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atomicbrh

Why do I really shoot?

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Since the start of the 2015 match season I have been thinking extensively about what really motivates me to match shoot. Why do I spend the money on equipment, ammo, and travel? Why do I think about the physical act of shooting the matches when I am not occupied with other activities? Why do I train in some way every day to shoot better? Why would my family and I drive 14 hours one way to shoot a match? Is it because I like to help youngsters and beginners start in the shooting sports? Is it because l like to try to shoot better scores than other competitors? Is it because I want to continue to improve my shooting skills? Is it because I like to visit with friends at the matches? Is it because I like to win a prize or a trophy at the matches? Is it because I like to eat good food at the matches? No. After many months of contemplation and soul searching, I came to the conclusion that I match shoot because I am selfish. I want to live in the Zen moments as frequently as possible and extend the length of those zen moments as much as possible. After 15 years of competition, volunteering at the matches is rewarding but the zen is what really keeps me motivated. Does anyone else feel this way?

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Terrific post, atomicbrh!. I would venture a guess that many of us HAVE NOT taken the time to ask ourselves what our motivation for shooting in competition might be.

I believe that simply taking that time to give it extensive thought is a meaningful step towards making the sport more enjoyable, and potentially to motivate us to improve our performance..

I plan to embark on a journey similar to the one you described with the hope that I can find my personal answer. I suspect a result similar to yours will be forthcoming, but I don't know that for certain.

Thanks very much for taking the time to share these thoughts. I think many forum members will find them as equally interesting as I have.

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I shoot because I have buddies who I go with and teach me the ways

This. I always find that I learn something new with every trip. To me its a journey that is to be enjoyed.

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To summarize the op. I came to the conclusion that I have a Zen "addiction". Match shooting is the easiest, quickest way to the Zen moments for me.

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To summarize the op. I came to the conclusion that I have a Zen "addiction". Match shooting is the easiest, quickest way to the Zen moments for me.

This is exactly why I shoot as well. And why I play music, too.

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After many months of contemplation and soul searching, I came to the conclusion that I match shoot because I am selfish. I want to live in the Zen moments as frequently as possible and extend the length of those zen moments as much as possible. After 15 years of competition, volunteering at the matches is rewarding but the zen is what really keeps me motivated.

The more adept you become at allowing the "zen experience" to occur, the more others will benefit, directly and indirectly, from your experiences. So it's not selfish at all. :)

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If you guys haven't read The Rise of Superman (Steven Kotler), it is well worth it.

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To be honest, the only reason that I even started competing years ago was to pick up brass.

I still do that from time to time. ;)

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I need the activity and something to get good at. The day job is a slow death unless offset by something entirely different.

I haven't spent much of my life at things that are based on individual performance and evaluated as objectively as competition shooting, except for getting grades in school, which included a certain amount of pressure. Other activities where I've performed as an individual have been judged subjectively, based on pleasing someone else according to their whims and tastes, or whether they felt I was kissing up enough. As someone who is hard-wired to not kiss up, I haven't done great in arenas that require it for advancement.

The structure and objective measures of the shooting sports, where the only pressure is what I place on myself, represent a new kind of freedom for me.

It helps of course that I am very fond of guns and shooting, both viscerally and intellectually.

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When I go to a match or practice, the world's troubles or life goes on hold until I leave. Shooting allows me to compartmentize those items of life for a few hours.

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because when the Zombie Apocolypse comes I want to be able to execute 20 yd head shots, on the dead run, one-handed and never miss ....... just like those Walking Dead dudes do ......

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Now if you can just figure out how they get 40 bullets in one small magazine, you'll be ready

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nah, I've already got a .23 sec reload headshot on the run from anyone of the 15 170mm mags on my belt down cold so I should be good .........

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I want to live in the Zen moments as frequently as possible and extend the length of those zen moments as much as possible. After 15 years of competition, volunteering at the matches is rewarding but the zen is what really keeps me motivated. Does anyone else feel this way?

Yes.

I used to road race SuperBikes, semi-pro. Your training time that is run/bike/swim/weights, working on the machines, travel time away from home and family, gets summed up into building capital for one word: flow. Those moments in competition where everything is a cumulative focus for 20-30 minutes at a time, and everything else melts away.

There are no loose ends, it is you and the machine performing as one.

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I shoot because I love to paste up the holes in the targets.

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I want to live in the Zen moments as frequently as possible and extend the length of those zen moments as much as possible. After 15 years of competition, volunteering at the matches is rewarding but the zen is what really keeps me motivated. Does anyone else feel this way?

Yes.

I used to road race SuperBikes, semi-pro. Your training time that is run/bike/swim/weights, working on the machines, travel time away from home and family, gets summed up into building capital for one word: flow. Those moments in competition where everything is a cumulative focus for 20-30 minutes at a time, and everything else melts away.

There are no loose ends, it is you and the machine performing as one.

I road-raced for a few years (amateur) - that feeling was the best. One specific race I am remembering is giiving me the chills...

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Great topic. When I was younger I used to run pointing dogs, often hunting alone with a dog or two. There are many times I can vividly recall the non-verbal communication with my dogs and how we connected with the land and the birds. We were lost in time there. We escaped the world completely.

Today I still hunt occasionally, but it's tougher physically to chase chukars. A few years ago I found 3-gun and fell into the time machine you call Zen. Being in the moment, completely absorbed in what I'm doing is why I do what I do.

Sendit

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It is a very good question indeed. For me there are several good reasons involved. A very strong one is to honor the heritage of my grandfathers, one of whom I am named for but never got to meet because he died when my dad was 10. He, Elbert Munsey, was an avid reloader and marksman--it made such a strong impression on my dad he still recalls the details of it now that I have started doing reloading of my own. My step grandpa Herb was an engineer and loved to shoot, had several nice pistols which he would take me to his club to shoot on occasions--cut short by him having Alzheimer's later on in my early to mid teens. My dad never picked up the knack for it, preferring to fish instead, so that lay dormant for me for several years (college campus not allowing us to have guns on it was a major barrier, for one), until I met my wife and upon introducing her to everyone in the family, the value of family heritage became much more apparent to me. Her family having no background at all in the matter made it all the more imperative that I should. So, getting involved in organized competitive shooting helps form a base for which I'll be able to involve our future kids so that they have something to sustain for themselves to carry it forward. That allows both for them to have the gift of legacy which I was given and for me to relate more to the grandpa I had only for a while and the one I never got to have at all but very much want to share some of my life with.

Second, and equally important, is the social aspect of it--spending time around better than average people. Almost by design, in my experience at least, competition shooting attracts intelligent, methodical, educated, achievement driven people. It is greatly refreshing to be in the company of such and hope that the positive aspects thereof become a positive influence on my life in total. Millenia of the human experience has taught the value of sound choice of friendship and affiliation and disastrous impact of the opposite. I've spent years in places where good people were scarce to nonexistent and bad people readily available and looking back note astounding difference in progress in my life based on which kinds of people I was around. Having moved around a lot and being new to the area I currently live and being in a particularly difficult part of the country has made association with other people very scarce and high achieving, intelligent people all the scarcer. As such, an outlet that invites the best of people is indeed a valuable resource which I would be foolish to ignore.

Third, the matter which besets our times rather heavily and in total as a fact of humanity over time: the need to be able to preserve oneself and one's family and property against the savagery of evil, be it common crime, disaster, or historical event of the worst kind. Pistol and practical rifle shooting is a skill that requires A LOT of practice and drive to refine and excel in it, and thus competition serves as a major means to do so. Also being that it's a competitive sport it gives a more pleasant and useful purpose to that same practice as mentioned previously.

Fourth, and as related to the second point, the pursuit of individual excellence through sport itself. Drive to improve, investigation and testing, clear self evaulation and goal setting, dilligence and aspiration are characteristics that propel us forward to reaching better places in life as a whole which we do well to practice in our leisure as we do in work. This is a central value my dad taught me through big game fishing. You get better doing stuff that's hard to do, and you take challenges because that's what's right for you to do. The character of a great mind that works hard at work is unsatisified by being lazy in down time. The thought of settling for less, taking the easy way, putting things off, avoiding challenge is contemptible and wrong to us. The glory of real challenge is being able to see things which those who take the easy way never get to see and cannot be explained to them. You take from that what there is to be had in life and what to expect of yourself, and apply that to all things in your domain.

You take whatever ground is beneath your feet and you shape it in your bare hands into whatever vase or statue or mountain it can be made. You are given talents and a mind with which to work on this Earth. To make absolutely everything you can from it is the duty of service to one who made you and to those who taught you and gave you all that you have and all that you know. To not make the most of everything you're given and have that sense of purpose and drive is to be an ungrateful sloth not deserving of anything, I was taught. It's a tall order, and maybe a touch harsh, but pretty much nothing less ever really works.

Edited by yellowfin

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This is a great post, I shot at one time to win, to prove myself, kind of to myself. ... after life getting in the way, i now shoot because i love that feeling of a good stage, i love the smell of gunpowder burning and the feel of improvement. ... That and hanging out with pro gun people rocks!

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I shoot because this is the only time I can dedicate my mind to something entirely. Well, shooting and surfing allow me to be single minded in an activity. Being from Indiana I don't get to surf much so shooting it is!

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