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What Is the Purpose of Practical Pistol Shooting?


Bart Solo
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I said "Finding self" not "Worshiping self". And it is not my definition I was using Ryoun Yamada's definition.

Worshiping the self is the antithesis of ZEN but this needs to be it's own thread so I will start it and we can continue the discussion there. http://www.brianenos.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=188012

Edited by StraightUp_OG
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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

What John Dreyer thinks is interesting, but the real question is what do you think?

Edited by Bart Solo
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What is the purpose of practical shooting?

Everything and nothing.

What is the purpose of ken-jitsu? Is it to wield the sword that kills, or the sword that saves?

Are pistols so different than swords, or sticks, or bows.

To define what you do, puts limitations upon it.

To experience a thing is all one can do.

Its all a path, keep walking.

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I think Zen is just a word that we put on an experience that anyone can have doing many different things. Activities or tasks that involve high levels of concentration without negative emotional judgements. Shooting is just one of many activities that can provide this experience.

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I think Zen is just a word that we put on an experience that anyone can have doing many different things. Activities or tasks that involve high levels of concentration without negative emotional judgements. Shooting is just one of many activities that can provide this experience.

Indeed, like petting a dog, for example.

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

The dialogue following that is one of my all-time favorites...

"No," replied Cain. "How is it that you hear it master"?

"How is that you do not"? replied the master.

When you turn on the hot water at the faucet, it takes a while for the hot water to actually get there. I can tell a difference in the pitch between the cold water at first to the when the hot water actually starts flowing.

I find it odd that other people cannot hear that difference.

<shrugs shoulders>

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The thing I like about a sport like practical shooting is that I cannot fool myself into thinking I'm more than I am because when it's all over I can see where my name and score is on the sheet. If I have a video I can see where I need to improve myself and my equipment and not fool myself.

As for self defense, if I need to draw my gun it's because I desperately need to use it so shooting on autopilot is okay then too.

I do best when I feel detached from my body and seem to an observer instead of an active participant in the situation.

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Ha, I know this one. The purpose of Practical Shooting is to make brass. It is just that simple, and all this philosophical discussion is hogwash! But seriously, I dove into competitive shooting during the break up of my marriage and subsequent divorce. It was a very welcome escape from reality for a few hours a couple of weekends a month. I don’t drink, do drugs, or fish so I had to have something to get my mind off my troubles.

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

The dialogue following that is one of my all-time favorites...

"No," replied Cain. "How is it that you hear it master"?

"How is that you do not"? replied the master.

When you turn on the hot water at the faucet, it takes a while for the hot water to actually get there. I can tell a difference in the pitch between the cold water at first to the when the hot water actually starts flowing.

I find it odd that other people cannot hear that difference.

<shrugs shoulders>

Indeed, Grasshopper!

:D

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

The dialogue following that is one of my all-time favorites...

"No," replied Cain. "How is it that you hear it master"?

"How is that you do not"? replied the master.

When you turn on the hot water at the faucet, it takes a while for the hot water to actually get there. I can tell a difference in the pitch between the cold water at first to the when the hot water actually starts flowing.

I find it odd that other people cannot hear that difference.

<shrugs shoulders>

I wait until the water arrives...... And not anticipate the temperature because of what I thought I heard.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Practical shooting is gunfighting. Those people who train for practical shooting are training so that if they find themself in a gunfight, they will be able to perform well enough to survive the incident with minimal injury. The injury can be physical, psychological, legal, financial, or even spiritual. The possibility of having to take the life of another person in self defense is likely the most traumatic experience any normal person would ever have to suffer through. Practical pistol shooting involves not only the mechanics and psychology of operating the weapon, but involves a whole mindset of preparation for surviving a life threatening encounter.

Zen, self discovery, understanding, etc. is a wonderful thing, but it's not necessary for a person to learn how to walk. A person can learn to walk, and perform the act of walking entirely subconsciously. A small child or adult going through physical therapy has to consciously think about the act of walking. How they move their legs, how they move their knees, how to adjust the distribution of weight based on very small variations in the feeling of the feet. Once learned, a person never needs to think about these things again. They simply walk, and it works remarkably well. Should a person find themself being chased by a tiger, they will be able to run without thinking about the action of running. They will consciously be paying attention to the tiger, and how best to escape and survive the encounter. The skill of being able to run subconsciously is a necessary survival skill.

The reason we are able to do this is that we have tens of thousands of years of evolution that has perfected the body, brain and mind to the act of walking. Comparatively, operating a pistol is not a skill that evolution has granted us mastery of. In fact, much of operating a pistol is counter-intuitive, and goes against our natural instincts. This is why we have to employ comparatively complex training methods to learn to shoot, we are trying to come as close to mastery of the operation of the weapon as we have mastered the task of walking. Without evolution calibrating us to the task, we must do it ourselves through various training techniques, including Zen and self discovery. With enough of the proper training, some people have come remarkably close to mastering the act of shooting as well as the average person has mastered the act of walking.

Learning how to operate a pistol subconsciously and without having to think about it is no more dangerous that learning how to walk or run without thinking about it. What we are trying to do through training is to come as close to how we would perform if we enjoyed tens of thousands of years of evolution specialized to the task. The fact that we are able to do this, that we are able to reprogram ourselves and can approximate evolutionary performance levels is possibly one of the most amazing things humans are capable of doing.

Edited by Jshuberg
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Practical shooting is gunfighting. Those people who train for practical shooting are training so that if they find themself in a gunfight, they will be able to perform well enough to survive the incident with minimal injury.

My keen interest in "practical shooting" was inspired soley by the tremendous mental and physical challenges it provided.

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My keen interest in "practical shooting" was inspired soley by the tremendous mental and physical challenges it provided.

Was this your original reason and motivation when you first picked up a pistol and began training with it?

My observation is that the original motivation for people getting into shooting is one of two reasons - entertainment or survival, game or fight. It isn't until after a person has been training for awhile that they discover that shooting is a process, and that the process will eventually lead a person towards developing a greater understanding. At least this has been my observation. Perhaps I'm allowing my own personal experience to pollute my observation.

I very much enjoy the process of learning to shoot well. I've learned far more than shooting by the process of learning to shoot. However, at the end of the day the reason I started down this road was for defense. I make a point to continue to ground myself to this in all of my training.

I'd very much be interested in whether you believe that continuing to ground myself in the context of defensive shooting is holding me back in any way, and if I should let go of my original motivations and allow myself to train for no other reason than to simply train and to learn. I've avoided this as I feel uncomfortable letting go of the reality that we are talking about a weapon capable of taking another persons life. I believe that holding to this context ensures that the necessary respect is paid to the skills being developed. So far I believe that this has worked well for me, but the idea has crossed my mind that by continuing to hold onto purpose rather than surrendering to process may not be the best way.

Thanks much!

Edited by Jshuberg
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My keen interest in "practical shooting" was inspired soley by the tremendous mental and physical challenges it provided.

Was this your original reason and motivation when you first picked up a pistol and began training with it?

It was. From my earliest memories, I was drawn to shooting a handgun accurately. For the lack of a better way to say it, I felt like I was born with a desire to shoot guns well.

Although my father did get me a shotgun for my 16th birthday, her would not let me have any handguns. So the day I turned 18, I moved out and started buying all the handguns I could afford. At that time I worked on a farm, so I'd be out there blasting away at something every day. And it just never stopped... More details on my Bio Page.

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I started pistol shooting older than most. Just before my 60th birthday I saw a cowboy shooting event on television. That looked like fun so I decided to try. Have you ever heard the statement, "you can't teach an old dog new tricks?" The statement is wrong. As long as you are in reasonable health you can learn new skills. You have to work hard and improvement comes slowly, but you can improve.

Along the way I took the advice of some really experienced cowboy shooters and read Brian's book. I have had an interest in Zen for a long time so I realized that at the core of his book was his take on active meditation. I am not sure what Brian suggests in his book would pass a Zen master's test, but most Zen "masters" don't know what they are talking about anyway. Each of us follows his own path

I do know there is truth in Brian's approach. Speed comes from planning, rehearsal, and performing your skills or plan with as little conscious thought as possible. Whatever you call it, what he teaches is a truth known by elite athletic performers everywhere. Most of them have never attained enlightenment. By the same token most who say they have attained enlightenment don't aspire to be elite athletic performers on a competitive stage.

Last fall I took up USPSA to augment my shooting in the off season. So far I have learned that my basic shooting skills transfer directly from the cowboy game, but for me improvement in speed in this game has been elusive. I am convinced that speed will come as it has playing cowboy. If you notice, Brian practiced hard for years before he had the skills he needed to take the next step. I think that level of dedicated practice is necessary before we can get in the flow, or achieve a "zen" state while performing even a simple task like mowing the lawn or washing the dishes.

By the way, I came to shooting because I wanted to have fun and learn another skill. I remain involved because I have met some of the best people in the world.

Edited by Bart Solo
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  • 2 weeks later...

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

Which just reminded me to read again a great shooting book I think was called "The Zen of Shooting" by benos

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  • 2 months later...

Might as well ask what the meaning of life is.

I was told once that "action is faster than reaction" and it really stuck with me. That voice in my head is slowing me down ,I don't need/ have to wait for it's permission.

I always think of the state of zen as being the space in between. When I write a word or think its that tiny fraction in between each letter or thought. For me I have a constant dialogue running through my thoughts, almost as if I'm talking to myself. That dialog serves very little purpose and is completely outside of being present in this/the moment. That dialog is all about reaction. Just becuse some one is performing without thinking does not mean they are doing it without being mindful.

Edited by caspian38
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Might as well ask what the meaning of life is.

I was told once that "action is faster than reaction" and it really stuck with me. That voice in my head is slowing me down ,I don't need/ have to wait for it's permission.

I always think of the state of zen as being the space in between. When I write a word or think its that tiny fraction in between each letter or thought. For me I have a constant dialogue running through my thoughts, almost as if I'm talking to myself. That dialog serves very little purpose and is completely outside of being present in this/the moment. That dialog is all about reaction. Just becuse some one is performing without thinking does not mean that are doing it without being mindful.

Indeed. When one's mind is full of attention, thinking can't function.

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to paraphrase my Dad... what the hell are ya'll talking about?

I shoot because it's fun. I like rocking the shotgun on an array of poppers and clays, reaching out and smacking a steel plate at 500 yards with my rifle, and shooting the pistol at paper and steel. Sometimes I do all three well....

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What's the purpose of golf? Of bowling? Of tennis? Of chess? They are all ways to spend some of whatever time you have left on this planet before it is wiped from existence when the sun goes super nova ...

Edited by Nimitz
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What's the purpose of golf? Of bowling? Of tennis? Of chess? They are all ways to spend some of whatever time you have left on this planet before it is wiped from existence when the sun goes super nova ...

I think in general, the purpose of competitive sports is to challenge yourself to practice and improve at something. Many of us get into shooting because of an interest in self-defense, but imho that has little bearing on shooting sports. I'm just trying to get better at running around shooting stuff as fast as I can.

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