By Søren Renshi, 2012
It was a Friday afternoon and there was a clear sky. In a gymnasium at a school south of Copenhagen, things were being prepared for the POMW B and the subsequent POMW C1 course. When a Shindenkan course is to be carried out, there is more to it than you really think.
One thing is the actual execution and all requisites that have to be in place. But before that, there is the whole design and development of the course. POMW is no exception, and perhaps the course that has required the most, but also the one that has shown the quickest results.
As always Yamana-Itotani Sensei has investigated the topic thoroughly before he design a specific course. And POMW has been no exception and yet, because he had to start from scratch, as he had never before handled a firearm. But with focus and single-mindedness, he has gone from shooting in the rookie division to 1 division in a very short time. Moreover he has managed to collect all his experience in a Shindenkan Shooting manual which had been presented, for trainees in the first POMW course, 3 weeks in advance. It should now be exciting to see if the participants had been practicing, and if the training had the effect we had hoped for.
All the chief instructors had trained according to the Shooting Manual in about 5 months and knew that it worked. But it should now be exciting to see if about 3 weeks of training did as well. The gymnasium had been transformed into a shooting range, divided into 14 lanes. From the base of the wall, 3-5-7-10 and 12 meters were marked on the floor with yellow tape, in order to secure the learning curve, and we could increase the distance from the target to ensure the best learning.
Exactly at 17:00 the course began. 27 excited participants had shown up and most had followed shooting manual 100 %. They were all divided into teams of 2 persons, and the they took position at the 3 meter line.
Why be so close to the target isn’t it just easier to hit it?
Well, if you know how to, it is! It is also within that distance that most shoot outs take place. But when you do not fully know how to shoot a gun, even hitting the target from a distance of 3 meters seems to be difficult. By far the majority of the POMW participants had experienced this in the first practical part of the POMW course. This despite the fact that air guns where used of which there is almost no recoil what so ever. But the three weeks of basic training, according to the Shindenkans Shooting Manual, had created a group of anticipated participants, which before long was going to see result of their training.
Three meters, was the beginning of a weekend where importance and the effect of being focused and training of the basics was bended in neon, carved out in stone, casted in concrete and written in the sky in letters as big as the moon. And indeed it worked.
During the first part of the practical part, the participants could not hit a target the size of a city gate. Now they actually hit within the targets and almost all participants also were able to get clustered shots.
Bling-Bling-bling it sounded every time the plastic bullets went through the cardboard targets that were placed in the metal container. It may sound weird, but it is a great sound, when a bullet hits the metal and I also believe that it gives the shooter a feeling of doing it the right way:-)
It is not important to hit the black part of the target, it is more important to concentrate and make clustered shots. It shows that you know the basics. The rest may be due to the setting of the gun or other circumstances. However you need a solid foundation to build upon, in order to make it right..
Everybody moved from 3 to 5 meters with the same effect and then on to 7, 10 and 12 meters. The clusters became less dense (i.e. , the clusters of shots were more scattered) on the larger distances, but overall the targets were hit, giving confidence that the 3 weeks of training actually worked as intended.
THAT’S how you do it: -)
That part settled, it became Saturday morning and time for shooting two targets. I.e. you switch between targets. As always in Shindenkan we do not do things the easy way, so we started from 3 meters.
“Hey – it has just been written that if you know what you are doing, then it’s easy to hit the target from 3 meters”.
That is correct. The closer the targets, having a certain distance between them, the more body work in order to get the right shooting position. That is the entire purpose of shooting at close range. It is not just a matter of moving your arms, but the whole body, and again it is about focus and attitude 🙂
Throughout the course, safety has been the main topic. Despite the fact that we shoot with Air guns, it still requires safety glasses. The air gun plastic bullets ricochet, when they hit a hard surface. The wooden panels hanging to protect the walls, apparently were hard enough to make the bullets fly around. And now the angled shots were no exception, as the changed shooting positions made the bullets fly in other directions than previously.
Despite all wearing safety glasses, security was not compromised which resulted in a DQ of two of the participants getting a time out, and time to think things through. Actually two entire teams were DQ’ed, but that is another story revealed in other articles:-)
The shooting was completed with both air guns and laser guns. The same kind used by military special forces. The weight, trigger pull and probably the accuracy as well, are similar to a Glock pistol:-) that is, if it ends up in the hand of a trained shooter, as it is the man behind the weapon that makes a difference.
The next part of the course was shooting in motion. Moving forward towards the targets and back, down along the whole range of targets, turning your body halfway around and back again. A great experience where the karate moves came in handy. Or at least they should 🙂
There is no doubt that shooting in motion is something completely different than stationary shooting on range. All experience has to be accumulated and function as a whole. It is not without reason that IPSC shooting is known as Formula 1 of shooting.
The last session of the day was a taste of the Formula 1 of shooting. IPSC for Shindenkans, and needed to say, most of the participants behaved like wild cowboys. Now they should practice what they had learned. And quite a few had learned quite a lot.
The range consisted of 15 targets along a line, all of which were to be hit, followed by a 180 degrees turn to a new stage, changing of magazine and then hitting 7 IPSC targets, a 3 meters move to the right and then hitting 3 poppers on the floor and a plate twice. The last was indicated by a changing light.
Many performed very well. Some actually hit ” bull’s eye” several times on the first 15 targets while moving forward – well done boys and girls.
The range had to be completed on time and the number of misses was added to the time. Unfortunately, a lot of air guns were running out of CO2 gas, so it was decided that one had to go through as quickly as possible and with as many targets hit as possible. In fact many of the participants, completed the first 15 targets without any misses, but were later DQ’ed when they changed direction for the second part of the stage. This is exactly where your focus and attitude is important, otherwise you risk to breach the safety rules by pointing the gun towards the other participants – a major breach of security!
Four of the participants completed the first stage without any misses. And those who were DQ’ed were allowed a reshoot. After all a finale that concluded the course and its essence.
After all it comes down to one thing – focus, focus and once again focuses. If you lack focus, you cannot hit any target – no matter which weapon you are using.