have watched, analyzed and made notes it is time to steal! Take the stance, grip, lean, run, focus and whatever else you see that can make you a better shooter and make it your own. There is no shame in stealing a technique or style that works for you. Find the critical pieces that you are missing or are not performing and add them to your training. Compare what you are doing to what the professionals are doing and see if their methods or techniques can improve yours.

If you have the opportunity film yourself when you go to the range and then use the same critical eye. Look for how you grip and stand versus the professionals. Find the subtle differences between how you do things and make notes. Then do some dry practice and then some live practice on your next trip to the range and correct those errors you are making and build good strong neural pathways.

There are a plethora of techniques and instructors so make sure you also apply a critical eye to the methods and techniques you choose to practice. Some techniques will work better for you than others due to your hand size, height, weight, etc.

This is one reason I also study female shooters because they typically have small frames and hands yet outshoot most men. Their methods of movement, how they set up their equipment and how they fight with a gun can give you a fresh perspective or technique guys wouldn’t normally consider. To be a great shooter you have to be willing stow your pride. You have to be willing to consider new ideas and be able to change your mind.

During the course of my career in being a shooter, and training shooters I’ve had to discard and pick up a lot of what was taught as “doctrine.” Having an open mind and being willing to stare, study and steal will give you marked improvement in a short amount of time.

Till next time, be safe and train hard!
Scott S

One Weapon Any Tool Firearms Training – Your mind is the weapon, everything else is a tool.
http://www.oneweaponanytool.com You can also find us on Facebook.

August 24th is Riflecraft: AR-15 Sign up today, space is limited.

October 18th Bob Mayne from Suarez International is coming to Northern California. Don’t miss this exciting opportunity to meet and train with Bob. To register visit: http://www.handgunworld.com

HARD-WORK

Training is Insulation

I’m constantly fascinated by how delicately intricate, yet powerful the human brain is. When I began my journey of becoming a teacher / trainer I never expected to find myself studying neurology. While becoming a brain surgeon is very low on my priority list, we can learn a lot from that field of research, particularly how to get the most out of our training sessions and how to develop a skill faster. One of the recent resources I have come across was a book called The Talent Code by Daniel Coyle. I’ve taken a few of the concepts he discusses in his book and applied them to firearms training in this article.

Make no illusions, there is no shortcut to success. Even in firearms training, to be successful at a fast draw time, accurate rapid shots, smoother reloads and weapon transitions, you will have to put in the work. You will have to work hard, and repeat these motions thousands of times. You will struggle, you will fail and you will achieve small successes, which are the stepping stones to the next success. As you practice and train do not let your current achievement become a plateau for you.

The good news about the above paragraph is that ANYONE can excel at almost any skill if you are willing to work at it. The more I study people, coaches, and training methods I’m convinced that natural talent does not exist. No one is born with an overwhelming skill set that makes them good at something. We are all unique and we all gravitate towards what interests us. Our interest turns into a desire to study, work, practice and develop a skill. That ongoing hard work and desire to be the best in the field we are immersed in, mixed with guidance will breed overwhelming success that people call, “talent.”

One example I want to point to is a young lady named Jessica Simpson. At 16 years old she hit the world stage with an amazing singing voice the media credited to her years in the church choir. I’ve seen a lot of good choirs, but none of those singers landed a multi-million dollar recording contract. What most people do not know is that Jessica who had a good voice, spent over five years from the age of 11 to 16 working with a voice coach, struggling, training, practicing and disciplining her voice. No one ever heard the flat notes, or the wavering vibrato behind the scenes, we only saw the smashing success and stunning talent that appeared, “out of nowhere,” that made Jessica an overnight success. Those years spent with her voice coach insulated the neural connections in her brain turning the microscopic threads into superhighways.

When you learn a new skill you make a connection between multiple neurons. In my article, “Training to Fight… Neurologically Speaking,” (oneweaponanytool.wordpress.com) we talked about learning how to ride a bike for the first time, how your brain made connections as you practiced and how it relegated tasks that required focus and conscious thought to your sub-conscious so you didn’t have to think anymore, you just hopped on and rode away.

While I touched on the concept before I want to expand on it now. Keep this in mind as we discuss training and talent: Your conscious brain can process about 40 tasks, your subconscious brain can process 11 million. What that means, is that while you are learning, you are using your conscious mind to grasp, struggle and work through a new skill set. Whether it be a good consistent trigger press, or a crisp drive from one target to another, the first few hundred times you try this… you had to think about it and slowly do it. Over time and through repetition, you can now perform this skill without having to put conscious thought into it.

This became a reality for me one night as a young deputy working a patrol beat. I was in a vehicle pursuit with a domestic violence suspect (who was also intoxicated). The pursuit ended when he crashed into a fence trying to get onto the freeway. I do not have any conscious memory of the following sequence of events: I stopped the car, put it in park, opened the door, took off my seat belt, and drew my firearm. All of those things happened automatically, because I had done all of them a thousand times. When I realized I was holding my handgun it stuck out to me, because I realized that my training kicked in when I needed it. The gun seemed to magically appear in my hand and I did not have to devote any conscious attention or split my focus to achieve that. It happened because I have a super highway, or a densely insulated neural connection in my brain that enabled that sequence of actions to occur.

This insulation is called Myelin. Myelin wraps itself around the nerves and aids in the accurate and precise transmission of electrical signals between the interconnected webs of neurons. The more myelin you have around a particular set of neurons, the more precise the movement and the faster it can occur. The way you build myelin is to practice, struggle, and training- pushing yourself to excel when you reach a plateau. You build myelin through hard work.

Before I give you delusions of grandeur about the astronomical capabilities you are capable of, there are two more key elements necessary to breed “talent.” The first is coaching or masterful guidance and the last is dedication through immersion.
Michael Phelps holds 14 gold medals (18 total) throughout the course of his Olympic career in the 2004 & 2008 summer games. While he stands at the top of the world in his sport, he didn’t get there on his own. There was one man who stood behind him as his primary coach and an assistant coach to the US Team, and I doubt most of you have ever heard the name of Bob Bowman. Bowman began his coaching career around 1986. It wasn’t until nearly a decade later that he met a young Michael Phelps at the North Baltimore Aquatic Club.

During his tenure in Baltimore, Bowman helped to produce 3 individual national champions, 10 national finalists and 5 USA National Team members. In recognition of his accomplishments, Bowman was named the USA’s Coach of the Year in 2001 and 2003. He was also named Developmental Coach of the Year in 2002.

It was also during his work at NBAC that Bowman began coaching 18-time Olympic medalist Michael Phelps. Under Bowman’s tutelage, Phelps won five World Championship gold medals and was named the American Swimmer of the Year in 2001 and 2003.
Bowman was named as an assistant coach on the 2004 U.S. Olympic Team, serving as the primary coach for Phelps. At the 2004 Games, Bowman helped coach Phelps to eight medals, including six gold medals and two bronze. Four years later, at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, he coached Phelps to achieve eight Olympic gold medals, which had never been done before in a single Olympics.

Without Bob Bowman, the world never would have heard of Michael Phelps. Without an experienced and dedicated coach, Michael Phelps might not have broken records and earned Olympic gold. Without a lot of hard work, under the watchful eye of an experienced instructor or teacher who pushed, prodded, encouraged, criticized, corrected and maintained the same amount of dedication as the pupil, Michael Phelps would never have made it to the World Championships, let alone the Olympic team.

Hard work and practice only go so far. You need a coach or a teacher to fine tune you towards success. When I started shooting, I thought I was pretty good. I grew up with guns and had spent a fair amount of my own money at shooting ranges throwing lead into paper targets. I found out during my police training that I was actually a terrible shooter with mediocre skills compared to the training staff who had over 150 years of combined experience. Over the next 80+ hours I was corrected, pushed, coached, guided, praised and criticized until I emerged near the top of my class and could consistently shoot in the 90th percentile. That training is ongoing and I’ve logged at least another 100+ hours since then just at work.

Over the last 14 years of continual training at work, on my own, and under the guidance of other top shooters in my area did I really start to achieve what I deemed success at the shooting sports. I could have never gotten to where I am today without top notch instructors helping me. Looking back I realize what I thought was good…was deplorable and I’m grateful for the energy and effort I was blessed to receive. Due to that time, I am now able to step into the role of teacher, counselor and coach for new and developing shooters.

When you seek to develop and become a good shooter it would behoove you to seek a competent trainer and coach. You don’t know what you don’t know and having an experienced eye to watch you, correct and encourage you will help you develop the skills you seek and build good myelin insulation.

Finally you will need to be motivated to succeed. I would be willing to bet that Jessica Simpson was less than enthusiastic about going to her voice coach every time she had a lesson scheduled. I bet Michael Phelps looked at his snooze button more than a few times before his early morning practice sessions… yet both found the motivation to succeed.

The best and easiest way to maintain your focus is by immersing yourself in your chosen sport/career/interest. As a shooter and firearms trainer I am immersed or surrounded by my interest. For example, I carry a gun daily which makes me constantly aware of concealment methods, belts and holsters. At every opportunity to dry practice or live fire practice, I do it. I read about firearms and attend trade shows so I can see what the market looks like and where the future of firearms is going. I read magazines, watch DVDs, and attend classes and try to stay up on trends, tactics and equipment. I buy tools and accessories and test and evaluate them to see if I should be doing something better or can a piece of kit help me do it better. My friends and assistant instructors share the same passions and we can debate endless hours about different firearms, accessories, training methods, techniques, ad nauseam.

I’m motivated to train because I’m surrounded by like-minded individuals who also challenge me, encourage me and hold my interest in my chosen lifestyle of personal protection and training.

There will be friction, there will be failure and success comes in tiny, sometimes almost imperceptible increments. Consider why there are only a handful of top performers in every sport or art worldwide. I truly believe it is because they pressed on even when they did not notice small successes. They pressed on when they mastered one skill and were pushed and guided by a coach or teacher to do better.

There are a lot of boxers with Golden Glove Titles… only a few with a world championship belt. The path to success is getting from one failure to the next. I call this friction, or things that grind against me or obstacles I have to push past to achieve my goals. Friction is hot, it hurts and is discouraging, but it can be overcome.

For more information on the study of myelin and how to develop talent, I encourage you to pick up a book called: The Talent Code written by: Daniel Coyle. The book was the primary inspiration for this article and he goes into much greater depth about all of the topics I’ve touched on above. Daniel Coyle does not discuss the shooting sports, but his chapters on golf, soccer and baseball have strong correlations.

You can do it, you will have to work at it… it’s not going to be easy, but with a good cadre and laser focus you can succeed. Never give up in training, or in a fight!

Be safe, God bless – Train on!
Scott S
Founder, One Weapon Any Tool http://www.oneweaponanytool.com or on Facebook!

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