Saturday, August 22, 2015

A Prairie Home Companion

There is a show on National Public Radio called A Prairie Home Companion . The show and its host Garrison Keillor have been producing the show since the early 1970's. It is an old time radio variety show with music,skits and comedy. My dirty little secret is I have been listening to the show for years. Many that know me know that I am anything but liberal and the show definitely leans that way but somehow I just enjoy it. Recently my wife and I had the opportunity to see the show live in our home town. It was a great evening. Beautiful night in an outdoor amphitheater. I did find it very interesting that these NPR listeners who claim to be for diversity produced about the most undiversified audience possible. This guy right here,who spent the morning before the show at the gun range and that has voted libertarian in the last 3 election cycles brought the only minority to the show. That had to be the whitest audience I have ever seen at an event. Struck me somehow as very telling. Talk about white privilege, there it was, but not how it is portrayed in the media. Enjoy some photos.




















Monday, August 17, 2015

First Two Women Expected to Graduate Friday from Army Ranger School | Military.com



I have two things to say about these young women. From all I can find out they have been stellar performers and over achievers their whole lives. Athletes,West Point etc.. Not to mention they volunteered to endure the media shit storm that has engulfed them. So number one BRAVO!! If I know anything, the nay sayers claiming they had it easy or the course was altered do not have the facts straight. All first hand accounts and data suggest this course was as hard or harder than the average Ranger course. The other rock solid thing you can count on is that the Ranger Instructors did not lower the standard. That would compromise their integrity which is something that does not happen. There is one standard..The Ranger Standard. If these young women graduated then they met the standard.

Number two is I am not sure how I feel about this. I feel the same as when they tore down the old cabins at the Mountain Ranger camp losing all that history. I can't put my finger on it but I feel as if we missed the point here. Equal opportunity does not mean every opportunity. Ranger school has a purpose and the purpose is not to satisfy any particular agenda but to produce war fighters. If we have done that here then bravo and bravo to these two women anyway. Hopefully they and the women that follow will go forth and be better leaders. But if this is isolated and a social experiment. If this happened to allow individuals to get promoted then it is wrong. The military is not about individual achievements. I am a fan of this but I hope it is being done for the right reason. Things need to mean something.





First Two Women Expected to Graduate Friday from Army Ranger School | Military.com

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Manliness

I was turned on to a podcast recently called the Pressure Project . I have been listening to it that last few days and while some may accuse it of being misogynist I find it resonates with me. It is not anti female rather it is pro male and rejects the politically correct version of manhood that I have never subscribed to. It did get me thinking though. I have a lot of beliefs on what it means to be a man but I have never written them down on paper on purpose. So I thought I would do that now.

1. Men are tribal- Men gravitate towards others with common beliefs. Outside of our immediate families we need a peer group to interact with and hold us accountable. No one else but the tribe can let a man know when he is shirking his duties . The tribe is what encourages men to be warriors and defend their family. You know you are with your tribe when you can say truthfully "these are my people." That is why I believe military service or other public service has such a profound effect on men. They  become part of the tribe or they don't. Either way it is significant.

2. Men defend- As a man it is our responsibility to defend our families and those we care about. To a certain extent is is also on us to protect those that generally cannot protect themselves. This responsibility cannot be delegated to law enforcement or government as some would have you believe. It is a man's responsibility as a man. You are the first line of defense. If a thug is beating and raping your wife upstairs and you know by running up the stairs you face certain death a man does not escape and call the police. A man goes up the stairs and defends. Law enforcement is secondary.

3. Men must be comfortable with violence-  I am not saying a man must be habitually violent or encourage violence. I am saying a man must be comfortable with violence. Men do not turn their heads when confronted with violence. Men meet violence with stronger violence. Violence of action and unstoppable force that is what resolves a violent encounter. Men carry themselves not as sheep but as shepherds. If you look around you can tell the difference.

4. Men strive for fitness- I fully realize the difficulty in attaining and maintaining fitness. I have attained many and varying levels of fitness throughout my life. As I get older my definition of fitness has also changed. What I used to think was sub standard now I am ok with. As age progresses I have come to the realization that the point is a man continues to strive for fitness to the best capacity he can. To neglect the opportunity to have the best fitness level you can is makes you less of a man. Those whose slack jawed body language surely shows they haven't touched a weight in their life are not men. Relentless forward progress.

5. Men show compassionate- A man has empathy and compassion for others. This does not make him weak but makes him a good leader. Compassion for others and the demonstration of this through the various non profit organizations and volunteer opportunities show how a man gives back to society. Men set a good example.


Suffice to say if you are not living these 5 principles and striving to meet them within your own set of circumstances then you are still a child and not a man.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Everyone gets a Medal: Army Fail

I was recently made aware of a US Army Training and Doctrine Command regulation 350-6 dated 7 Nov 2013 "Enlisted Entry Training Polices and Administration."

Specifically " Physical exercise for corrective action. Requiring Soldiers to perform a reasonable
number of repetitions of authorized physical exercises IAW FM 7-22page 5-5 as a motivational
tool is permitted for corrective action. However, consideration must be given to the exercises,
repetitions, and total number of times each day that exercise is used for corrective action to limit
the potential for overtraining and injuries." Sounds good and reasonable right? Check out the reasonable repetitions.


5 repetitions? Are you shitting me? 5 repetitions doesn't even get anyone's attention. As a slightly overweight middle aged male I could knock out 5 repetitions of these exercises without breaking a sweat. Your 20 something recruit is laughing as they do these. This is the military finally bowing to the "everyone gets a medal" political correctness. In an effort not to hurt anyone's feelings or gets sued for "being mean" Basic Training has jumped the shark.

We are not teaching our new warfighters that actions have consequences. You think the Taliban or ISIS is going to say "My bad American pig dog, lets call a training timeout"? Corrective and exhausting physical training has many benefits. It builds esprit de corps, teamwork, physical fitness, the will to survive. It forms personalities in a positive way. 

One of the formative episodes in my life was when then SSG later SGM (R) Lamb smoked my entire Pre-Ranger class for a dropped flashlight. We did 1000 4 count flutter kicks and he did them along with us. 1000 is a lot more than 5 and it taught me a lesson about equipment accountability that I have not forgotten over 25 years later. 


My point is that the Army has let the pendulum swing to far. Corrective physical training is a time honored tradition in the military. New recruits expect it. By robbing them of this activity you produce weaker soldiers, weaker units and you cheapen the entire military experience.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Pretentious Tactidouches

Even the self defense training world has its douche bags. These folks wear KUHl pants and carry Glocks. Wearing appendix holsters and operator shades of course.


Friday, July 17, 2015

Veterans are Crazy

After yesterday's terrorist attack on a recruiting station and reserve center in TN there has been discussion about arming troops here in the USA. One comments I was told about was that we shouldn't because of what happened to Chris Kyle. This is the bullshit agenda that the media first started pushing in Vietnam and most recently after Iraq and Afghanistan. Here is a video I made several years ago addressing that agenda.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

7.4.15

I am glad for the freedom we have and will continue to advocate  for more. Enjoy the day in pictures








Wednesday, July 1, 2015

I am a Free Beautiful American: My Political Manifesto

I spent most of my youth and young adulthood as a die hard conservative Republican and a devout Catholic man. In my first official election I voted for Ronald Reagan. I remember chanting " Nixon, Nixon he's our man throw McGovern in the garbage can!" during our 2nd grade mock election. I am not that guy anymore. As I have grown into middle age my undying hope is to be left alone. And to be intellectually honest how can I ask to be left alone if I try to tell others what to do? I even get a little cranky about it now and then.

As I see it the Democratic and Republican parties of today have everyone convinced that they are the only way. Either you agree to the socialist redistribution of wealth the Dems offer or you succumb to the fascist dictatorship of the Republicans controlling every thing they think is immoral or unseemly. I reject them both. I reject the assumption that I have to choose A or B. My rights do not come from them. Neither do my rights come from the Constitution. The Constitution is a document, that both parties only trot out to flog the other with. They ignore it the rest of the time. My rights come to me by virtue of being alive. By the fact that I am a human being. They are natural born rights. The Constitution merely tries to encapsulate those rights. It does not however get to limit them or define them in toto.

Recently I posted a meme critical of President Obama and some of my liberal friends went a little nuts. Today I posted a meme comparing the current Republican presidential field to a clown car and my conservative friends went nuts. One of them even unfriended me. I am merely trying to point out the inconsistencies in the candidates of both parties. I am trying to get people to think critically. Blind adherence to an ideology is how democracies die.

Just so there is no confusion I am going to put down on paper, on purpose my current political stance on the issues of the day. I think you may find that you don't know me as you think you do.

1. Homosexuals and Gay Marriage- I don't care. I have gay friends, I have gay friends that are married.  One of my wife and I's oldest friends is gay. They are good people. Humans have a natural right to pursue happiness. Let them

2. Religion- I used to be devoutly Catholic. Now I am not even sure I believe in God. However I do not begrudge those that do. I do not hold them to a higher standard and pillory them at the post when they make mistakes. Hatred of religion is just as intolerant as religions of hate. People should try to live a moral and ethical life. Even an atheist can do that.

3. The Right To Bear Arms- Every human has a natural right to defend themselves. This right is not defined by what government decides. It is not defined because you are a sniveling little pussy afraid of a tool.  With that right comes the ethical and moral obligation to be trained to utilize that tool efficiently and in context. I am a strong advocate of the right to keep and bear arms.We should not have to ask permission from the Motherland to defend ourselves. On the other hand "open carry" advocates are a bunch of shock troop morons.

4. Abortion- None of my business. I believe it is a women's right to choose. I also wish they would choose life. You cannot possibly condemn a women for choosing abortion when we blithely send thousands of our young men and women into the meat grinder to die far from home. Murder is murder and death is death. Don't talk to me about the sanctity of life when its obvious its is all talk.

5. Taxes- I oppose taxes on principle. Government takes what it wants at the point of a gun and spends it as it sees fit. We have little to say in the matter. Our democracy is an illusion. If we must have taxes I would support the Fair Tax.

6.War and Veterans- We spend too much time, effort and energy projecting our aggressive war policy around the world. Some wars are justified but I believe more often than not we extend the rationale for armed conflict pretty thin. Veterans on the other hand are a deep seated passion of mine. Once you volunteer to serve you enter the brotherhood and you will never be forgotten. We owe those that gave unselfishly to this country a debt of gratitude we can never repay. On the other hand just because you are a veteran doesn't mean you can't be a douchebag. Even Green Berets have idiots, its just a smaller pool.

7. Free Speech- This is one of the things that makes America great. It allows me to write what I want on this blog with out worrying jackbooted thugs will come take me away after the neighbors rat me out. But you can't have it both ways. You can't give a thumbs up to a wet behind the ears college punk burning the Stars and Stripes, the symbol of our nation, and then whine because the Stars and Bars are in the gift shop at Gettysburg.Speech is free for everyone even if you don't agree. Political Correctness is getting so bad I have started to say things I really don't even believe just to troll the PC crowd.

In closing I AM A FREE BEAUTIFUL AMERICAN!!! So are you, so critically think, quit blindly following dogma and make a difference.

Monday, June 22, 2015

It's on me

Recently at work we have had a rash of employees that fail to complete tasks as assigned. It is a very frustrating and perplexing situation. When these things happen I am the one that gets the call or complaint from clients. When these things happen  I am also responsible for getting it fixed. I have asked myself over and over why these seemingly simple tasks are not getting done to standard. I have come to the conclusion it is on me.

Our employee demographic includes many entry level folks. I work in the contract security industry and for a lot of our employees this might be their first full time job or the first job in the security field. What I am trying to say is they are not Tier One operators. But no one is asking them to be. When you assign someone to guard a pallet of bananas you expect a level of skill commiserate with the task. However when an individual fails in that task something is either wrong with them or wrong with the instructions.

After thinking long and hard I have come to the conclusion that essentially I need to forget all the corporate crap I have learned over the last 10 years and fall back on my many years as a Non Commisioned Officer in the US Army. I need to treat these folks like E-nothing privates. What I mean by that is they need detailed and explicit instructions for every task. That is on me.

Sun Tzu said: " If the words of command are not clear and distinct, if orders are not thoroughly understood, then the general is to blame." As a young  NCO I was taught the Army BE,KNOW,DO model of leadership. I will paraphrase it below.

Be- A leader of good character.You should be aware your core values and the core values of your organization
Know- The knowledge and skills sets you need to be a competent leader
DO- Leaders act and give purpose,direction and motivation to others.
I have not been doing the DO and that is on me. 
I need to step back reassess my operation and go forward with a better plan to communicate with my employees so they have the tools to accomplish the mission. With clear and concise instructions their work product will improve and that will allow management the time to be proactive rather than reactive.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Motherfucker You Burnt My Boots!!

In the summer of 1990 I was in Phase One of the Special Forces Qualification Course. Back then the Q Course consisted of 3 phases. Phase Two was the military occupational specialty phase and Phase Three was the culmination exercise Robin Sage. Phase One was basic skills and patrolling. The weak had already been weeded out during Special Forces Selection and Assessment. During Phase One they were trying to weed out the stupid and uncooperative. Having graduated from Ranger School almost exactly two years earlier I was extremely confident in my ability to lead a patrol and accomplish the standard small unit mission and tactics of reconnaissance, raid and ambush. One particular mission didn't go exactly as planned however.

On this particular night we were to conduct an ambush on a road/stream intersection at a small bridge. Having already passed my graded patrols I was assigned as right side security with a fellow student. This is a fairly cake job during a patrol as our only responsibility was to let the ambushees pass us and then provide early warning and seal off the objective from any reinforcements or anyone trying to escape the kill zone.

All went well and after we heard the demolitions go off on the objective we left our position and started heading towards the patrol base. Unfortunately the only way back to the patrol base was by wading through the stream itself. No problem ya gotta do what ya gotta do but in the process obviously we got wet. Once we linked up with the rest of our element we took off, trying to distance ourselves from the simulated carnage we had just brought down on the OPFOR on the bridge. We moved through the pitch dark woods in a single file. Not being able to see anything but the reflective "cateyes" on the patrol cap of the man to your front. Although it was summer, it dropped down into the 50's. The movement kept me warm despite the dampness of my clothes and foot gear. Eventually we called a halt and re conned a good place to RON for the remainder of the night. Once we set into our night time patrol base the instructors called our student leadership together and let us go semi-admin for the remainder of the night. Unlike my previous experience with Ranger Instructors  the Special Forces Instructors saw no reason to practice suffering after the training iteration was complete. Bottom line they allowed us to build a small fire to dry our clothes as long as we kept someone up to watch it and pull "fire guard."

I eagerly took the first watch while the rest of the platoon racked out under their poncho liners. This allowed me to dry off my pants as I sat close to the fire.  Once my watch was up I took off my boots and socks and put them by the fire to let them continue to dry. I asked my relief to move them back should they get too close. I then happily covered my head with my woobie and using my rucksack as a pillow I drifted off to sleep. In what seemed like 5 minutes but was probably a few hours the instructors were kicking us awake and telling us we had 10 minutes to pack up and get moving for the next mission.

I reluctantly threw off the poncho liner and hobbled over to the now smoldering coals of the fire to retrieve my foot gear. I sat on a log in the early morning darkness and tried to put on my boot but it wouldn't fit for some reason. I tried again but my foot would still not navigate the entrance. I pulled out my red lens flashlight and shined it on my boots. To my consternation I saw that all my shoelaces had been melted off and the toes of my boots were shriveled up and burnt. The toe area was actually turned up like frickin elf shoes and the leather had shriveled from a size 10 to what looked like about a 6. I saw the last guy on guard and whispered at him "Motherfucker you burnt my boots"!!  He shrugged and continued packing. No sympathy.

The Instructors were giving us just a few more minutes to move out and I had nothing to wear on my feet. Thinking fast I whipped out my trustee 7 inch Gerber field knife and cut the the tops off my boots. My toes would stick out like I was wearing hobo sandals but at least I could put my feet in them. I then took some parachute cord I kept in my ruck and made some make shift laces. It wasn't pretty but it worked. For the next 4 days I walked around in my clown shoes. Tromping through the woods running training missions with my stupid ass green wool socks sticking from the front of my boots. Screwed by the man again!! I was never happier than when I finally got back to the Camp Mckall cantonment area and was able to get my spare pair of jungle boots. So the lesson learned here kids is never let someone with no skin in the game watch your stuff because they will let your motherfucking boots burn!!

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Combat Focus Shooting 2015 : PDN Tour part 2





The day after Combat Focus Carbine I regrouped at the Big Springs range in Searsboro Iowa for the two day version of Combat Focus Shooting taught by Rob Pincus and a part of the Personal Defense Network national tour. I had taken the one day version of this course titled Fundamentals of Combat Focus Shooting back in April with Ken Crawford and Allesandro Padavoni. I enjoyed that course but I was looking forward to the two day version to practice some more skills but more importantly to learn from the teaching techniques of the man who developed the Combat Focus Shooting program. Although this was an end user class I was really looking at it as a bit of instructor development for my classes as a I.C.E. Defensive Firearms Coach and potential CFS instructor candidate.

As he did with the CFC course Rob spent a fair amount of time explaining the course and some of the CFS principles prior to any bullets going down range. He talked about Safety,Comfort and Competency and the three safety rules. He gave us the context of the course. CFS is a shooting program that teaches you to shoot efficiently in the context of a Dynamic Critical Incident. A Dynamic Critical Incident is defined as surprising,chaotic and it involves the presentation of a lethal threat. In the context of this class the lethal threat was more than two arms length away. CFS is also a intuitive shooting program that works well with the body,works well with the gun and works well within the context of intended use. As he had the previous day he talked about  efficient vs effective and physiological vs psychological stops to an attack.

We did many drills during this two day course so I will not list them all here. Suffice to say we covered, critical incident reloads, malfunctions, the Balance of Speed and Precision,presentation from the holster, lateral movement, Multiple target engagement,weak hand only engagement, strong hand only engagement, volume of fire and many more. As previously described in the CFC post we did all this while under varying amounts of stress such as experienced during the "take a lap' and "wind sprint" drills. What I want to talk about is what I took away in regards to the "why " of CFS.

The first concept that resonated with me was the explanation of competence. Rob explained how when we learn a new skill we work through four levels of competence. First we are unconsciously incompetent because we don't even realize we need the skill. Secondly we are consciously incompetent as we learn our need for a skill and its employment. Thirdly we are consciously competent as we refine our skill yet have to think about its use. Lastly we become unconsciously competent as the skill  becomes "second nature" and we don't think about its use. Rob used the analogy of moving you foot from the gas to the brake while driving. When we first learned to drive this was a conscious movement but now for most drivers it just happens. Personally I equate it to my time as a military free fall parachutist. During the MFF basic course I was often a tumble biscuit as I tried to control my body and make it do what I wanted as I struggled to maintain my stability in the relative wind. By the time I was a senior MFF instructor myself I only had to have the desire for something to happen in the air and my body made it happen much like the brake analogy.

Rob used a couple of analogies that will also help me refine my own instructional technique. He talked about the Christmas/Lottery model of shooting precision. In this model a child is opening presents at Christmas. Every present is expected to have a wonderful gift inside. As each present is opened the child's dopamine levels rise and a euphoric feeling is experienced. But inevitably some presents contain socks or tshirts from Grandma. So disappointment happens and dopamine levels drop. In the lottery model however individuals buy a lottery ticket never fully expecting to win but if they do dopamine levels rise unexpectedly. Rob wanted us to be the Christmas shooter and not the lottery shooter. Have the confidence and expect to get the hit and be disappointed if you don't. Don't send the shot down range and be happy if you get the hit by chance.

The Balance of Speed and Precision is a core concept of the Combat Focus Shooting program. It is drilled and talked about in many different scenarios. The underlying concept though is that the shooter should shoot as fast as possible while still getting the necessary hits in the intended target. They target itself defines the need for the amount of precision. Rob has developed another analogy that makes this easy to understand. Imagine a U shaped tube partially filled with a liquid. Each stem of the U has graduations from 1-10 with the 1 being at the top and the graduations moving down. On the left is speed and on the right stem is precision. Also on the right stem is a pump that can fill the tube with pressure. Based on the target increasing pressure is forced into the tube. As the need for precision increases numerically the liquid on the speed side moves towards a lower number and vice versa. It was a brilliantly simple yet effective graphical representation of the Balance of Speed and Precision concept. I have hopefully reproduced it accurately below. But you get the idea.
The last concept that Rob explained in some detail was the phenomenon of Tachypsychia and Bradypsychia or the perceived speeding up or slowing down of time during a DCI. He utilized another story and graphical representation that would lose a lot in translation here but suffice to say it involved commandos, spy satellites and terrorist bad guys. This story also made the concepts crystal clear in my mind. 

All in all this course was what I had hoped it would be. I honed my own skills while learning some innovative ways to teach the I.C.E. Training Company Concepts. I am looking forward to my chance at becoming a  CFS instructor in the future and teaching these concepts more thoroughly to others.



Finally I give you a video of my figure 8 drill. Shows that even an experienced shooter that has run the drill before can experience cognitive dissonance. Keep training.


Saturday, June 13, 2015

Combat Focus Carbine 2015:PDN Tour part 1


Recently I traveled to Searsboro Iowa to participate in a few courses offered by Rob Pincus and his I.C.E. Training Company. The first class I participated in was the one day version of the Combat Focus Carbine course. The context of the course would be a home defense scenario where the need to shoot was established. I brought two different rifles to this class, because one is none and two is one as the saying goes. My first was my Stag Arms Model 2. This is just a plain Jane AR-15 platform that I bought right after the Sandy Hook "they are coming for our guns" scare. This would be my back up choice.


My primary weapon was an AR-15 I had recently built. This AR had a Palmetto State Armory cold forged barrel and upper receiver with a Palmetto State Armory nickel boron BCG and bolt. The lower parts kit and stock were from Brownells. The trigger assembly was a Rock River 2 stage trigger and it was in an Anderson manufacturing lower receiver. The optic was a Strike Fire Vortex with back up Magpul sights. I had shot only about 100 rounds out of this weapon prior to the class.

Rob spent about an hour at the beginning talking about concepts that were familiar to me as an I.C.E Defensive Firearms Coach. I talked about that experience here -http://www.mikemac356.blogspot.com/2015/03/defensive-firearms-coaches-course.html . He first talked about Safety,Comfort and Competency. How safety was his responsibility as the instructor. He talked about how comfort was a shared responsibility and how it was up to him to make us intellectual comfortable by explaining the "why" and the reasons behind the drills we would perform today. No BS answers, more tools for our toolbox or that's they way we have always done it. The "why" would be backed up with examples and empirical data. It was up to us to be physically comfortable and to let him know if we needed any accommodations with our gear or physical limitations to attain that physical comfort. Competency was an individual and subjective trait that was the shooters responsibility. We were not competing against each other but against ourselves. Our goal would be to leave the class a better defensive carbine shooter than when we arrived. Rob talked effectiveness vs efficiency and how something could be effective without being efficient. He talked about psychological stops to an attack vs physiological stops. You actions could psychologically stop an attack by making the attacker run away but our goal was to physiologically stop it by engaging the threat in the "high center chest". Lastly before we started firing Rob went over the three safety rules.



#1. Keep your trigger finger somewhere other than the trigger
#2. Point your rifle in a generally safe direction as much as possible. ( Rob designated this direction as down range or at the ground.)
#3. Remember you are in control of a firearm any discharge whether negligent or intentional could cause serious injury or death to you or others.

This is the "big picture" rule. It encapsulates for me the I.C.E. training philosophy and why I like the companies methodology. They give you facts and research to back up what they teach. But first and foremost they expect you to act like an adult. They are not there to babysit you because firearms and the use of them for self defense is very serious business, not a game or a hobby. Once safety was established we moved to the line at about a distance of 7-10 feet. All the training would be at self defense distances within the context of the course. I don't think we shot more than 30-40 feet away from the targets at most.

Anyway I got an epiphany during the very first drill. Rob talked about body mechanics and position. He talked about how we should be able to hit what we where aiming at using our body position and not need to use the sights at self defense ranges. We conducted a raise,touch,press drill where we raised the rifle to our shoulder, touched the trigger on his command and then smoothly pressed the trigger to the rear. We were not using sights or optics. In fact my sights were down and the dust cover was closed on my optic.  My first shot was high and left about 12 inches from the intended target. I thought that was weird but my second shot was in the same general area. So based on Rob's advice I brought the stock up higher on my cheek lowering my point of aim. Viola!!! I was hitting right where I needed to be. This is where the epiphany happened. I have shot hundreds of thousands of rounds out of the AR15/M16/M4 platform in my life. It is probably the weapon I am most familiar with. But I had been doing it all wrong!!! I had been taking the time to acquire the target through my sights and unconsciously adjusting my point of aim all these years. I had wasted precious seconds as I cleared rooms during my military career. Seconds that mattered. It was a lesson I will not forget.

After our body positions were squared away we moved in to "up" drills where we conducted the raise,touch press commands on our own at each command of "up!!" Single and multiple targets were engaged with 3-5 rounds. Rob talked about malfunction procedures as they presented themselves and emphasized not looking as you resolved the issue and keeping your control hand on the rifle. We then moved our optics to match our body position and briefly zeroed them to the distances we were working at. My zero had been the 25m/300m zero that I was used to from the military. I had to move my point impact about 1/4 inch left at self defense distances. We then moved on to the Balance of Speed and Precision Drill. This drill is the bread and butter of every I.C.E. training course. The concept is that the target dictates the need for precision. The shooter should go as fast as possible while still getting the needed hits. On the "up" command the shooter moves laterally and either engages the high center chest area with multiple shots or one of the 3 inch numbered circles with a single shot if a number is called out. Rob encourages each individual to push themselves. If the shots start to stray outside the boundaries of the box the shooter needs to slow down, if the shooter is shooting 1 inch groups they need to speed up. The high center chest box should be filled with bullet holes, pretty much equally throughout, and the single shots can hit anywhere in the circles.
Image result for balance of speed and precision targets
After this drill we moved on to shooting from different positions. Sitting,kneeling,squatting. The precise position was not emphasized but getting a good solid shooting platform in each position was. For instance due to my reduced mobility (old guy issues) I had my feet in front of me in the seated position rather than shooting from a cross legged position as I was taught years ago. However the important thing was to keep elbows off of knees. Putting them either on the thigh muscle or the knees in the tricep so a muscle to bone platform was utilized and not a bone to bone connection which might be less than stable.
Once we shot from all positions we conducted flow drills. We would randomly move from position to position and at the "up" command we would shoot from the position we were in or the next position we had been moving to. Tactical Yoga!! We then moved on to the lap drill. We were to hit each circle at our own pace, being accountable for each shot. This drill emphasized the need for precision vs the perceived penalty. One lap had us utilizing only one shot per circle for a total of 6 rounds. Then we were allowed to take as many rounds as needed to hit each target but had to hit each target once, finally told to use 6 rounds but we were not allowed to move on until we hit the previous target. All these instructions carried different penalties vs perceived benefits and required varying degrees of precision. However Rob made the point that the need for precision for each target never changed but our perception did.

The next drill was the "sprint" drill. There were 3 lines at approximately 7 feet, 15 feet and 25 feet. We were told there would be 3 different commands. First command was a movement command telling us to move to a particular line, the second command was a firing command and would be the "up" command or a number as we had been experiencing. The third command was a safety command and that command was "stop!!" Anyone could give this command but only Rob could give the first two. One last clarification was that any command superseded the preceding command. So went through this drill only once as it was a fairly physical drill as we moved swiftly between lines and reacted to the commands. The heat was taking its toil on some of the participants. They probably learned the importance of fitness in self defense. Finally we shot from varying degrees of cover and around vehicles.
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Finally the day was complete. Rob conducted a very thorough debrief in which each participant was required to ask a question, make a comment or talk about an issue closely related to the days training. Everyone was required to participate and Rob answered using science,examples and logical reasoning. As all I.C.E courses are this course was enjoyable and motivating. I left feeling i had more knowledge and that I had achieved the goal of leaving a better shooter than when I stepped on the range.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Memorial Day 2015

Thanks you are not forgotten 

In Flanders fields the poppies blow 
Between the crosses, row on row, 
That mark our place, and in the sky, 
 The larks, still bravely singing, fly, 
Scarce heard amid the guns below. 
 We are the dead; short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow, 
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields. 
 Take up our quarrel with the foe! 
 To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high! 
 If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.



Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Challenge, Mastery and Purpose

Quite a bit has been written about the trifecta of motivation that involves allowing autonomy, encouraging mastery and giving purpose. I subscribe to a slightly different perspective. I believe that motivation is just a part of a life worth living. And to have a life worth living, that is a life that will be remembered, you must have a purpose,experience challenges, and master them.

Purpose: As I told my son the other day. "No one cares about people that let the ship of their life wander aimlessly from port to port. People only care about those that take charge of the rudder and steer. Like a pirate. YOU NEED TO BE A FUCKING PIRATE!!!!" He grinned at me because he thinks I am crazy but the point was your life needs to mean something. It needs a purpose. That purpose changes throughout your life. As a toddler your purpose may be to simply grow. As you get older it may be to achieve higher education, or it may be to help others. Those without purpose stagnate and become stale. Their life is not worth remembering.

Challenge: Any purpose worth achieving will have challenges. These challenges or obstacles are what makes the purpose worth your time and your life. By continually meeting challenges head on we become stronger and better as people. Ready to meet another challenge.

Mastery: After repeated attempts we master the challenges. We achieve the purpose. If we are to continue to grow as humans and our life is to be remembered we then need to re-purpose. Find another purpose and conquer those new challenges.

My thoughts on this subject are similar to part of the Buddhist path "to develop wisdom and understanding." Challenge, Mastery and Purpose make a remembered life.