By Søren Renshi, summer 2012
Thursday July 26 at exactly 03:00, the alarm went off, to wake me up to a fantastic self paid trip, which were to begin 1 hour later. When you are leaving for a longer trip, and for a country/city, where you haven’t been before, then it is always with a level of excitement. You look forward to it, and always think about how it all will work. This trip was no exception.
At 03:45 Kjeld Renshi-dai rolled up to my front door, the baggage went in the trunk, and the course was set directly for Ringsted, where Martin Renshi and Claus Shidoin were to be picked up. By the time we reached Ringsted, the sun was coming up, and out coffee was enjoyed in silence by the hood of the car. We were to meet up with Kimu Sensei and Jens Hanshi-dai by Gedser harbor at 06:30, so after the coffee, we went straight to Gedser, where we all together ate the breakfast we brought from home, and had a talk about the plans for this RR camp. A stop was made in the ferry’s told free shop, where we stocked up on supplies of energy drinks and salt lakrids. When it is hot, it is important to drink plenty of fluids, and get salt. Especially at our age 🙂
When the ferry arrived in Rostock, Germany, we went straight to the autobahn, and headed for Praque in the Czech Republic. It was a nice trip with plenty of sun and a great mood. We arrived later in the afternoon, and after checking in and changing to shooting clothes, we went straight to the range that we had reserved in advance.
You are not allowed to just bring any weapon, that you wish. So we brought what the law allowed, which meant that we had to rent two 0.22 cal guns, and buy ammunition required. Even though we had reserved the range in advance, then many times something happens, and you do not get your wish. For some reason, we did not have access to the range we had reserved, but was showed to a smaller range. Apparently the Israeli embassy and Mossad had pulled rank, and gotten priority. So after 20 minutes of ”discussion” with the responsible people on the shooting range, we got started on the smaller range. Divided in to two teams, we shot with 0.22 mm guns and counted up points, like there was no tomorrow. Well, you would think so, but actually it did not go as in Denmark. The points did not reach the level they did at home.
At first you thought, that perhaps the guns were off – but they were not. Then it was bad light, bad air, and all the things you look at first. The only thing you don’t look at, is your self. Am I doing something which affects my shooting? – No, of course not, because I have trained according to POMW Shooting handbook. Yes, that is all well and good. But if you don’t execute correctly and keep focus on ALL the details, then you are programming your body and mind in the wrong direction. And that is exactly what happened.
All details are important. If you forget a detail, then the hole execution is ruined, and you will not hit where you aim. The question for me was, what I was doing wrong, causing me to miss. The answer was relatively simple, and yet so difficult. Even if you have correct aim, and have all the techniqual things in order, then there is still another factor, which has enormous influence for the effect of you training. Attitude. Could it be something else? No. Right?
If your attitude is not good, then the effect dwindles to nothing. My attitude was good – I thought. Yet still, there was something in the deep dark, that affected me enormously on this trip. Something that I know well, that has an effect on me. But this time, I could clearly see how I reacted and the result of it. Oh no, too bad, most would think. But not I, because I am happy to see it directly, so that I can learn from it, and take action, so that I can become a better human being.
There were a lot of other things, that could influence this trip, but the biggest influence came from inside my self. The expectations that I had to my self, and that I did not live up to, resulted in self anger and obstinate behavior. So it was good, that I found myself in good company, with people who can see these things and guide you in the right direction. Kimu Sensei – if anybody has any doubt, is the person who can tell you, where your problem lays – even if you don’t want to admit, to the problem – because real men don’t complain, when they hurt inside 🙂
After Thursday’s lesson’s, it was back to the hotel, for a quick but thorough bath. Change of clothes, and then sightseeing in Praque City, with focus on the attractions everybody wished to see. That took about 30 minutes, and we had seen most of them, and were ready to eat dinner. And what a dinner it was. With Karlsbroen as neighbor, we had an excellent dinner, where the biggest hit probably was the asparagus ice cream with warm celery foam. That may sound a little different, but it tasted heavenly and absolutely fantastic. Especially on top of a very long day full of impressions. After the dinner, the walk back to the hotel was worth gold, and we were ready to clean our guns, and talk about the shooting of the day.
At 06:30 the alarm clock went off. This time I was bright awake and ready for yet another day of shooting. Maybe because my room mate had not allowed me to fall in to deep sleep, but had kept me at the border of rest and fully awake. I know that this kind of noise, can be cured with an operation, and maybe a request for this, should be sent to the Danish government, suggesting that the operation should be mandatory, when you emit above a given Db level. Not for me, but you can’t keep locking the man in a single room, to protect the surrounding world. So, something has to be done.
When the morning buffet had been ravaged by 6 Danish Vikings, it was time for the shoot. Once again, we were met by changes to the reserved rooms, and got started about 15 minutes later than planed. First we shot 0.22 mm. The points did not improve from the day before – at least for in my case – but still there were some improvement to spot. After shooting on a straight course, it was time for transition shooting at several targets. We had 4 courses next to each other, and when we had been divided in to teams, we had the opportunity to shoot from the outside lanes, so that the distance in between targets were as big as possible. This gives the optimal training in transition shooting, because you have to move your hips from target to target, and not just your arms. The result of this shoot, was a large spread, where the targets had been hit. Meaning, that you could actually see, from which side the shots had come. The spread was even, showing the side the shots was fired from. When transition shooting was over, it was time for the big challenge of the day. Shooting with 9 mm gun. All that has shot 9 mm, knows that the recoil and sound level, is far greater than with 0.22 mm. The people on this trip, also knew this, but it was actually kimu Sensei who had gotten this under control. Which is most likely because of his amount of training and the number of shots he has fired.
I totally admit, that shooting 9 mm, scares me, and I was nervous about his shoot. I had shot weapons before, at the local shooting club, and had a point count well under 200, out of 300 points. So something had to be done, about the grand respect for this weapon. Respect is healthy and something can be done, so that the respect is manageable and at a level, where you can use the weapon effectively.
With this in mind, we started on the shoot. First at distance 5 meter, where I put the bullets in a tight spread, and in the middle of the target. Slightly surprised by this, it showed that I had build the right physical foundation to shoot this caliber. So, now it was about the mental part of shoot. Which was where the greatest challenge were, both for myself and all the others.
While we all were shooting, Kimu Sensei were also firing, so that we would get used to the noise. The time came, where we actually did not notice the noise, but were 100% focused on our own execution and challenges. Actually it went really well with the shooting, even when we reached distance 7 -10 and 15 meter. It did get difficult to hit the target. The spread continued in different sides of the targets, which said something about the need for more dry training.
After the shoot, it was time for lunch at KFC, and after that, a quick and efficient bath. It is very important to rinse off well, due to the different chemicals that shows up through the inhalation of gun smoke. Especially lead and sulfur was noticeable. Everybody also shot, in the same clothes all days, which as time went on, developed a stench to compare with a normal Danish pig farm. But it was necessary, or all your clothes would be contaminated. The ’shooting clothes’ were also packed in plastic bags, for the trip home, so it would not contaminate anything. It is said, that you get a little crazy from ingesting large amounts of lead and sulfur – which might explain the aggressive way, that the owner of the shooting range communicated.
After dinner and a little ’hang out’ time, it was time for cleaning of Kimu Sensei’s 9 mm and 0,22 mm guns. It is important that you as a future Instructor, have knowledge of other weapons than your own. Kimu Sensei instructed in how to clean the 9 mm, and then it was my turn, while the others watched. They would clean weapons the following day. Taking the gun apart, and cleaning it went really well. But putting it back together gave me trouble. Not because I did not know how to, but there was a detail that troubled med for about an hour. After I solved the problem, it was time for dry training, according to an IPSC schedule Kimu Sensei had made. Dry training in 20-50-80 and 100% performance.
5 men in a hotel room, doing dry training for 2,5 hours, creates a stench equal to a Danish pig farm. And that was ok, because the training was great. The links to Yakami shinsei-ryu karate kept showing, and we were all in agreement, that it had been a huge experience, that we all had benefited from, despite the time showing 2 in the morning.
During the day, I had gotten a new room mate (Martin Renshi), and now had a chance for real sleep – I thought. My new room mate did not snore, but was breathing so heavily, that it sounded like a storm 🙂 It must be mentioned though, that Martin Renshi has been fighting back pain for a while, and must sleep on his back. And when you sleep in a position that you are not used to, then you don’t relax fully. But praise for Martin Renshi, for not being grumpy in the morning, and for making it through the hole trip, without grand mood swings – especially on the drive home, which lasted about 13 hours 🙂
The alarm clock went off again, at 06:30 Saturday morning. Breakfast was inhaled, and it was time for some meditation, before returning to the range. This time we got started almost on time, and were to shoot with 9 mm all day. The first couple of rounds showed me hitting the target crooked, but with a nice spread, which showed that something had to be corrected – but not what. Then we shot transition shooting with 9 mm, which actually went ok. The spread was tighter, and it was clear that dry training had helped us all. Saturday’s shooting was done, and we all felt a difference with the 9 mm, both physically but also mentally. Saturday’s afternoon included instruction in IPSC theory, so that we could continue our education as shooter. Saturday’s dinner was at the hotel, and Saturday at 23:00, we could get started cleaning guns, and doing dry training. It was Claus Shidoin’s who took a turn, at cleaning Kimu Sensei’s 9 mm. We were all waiting to see, if it would take as much time, as when I cleaned it. But it didn’t, and yet..
The cleaning itself took a loooooooong time, but putting the gun back together, he got done in less than 30 seconds, surprising us all. Sometimes you have to trust your own logic, and all is easier 🙂
We began the dry training at 23:30, and 2,5 hours later, we were all done and ready for a good nights sleep. Even though the dry training was tough, it was great to feel, that if you kept focus on the process and the connection to karate, then it all went easier.
Sunday morning the alarm went off again 06:30, and the breakfast was enjoyed in an orderly manner. Then more recap of theory, and off to the range. The body was feeling both the wet and dry training. But that was good, because it showed that you could also get a workout from this training.
Checking in at the range went smooth, and we got started shooting the 9 mm, using what we had practiced during dry training. First using both hands, where we did not do so good, and then using the right hand, followed by using the left hand. I had never imagined, having to shoot one handed. I think shooting using both hands was challenging enough. But after having shot with one hand, and not dropping the gun, I looked at the target and could see, that I had hit a bull’s-eye. And from there it was downhill. Now I knew that I could shoot with one hand, and the fear of 9 mm began to dwindle. Shooting with left hand went just as well. So the self esteem began to grow.
In IPSC, this form of shooting is called ”strong hand” and ”weak hand”. This means that you first shoot with the strong hand (for me the right), and then the not so strong hand (for me the left). After that we were to shot the same way, but with two shots at the time. Then things began to happen. Because now you could spot your learning points in the shooting. Meaning, the places where you can make improvements, so that you can get better, with either hand. A huge experience, and when we finally shot again, using both hands, then I could learn from this, step by step, which again resulted in me hitting the target towards the middle J. At the same time it became really clear, how much Karate and shooting is linked. Both physically and mentally.
After the shoot, there was a quick lunch, and again the mandatory bath cleaning all the crevices. Some has more than others 🙂
Before dinner we began talking about, how to arrange Shindenkan Skydeklub. Which rules to have, beyond the mandatory ones, and how it all should unfold. This is not something you can just do, like you would any other club. There are a lot of issues to decide on, and many rules to follow.
Sunday night we once again enjoyed an outstanding dinner near Karlsbroen. Followed by a walk to the other side. Everybody was pretty quiet on the way home that night, and I think that everybody was thinking about the shooting of the day, and the result. Well back at the hotel, the guns were cleaned and then it was off to bed.
Monday 06:30 alarm went off again. Breakfast done, and we got started with the dry training, just to get the body warmed up. At 10 we were ready for a different kind of shooting, than so far on this trip.
We had arranged to shoot with other calibers, to feel the different recoil’s, and to learn from that. So we shot with 40 and 44 mm in two Glock guns, and then with a 357 revolver and a 44 magnum. Finally we shot shotguns, with ammunition that had different power. The two Glock guns could be handled. They weighed about have of the CZ we had shot earlier, and the recoil was less. So this we could work with.
The 357 revolver was quite different. It is a revolver with a revolving cylinder, which means that you can not hold it, the same way you hold a 9 mm. At the same time it has a lot more recoil, and you have to watch your fingers. Magnum 44, is a hole different story. Again a cylinder revolver, but with a recoil and a sound level that could make an elephant deaf. When the first person shot with it, I was standing about 1 meter behind the person, loading a Glock. And when he fired the 44, I felt a sound wave in my face. I think this canon means business. In spite of this, I think the shooting went well. I was lucky to have Kjeld Renshi-dai standing behind me, and every time I had shot, I could hear him say – one 10’, one 9’, one 10’ – so it was pretty good.
After the pistols and revolvers, it was time for shotguns. First we shot with the same ammunition as in skeet, then with the same ammo used to open doors with by military and police special forces. And I will mention up front. Do not stand behind the door, when it is being shot into the room. This type of ammunition is forceful. The targets we shot at, was blown away. After the shoot, we went back to the hotel, to evaluate the shoot, bath, pack, and then leave for Rostock harbor.
Unfortunately you can never predict traffic, so we missed the ferry, but had to drive across Jylland and Fyn. Which takes longer. Especially if the GPS is directing you to Berlin. Well, the positive was, that we could spend the time discussing how the Shindenkan Skydeklub, should be structured (rules etc). We also managed to repair Claus Shidoin’s car, using a pipe cleaner, so it would make it all the way home. At 02:15 I finally put my head on my pillow, and 06:30 I could lift it back up.
Had hoped that the alarm clock had stayed in Praque – damn 🙂
This trip has in many ways been an experience. The shooting training, learning through the link with Karate, and Kimu Sensei’s way of showing us all the road, has been fantastic. But also the mood among us as people. When you are together 24-7 for 5 days, tension can arise, but in this group there is accept and respect for each others peculiarities and needs. That was very clear on the way home, where 4 of us sat in a car together for 13 hours. Even though the two people in the front (brothers), sometimes sounded like an old married couple. The trip home went well, and we got a lot accomplished on the way.