Marksmanship for FMA Attribute Training

Discussion in 'Marksmanship Arts' started by lhommedieu, Aug 20, 2010.

  1. lhommedieu

    lhommedieu Senior Member

    San Miguel Eskrima has a few weapons that are considered to be "ancillary" weapons insofar as they train the attributes necessary the efficient use of the main weapons used in the system. For example, the ananangkil (as we use it) is somewhat thicker and heavier than similar two-handed sticks that I've seen and is used both to develop leg and waist-based striking power as well as the ability to "stand in" against a larger, heavier weapon. The latigo trains your ability to issue core-body power along a subtle line and to extend your intent to the very tip of the weapon. The spear trains your body to issue power along an axis and trains the legs, waist, and shoulders to "change sides," etc. Dos armas helps with ambidexterity and helps you to think about more than one plane at a time. All four of these weapons train fundamental attributes that will help you to use a stick or sword more efficiently.

    I haven't practiced the throwing knife or cadena (chain) much, but I have been getting more and more into rifle and shotgun shooting - both because I'd like to go hunting in the future and see the need to build my marksmanship skills, and because I can see that the kind of mental and physical focus necessary to succeed at these sports translates quite well to the kind of attributes trained by some of the ancillary weapons described above, i.e, the ability to see a target and use subtle body alignments to send a projectile along its way with the least amount of mental and physical "chatter" possible.

    It's interesting to note that one of my teachers is always correcting me for a) holding my breath, b) not relaxing, and c) not looking at the threat in front of me. (By the same token, I'm always at my best when we train and spar when I breathe, relax, and focus - go figure.) I'm a newbie shooter so the last time that I was at the range I made up my mind to focus on just one of these skill sets, and so I practiced slow firing (iron sights at 50 yards) on the "breathe in, breath out, pause, squeeze trigger, (breathe in, etc.)" model. Wouldn't you know that my body started to relax, my alignments got better, and I was able to hold a steady sight picture on the target? BTW, my groups started getting a lot tighter as well. It's interesting to note as well the meditative state I was getting into using the above breathing model.

    "Look at the threat in front of you" really got put into perspective when I was getting coached in skeet yesterday and my coach was showing me how to pick up the bird right as it was coming out of the window. As long as my sight and body alignments were correct and I was actively looking at the targets (and moving the gun) I was powdering targets more often than not (I've shot skeet twice so far). I even switched over to shooting with both eyes open and found it easier to establish a sight picture this way. So - where the eyes go, the body goes... Shooting this way became more instinctive and much more of a mental than physical game - although the alignments (foot position, stock on shoulder, arm position, cheek weld, etc.) do have to be precise. One other factor is that your peripheral vision becomes available to you when you shoot with both eyes open - something that is undoubtedly important in a combat situation.

    One thing I commented upon to my coach was that he stood pretty close to me throughout the day. He said two things that were pretty interesting. The first is that he was (mentally) shooting the targets alongside of me and that's why he knew if I was shooting above, below, behind, ahead, etc. of the targets - and why ("you stopped moving the gun," "you weren't focusing on the target,"). Just as important, he knew exactly why I did hit the target ("you picked it up right out of the box and moved your gun right to where it was supposed to be"). That kind of feedback is invaluable for a beginner - especially when combined with the building of unconscious sight picture memories, i.e., "that's what it's supposed to look (and feel) like when you powder a bird!"

    The second thing he said was that standing close to a client allows him to react in time in case the client is careless with a gun. He said it allows time to put a hand on their shoulder or elbow and stop the gun from going to the wrong place. He said that most accidents occur when the coach is too far away to see that something is wrong or do anything about it until it's too late. I commented that he always seemed to be aware of when I was opening the action or putting on the safety and he laughed and said, "Yep."

    Anyhow, just some thoughts. I'm really enjoying both rifle and shotgun shooting and hope to get some more self-defense oriented training in the future as well.

    Best,

    Steve
     
  2. lhommedieu

    lhommedieu Senior Member

    Just a follow-up: It's been a couple of months since my last post above and I've shot skeet a few more times. Picking up the targets is becoming more second-nature and I find that I'm hitting them more often and more instinctively. I can generally tell why I've hit and why I've missed. Given that my alignments are correct it's turning out to be a mental game, with focus and concentration paramount. The last time I was out at the range I just missed a target (failure to keep the barrel moving ) but actually saw the shot from the shell patterning just behind the bird. Given my reasons for taking up the sport I'd say that this is a good thing....

    Best,

    Steve
     
  3. London

    London New Member

    Steve, great posts and observations on a great discipline. I'm a life-long multi-discipline shooter and definitely appreciate the synergy with traditional martial arts. I've been having fun playing with the blue gun (plastic training gun) during disarm drills and then spicing things up by having knife or even stick in the support hand (the alive hand in FMA terms).

    I shot action pistol for a couple years and really enjoyed it, however lately I've been bitten by the long range precision shooting bug so I find myself on the mat most every saturday I get a chance to do so. I also like running some carbine drills (AR or AK usually) just to keep up on the perishable skills. I also like to experiment with different optics/sights and other tactical accessories to keep up on the latest technology trends since I sell law enforcement and military equipment.

    I've only shot trap once but had a very poor fitting shotgun so that wasn't very enjoyable. Maybe Santa will bring a new Beretta AL91 some day.... :)

    happy shooting!
     
  4. PG Michael B

    PG Michael B Oso Grande

    Firearms all day, every day...the preferred go to when it all heads south . . .
     
  5. lhommedieu

    lhommedieu Senior Member

    After I complained about how I hated the crowds at (yet another) Halloween theme park (please - not again..) my wife said:

    "Your idea of a good time is to go somewhere with no one around for miles and shoot things..."

    Fill in the blank for my response.

    ______________________________________________________________

    Best,

    Steve
     
  6. lhommedieu

    lhommedieu Senior Member

    Recent developements:

    1. I started learning how to shoot the recurve bow this February and have been going to a local range 2-3 times a week for blank bale practice. My coach is a guy named Len Cardinale in New Jersey; great guy and an excellent coach.

    2. I've been spending a lot of time out at the Calverton range with a Ruger 10-22 practicing my rifle marksmanship. Can anyone recommend a rifle coach in the Tri-state area, but particularly in Long Island, NY?

    3. I'm Back for another skeet lesson on April 20th. It's been six months since I've fired a shotgun at a clay pidgeon so I hope the learning curve isn't too steep! By this fall I should be able to run a course on my own and get a lot more practice in.

    Best,

    Steve
     
  7. lhommedieu

    lhommedieu Senior Member

  8. lhommedieu

    lhommedieu Senior Member

    Just an update:

    1. I recently incorporated Leon Measure's "Shoot Where You Look" program into my skeet training. The Amazon reviewer is correct: getting and watching the DVD is a big help. Although the book states that the method can be used without a BB gun I went out and purchased a very accurate BB gun anyway. It will shoot dime-sized groups at 10 feet which is exactly what the method calls for. Basically you shoot stationary targets and then aerial targets a short distances with a sightless BB gun; because it's so inexpensive you can really machine in correct shotgun fundamentals at a fraction of the price it would cost you at the range. Of course, you do have to get out to the range to practice skeet but the point of the program is to hone in fundamental attributes (I particularly focus on my alignments and follow-through).

    2. For anyone in the Tri-State area interested in "instinctive" (the term is problematic but I'll go ahead and use it anyway) archery with a recurve bow, I'll repeat my advice to go and take some lessons from Len Cardinale in northern New Jersey.

    Best,

    Steve
     
  9. lhommedieu

    lhommedieu Senior Member

    It's been about a year since I've posted here. I've been mainly focusing on my archery and have been shooting both at the Blank Bale and utilizing something called the Bridge Drill. Progress has been steady and progressive and I'm at the point now that I can go hunting this fall/winter and not worry about whether I'm going to hit my target.

    I've found that marksmanship arts like archery and rifle shooting have brought my martial arts training to a new level, and I continue to see progress on that front as well.

    Best,

    Steve
     
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2012

Share This Page