Tiger McKee

Shootrite Firearms Academy

Balance

In a fight the only thing you can control is what you do; otherwise all you’re doing is reacting to what is being done to you. This is a bad place to be in a fight, kind of like being in the middle of a tornado. So we train and practice to develop the mental skills needed to remain calm and in control so we win the fight. Maintaining physical balance is equally important. Regardless of the weapon, you can’t fight effectively if you don’t have physical stability.

Take shooting and moving for example. Shooting is easy. Align the sights and smoothly press the trigger. We’ve been moving every since we began crawling. But to shoot accurately while moving requires proper technique. We move smoothly, bending the knees so the legs act as shock absorbers, and placing our feet before shifting our weight. Then, when we have the sight picture necessary for the shot we’re attempting, we smoothly press the trigger. The sight picture may occur at any point during your movement, but we don’t stop or slow down to create the opportunity to shoot.

Most people assume you’re either born with balance or not. But the truth is physical balance can be improved with practice. Everyone has balance in them; some of us just have to practice more than others. To improve your balance try to move tactically every chance you get, pretending you’ve got your weapon, picking an aiming point and using a thumb as your front sight. While brushing your teeth or getting dressed, stand and balance on one leg. Everyday life contains plenty of opportunities to improve your balance. Use them.

There are also specific exercises you can do. A 4×4 piece of wood, 8 foot long, placed on the ground is a balancing beam. The giant inflatable balls are great. They improve your balance and strengthen your core muscles. Place a few bricks on the ground and work on moving forward and backward, only stepping on the bricks.

The mind controls the body. But the body also influences the mind. If the body is out of balance, you get knocked to the ground, stumble or trip, you have to think about how to regain stability. The mind is distracted, taken out of the fight. Remember, the conscious mind can only think about one thing at a time. Losing your balance diminishes your ability to fight, and provides the threat a window of opportunity to counterattack. It doesn’t mean you lose the fight, but it makes winning more difficult.

Uesugi Kenshin, a samurai of feudal Japan, wrote, “I never knew about winning from beginning to end, but only about not being behind in a situation.” To stay ahead in the fight – constantly forcing the threat to react to you – requires mental and physical balance. Striving for this balance in everything you do will prepare you for victory in combat.

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September 19, 2010 - Posted by | General Training

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