By Kimu Sensei, early 2014, Chief Instructor Shindenkan Competence and Development centre – Honbu Dojo
My journey through the POMW project
For the record, let me make it perfectly clear, that I love shooting!
I am very grateful for the experiences I have had during the 36 months the POMW project lasted. These experiences have been both nationally and internationally in more than eight different countries on three continents and in seven different US states.
I have shot 25 IPSC pistol matches and been shooter and Range officer at 18 IPSC matches all over the world, and shot more than 15 different rifle matches in the US in this POMW period of 36 months.
I have read, purchased and studied almost 200 books, 45+ videos and series, several hundred kilos of brochures and used the Internet very very diligently.
I have talked with hundreds around the world, all-unique in their field, to learn and reap their essence and experience.
The topics have been ranging from the history of weapons development, use, causes and use through time, as well as in weapons assembly and composition, optics studies, sighting gear, the studies of munitions, ballistics, propellants and the combinations and uses for different purposes.
I have read biographies, textbooks for both civil and military senders and receivers, gunsmiths and Shooter’s experience and recommendations, and different approaches, such as the scientific, hunting related, war- and sports competition related, ranging to practical survival, to future predictions and developments within a foreseeable future.
I have read about guns, revolvers, hunting as competition rifles, semi as fully automatic, long distance rifles and specially designed guns and rifles and why. Ballistics I have read, right from the scientific and mathematical formulas, composition and development, over computer simulation programs to the real testing on the shooting range, under different natural conditions and on the battlefield. As well as all, that can and have influence on the impact. From legends, the public or non-public training manuals, training processes and course, match and battle processes, experiences, do & don’ts, biggest learnings, greatest successes and largest failures and most important why. Everything has been both civilian as military, so nothing is left out.
I have had lessons in Denmark, Europe and the USA in pistol, rifle and Long Range rifle, and I also have dabbled in Cowboy IPSC shoots and IPSC Three gun, and into their shooting disciplines. I have shot at distances ranging from one yard to just under 2,000 yards. Altogether, I have shot more than 125,000 good shots in this period, plus match and training shots, passing the 150.000+ good shots.
I have had super good shooting legends, good as well as less good shooting instructors, top-level national and continental to the absolute world top through a lifetime, both civilian and military. I’ve gotten my a** kicked thoroughly by current and former continental and world champions in various shooting disciplines, but to my surprise, I also shot straight up with or beat former and current continental and world champions in various shooting disciplines as well as the best shooters in different disciplines militarily.
Throughout much of POMW project, I have been mocked, tried flaunted and ridiculed, been questioned, tried undermined and misled by local and national civilian shooters and especially shooting organization leaders in Denmark.
Some of these shooters and leaders have said that it could well be that I might be an OK shooter – but how the heck would I pass this experience in the POMW project when I absolutely no teaching experience had!
Before the practical course in POMW, a younger experienced organization leader advised me that he assessed with his ultra-high international expertise that the POMW project would last at least 15 years just to reach an OK result at the national level. It turned out to be absolutely not correct … ultra very far from …
Throughout the POMW project, I have also seen that the project has raised hopes for change and new dynamics in both the civilian and military part of Denmark. This has only been the shooters in Denmark.
I have never experienced not being received with curiosity, openness, kindness and support for the POMW project – after completed tests and discreet reference collection, by the absolute best recognized shooting legends in the world, civilian and military. I have experienced the same with former as current civilian continental class and world champions, but here I have also experienced the opposite, if I have shot straight up with them or shot better than they shoot on the day.
The longest test and separation processes I have carried lasted 4 months. However, it was all worth it in competence value, shooting experiences and in a league of its own completely unique in the world. All three of my best experiences have been shooting outdoors. Two of them have been with LRS rifle and one of them with IPSC pistol.
Practically all shooting matches I have shot have had many hundreds of participants. The minimum match I attended there were about 60 and it was in Denmark.
In the 36 months POMW project lasted, I have never in my life slept so little, been so prioritized and structured with my choices, resources and time. And got so much support from my wife and family.
In the first summer holiday during POMW, I slept about 18 hours a day on the first week, ca.12-14 hours a day the second week, and about 10 hours a day on the third week.
During family vacations, I have been allowed to shoot matches, have been trained by shooting legends, but also had the whole family out shooting. Without my wife’s unwavering support and double work for 36 months, I could not have completed the POMW project to the international level it has become. Double work – executive manager position, and then at home as a mother. The POMW project owes my wife everything – without her support and “hold the fort” while daddy uncompromisingly seeks to prove the thesis of Minouchi Sensei, is not for wimps – or softies. Few could have done this. Three years is a long time and very few people would have the human quality, loyalty and strength that my wife has. For that, I am grateful and humble – but it also goes both ways.
The POMW project meant that I family wise, Shindenkan- as well as professionally balanced “on the edge of the abyss”, as the only free time – was in a plane, or non-existent. The POMW project had to be done on top of everything else including Shindenkan.
POMW started during a prolonged rehabilitation therapy, after two operations approximately 9 months apart. First a shoulder operation and then a hip operation. It was an extra challenge that is worth including. Not optimal, but that was it, and then you had to get the best out of it – and it was not so bad, I would like to think.
In addition, the POMW project was already 1½ years late according to plan. There is no managerial and firing privileges in a voluntary and unpaid organization compared to the business world. In a voluntary organization, you lead through your person and your example. You have no other options if you want to implement a strategic plan successfully over several years. However, if you understand this mindset, there is no difference between a voluntary organization and the business world in their structure and function – they are directly overlapping, apart from the economic resource exchange. Here they are opposites.
99.9% of all I have met on my way, asked why I uncompromisingly for three years have completed the POMW project to the end, instead of thinking about my own needs.
But you cannot implement a controversial project halfway – it has to be uncompromising in order to reduce the risk of errors with results and solutions. It is a recognition of the realities.
By understanding the essence of a problem or task, you will also understand how to focus and prioritize the most important.
I have never shot a match without jetlag, massive lack of sleep and steeped in fatigue. I have only shot one match with my own gun, otherwise I have always shot match with a borrowed pistol or rifle.
But as one of my chief gunner instructors said, “A really good shooter has to be able to shoot with anything, anytime – and it is the shooter which constitutes the main difference and not the weapon …”
In more than 80% of the matches I have slept during the matches between my shootings. During a match in the US, a world champion came to me and asked how I could sleep and still perform so well. When he got my answer “Well I’m tired …” he shook his head and said that I was a cool M.F. and offered to help where there could – and he did.
Later, experienced and war accustomed military SF etc. have done the same during matches and training situations. It has since contributed beneficially to the POMW project in the US relationship with the opening of the unique doors and networks, as well as with many good conversations and learning rich experience exchanges.
The highest number of practice shots I have had in one day is about 2,500 pistol shots. The first time I shot 1,800 gunshot in 6 hours, I could hardly get out of bed the next day.
The highest number of rifle shots I have had on one training day is about 500 shots with several rifles and various distances.
The first 18 months of the POMW project, I “dry” practiced between 1-3 hours each day. The subsequent 18 months of the POMW project, I “dry” practised around about 1 hour each day. Dry firing is independent of time and place. You can do it when it fits in your schedule.
There have been shooter instructors in early POMW project where I could find no context and common thread in their instruction until a military world elite shooter told me, it is because there is none!
Although I have more than 35 years of teaching experience from the top of the absolute international world elite in martial sports and martial arts, and almost 25 years’ experience as a director and senior executive within the absolute top in the international business arena, I listened, was inspired by and absorbed all I could from my world elite shooting instructors military as civilian, as I here always could find a common thread and consistency. That is also wise when you want to learn something and it has to be 100% all in.
Generations of shooting legends were likewise not afraid to share the essence of their entire life’s shooting experience, and serve this on a golden plate. Which I humbly, respectfully and gratefully was able to receive 100%.
I cannot and could not help but even early on compare elite shooters with our martial sports and martial arts attitude, and soon reached the conclusion that multiple world champions in practical shooting had an attitude that was very similar to the traditional martial sports world, while multiple world champions within traditional track shooting, do not have an attitude similar to the traditional martial sports world.
I also reached the conclusion that highly experienced “tier one” and comparable Special Forces chief instructors with at least 15-20 years of Special Forces experience including many postings, have an attitude very similar to the traditional martial art world – and here I felt the most at home.
I like that you focus on the 95% good results and learning processes, rather than the 5% more or less foul shot that went less well and thus became a learning process.
Same attitude as most of the longstanding multiple world champions in practical shooting have.
The culture where management by fear with derogatory and self-asserting tirades, counteracting and hidden warfare until this becomes open, and where leaders as well as shooters do not treat others with respect, acceptance and tolerance, I am definitely not in favour of. Instead of focusing on development and socializing, these are experienced to a greater or lesser extent to focus on destruction and self-assertion, bullying and counteracting new highly active shooters, instead of a recognition, tolerance and support of Shooter’s diversity, training intensity and motivations.
Unfortunately, this behaviour is seen in many Danish shooting clubs, which all chief instructors have experienced through direct experience of 19 Danish shooting clubs. Abroad, none of us have experienced this, apart from the socio-cultural differences – but here the rule is “When in Rome, do as the Romans do “, i.e. it is us who are guests and we must follow and respect the socio-culture where we go.
Some things that have puzzled me along the way;
After 36 months on the POMW project, my task has passed on to transmission and maintenance.
For the standardized training and competence course process ; POMW Pistol Fundamentals, POMW Pistol Intermediate, POMW Instructor, POMW Shooting Leader and POMW Shooting Commander, this has already happened. For POMW Rifle partly, but for POMW LRS is has not yet happened.
POMW Pistol Fundamentals has become a mandatory KYU (coloured belt) training course from TG2 (7-5.kyu), on an equal footing with the other traditional Yakami Shinsei-ryu qualifying courses with a 1,000-year history.
POMW Pistol Intermediate is a voluntary KYU superstructure from TG2 (7-5.kyu), the results show a clear probability statistically that after completing courses, 60% of participants shoot, Danish 1st Division in at least one shooting discipline, 30 % of participants, Danish second division in at least one shooting discipline, and 10% of participants, Danish 3rd division in at least one shooting discipline.
A POMW Pistol Intermediate has an average shooting experience of a total of almost 2,000 shots – and at least 20,000 “dry” practice shots. According to a DDS report a Danish Shooter in average shoots about 240 shots per. years, which means that POMW Intermediate shooters after conversion has about 8-9 years shooter experience.
POMW Rifle is voluntary from TG2 (7-5.kyu) and TG3 (4-2.kyu). POMW LRS is by invitation from TG4 + (1.kyu – 1.dan Sr.).
The POMW project also shows that, as with any sport, it requires a constant competence maintenance, to maintain its very best level. But the POMW project also shows that a re-creation through shooting training of one’s best level of competence is not linear, but an explosive upward parabola.
And when this is compared with the fact that any POMW shooter has gone through a standardized training and thus has gotten a competence giving formal standardized toolbox, a POMW shooter will know exactly what this shooter must do to reach the same level again.
The same will also apply to me. The “rust” on my shooting abilities will slowly but surely get bigger and bigger as I did not shoot at the same international level as before, as this requires international matches, preparatory sequence and optimal POMW maintenance. It is no longer my job and my way.
My focus is on development through my function as chief instructor of Honbu Dojo (main school) and as a martial arts grandmaster with a 1,000-year-old tradition, and a competence toolbox that has been tested, developed and refined at all levels, and continues to be so.
But a friendly match or two will probably fit in sometimes, with a subsequent dinner with good wine or beer, where the whole world situation can be reviewed under an open cloudless and starry sky, with super good like-minded civil and military shooter comrades whom the POMW project also has led to – I just would not be without it.
This article belongs to a series of final POMW articles, and will answer questions like;
How and why was POMW project set up?
How was it structured and how was the process?
What experiences were most instructive – both positively and negatively?
Retrospect; Is there something in the process, which can be done more efficiently or effectively?
Ambient influence Shindenkans influence and participants’ influence on POMW
And other questions