Back in my early Filipino Martial Arts training days (in edged and impact weapons), I would put in anywhere between forty to sixty hours (sometimes more) of hard skills training every week.
During that time, one of my Masters, Punong Guro Edgar Sulite (founder of the LAMECO fighting system), would always remind his committed disciples, that at any level of training, “Repetition is the mother of all skills.”We’ve all heard the adage “practice makes perfect” or more accurately “perfect practice makes perfect.” The back-story to this axiom is practice makes permanent. If you practice something that is not correct thousands of times, you will burn it into your system exactly as you trained it – incorrectly.
Making permanent, can include the imprinting of training scars.
Science Of Training
As with any effective self-defense training, at the higher skill levels, defensive shooting is as much a martial science as it is a martial art. Taking your skills to the next level requires raising your level of understanding, as well as your level of performance. The only way to up your skills is to put in the number of correct reps it takes for you to measure a desired change in performance.
Following are five tips from the masters that can help you get there more effectively.
Tip 1: Set an attainable goal
First off, you need to know exactly what you’re trying to accomplish. In other words, what is your objective? If your objective is to draw from concealment and make accurate and rapid round placement on a target, then you will need to establish a few performance parameters such as how many rounds, what target size and distance.
Once you’ve decided upon the parameters, you can then determine your baseline performance.
TIP 2: FIND YOUR BASELINE
To establish your baseline, execute the drill at a comfortable speed with which you can guarantee the hit from your starting position. Run the drill multiple times – again guaranteeing each hit. After you can do it reliably without missing, then measure how long it takes you to execute this skill on demand.
Running a timer to determine how long it takes you to make that guaranteed hit gives you a measurable start point. Let’s say it takes you 4 seconds to guarantee a successful run. You can then set your goal to reduce that time to 3.5 seconds. You now have everything you need to set a training foundation upon which to build your next-level skills.
In that foundation you know exactly what your baseline is, what the training parameters are, and your desired result of guaranteeing a hit at 3.5 seconds on demand. All that remains is to crank out an unknown number of correct repetitions.
Tip 3: Isolate your movements
One crucial tip that will help you tremendously in building your repository of correct repetitions, is to cut out any wasted movement. When I asked my martial arts masters and shooting instructors how they can move so quickly and with such accuracy, they replied in kind, “No unnecessary movement.” Doing only what you need to do to accomplish the task is all that is required. Any additional movements do not contribute in any way to your task and further add unwarranted time to the process.
Cutting out unnecessary movement is simply a matter of training. Isolate each individual movement in your presentation from concealment by running them a single step at a time:
- Clear cover garment
- Defeat any retention devices
- Establish a positive grip
- Draw from the holster
- Align muzzle with your target
- Make guaranteed round placement
Mindfully practice each one of these individual tasks standalone. Remain vigilant about eliminating any wasted movement. Forget about the timer – stick to the process.
Tip 4: Eliminate lag time
The next step in your skill-building repetitive process is to reduce the lag time in between each of the isolated steps until the entire process is one fluid, purposeful motion. The master says, “Training without purpose is no training at all.”
Why you are doing what you’re doing is just as important as what and how you are doing it. It is said that the “why” is the mortar that holds the bedrock of your “what” and “how” together. Being mindful of why motivates you to run all the individual steps together with focus on reducing any wasted time in between those steps.
Tip 5: Determine number of reps
What’s the exact number of reps needed to make a difference in your performance? According to the experts, repetitions vary from shooter to shooter. Some trainers say it takes a minimum of 3,000 reps while other say 7,000 and still others suggest over 10,000 repetitions.
How do you know how many reps it is for you?
After multiple training sessions, chipping away at less time between the steps, removal of any wasted movement and guaranteeing the hit on demand, you will have accumulated sufficient repetitions that may make each movement feel more comfortable, easier to execute and effortless.
When you start to feel yourself reach that comfort zone – ease of movement with very little effort – you may then want to re-measure your process time. These are personal indicators that the mother of all skills may have just moved you up a notch in your level of performance.
Note from Team Springfield
To learn more about training conducted by Steve Tarani, go to Steve's websites:
Author’s Bio - Steve Tarani, is a former CIA protective services subject matter expert who served on Donald Trump’s pre-election protection detail and is the lead instructor for the NRA’s new Non-ballistic Weapons Training program offered nationally to 2.3 million members. Tarani, an active protective agent, is a Central Intelligence Agency and FLETC-certified federal firearms instructor who also provides services for the US Naval Special Operations Command, FBI National Citizens Academy Alumni Association, National Association of School Resource Officers (NASRO), and others.