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Bart Solo

What Is the Purpose of Practical Pistol Shooting?

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I read the posts in this folder and wonder what is the purpose of practical pistol shooting? Is it to discover who we are or to forget? Are we using the pistol as a tool to aid in meditation or to provide a means of defense? I read constantly about those who strive to not think as they shoot. Thinking slows them down. Thinking interfers with a smooth run. Thinking just might keep a stranger alive if one wanders into the meditation. Is not thinking required to be truly human? Or is Not Thinking the true goal of the practical shooting meditation? Is meditation an activity that separates us from our humanity? Just what is the way of practical pistol shooting--a meditation tool or a defensive skill?

Edited by Bart Solo

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Shooting is an activity like washing the dishes or mowing the lawn. Mediation is a path to understanding and enlightenment. To achieve a meditative state in the everyday brings me closer to true humanity and understanding.

Shooting makes me smile!

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My point is simple, practical shooting teaches us how to use a deadly weapon efficiently. By his own admission Brian Enos struggled for years to master practical shooting. Then after years of practice it all came together. He found what he always was, a champion. Was it the meditation or the practice that lead him to perform at a high level?

For me a meditative state is to be in the present, free of the future or the past. Thinking takes me to the future and the past and seems the antithesis of the meditative state. All of the talk about achieving a Not Thinking state when shooting seems to be dangerous. Pistols and bullets are dangerous after all.

Of course, you can take the position that we only shoot within the safety constraints of the game. Then it is possible to achieve a Not Thinking state as we shoot. Then the game is divorced from the world. What is practical about the game?

For me, practical shooting is more about wisdom and judgment and less about meditation, but I have been wrong before.

Edited by Bart Solo

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I hope to achieve a smile when mowing the lawn. This to me is the challenge of the moment.

I believe you are taking the "not thinking" to literally. We operate in a conscious state with a lot of help from the subconscious.

Do you think about breathing or do you just do it? Cuz not breathing is also dangerous.

For me it is the same for every task, once repetition has allowed the subconscious to take command, conscious thought is not required to operate at the peak and in fact it only lends itself to slow the process down. The human mind is capable of amazing things if we can only get out of our own way.

Call it what you want, the zone, the state of yo or meditation. For me, my peak performances come when just allowing it to happen. Then I smile :-)

Edited by StraightUp_OG

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Pistols and bullets are dangerous after all.

So are cars, motorcycles, airplanes, bows,.....

I would agree that you are taking things too literally and out of context.

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If we stop thinking about who we are we may discover it. To not think does not imply to be unaware. Quite the opposite one can be keenly aware without thought.

Thinking can lead one away from humanity as well since history is rife with examples of monsters that thought they were doing the right thing.

Bart, have you ever trained in any fighting style with an actual opponent? People can enter the state of "no mind" and go very fast while at the same time having great control.............through awareness...........or great impact (pun intended) through the same.

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SonofSpartans, I have lived a long time and know from real experience what the zone is. Your question about my background is an arrogance that is unbecoming. The state of No Mind or No Thought has little if anything to do with being in the zone. The zone is a state of heightened awareness that is not the same as a state of No Mind. In fact it is just the opposite. While in the zone you are thinking quickly about those things that are most important, but you are thinking.

Once you have mastered your skills and have the proper mental preparation you can focus on those things that allow you make decisions very quickly, but that focus is not a state of No Thought. It is simply the way to do something very fast. I just watched a college football game with many skilled players who know all about being in the zone. I doubt any of them are Zen Masters.

Since this folder is called "Zen" I am talking about the use of "practical shooting" as a meditation tool, not being in the zone.

Edited by Bart Solo

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Shooting is...........fun

Being mindful and observant comes, for some.

Being while in the shooting

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I read the posts in this folder and wonder what is the purpose of practical pistol shooting? Is it to discover who we are or to forget?

Forgetting and discovering are interrelated.

By forgetting (letting go of our conditioned thoughts and habitual reactive patterns), we come to discover what we really are.

What are you?

Find out by forgetting everything you have remembered.

(Don't forget to remember, to forget.)

be

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I am remembering why I dislike forums. I now find myself in the position of apologizing for an offense never intended. I find myself apologizing for asking a question on a topic of another member that I do not know. I have appeared as arrogant in words when nothing of the sort was intended. It was a discussion and a view to find a common frame of reference on a topic. I have observed this thing and learned from it. So accept my apology, BS. You don't know me yet you have judged me. I thank you for the lesson.

respectfully

Jim

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I disagree. When I go into automatic pilot and just do rather than think about what I'm doing, I'm not only safer, but more efficient. The closest thing to practical shooting was my experiences in law enforcement. Thinking, rather than just doing, in some circumstances could have cost me or someone else's life.

In USPSA, IDPA, etc., the more I'm in that auto/no thinking kind of state, the better I shoot. I've only been 100% there in the shooting sports on one occasion and that was in a pin match about 4 or 5 years ago. I can guarantee you I was still aware of my surroundings. It was one of the amazing and beautiful things I've experienced in my life. Since then I've been trying to figure out and/or condition myself to be there again.

I think this concept can also apply to so many things in life besides shooting, as already explained by other folks.

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In my previous post I was trying to reply to post #5, but I'm having some technical difficulties. Anyhow, nothing personal Bart Solo, and please forgive me if I'm not understanding what you're saying, or argument you're trying to make.

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I am remembering why I dislike forums. I now find myself in the position of apologizing for an offense never intended. I find myself apologizing for asking a question on a topic of another member that I do not know. I have appeared as arrogant in words when nothing of the sort was intended. It was a discussion and a view to find a common frame of reference on a topic. I have observed this thing and learned from it. So accept my apology, BS. You don't know me yet you have judged me. I thank you for the lesson.

respectfully

Jim

I understand Jim. No offense taken. I am truly experienced enought to have been in and enjoy being in the zone. My comment was not wisely taken. For that I also apologize.

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I have lived a long time and know from real experience what the zone is. Your question about my background is an arrogance that is unbecoming. The state of No Mind or No Thought has little if anything to do with being in the zone. The zone is a state of heightened awareness that is not the same as a state of No Mind. In fact it is just the opposite. While in the zone you are thinking quickly about those things that are most important, but you are thinking.

You seem to have mastered everything, by your own proclamations of self-development.

Consider going back to where you started at the very beginning, inventory your motives and your instructor(s).

You asked the ? ..." What is the purpose of practical shooting?", as if there is a singular destination point we are all looking to acquire, and/or looking to frame the destination into one of your two options. It is, what it is, and what you make the journey.

Preconceived stereotypes, based on a limited vision, are a form of mental chains. My definition of "the zone" is completely different from yours, as my definition is partially framed from my backgrounds, and this journey so far which I am merely a passenger. While I do control aspects of this journey and what I choose to evaluate as relevant, I am simply along for the ride. The destination is mine, but if I let someone else tell me what the destination is supposed to be, what has happened?

So, the answer to your question is yes and no. :)

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I don't come here to this part of the forum very often.

Just from this thread alone, I am getting this vibe:

kung-fu_tv-master_po-young_grasshopper.j

"Do you hear the grasshopper which is at your feet?"

I'd say for 90% of USPSA'ers/IDPA'ers it is just entertainment/hobby.

EDIT: that is to say that for most people USPSA appears to just be a useful distraction from the mundane things in life. Something that fills in the gap between work, sleep, washing the dishes, and mowing the grass. For a few, I think, practical shooting is esoteric.

Edited by Chills1994

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Shooting as a Zen Art

Deceptively simple in appearance, yet vastly complex is the art of pistol shooting. Without question, its mechanics are simple. As Bill Joyner explains, "Create a machine rest with your stance, grip and breath control. Then with the gun in the machine rest, apply [trigger] pressure directly to the rear until the hammer falls." Attaining the physical prowess to accomplish this task is one thing. However, the mind's influence makes the process a bit more difficult. As Frank Higginson has said, "In shooting, you learn more about yourself than any other sport." This self-discovery that exists in shooting is nothing more than Zen itself.

John Dreyer The Encyclopedia of Bullseye pistol.

http://www.bullseyepistol.com/zeninfo.htm

Edited by toothguy

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I have lived a long time and know from real experience what the zone is. Your question about my background is an arrogance that is unbecoming. The state of No Mind or No Thought has little if anything to do with being in the zone. The zone is a state of heightened awareness that is not the same as a state of No Mind. In fact it is just the opposite. While in the zone you are thinking quickly about those things that are most important, but you are thinking.

You seem to have mastered everything, by your own proclamations of self-development.

Consider going back to where you started at the very beginning, inventory your motives and your instructor(s).

You asked the ? ..." What is the purpose of practical shooting?", as if there is a singular destination point we are all looking to acquire, and/or looking to frame the destination into one of your two options. It is, what it is, and what you make the journey.

Preconceived stereotypes, based on a limited vision, are a form of mental chains. My definition of "the zone" is completely different from yours, as my definition is partially framed from my backgrounds, and this journey so far which I am merely a passenger. While I do control aspects of this journey and what I choose to evaluate as relevant, I am simply along for the ride. The destination is mine, but if I let someone else tell me what the destination is supposed to be, what has happened?

So, the answer to your question is yes and no. :)

I have mastered nothing. I came here looking for enlightenment. That is the topic of this folder. The only thing of real interest I have found is many wisely believe shooting is fun.

Edited by Bart Solo

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I have been following this thread with some interest for several reasons. The 1st is the presence of this thread in a forum which "frowns apon" religious discussion...

The second is the O.P. Why do we shoot - fill in your discipline here -? I shoot steel cause I like to knock down steel. Practical, as I understand it, was developed for training in gunfighting, yet now a little more P.C. as a "game". Like we train in the martial arts and compete in tournements, kickboxing, etc., to "use" our skills safely.

What about the "Zen" part?

I see it as simply this: We are trained our whole lives to "be aware", to see, to anticipate. We condition ourselves to draw at the beginning of the beep, and react in certain, trained-in tecniques. We spend our time ingraining these responses into our being. Live practice, dry fire, visualization, etc. Then we get to the match (or into the ring, or on the playing field, etc) and we tell our mind, "Don't think! Just do!", or, "be the bullet" or whatever, and then as our minds slow us down we say, "forget to remember" and "slow is fast" and so on... The speed comes, in my limited experience, with my limited capabilities, from the having fun. I don't care if I outshoot anybody. I only look to walk away thinking, "that is the very best I could have shot today!" In that i find my reason, because all the trophies are collecting dust in the basement and all the storys are certain to draw "that look" from the listeners.

The other reason I follow is because I just love the way we seem to feel the need to "protect our nests" and find faults with one another's opinions, questions, or ideas. No, I probably don't have your experience! Or talent or training or anything. My bad... Maybe we will someday reach that Zen-like state where we just accept one another...

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Some may argue and this is a tad bit of thread drift but ZEN is not a religion.

ZEN is about finding the True Self.

Religion is about finding God.

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I thought religion is seeking in hope of finding that thing which you worship. Or, the worship of a power greater than yourself which you spend your life seeking, trying to explain, yet can't explain. Or the dedication to a belief not seen, only "known". If "your true self" is what you worship, that defines zen as religion. (by your definition, that is...) I was just making a passing observation, actually. And, I have learned (during the few karate classes I attended) that zen and che definately are religions. FWIW

Edited by Dr. Phil

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Just from this thread alone, I am getting this vibe:

EDIT: that is to say that for most people USPSA appears to just be a useful distraction from the mundane things in life. Something that fills in the gap between work, sleep, washing the dishes, and mowing the grass. For a few, I think, practical shooting is esoteric.

Right. There is no one or two purposes for pps that fits every shooter, today.

It really is a journey which for some lasts longer, than it does for others.

Tomorrow brings a different fold in the adventure, for me anyway.

If I believe my opinion of "the zone" is the end all/be all of it's definition, my learning has stopped, and I become a danger to the teams- in my profession anyway.

One purpose of PPS for me today is to remember that being content with my skills, kills. There's a grasshopper haiku in there somewhere... :mellow:

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Neither discovering or forgetting are being clear of the past and/or future. They both involve judgment which I am sure you are aware is not No Thought. The intense focus required of shooting can assist in momentarily existing in a state of solely living in the moment. This is just as most beginning meditators are unable to simply sit and reach this state and instead rely on focusing on the flame of a candle or their breath. I believe there is a significant difference between being present solely in the moment and not thinking.

There is no requirement that practical shooting be either a meditative tool or defensive practice. It can be both or neither.

Edited by Neomet

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