First...the why...of course. A martial system is based on concepts, strategies, tactics. and techniques. One does not just "go fight", or "go shoot" as much as the simpletons of the American gun scene would have you believe. Fighting - whether hand or gun - is learned. Fighting must be mindless and automatic to bring victory. And for that to must be based on a series of accepted concepts that lead to a strategy of combat. And the tactics and techniques that are developed around such things must be physically memorized and trained until they can be done without analytical or conscious thought. For example, lets take our system of gunfighting. Not a theoretical matter at all, nor one based in sports. I have killed men with the things I teach you thus the system has not been diluted from the actual experience, nor been through as many clean hands as say...karate or kendo has. We define fighting by the assignment of initiative. Either you have it, and thus you begin and end the fight with nothing but timing and... Read more →

Novices concentrate on the "how" of something - Masters concentrate on the "why". You see it martial arts training all the time. Students in lines executing one movement or another, emulating the instructor. The same thing is seen in the firearms world. Lots of guys know "how" to - for example - reload the handgun, and they are spitting images of their instructor. But unless they understand "why" it is important to do it that way, they don't really know anything other than to mimic what somebody else has taught them. And it gets worse when that instructor didn't know either. Just as Karate's moves have applications that must be learned and understood, the same must be said about the far simpler martial science of pistol fighting. Often we will see somebody emulating a competition technique, or a technique that is workable only when you are a member of a team. The reasons for this usually end up with - "it looks cool". If that is the sum total of your goal in training - looking cool - or winning... Read more →


One other aspect of why we are against the often seen "shooting while yelling PC commands" is that it prevents you from shooting well. Gunfighting is a martial art and rather than minimize the study, we go the other way. Like athletic performance, we want to do everything possible to insure the surgical shooting we want to accomplish. Any visual study of top athletes reveals that they keep mouths closed when exerting. Either explosions of power, speed, or strength are made easier with a closed mouth. Moreover, watching Olympic archers, or athletes that require exactness, position their jaws and mouths the same way. Partly it has to do with clearing the airway, and partly has to do with optimizing muscular-skeletal positioning. Here is a great article on Charles Poliquin's blog - Strength Sensei Keep Your Mouth Shut to Improve Your Performance Read more →

Any field of study is based upon the traditions of its founders. The world of the gun is no different. And the generation of men who founded the art of American Gunfighting, did not hold physical fitness in high esteem. It is not to castigate them, but simply to point out that we are a product of our parents and they of their grandparents. Nobody gives birth to themselves. All that said, we certainly do not live in the world of our parents and grandparents. And we are also not limited to the information of their day. We have far more data than they did, and thus after the head start we received, we can now drive the art forward into the future. And that is true as we are making far better technical shooters today than was possible in the 1930s, or 1960s. And while men like Jordan and Bryce may have had much more experience at killing, I doubt they were better shots than the students we produce today. As well, I suspect, if Fairbairn and Applegate, and... Read more →

Last year I wrote about The Value of Kata, and cultivating Mindlessness. And implied in the articles were how repeating patterns of combat related movements lead to the ability to execute movements without the need for any analytical thought, or as I said, mindlessly. Rather than the so-called "dead patterns", this type of training teaches the body how to move reflexively, and in doing so, allow a creativity of application that would not have been possible otherwise. In the firearms world we drill all the weapon presentation and manipulations in "dry fire" which is in itself, a form of kata training. This is done again, for the purpose of repeating the prefect movement pattern so many times that it can be executed without the need for analytical thought. The mind, having been freed for the "how" of executing the move or technique, is free to apply actions or reactions to the situation at hand. Recently I was host to our group from Italy and Switzerland here in Arizona. One of the visitors, Andrea Micheli, wanted to use the visit to... Read more →

THE VALUE OF KATA There are guys that will roll their eyes and mumble about "dead patterns" when someone brings up Kata, as if they sprang from their mother's nether regions with a full and complete understanding of all things martial. Just as successful point shooting (real world close range handgun killing not range masturbation) comes from a thorough education in the use of the sights and accurate shooting, so does mindlessness, comes from mindfulness, and patternless movement - you guessed right - comes from patterns and paradigms of movement. And Kata provide that. I suppose I could go into a long dissertation on that but I will not now. Maybe later. Definitely later. I will need to discuss this because modern people think everything that came before their own birth is irrelevant. In my early years I trained with guys that had killed more people than action heroes in the movies...and they studied Karate Katas. My parent system is Kyokushin and that has its roots in Goju Ryu, so I tend to favor that type of movement pattern. I... Read more →

I was at Starbucks, getting the a quadruple espresso. I was watching a man buy four of those blended drinks. He skips the cardboard carrier they offer and walks out balancing one cup atop another in each hand. It is interesting to watch and so I keep an eye on him as I sip my high octane. He walks up to the passenger side of an SUV and hands one stack to the female passenger. It is at that point that he loses control of the other stack and one Frappucino begins to topple toward the pavement. But very quickly, the man lowers his body and hand, reaches down and catches the falling cup before it spills of hits the deck. Fantastic! What a save! I did not stop to interview him, but I suspect he did not think too much about what he would do, nor is it a move that he has practiced countless times either. Yet there it was...perfect execution and timing. Action without thought. Later in the day, I was driving home with the "Shield Maiden".... Read more →

Most students of personal combat today have some understanding of ground fighting and the mechanics of taking down an adversary. Its not a hard thing to learn, and anyone who has a little athletic ability and a partner to work some basic moves can develop some pretty serious skill sets in short order. Most shooters already have a disdain for physical combat of any sort, but bring up the notion of wrestling around on the ground with someone and you will probably be asked to leave. Ignorance is bliss and few people want their bliss upset. These blissful shooters may not like the idea of fighting on the ground, but ignoring the situation is as silly as pretending that knife assaults won’t happen either. Any gun guys who think they are so fast and alert that they can never be taken down to the ground, please send me an email. I have some Brazilian gents I’d like to introduce you to and I will bet you $1000 they will put you down before you can clear leather. I will begin... Read more →