By Martin Renshi, POMW Shooting Instructor Team, June, 2013
Sunday May 26 – a normal spring day for most, but in the history of Shindenkan, it was a remarkable day. The launch of POMW II – to prove the thesis of Minouchi Sensei on the shooting range, with real pistols and live ammunition. During the early days of the project, the Chief Instructors where taken through a similar process, though not POMW II, that now with 26 participants was to set new records, and maybe in a short time bring all shooters to the level of the best competition shooters in Denmark. For some that would be a remarkable achievement – for others a threat.
Preparations for the course had started days in advance, where the Honbu Chief Instructor and course developer Kimu Sensei was busy with the last refinements and the practical leader Søren Renshi, was responsible for the practical coordination and purchase of materials. There is a lot more preparation and coordination as a shooting course involving live ammunition of course must comply with all laws and regulations. Transportation of guns and ammunition is needed and with that, the appropriate permissions. The instructors must be extra careful with all the new shooters, even though they all (the chief instructors) carry the highest ranking Danish license of pistol shooting and the safety rules involved, the IPSC A+ license (found only in DK). All POMW supporting instructors and some volunteers gathered on Rooster Mountain (the selected site for POMW II) Saturday morning at. 8:00 to prepare the tracks, pistols, registration of ammunition, etc. Rooster Mountain is a wonderful place in the middle of the North Zealand, surrounded by beautiful nature, so even through the noise from the shots – you were still able to hear the birds singing and bees buzzing. Through SDKskyt, Shindenkan has chosen to hold POMW courses on Rooster Mountain, because we prefer outdoor shooting, which is good for the noise but mostly to avoid the pollution from gun smoke and gunpowder residues (lead and sulfur fumes). Moreover, Rooster Mountain is one of the few places in Denmark where you can shoot IPSC, and the SDKskyt instructors have taken their IPSC A+ license on Rooster Mountain. POMW III will also be held mainly on Rooster Mountain.
All participants turned up on time and many even earlier, so there was time for a quick chat and a cup of coffee before a long day with the POMW II program. Exactly at 9 am Kimu Sensei started the briefing in the premises next to the big gun court, welcoming all the participants. The first briefing was a walk-through of the POMW Technical Shooting Manual as a PowerPoint presentation, which was a repetition from the POMW I course but also the most important and most essential information, now that the participants were to engage in shooting with live ammunition. The theme and by far the most important essence of all of the day were safety, safety and safety. All it takes is one small mistake for a .22 caliber then it becomes ugly and with a 9 mm it becomes not just ugly but fatal. The briefing was therefore moved out into the bay of the shooting area, where Kimu Sensei went through all the procedures several times i.e. how and where to fill the magazines, how the shooters should behave in the range, in groups and not least during the shooting. It was also a detailed explanation of how to handle a pistol from removal of the safety plug, the loading of the pistol, to firing the shots and handling of the pistol afterwards. It was also important that the typical malfunctions where explained – what is most likely to happen and how to handle the situation. The Instructors were prepared and Kimu Sensei knew beforehand that there would be many errors, especially on the S & W .22, which quickly jams or “clicks”. This review was extremely thorough and it was important that the participants asked questions – for when it comes to firearms, there are no stupid questions. Therefore, it was also told that no violation of the safety rules were tolerated and the 2 min penalty that was executed in POMW I, was replaced by a long pause and, if necessary, exclusion from the course.
The 26 participants were in advance divided into 5 teams, 3 teams for adults and 2 teams for JokoKidz. Running the course with 5 teams , made it possible that one team (shooters) could shoot, while the other team (in the hole) could load magazines and the third team could relax in the adjacent coffee lounge where you were allowed to rest your eyes and ears for a while, without hearing protection, earplugs and safety glasses. As Kimu Sensei had explained before the POMW II course the participants would shoot an estimate of 400-600 rounds over 2 days, which, compared to a normal Danish competition shooter, is 2 years of training, so a break once in a while was well deserved 🙂 Each shot has to be considered as “the shot” according to POMW technical shooting manual, where you evaluate every shot against the essence and at all times are trying to optimize your technique. After the first team had finished there shooting, Kimu Sensei examined the targets together with the shooters and gave an analysis, not so much about the score, but most importantly, where were the groupings the shooting pattern and the density. There is a distinction between being precise and accurate – being precise means that the shots are grouped, being accurate means that the grouping is in center of the target. The shooters where made aware of the aiming point at the target and was told how to compensate precisely for the pistol they were using so the next round of shooting could be more accurate. But actually they all did pretty good and it was obvious that POMW technique is the solution when you have to learn to shoot really well in the shortest possible time and that dry firing is a really important part of learning how to shoot properly, as it was also concluded during POMW I. Without any doubt, you can safely say that the participants looked like really experienced shooters. This was a clear sign that it was going to be a good day 🙂
The first team went for a break and “In the hole” shooters stepped forward to be ready for shooting, while the team on the break became the “In the hole” shooters and this was the process for the rest of the POMW II course. The Jokokidz were shooting with the very powerful Weirauch air pistols without having any breaks which mildly annoyed the two instructors Jens Hanshi-dai and Martin Renshi, who had to load the powerful springs of the air guns for every single shot. But when they saw how well the Jokokidz were actually shooting, it was a true pleasure to load the pistols and at the same time get a workout for their arms 🙂 The shooters were shooting two magazines of 10 rounds with a maximum of 5 seconds interval, but often the 5 seconds became more as the pistols jammed or had to be lubricated, but fortunately there were always a helpful shooting instructor at hand to help the shooters quickly getting back to the shooting routine. All five teams made it through 3 runs before it was time for a quick lunch, and the home made food was enjoyed either outside or in the “coffee room”. Kimu Sensei took the opportunity to cheer the participants up and told them that it was now the time they had to stay focused and not go down and keep up the steam. In the meantime, the chief instructors were given the opportunity to fire some .22 ammunition before the POMW II participant went back to the line of fire 🙂
After lunch it was time for a few more runs of shooting, and there was a great improvement in the shooting because a higher percentage of the shots were placed in the central part of the black on the targets, so even if there had been a slight decrease in energy before lunch, participants were now even better. At around 16:15 all the teams had been through several runs and had fired approx. 100 shots. But the day was not over yet – because after shooting it was now time to tidy up. In fact there must not be any empty shells laying around on a shooting range after shooting so there were many empty shells to collect. But the teaching was not over and the participants were seated around 3 tables in the coffee room where Søren Renshi, Martin Renshi and Kjeld Renshi-dai entertained with gun cleaning. The participants learned how to “field strip” an S&W 22A, clean it and of course assemble it again. This was done several times, so POMW Pistol – fundamentals participants also got to know how the gun worked – through the cleaning and maintenance process.
After 8 hours on the shooting range the participants were wished a good Sunday. The participants were encouraged to go home and practice and maintain their dry firing skills so they would be ready for the next couple of Sundays – as they were to be scored, ranked according to their shooting. Kimu Sensei started the day by saying that the next Sunday would be without him and he would come only on the last scheduled POMW day the following week, but this was not how it turned out….
Part 2 – Now it is getting closer to the center…
POMW II was up and running and with great success. The participants had shown that they were skilled during POMW I and repeated it during POMW II, where they really had proved themselves by following the agreement of dry firing training, which really showed great results. Kimu Sensei had looked closely at the results after the first day of the course and he could almost not get his arms down again. It was really remarkable results. Jokokidz had the best team score of 95-100% in black on 15m with air gun. From 25 m the adult group had a team result of 75 to 95% in the black area of the target as their best score, obtain in only 100 shots!!! Unbelievable!
It was with understandable great confidence and trust to POMW Technical Shooting Manual and process run that the participants once again appeared yet another Sunday morning at 8.30 am, for yet another day of POMW shooting under the supervision of Kimu Sensei. Kimu Sensei began the morning briefing by saying “Actually I expected not to be here today, but I have changed the plans because you performed better than my wildest imagination”. In fact, the participants had performed so well that the course was shortened. A backup course day was unnecessary and POMW II would be completed by this Part 2, actually as originally planned.
The content of this day was to be exactly as last time, but the pace had to go up as each participant should preferably fire 400-500 shots and this time it should also include 9mm Pistol. First, the participants shot .22 mm together with exactly the same team as last time and the first round of shots was used to find “the aiming spot” for each shooter with exactly the same pistol they were supposed to be shooting with all day. Normally you would set the sights on the pistol, but as more shooters were to shoot with the same pistol, participants might as well learn the more advanced and practical form; find their “aiming spot”. The routine was quickly established and the teams circulated into rounds of 5-7 minutes where they shot a series of 30 shots. When the shooting was finished, the team had their result verified in the coffee room and the individual scores were registered. On first hand the verification was done between the shooters and then by the responsible POMW shooting instructor who checked the results in an automated computer program that was especially designed for POMW and SDKSkyt.
Again, there was a strong focus on safety and you could see the participants were really secure in the handling of firearms, and there was not a finger to put on their handling, which was going by the book.
After all shooters had been through 2 rounds, a good picture began to emerge – that POMW II would create remarkable results. The participants had quickly caught the right pace on a higher level than last time and subsequently got a higher score, but in accordance with the mental attitude the most important is not the target itself but at all times practicing according to the POMW Technical shooting Manual. Then the results will come. After about 250 rounds of .22 cal., it was time to change to other pistols as well as shooting range. Next on the agenda was 9mm pistol where it really would reveal itself if the participants had practiced the correct hand position, and strengthened their arms using dumbbells, so they could cope with the weight and the much stronger recoil from 9mm.
The chief instructors had willingly chosen to lend their CZ SP-01 Shadow to Honbu dojo so that the participants could be trained in 9mm too. These CZ’s are military standard pistols, which have been purchased during the chief instructor POMW education culminating with an IPSC A-license and otherwise the same gun as Kimu Sensei used under his own POMW pilot training. It is also similar to the air gun the participants already knew from POMW I, and this is of course no coincidence.
The CZ pistols were laid out on pitches and the teams continued in a similar way, but now there was an opportunity for “in the hole” shooters to load two magazines and be ready as there were 4 magazines per pistol. Similarly, each of the magazines could contain up to 18 shots, but there were only 2 times 15 in them to the counting 30 shots. Kimu Sensei introduced the 9mm by first explaining how it was handled and the ultra-importance of safety as an accident with a 9mm does not always have a good outcome. Therefore, all participants got a fair amount of time before shooting to practice handling of the pistol and get to know it, so they were sure of loading, securing, magazine management, single action, double action, etc.
It was quite entertaining to see as the different shooters pulled the trigger for the first time and see as the shock went through the body, but they relatively quickly overcame the louder sound and recoil and did really well. The focus was again back on POMW shooting technique and the first remarkable results were soon visible. It was quite interesting to see that those who really had practiced on POMW shooting technique also managed a correct recoil control and shot really well the first time they shot with the Pistol. It was an entertaining afternoon, where also JokoKidz excelled in .22 cal. now that the adults had to shoot with larger caliber. They went through all the same methodology and rolling teams with .22 cal. – keep it simple and it works! One participant had to take a little more breaks than others, not because she did not want to shoot but because she was pregnant. The little one in the stomach kicked a lot every time she heard a shot go off so therefore she kept on the bench behind the shooters house, in nice sunny weather and with a good cup of tea. Late in the afternoon, where everyone pretty much had finished their shooting, 4 magazines were however loaded up so she could shoot without too much noise around her. So while the others stood in the sun and enjoyed a cup of coffee, she put herself to aim and oh boy, did she shot well, many of the others had nearly lost their jaws – was it “aiming water” in the stomach and not a baby? 50 shots of 50 shots in the black part of the target from 25m – cool! It should also be said that only a few days after the course Kim Chandler (the shooter) gave birth to a beautiful baby girl – A big congratulations to the happy family.
It had been quite a long day once again, but the results spoke for themselves when they were made up, as you can see here:
It is quite amazing results and they are allowed to speak for themselves.
POMW’s developer, Kimu Sensei, has chosen to measure shooters achieved basic marksman skills, after two scales, the Danish shooter Union and the U.S., where all shooters are divided into categories, so everyone gets something out of it, also by competing against each other in the various categories.
POMW Pistol – Fundamentals consists of POMW I (dry training) plus POMW II (with live ammunition. The results have the whole time been very promising. Kimu Sensei – well, it speaks for itself .. But Kimu Sensei taught us five chief instructors to shoot in Danish 1. Division standard in just 4 months of mixed dry and live shooting, and after just one month POMW III Preliminary Training, two of us were respectively number 1 and 2 on our IPSC A-license course, attended by highly experienced shooters with up to 35 years of shooting experience civilian and military. But the real test was with the TG3 and TG4 teams, on Minouchi Sensei’s theory of the man behind the weapon and his clarification and attitude, is the most important factor in learning to shoot in the shortest possible time with the best possible results, if they also have the most optimal learning and building the optimal correct shooting technical essence, from the world’s best pistol, rifle and long range shooters.
I claim that POMW Pistol – fundamental has passed the international test with honor and Minouchi Sensei’s theory has been proved – very clearly!
The original result and benchmark for success was at least 80%, in the black area on 15 m, with a safe weapons handling and weapons function, understanding of history, weapons development, relationships, and that guns are designed to simplify the skills and training efforts for a good and effective result. Thereby this would to a very high degree of probability demonstrate the correctness of Minouchi Sensei theory.
It was never meant that the POMW participants were to be Danish or international elite shooters, as this would be unrealistic with the relatively small amount of training included in POMW process compared to Yakami Shinsei-ryu training and requirements. But it is clear that it was extra exciting to witness how far the wings could carry, after direct benchmark with official Danish shooter standards, as well as the U.S..
Danish division standard; 26% are shooting in the Danish 1.Division in both .22 and 9mm. 15% are shooting in the Danish 2 division within .22, 39% are shooting in the Danish 3.division within .22 or 9 mm, and 20% are good shooters.
U.S. standard; 15% are grand masters, 20% are masters, 65% are Black A’s.
With the exception of the grand masters and the Danish 1.divisions standard, everything else is achieved in a total of just a 2 months course, lots of dry training, and the following number “live ammunition shooting”; approx. 350 rounds of .22 and approx. 210 rounds of good 9 mm shots.
12% had prior shooting experience as officers in the Royal. Danish Life Guards, and 88% had never shot before.
Conclusion: The result has exceeded our wildest imagination – and is very much above Kimu Sensei’s benchmark for success. It is possible that this is because Kimu Sensei had no prior experience with pistol shooting, which we did not have either, but the benchmark was established in consultation with the Danish shooting experts, and was in their view – very optimistic.
It may well be that POMW is a secondary technical competence in Shindenkan and it is impossible to be black belt or master in Yakami Shinsei-ryu martial arts in just two months – well not even beginners rank can be achieve at this time. But! – As a POMW shooting instructor and participant in POMW Pistol training course with about 25-30 hours POMW dry and wet education and at least as much dry firing at home, I am very proud and very happy with the outcome and can already see that there are many in the future that will shoot much better than me – and this bodes very well for POMW III in the superstructure on POMW Pistol – fundamentals.
All in Shindenkan and the participants from POMW II can be justly proud of themselves and the POMW project, which Kimu Sensei in his usual uncompromising way has managed to implement with another international top performance, which to us – is almost unreal.