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Nothing says "I Love You, Dear" like screaming lower back pain!

Sometimes Wrong but rarely in doubt!

02 April 2012

Shooting And Martial Arts

A good friend of mine pointed out that shooting isn't like a martial art, it is a martial art.  After having done Aikido for most of the last 20 years and smatterings of Aiki Jutsu, Wing Chun , Tai Chi, Hsing-I  and Kali decided to apply that knowledge/skill base to improving my shooting.  The irony of my martial curriculum vitae is that the two martial arts I've studied that are the least martial apply the most strongly.  I exaggerate a bit, having studied a pretty diverse set of arts over the years I've come to the conclusion that most martial arts teach the same thing and generally in a pretty similar fashion.

Friday afternoon I took a couple of hours to practice drawing my sidearm and firing. Drawing and firing sounds simple but it is actually quite a few discrete actions. Returning to the holster is five discrete tasks.  This is starting to sound like a kata which is common to most martial arts.  Did I mention that I did this on the range with live ammo?  Now that's a Kata that most pistol owners will appreciate.

  1. Begin with the hands at the sides of the body.
  2. Shift your weight to the balls of your feet and lean the torso slightly forward.
  3. Using the strong hand, move the concealment garment away from the pistol using a horizontal movement from the solar plexus to the body's midpoint above the pistol's grip.
  4. Lower the hand to the pistol grip.
  5. Draw the pistol.
  6. Raise the pistol grasping with the weak hand and point downrange.
  7. Deactivate the safety with the thumb of the strong hand.
  8. Aim.
  9. Squeeze the trigger.
  10. Aim.
  11. Squeeze the Trigger.
  12. Activate the safety with the thumb of the strong hand.
  13. Bring the pistol to the solar plexus and on the center-line of the body.
  14. Release the weak hand and move the concealment garment with the hand holding the pistol
  15. Rotate the pistol down
  16. Insert the pistol in the holster.
  17. Relax to a normal stance and repeat.

How does Tai Chi apply to shooting?  Most practitioners would shudder at that question.  In many of its current forms Tai Chi has become more like aerobics for seniors than a martial art.  Chai Tea rather than Tai Chi.  I was fortunate in that my Tai Chi instructors were very much attuned to the martial lineage of Tai Chi and showed the applications.  Tai Chi is a very aggressive martial art just watch Neo and Morpheus spar in The Matrix.  Morpheus is mostly doing Tai Chi.

I applied the slow measured pace of Tai Chi to drawing firing and holstering.  The goal is to build the muscle memory to the point that the sequence of movements above is automatic and unthinking.  The speed comes with practice and not by abbreviating the sequence of movements.  Draw fire two rounds, return the the pistol to the holster.  I fired about 450 rounds, and I plan on doing about 100 rounds a week once I get proficient.  I can also practice the action with a Snap Cap in the pistol in my rec room.  I feel more comfortable doing it on a range and using live ammo since I want the practice to be as close to the real conditions as possible.  Being on the range with live ammo being the actual real conditions.

I know this sounds a bit silly and believe me you feel dumb doing it.  I had one of the guys that I shoot with time me before and after practice and I shaved quite a bit of time off my draw so I will continue to practice, and look dumb but hey results are what validates the methodology not how dumb it looks or feels.

I have to thank my good friend Rob for making the observation that shooting is a martial art.

I've been using some European Ammo (MFS) which my gun doesn't particularly like, this dislike occurs in the form of FTE's (failures to extract).  I should have added the following actions:

9a Swear loudly
9b Drop Magazine
9c Swear loudly.
9d Pull Slide and lock.
9e Swear loudly
9f Tap expended cartridge out with cleaning rod.
9g Seat magazine
9h rack slide


The funny thing about the MFS ammunition is that I'll shoot 2-3 boxes without a problem and then one box will have a problem about every 3 to 5 rounds.  Once I've finished the MFS ammo I've got I'm never ever ever eff'n' buying the eff'n' crap again...ever...eff'n'...

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