By Claus Shishu, 2012
It was late Friday afternoon and the weather was great. The third part of the POMW course was about to begin. The same lane as 3 weeks earlier was set up. It was now that the POMW technical manual was to be tested. There was no theoretical part this time, so no soft beginning of the day. Before we started the day for real, Kimu Sensei wanted to get an overview of how much practicing we had been doing. It required that we were honest about how much training we had done. The vast majority had trained 25 minutes every day and all had trained 75% off the 100%. No one, besides the chief instructors had fired a single shot. There was therefore a good basis for testing the POMW technical manual. I had trained at least half an hour every day, some days considerably more. I had also a few eye openers during my training. I had, for example, in the beginning a habit of closing one eye when trying to aim correctly. I got rid of this habit one day after practicing 1–1 ½ hour. Suddenly, while I was training, I found a way to avoid it. It was a super cool experience.It was even better when I got to fire on the shooting lane and I could see the results of my training. It was at this point that it really dawned on me how essential the handbook and the basic training were. We were divided into groups according to our training efforts, and we began with lane shooting at different distances: 3, 5, 7 and 10 m, with corresponding targets. Thousands of bio-bullets were fired and very few of these hit the outside the target on the short distances, in fact it was rare that they were outside the dark area on the targets. All things considered, the results were surprisingly good, considering how many difficulties people had had with just hitting the target 3 weeks earlier. Now the very same people were shooting like professionals.
After a reasonably satisfactory afternoon and evening it was time to go home. The day after we were to have the POMW C2 course. It was with excitement that I drove home that night. I was looking forward to the next day; would my expectations be met, would the Minuochi Sensei theory be verified? The results so far were certainly outstanding.
Saturday came and the lane was lined up early in the morning, according to Kimu sensei’s directions. This day we were to do a large variety of shooting exercises. Among these were firing with transitions, which is standing still while shooting at several targets. Here the distance was varied and the timeframe between the shots shortened. When we all had fired the black of the targets and counted the missing shots we were asked calculate the average of missing shots per team. The top 2 teams had 5 shots outside the black area per team member. The worst teams had around 6-7, which was a pretty good result considering the pressure we were under. The two best teams were now to compete against each other. They were given 5 seconds to fire 2 shots at 2 different targets. If a shot was fired after the 5 seconds the whole team would be disqualified. I was on one of the teams. We got a few minutes to discuss our strategy. In my team we agreed that five seconds was plenty of time, so the most important for us was to remember the manual and then ‘just’ shoot. The signal sounded and magazine after magazine was emptied. We took it to the limit and sometimes a little over, as it was important to have the least shot outside the black area. After the duel ‘mano e mano’ it was time for lunch. After lunch the results and the winning team would be announced. After a half an hour of lunch, where we all talked about who we thought had won, it was time to announce the results. I remember that several of the others asked me if I thought I had won. I had really no idea. I assumed that my team had done their best, so all we could do was to hope that it was enough. Kimu Sensei asked the two teams to step forward and we were told to place ourselves opposite each other. The other participants were asked to choose the team they thought had won, and to stand next to it. I remember that we did not have many who believed in us — probably about 20% of the participants were on our side and they could be counted using two hands. Therefore, it was a bit of a surprise to most that we only had 25 shots outside the black area whereas the other team had 30. The difference of 25% made us number 1 which is so much better than being in the middle of the field. We deserved to be proud.
After this little shoot down it was time to move on in the programme. Now we were to practice with laser guns and transitions. The laser gun was the same type the Special Forces uses when training. It was important to keep focussing on the the sighting guides, which can be a challenge when you both can see the light dot and what you hit. Finally, we did some exercises in shooting on moving targets. First by moving slowly towards the target, and then backwards away from the target, while firing and preferably hitting the black area of the target. It was a bit of an art and very challenging. It became a lot easier as we could use some of the tools and the movements learned in karate. In another exercise while moving, we moved towards the targets sideways while firing at several targets. This was even more challenging and difficult to master. The important thing was the way we moved. You had to move constantly at a steady pace along with the targets and remember to use the techniques from the manual. It was challenging to move backwards and shoot sideways. As these exercises were accomplished and we began to get the hang of it, the pace was increased. After running around and firing several hundred shots, the time allocated for the course was coming to an end. I really had had plenty of input and did not need more. It had been exhausting to be so focussed for so many hours. There was just one last thing we should try out and that was the IPSC lane. It was a combination of all the exercises we had been doing on the course. It was now the achieved skills were to be used.
It was to take place on time and every missed shot would cost 10 seconds. The lane had 15 targets, you should run forward past the first 8 targets and backwards past the last 7. Then there were 6 targets which were to be fired at from standing still, i.e. transitions, and the last 4 were poppers where the last had to be hit twice. The safety rules for IPSC were also applied here. That meant that you would be disqualified if you aimed your weapon at the audience or the judge or if you failed to unload correctly. The weapon should be handled properly at all timed and be pointed at the targets.
This exercise was done by taking turns and if you were disqualified you got to get back in line. Quite a few came quickly through the lane and only a few were disqualified. Some for doing foolish mistakes, because of adrenaline, but there were no excuses. If you made a mistake, you had to start over. Unfortunately those who spent little time, had many missed shots. When it was finally my turn, I was full of adrenalin. I managed, however, to calm myself so much that I could go through the lane mentally before I was to run through it. I focussed a lot on taking the time to think about safety during my run and to hit all the targets. This was more important to me than going fast. I had no missed shots but I was certainly not the fastest. I was not disqualified and I had a lot of fun. I ended up as one of four who did not hit all targets – great. To say the least this was one of the coolest things I have done in a long time. I fully understand how some people get ‘addicted’ to this.