2016-02-08 training log

Light, but painful.

Today is session 1-B, “Press Light”. The “light” days aren’t wussy days — only the weights feel that way. They are lighter weights, but many more reps. And I tell you, when you work that many reps, that little rest between sets, the cumulative fatigue is surprising. I really overestimated things today.

DB pressing… I thought I could do X, but no… not 20 reps of X. I wound up dropping weights just to ensure I could get the reps in. I figured then my incline benching needed to drop down but oh, even overestimated that and had to drop even more. Again, the weights seemed stupid light, but man, by the time I got to inclines my triceps were pretty exhausted. It was crazy.

Speaking of crazy: lateral raises. When I do these, I try to twist my hands forward, like I’m holding a pitcher and pouring the liquid out. I forgot who said to do them that way (Arnold?), but I felt that was good to do else my hands would tilt back, thumbs pointing more towards the ceiling than the floor, and that’d hit even more of my anterior delts which I’ve already been trashing: ensure the medials and posterior get some love. Well, after I finished I looked in the mirror. Holy crap! I can’t recall the last time I’ve seen a trap pump that huge. It was nuts! Hooray lots of reps.

And pressdowns. I used to really love using the rope, but I find that I can get more out of using other bars. There’s just something about the rope and I don’t get as much work on the triceps as I can with other bars. Ah well, no big. Just something confirmed I guess.

It may have been a “light” day, but I’m pretty sure DOMS will hit me pretty hard later. :-)

  • Seated DB Press
    • 20e x 20
    • 25e x 20
    • 30e x 20
    • 40e x 12
    • 35e x 9
    • 25e x 13
  • Incline Bench Press
    • 115 x 6
    • 85 x 12
    • 75 x 16
    • 75 x 12
  • DB Lateral Raises
    • 8e x 20
    • 8e x 20
    • 8e x 20
    • 8e x 20
    • 8e x 20
  • Rope-Handle Pressdowns
    • 35 x 20
    • 35 x 20
    • 35 x 15
    • 35 x 15
    • 35 x 12

Sunday Metal – Metallica

Been trying Apple Music (so far enjoying it). A playlist “Best of Thrash/Speed Metal” came up, and I thought it’d make for a good Sunday Metal series.

Metallica – Master of Puppets


The news media will paint your picture

…and you probably won’t like how the news media paints your picture.

I first wrote about “LittleLebowski”‘s self-defense incident on “How We Each Draw Our Lines Differently“. In my reading of his retelling, another thing stood out to me:

How the media paints your picture.

Here’s the full text of a story from KHON:

Honolulu police have arrested a suspect in a Waikiki stabbing.

It happened on Nohonani Street at around 8:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Sean Hogle, 39, was arrested after police say he and a 38-year-old man were involved in a fight.

The victim was stabbed multiple times and taken to the hospital in serious condition.

There is no official word yet on what the fight was about. A witness at the scene said the altercation may have started with an argument between a man and a woman.

HPD has opened an attempted murder investigation.

Hogle has not been charged at this time.

When you read that, what impression are you left with?

Probably that Sean (LittleLebowski) is the bad guy.

Now in fairness, the article is pretty straightforward; there really isn’t editorializing or commentary. But the way it’s presented? It sure makes Sean seem like the bad guy.

Another report did say:

A witness… said the suspect stepped in to break up a domestic altercation involving an assault on a female. The suspect then stabbed the 38-year-old man.

Which is another fact, and when you hear it does paint a different picture.

Why did the first news story omit that fact? It could be for a nefarious reason, or it could simply be that reporter didn’t get to speak to any witnesses and simply didn’t know.

Regardless of why, the picture is still painted.

I know from my own incident that the news media will paint a particular picture. Once that picture is painted, opinions and perceptions and understanding will be formed. It may not be correct, but it will be what it is. Unfortunately it will likely remain the primary and only picture that people will have about the incident. You may have to fight an uphill battle to combat the image.

One way to start? Live a good life and provide a proper image of yourself online. The moment a story hits, news reporters know how to work Google, Bing, and DuckDuckGo, and work it they will to find whatever information they can about you. If they can use it to create a larger story, they will. You’re welcome to cultivate whatever image and reputation about yourself that you wish: it’s your life, live it as you want. Just be aware how the public could, can, and does perceive you.

The court of public opinion has potential to do far greater damage to you than any court of law ever could. Just look at how the mob rules today with “Internet shaming”. It’s wrong, but it’s unfortunately part of how things are today.

On the same token, when you read news stories, consider your own responses and reactions. Do you have the whole story? Could the media be incorrect or incomplete in their report? Can you have empathy to those involved, instead of rushing to judgment? Use this as a way to improve your own personal responses, because someday that story may be about you.

Be sure to consider the news media, their impact, and how it affects the information of your story and thus your life. It’s an important part of figuring out “where you draw your line”.

2016-02-05 training log

That was different.

This is session 3-A “Back Light” on the LRB template. And for sure, light it was, tho still some work I’m sure my lower back is going to be feeling DOMS mid-weekend. :-)

RDL’s. I had no idea what weight to use, so I just picked things. I shouldn’t have done that. Instead, I should have started at 135, concerned myself more with technique, then work the weight up from there to whatever is right. i.e. get the most out of the light weight, get the most out of the form. I went 275 and I certainly became more concerned with the weight than technique, despite trying to focus on technique all the way up. So I dropped back to 225 and tried to just be all about the form. Still, next time I’m going to start at 135 and if I stay there the whole time but get form dialed in, I’ll take that.

Rows. I forgot that last time I did these I was taking longer rest periods. I’m trying to keep things at about 1 minute between sets across the whole session. So all I need here is a little adjustment of weight.

Hypers. I hate these, but oh, they felt alright. Here’s where the DOMS is going to come from. Trying to do them focusing on the erectors: let the torso “relax/unwind” at the bottom, then focus just on contracting the erectors to come up. Sure, other muscles are still involved, and no I don’t get up as high as if I was really trying to focus on glutes/hams, but that’s ok as I’m trying to make this more a back exercise.

And curls are curls.

Anyways, so a bunch of adjusting needed, but good stuff. I’m curious to see how the heavy back day plays out, and how the whole 2-week: heavy/heavy/light light/light/heavy plays out. So far I am feeling more rested, which I’m happy with.

  • Romanian Deadlifts
    • 135 x 5
    • 185 x 5
    • 225 x 5
    • 275 x 5
    • 225 x 5
    • 225 x 5
  • Cable Rows
    • 80 x 20
    • 90 x 20
    • 100 x 15
    • 110 x 12
    • 120 x 9
  • Hyperextensions
    • BW x 15
    • BW x 10
    • BW x 10
    • BW x 10
  • DB Curls
    • 20e x 15
    • 25e x 15
    • 30e x 9

KR Training February 2016 newsletter

The KR Training 2016 February 2016 newsletter is up.

Classes are selling out quickly, so if you’ve been thinking about taking a class, time to get moving before slots are gone.

See you on the range in 2016!

AAR – KR Training’s Beyond The Basics: Rifle

On Sunday January 31, 2016 I was a student in the first KR avisaining Beyond the Basics: Rifle class taught by Aaron Marco of Sheepdog Solutions.


KR Training’s primary focus is on the handgun. For a number of years, Karl has offered his unique Defensive Long Gun class, but it’s an all-day class (which means a lot of time/resources to allocate) and over the past some years customer demand has been oriented towards handgun instruction, so the DLG class was mostly backburnered.

But, with so many people buying rifles the past few years, certainly people were coming to Karl wanting instruction on how to use this new purchase. Karl responded by offering Basic Rifle 1, which is akin to Basic Pistol 1 for a person who may have little to no prior experience to obtain a basic introduction to the concept of rifles. As well, Karl took the Defensive Long Gun class and trimmed some things to take it from a full-day class to a half-day class: Defensive Long Gun Essentials. DLG-E maintained the basic curriculum of DLG, but dropped some things such as the role-play scenarios. This class worked well to provide people with some fundamental instruction, but didn’t require a long day to do so.

Still, once people completed that, they wanted more; they wanted to continue to improve their skills. After I returned from taking Paul Howe’s Tactical Rifle Operator course back in October 2015, Karl asked me if we might be able to use learning there to create an “intermediate rifle” class. While we certainly could, I wouldn’t feel right about teaching it. As Karl and I continued discussion and who could perhaps teach such a course, I suggested Aaron Marco. Karl and Aaron got to talking, and here we are.

Aaron is certainly a proper person for such a class. Aaron is a USPSA Grandmaster-level shooter. He’s an avid 3-gun shooter. He’s also a member of a full-time Central Texas SWAT team. So consider, Aaron has knowledge of both the “gamer” side and “tactical” side of things. He can speak to both sides equally well, and he’s uniquely positioned to comment on both “gamer” and “tactical” topics, including all the back-and-forth that those exclusive to one side or the other lob about in disparaging the other side. Aaron’s got it pretty simple: if you’re a better shooter, because the fundamentals apply to either problem set, it will always help you. Granted, there are differences (and I was a good example of that; I’ll detail this later), but on the whole if you can be a better shooter, that will always be to your advantage.


It was an unusually pleasant day: mid-70’s/low-80’s in January, sunny, clear; just an excellent day to be out on the range. We had a sold out class of 10 students, with a lot of familiar faces. I attended with my friend Charles from Tactical Gun Review, and Oldest came with me as well. Aaron running the class and Karl assisting. A range of equipment, with a number of suppressors and short-barrel rifles. I believe all but one person was running an AR-patterned rifle, some set up for “fighting” some set up for competition. Two people were running irons, the rest had optics (most popular were 1-4/5/6x scopes, a few red dots).

The class was certainly set up to be a competition class (3-gun, etc.). That wasn’t my expectation going into the class, but I was fine with it. I knew whatever skills were taught would still help me become better.

We started by checking zero. This is a good thing to have done, because people were zeroed in different places, which was fine and you could keep whatever zero you preferred. Aaron was mostly ensuring people were zeroed somewhere, but also understood the zeros. Furthermore, Aaron discussed zeroing in a 3-gun context. Whereas a lot of tactical shooting might zero at 100 yards because it rarely cares about more than a 300 yard engagement, in 3-gun you may be shooting out to 600 yards, so different zeros may be needed, such as a 200 or even 300 yard zero! The game is so much about a balance of speed and accuracy, and speed is sometimes about minimizing manipulations that consume time (e.g. reloads, adjusting your scope, getting in and out of positions). In fact, much of the class had that as the undertone.

After zeroing, we ran various drills to illustrate important concepts. For example, issues of holdover. Aaron set a target and we walked back: 10 yards, 15, 25, 50, 75, 100, shooting it standing offhand each time (let me tell you, 100 yards quickly offhand is humbling), working to help manage speed vs. accuracy, how holdover changes, and so on.

We also worked in different positions such as kneeling, prone, around barricades, off low barrels, etc..  We worked on target transitions, working on being smooth with a steady cadence.

One fun drill we shot was Kyle Lamb (VTAC)’s “1/2 and 1/2 Drill)

  • 10 rounds at 20 yards in 10 seconds
  • 10 rounds at 10 yards in 5 seconds
  • 10 rounds at 5 yards in 2.5 seconds

Here’s a video from Kyle himself:

Of course, it’s a lot of fun to blow through 10 rounds in 2.5 seconds, but it’s also very challenging. On the longer distances, you have to slow down, use all that time, get acceptable hits. On the shorter distances, you have to really go but even then you can’t rush: you still have to ensure the front sight post, the dot, whatever, is still bouncing within the target area. Then we ran the drill backwards (5, 10, 20), and that’s also a tough one because

Oh, and if you watch the video and see the results? Notice how all the hits are in the lower portion of the A-zone? That’s the holdover problem, and it’s tough because on a pistol there’s holdover but it’s not much and usually we don’t worry about it. But on a rifle it’s significant, and in running a drill like the 1/2 and 1/2, your brain gets so focused on “that target spot” that it’s easy to forget to adjust. All telling learning points.

One fun part of the day was Aaron set up a competition stage on the shoothouse berm. We pulled out some .22 rifles and ran though the stage. When Aaron was critiquing my run, he pointed out how he could easily tell I was more of a “tactical shooter” than a competition shooter because of how I ran the stage: how I’d shoot OR move (instead of shooting on the move), how I’d approach doorways, etc.. Interesting observation for sure.


I appreciated the class. It was great to finally meet Aaron (we’ve know of each other for a while, even exchanged some on Facebook comment threads; but never met in person until today). He’s very easy going, very skilled and knowledgeable. I also appreciated the extra time he took with Oldest to help him with some things.

For a first class, it was generally good. I do think there’s some room for improvement in the class flow. For example, the typical mode of operation in our pistol classes that might utilize the shoothouse berm will be to break class, everyone goes over to the berm for a briefing on the exercise/drill, then everyone goes back to the main range and continues class. Since the shoothouse drill is generally a one-person operation, then we’ll have 1 person break out from the main group, run the shoothouse, then rejoin class. By doing this the rest of the class keeps going, doesn’t stand around bored, everyone gets a run through the special drill/scenario, and things just run a little smoother in terms of time and curriculum management. In this class we didn’t do that: everyone stood around and watched while each person ran the stage. Sure, that replicates how a match works ;-)  but a class doesn’t have to run that way. It’d would have been cool if perhaps the large range was set up with an array of paper targets and people worked on “with 15 yards” walking and target-transition engagements, or some other skill. Basically, keep everyone moving.

Small issue tho, and again, this was the first run of the class so of course we’re going to find room to improve.

Me personally?

The biggest thing I got was reinforcement of fundamentals. Again, I felt the CSAT course was not a beginner course, not an advanced course, but a fundamentals course; something that anyone and everyone can benefit from. I saw how the fundamentals worked, even in “competition”; it’s all the same. I also saw how when I forgot to apply the fundamentals, I stunk up the joint. It really reinforced to me that these skills are not fully engrained in me. Need more practice.

I also continue to see how rifle shooting and pistol shooting are more alike than different. Sure there are differences, but not as much as my brain wants to put into it. My brain needs to just “shut up and shoot”; it generally knows what to do.

I was happy for the class. It was just what I needed, both in terms of instruction, and just a bit of fun! A great day, excellent weather, good people, and yeah… getting to spend time with my friend Charles (we haven’t seen each other in a while) and my Oldest… hey, all good things.

Life is good.

Open Carry vs. Level of Training

Newport News police are investigating after a man reported he was pushed to the ground and had his handgun stolen late last week…. He was wearing his handgun in a holster, open carry, on his hip, Eley said.

Emphasis added.

Full story

The article continues telling about an informal survey about open carry vs. training.

Among those who responded, there was a clear trend.

A significant percentage of open carriers had no formal training at all (no, the various required concealed carry permitting classes are not training), and those who were serious students of armed self defense (most attended at least one defensive firearms class a year) almost never open carried by choice.

The more professional defensive firearms training someone had, the less likely they were to choose open carry.

So yeah… take from that what you will.

File it under “the more you know, the better decisions you can make”.

Also file it under “you don’t know what you don’t know”. But it seems the less you actually know, the more you think you know. Y’know?

As I’ve said before, I see no particular advantage to open carry (at least for myself), and I see a lot of downsides. It’s good to have the option, but just because you can doesn’t mean you should.

Stay safe. Be smart. Get smarter (get training, get educated).

2016-02-03 training log

That went well.

It’s day 2-A, Legs Heavy, of this new LRB template program. All in all, good stuff, some new stuff, and just kinda happy to have some heavier stuff too. :-)

Squats went well. I’m finding my bar speed: not too fast on the descent, not too fast (but still trying to be explosive) on the ascent. I’ve been doing so much sub-max work that it’s been hard to find the right speed: I mean, what you can do at 135 vs. 225 vs. 315 are different things, and I’d trying to get that speed and positioning for the heavier stuff, then letting the lighter follow suit. Happy this is really coming together.

Another note: while squeezing/clenching the bar with my hands is good for tightness, I just can’t do it before getting under the bar. It causes too much stress on my wrists. Better to get into position then lock things in.

The hack squats were an experiment. Hacks are part of the program, but I don’t have a hack machine at my gym. The googles said you can do it on a Smith Machine: position the bar like a low-bar squat, put your feet way out in front, and go (bottom position will look like a wall-sit). So I’m trying it. I wanted to be very light today to work on the mechanics, and I’m glad I did. It’s evident that you can get so low that leverages, angles, mechanics will just not allow you to come back up. As well, I could see a small lapse in tension or focus and you could wind up going for a quick ride to the floor. I did put the catch-hooks in place, but because of the odd angles of force on the rails they wobbled out! A simple remedy with some bands to hold them in place. But all in all, this went alright. I’ll certainly up the weight next time, but today was about figuring out the mechanics.

Leg press: all I can say is up the weight.

Split Squats. I’ve been doing the 1-legged Bulgarian Split Squat stuff for the past some weeks. I actually thought about continuing those (and apparently I need my head examined for thinking that), but no… take the variety. This is just keeping both feet on the floor, one way out in front of the other then squat down and come back up. Work to keep the torso upright and moving in as much of a vertical plane as possible (no bending, no shifting forward or back so center of gravity changes), and when in the up position get that back heel on the ground. What was interesting was finding more work happening in my hip flexors… man, they were worked. Sure the rest of the lower body got worked, but really felt it in my hip flexors on that more than any similar type exercise (the 1-legged, lunges, whatever). Interesting note.

Anyways, I dig it. Good work, and again I’m happier for the 1-hour-ish sessions again. Certainly the 1-minute rest between everything helps here (even the top work sets on squats).

Oh, and yes, I’m also so far enjoying going back to 3x/week. Getting to sleep in yesterday was wonderful.

  • Squats
    • bar x 5
    • 150 x 5
    • 175 x 4
    • 205 x 3
    • 230 x 2
    • 240 x 1
    • 255 x 1
    • 270 x 1
  • Smith Machine Hack Squats
    • bar x 10
    • 95 x 10
    • 95 x 10
    • 95 x 10
  • Leg Press
    • 135 x 10
    • 185 x 10
    • 225 x 10
    • 275 x 10
  • Split Squats
    • BW x 20
    • BW x 20
    • BW x 15
    • BW x 15

We each draw our lines differently

Where do you draw your line (in the sand)?

When was the last time you articulated where that line was drawn?

When you articulated that line, have you subjected it to scrutiny? Have you read stories, considered scenarios, applied it (as a training exercise, in your head) while you go about your daily life? Does it hold up? Does it need adjustment and refinement?

Over on pistol-forum.com “LittleLebowski” recounted his experience of when he had to defensively use a knife in a Hawaii hotel. It’s a very detailed story, including details of his arrest, references to news media reports, and all that he went through. I empathized and identified with a fair portion of what he went through.

What was more interesting to me was flipping through all the forum discussion of his account. The majority of it was comments such as “you shouldn’t have gotten involved”, or “wasn’t your fight”. But there were also counters such as “JV_” saying:

It’s interesting to watch incident videos, like the thug beating up on a big bus driver (who won in the end) and many people seemed surprised that no one stepped in to help the bus driver.

And here we have an incident where someone does step in to help out, and we’re back to the “it’s not my fight”. On the other hand, it’s a domestic incident, and if she turned on the helper, he’d still be in jail.

I don’t look forward to living in a society where everyone stands around and watches bad things happen.

And the discussion raged on, as Internet forums do, tho was overall quite civil.

Still, the armchair quarterbacking was interesting for me to observe and it mirrors responses I received in regards to my own incident.

It’s not really that people are trying to tell me or LittleLebowski that we were right or wrong (tho yes, some are certainly trying to scold or correct), it’s more that people are articulating their own feelings against the backdrop of our event. They might be saying “you shouldn’t have gotten involved” but they really mean “I wouldn’t get involved”.

Really, it’s tough to tell someone they shouldn’t have gotten involved – especially after the fact. “Gee, thank you for pointing out my mistakes… as if I’m totally unaware of them.” You may mean well, but think about what you’re really trying to say and why you are saying it. Someone telling their story is making themselves vulnerable, in hopes of helping you (including learning from the mistakes made). Don’t punch them in the gut over it.

And from that, work to learn. If after hearing the story you find yourself (re)assessing how you would respond to such a situation, good! That’s the point of sharing. You should be using the story to figure out where you stand, and if you need to adjust, if you need to change yourself, if you need to further your education.

Remember: as a result, we will all draw our lines in different places. What’s right for you may not be what’s right for me. It’s good to help guide people towards finding, improving, and making articulable where their line is drawn; just don’t look down on them or chastise them for drawing their line differently from yours. So long as they have a clearly defined and defensible line, so long as they can reasonably articulate where and why, that’s what’s important.

2016-02-01 training log

So last week didn’t happen so much. Was out on business, too many long days, not enough sleep, and it was more important to sleep than to lift. I know, sounds like blasphemy, but recovery is something I need much of these days — why dig the hole deeper?

Anyways, today starts on Paul Carter’s LRB-Template from his SSL book. I am hoping 3x/week will be better for me, since that 1. shouldn’t dig as deep a hole and 2. that I’ll get more recovery.

Today was about feeling things out, finding weights and such, and preferring to start light. It did feel a little strange doing some overhead pressing before cycle benching, but it also felt good… extra warmup, and I didn’t feel too much was taken out of me.

I also worked to get my rest periods down. Inception had a lot of longer rest periods, which had its place, but it also really stretched out my gym time to 90-ish minutes, which I can’t always afford. I like hitting that 60-minute window, and if today is any indication, I’m back in that slot. I mean, I even took only 1-minute rests between the heavy sets on benching! If things get heavier and I need more time, I’ll take it. But pushing myself, I think that’s good too.

I also have to say, I really do dig the overhead extensions. It gives a range of motion like no other triceps work I’ve done, and if you really do work it all the way to lockout, it’s a lot of work.

Anyways, enjoyed things. I’ll be upping some weights for next time, but all in all, dug it.

  • Seated, Behind-the-Neck Press (on the smith machine)
    • bar x 5
    • 65 x 5
    • 95 x 5
    • 115 x 5
    • 115 x 5
    • 115 x 5
  • Bench Press
    • 125 x 5
    • 145 x 4
    • 170 x 3
    • 185 x 2
    • 195 x 1
    • 205 x 1
    • 220 x 1
  • Upright Rows
    • 80 x 10
    • 80 x 10
    • 80 x 10
    • 80 x 10
    • 80 x 10
  • Overhead Triceps Extensions
    • 30 x 20
    • 30 x 20
    • 30 x 20
    • 30 x 20
    • 30 x 20