By Christian Swann, The Shooting Channel
Lets talk about training in more of a meditative state. Is there such a thing, as firearm drills in the now?
Well, we try to live our lives in the now, why not train in the now. And don’t get me wrong, realistic training is my favorite. But, there is always room for improvement and change.
My drills this month have been very different and I have to say, quite effective and the progress is really showing, in more ways than one.
As most of you that shoot know, you will practice the Par Drill, basic speed draw and of course different reload drills. At the range, you have a lot of loud noise around you and many times distracts you to be conscious about what you are doing regarding eliminating the stress and tension in the body as you practice. Same as with any practice sport, you will crank up the music and it takes away for thinking about the task at hand.
What we don’t realize is that just like golf or anything else, repetition is extremely important, but at the same time, practicing incorrectly can cause really bad habits that are hard to break. A good friend of mine, Ken Wells, is an expert firearms instructor and owner of one of the top firearm schools in the nation, Tactical Performance Center, has preached this many times.
As a new shooter even up to advanced levels, we know the importance of the fundamentals. If we are just constantly moving through the motions, are we really achieving excellence? Even breaking down the basic draw into 4 to 6 reference points you don’t fully achieve the awareness of the movements. (See video below)
We need to understand how an exercise or drill like this helps us become more aware. Becoming aware we start to uncover the layers of mis-information. We uncover these layers by paying attention to subtleties. Not only breaking this drill into 4 steps, but holding each step for a few minutes will make us aware of what our bodies are actually doing at that moment in time. At that moment, is the now.
Even Law Enforcement can benefit from this type of training.
I want to really emphasized the importance of how we process stress and, how it effects our body. Understanding stress is the universal law of energy: energy flows along the path of least resistance, as we all know, yet tend to forget, all to often. We know that energy moves toward the path of least resistance. So, why not align ourselves in what we do.
It’s human nature to gravitate toward what practices are easiest for achieving the desired result. It focuses on the comfort that we will experience when we achieve that end result.
We tend to focus on being fast, to get to the end fast; and loud, which create distractions for the mind so we don’t experience as much stress doing it. But when practicing this very essential part of any comprehensive training program, the minutiae can take you from good to perfection.
If you ever watch a video of yourself at a match or any stressful situation. You will notice how our body will tense up and contract. I know I’ve looked back, and can see my shoulders rise and elbows lock.
Pay close attention to the subtlety of your breath. Is it deep, continuous, and regular? Under stress it will become shallow and irregular. Then we notice subtle tension in our muscles. Are we holding any unneeded tension? We notice our posture. Is it contracting, arms getting stiff, shoulders rising or dropping, elbows locking? Our legs, knees, etc. So, we make subtle adjustments to hold the pose correctly.
The muscles will contract again when we’re stressed or from just the stress of tension holding the pose. The breath will become more shallow, muscles will tense, and our posture will slowly change.
These are layers covering up our awareness. All of our attention is needed to be aware of subtle contractions in order to redirect our attention to proper breathing, relaxing, and body posture. Once we achieve this, everything else comes naturally and the flow returns.
A few of the things I have been doing is first, speed drills broken down into 4 points. Take each four steps and hold that pose for 2 minutes, taking breaks of course between each one. Make sure you set up a video camera. I use Coaches Eye. It allows me to store each video, edit and re-play in slow motion to see every body movement. I want to see what happens to my body as I hold each of these poses. What tenses up first, is my body in the correct position, legs, feet, knees, shoulders, grip, arms, etc. feel your body, in the now. Breath, and really feel the now of each muscle. What do you feel? (See the above video)
I have adopted this discipline for the last 30 days, filming every session and I am amazed at the improvement not only physically, but mentally.
I hope you will give this a try over the next month. I would love to hear your feedback and as always stay safe and carry on. I’ve been doing meditation and yoga for over 20 years, but doing it with this technique, brought it to a whole new level.