I’m a little embarrassed to say what I’m about to say, but I need to say it so that I can be a little less embarrassed about saying it.
I am a 1st degree black belt in the martial art of Kuk Sool. More strictly, Kul Sool Won via World Kul Sool Association under SUH In Hyuk.
There, I said it. And I didn’t die (yet…). 😄
I don’t have a Masters degree. I spent 2 years at Texas A&M in a graduate program, and while I did my thesis proposal, I never wrote nor defended it. I don’t have the degree because life took off – married, job, kid, etc.. I came to peace with it long ago, and part of that coming to peace involved this black belt.
I had a history of not finishing stuff. In Boy Scouts I got to Life rank, got stuck on the Personal Management merit badge (foreshadowing!) and didn’t get my Eagle. I didn’t get my Masters. I failed to complete some important shit in life. I wanted to complete some important shit in life.
Monday afternoon February 17, 2003 I took my first Kuk Sool Won class at South Austin Kuk Sool Won with Sa Bum Num Dewain Perry. I was doing it with my oldest, who was of elementary school age at the time. I needed exercise. I wanted to get better at self defense. I’ve always wanted to study martial arts since I was a kid watching Bruce Lee movies and Saturday morning Kung Fu Action Theater. My 삼촌 (“samchon” – Uncle) was all into it too, and impressionable youth me looked up to him. Part of my choice of Kuk Sool is unquestionably my desire to kinda sorta connect with my Korean heritage a bit more. I know there’s a white dude teaching it, but that doesn’t matter (e.g. in a way, Barry & Choon-Ok Harmon remind me of my father and mother). There’s the language, the history (even as bullshit as a lot of KMA history is), and yes some cultural aspects get brought in. Cannot lie that it got me reading Hangul pretty well, and I think it also helped my daughter connect some too because it brought “Korean stuff” into the household. It was all good.
I was determined to get the black belt because I was going to complete something.
February 18, 2007 – coincidentally exactly 4 years after I started – I earned my 1st degree black belt from the WKSA in Kuk Sool Won. I stayed another couple of years, as the South Austin school closed and Oak Hill opened. Despite beginning testing for my 2nd degree, in 2009 I left because I just didn’t jive with the WKSA business practices. I’m here to practice a martial art, not do drama. I mean, drama happens, but this wasn’t my drama so I changed the channel. It’s all good, no hard feelings. In life’s journey, paths converge and diverge.
Yes, in time I came to see how McDojo things were because WKSA is a business and of a particular era in martial arts history. I mean, as long as my credit card kept processing and I kept showing up, I’d get the black belt. And that I did. But in some regard, that was part of it: to keep showing up. And from showing up, I actually got in pretty good shape. It provided a good cardio and bodyweight workout. You had to move your body, and that’s important for good health. The art being of a hapkido lineage, it traces back to similar if not same roots as BJJ in Japanese jiu jitsu. I mean, there’s only so many ways to lock joints and throw people, so that knowledge is solid. Plus, Dewain was good to throw down, which was cool.
I know today it’s all about the BJJ/MMA. I’m down with it. I don’t practice martial arts much any more beyond occasional seminars because much of the injury, wear-and-tear on my body I earned through martial arts practice. At this point in my life, I’m not interested in more of that. Just my personal choice that I know will eventually get me kilt on the street. I’m ok with it. Meantime, I will just keep lifting things up and putting them down.
I learned a lot. The joint locks and throws were pretty cool (the knife defense, not so much). I enjoyed connecting with my heritage in an oblique way.
Jim Wendler‘s 5/3/1 (overview) is an amazing strength building program. It’s not everything, but it is something. I’ve had success with it over a number of years, and so have many others – including my sons.
Many focus upon the templates: Boring But Big, Triumverate, Beach Body, Krypteia, and there’s gazillions more (just buy the books). Templates are one magic of 5/3/1. I assert the real power of 5/3/1 is the principles.
5/3/1 was founded upon 4 principles: emphasize big, multi-joint movements; starting too light; progress slowly; break personal records. When you understand what drives and underlies these principles, it continues to hold no matter what you do. I shifted back to 5/3/1 for a time, saw good results, but I’m not a young man any more and the wear and tear caught up with me so I’m shifting to more hypertrophy-oriented work (for a time). The 5/3/1 principles remain. Starting too light and progress slowly hold well in hypertrophy work as I ease into the novel stimulus). Big movements are good, perhaps with more stability, like a Cybex machine press. PRs can now be rep PRs, inches on my biceps gained, inches around my waist lost.
5/3/1 as originally conceived is not something I can do so much any more. However, the principles of 5/3/1 will forever carry me forward.
I injured my left wrist. Dumbbell bench pressing the other day, I felt something weird. In my dry fire, it doesn’t feel great. I incline benched 245×4 on Friday and no issues (stable movement, wraps, straight and strong wrists). Bending is the issue, especially wrist extension. Even keeping my fingers at home row cocks the wrist and doesn’t feel hot.
Since it’s prep for Gabe, I ran Bill Drills to explore (it served both my goals). I shot 150-ish rounds and had to stop. The way the wrist gets cocked, (esp. at positions 3 and 4) coupled with the percussive nature of recoil just started to hurt in the bad way. I remember when I won my Light Pin in 2019 how beat up and raw my hands were 3/4 way through the class. If that’s the level of abuse my hands can expect, my current situation doesn’t bode well.
I’m not giving up yet. I’m going to see what I can do. If nothing else, now I get to really work on my strong-hand-only shooting. 😂
In other news, I shot Bill Drills because I wanted 1. DTFAH (Draw To First Acceptable Hit), 2. recoil management. In dry practice I noticed I have a tendency to slightly cant the gun, just enough to confound my presentation. When I get the gun vertical, it’s better. I still suck with the dot, but it’s getting better and I think a seed of confidence has been sown. I have also been applying stuff from Mike Seeklander on grip. I saw good results dry. Live I did my best to just watch the sight movie, focus on the grip experiment, and see what happened. Results were… good. I still suck at it, and practicing it will be difficult with my wrist situation, but I’m pleased and feel I’m getting a little further down the road.
I want to take Gabe’s class, not for the trinket but for the learning that will inevitably occur. 2019’s class was transformative, and I have no qualms about being the shittiest shooter in class so long as I’m learning. It’s just gonna come down to the physicality of it all. Gonna work and see what I can do.
I feel weird with self-promotion like this, because it feels like it makes me come across larger than I really am. I’m a big fucking imposter. But, the website is good to do (as I look towards where I’m attempting to go with my life).
blog.hsoi.com is a wordpress.com site with a CNAME. I’ve now failed at a few attempts to migrate it to a wordpress.org install on hsoi.com. Migrating the subdomain is the tricky part. I’m open to suggestions.
I am bummed. For years I’ve wanted to self-host my blog, and now seemed like a good time. It was a good time, and that permitted me the bandwidth to try it a few times, and learn a few things (i.e. fail a bunch). So, it’s all good in the end.
I need to move on to other things. WordPress.com works well, and has really upped its game in offerings – I have no qualms with WordPress.com and in fact may recommend it (tho I am not happy with the breakage of posting to Facebook Pages that are “new style”). I just want to self-host. I’ll come back to this another time. I have other projects to attend to.
Is blog.hsoi.com back? You tell me please… because DNS propagation is a thing.
I’m undertaking a long-overdue migration of my IT services (web, email, domain names, across numerous sites). It’s two-fold:
Move away from MacHighway.com / Deluxe.com
Clean up, refactor, discard or pay technical debt, start “fresh”.
Many years ago I hosted with a provider: ItsAMac.com. I’ve loved Apple since the IIe. An ISP that groks Mac and even uses Xserves? Sweet! Plus they were small and had great customer service. Life was good. They rebranded to MacHighway.com, then started noticing the changes getting… generic. cPanel is life now. And then, hardware/server migrations… over and over. Eventually seeing that the company was sold to someone, then another. I don’t recall all the history, but the latest was to Deluxe.com, which has been the worst. They heavily botched a server migration (which I am to understand from the Twitterverse that they were putting servers on trucks and driving them to a new center). Handling was terrible, from a customer service perspective. It was the final straw, and I overcame inertia and moved.
I am now using A2 Hosting. Jury is still out if it was a good move or not, but after much digging around, compare/contrast vs. my needs, and they seemed right. Small incremental trials have proven good, including their customer service who have been responsive, patient, and helpful. Yes, the quality of answers can vary from service rep to rep, but overall it’s good. Best is they are responsive. It may take a couple back and forths, but it gets figured. So, on that alone I’m pleased with the move so far.
Oh and the site is fast is fast as fuck, boy. (meme)
This was a perfect opportunity to just discard, clean up, and move on. hsoi.com used to have some basic and crude .html files that I wrote probably in BBEdit. This was in the days before CSS and responsive and whatnot: just text, maybe using a table for layout. It was what it was for the time, but… it’s time to go. I am sad that the “MacOS MUD Zone” is no more – it was kinda fun being the Mac MUD dude, but the reality is those were Classic Mac apps and it’s just time to let it all go. WordPress is a thing now.
One thing I’ve long wanted to do is migrate the blog from wordpress.com to my own wordpress.org install. I figured this would be the right time.
I was… half right.
This is a good time, but I should have waited and done it in two phases: 1. get away from MacHighway/Deluxe, 2. do new modern stuff. I started to blend 2 into 1 because this project has been taking a while and with so many things that require “just wait” (e.g. DNS propagation), I thought I could overlap.
However, the migration from wordpress.com to wordpress.org hasn’t been so straightforward, especially because a subdomain is in place: which currently points to and is required really for the wordpress.com-based site to operate, but also needs to be the same subdomain for the wordpress.org install. So… this caused some “false starts” (including trying to use WordPress Multisite). Eventually I realized things weren’t working, needed to back out, but something got hosed with DNS. It took some time, but it looks like A2’s “advanced” support may have gotten things back on track.
I need to wrap up the “Move” portion of things, THEN once I know it’s clean, do the “Forward” part.
So I think I have things “back to how they were before”. I am going to complete my move away from MacHighway/Deluxe. Once that’s good, I’ll look at migration.
This project has taken way too long and caused me enough grief; but I’ve learned a lot.
tl;dr – This year I turned 50, and I wanted to do something for it because why not. Truth be told, I may be 50 but I’m the best I’ve ever been in many areas of life. I felt like celebrating that – to keep climbing. Originally I wanted to diet down, finally get really lean, and post a rockin’ pic on my birthday. Well… that didn’t happen as diet continues to be a struggle for me (more on this later). But I did decide instead to try 100 days of more discipline.
One thing I’ve learned in life is that if the bite looks too big to take, you won’t take it. It’s why in software development we take 1 13-point story and break it down into 13 1-point stories that logically support and provide a path towards the desired outcome. If you just then follow the path/plan/process, it just works and you will arrive at your desired outcome. It may not happen in your preferred timeline, and your level of satisfaction in the outcome (if it even happens) is all TBD. But what’s important to remember is:
Slow progress is still progress. Even if all I did today was take 1 step… I took 1 step. In 100 days, I will have taken 100 steps. Sure it took me 100 days, but I’m still 100 steps ahead of where I was.
I think it was just serendipity that when I came back to think about “what to do for my 50th?”, it happened to be just a bit more than 100 days out. We dumb apes like nice round things, including numbers like 100 (plus it adds another “place”: hundreds… ooo! ahh!). So a 100 day challenge sounds good.
I chose 4 small areas for the challenge: read, yoga, workout, eating.
Every day I had to read something meaningful, useful, towards growth (so reading Slack all day doesn’t count). It has to be something that expands me, grows me, educates me, or just… makes me smile. It could be haiku – talk about a low barrier of entry, as it takes almost no time to read that. Or I could read a page in a book. Or a chapter… well, that’s too ambitious, but for sure there’s no ceiling on how much is read.
I just want to make sure I read SOMETHING every day.
This isn’t real yoga. By “yoga” I mean just moving my body through a full range every day (if there’s a better 1-word term for what I’m doing, suggestions welcome). I sit at a desk at a computer all day typing. I need to get up, stand up, stretch, bend, squat, deep breathe, etc. The gym stuff is good, but it can leave me sore and tight, which then just compounds when you sit crunched over a computer all day.
Use it or lose it is real.
Of course the gym. But also, more dry fire practice. If I’m going to get good at this red dot thing…
Eating – and being less fat
Yes, fat. I don’t want to lose weight. I don’t want to lose muscle mass/tissue. I want to lose fatty tissue from my body. It serves me no purpose: it’s summer in Texas and I don’t need the insulation.🥵 It’s just weight I carry around that contributes more wear and tear to joints and other things. Plus, I just don’t like the way I look naked in the mirror, y’know? I reckon I could stand to drop at least 40# of fat tissue to get acceptably lean.
All this work in the gym – I’ve built something, and I wish to carve off this cream cheese and see it. I’ve long wished, I’ve long tried and failed and tried and failed and tried and failed. But… try again I must. At least each time I learn something that gets me 1 step further.
Well, spreadsheet. I launched Numbers, new spreadsheet, 100 rows of dates, 4 columns one for each challenge. I had to make an entry for each day about what I did. I kept the spreadsheet open, window visible, on my personal computer’s 2nd monitor so it was always visible and present to me. What’s the opposite of “out of sight, out of mind”? “in sight, in mind”?
I gave myself grace about not being 100% successful every day. Yes, I wanted an entry for every day and THAT needs to be 100% (even if I fill in yesterday’s entry during today, vs as I go along today). But if what I put in was “Forgot to read…” or “Ate like an asshole”, thats ok. I want to record my failure days, those days when I’m less than stellar and didn’t live up to my own expectations. I mean, it happens, we’re human: we falter. What purpose is served by me suddenly “cheating” and cramming in a haiku before bed, just so I can fill in a “positive” note on the cell? What am I gaming, for whom, and why? Naw… just record what did happen, even if I’m embarrassed about it, learn, and move on. It’s cool, and as well I thought it’d be interesting to see what it looked like for reals looking back on the track record 100 days later. So, be honest.
100 Days Later…
It was good. I am glad I did it. I learned about myself, and about a few things that I believe will serve me well. The big lessons I got out of it are: to continue to embrace process focus, and that discipline done poorly is better than none.
Even if you’re process-focused you ultimately still care about the outcome. Both process-focus and outcome-focus care about the outcome. The difference is what you are focusing on. Where is your attention? Where is your mind? Is it on that thing over there in the future (outcome-focus)? or this thing right here right now (process-focus)? The outcome matters – it’s about how you get there, about where you put your effort.
As a software developer, process is king. We talk about agile vs. waterfall, scrum, kanban, standups – all of these are processes. We apply process and promote process to our teams and clients all day every day. And that if we just do the process and do it right, it works! It just works! (to paraphrase JonTron)
If I follow 5/3/1, Westside/conjugate, Starting Strength, Texas Method, StrongLifts 5×5, Bill Starr 5×5, Mountain Dog, Renaissance Periodization, Barbell Medicine, Garage Gangsters, RPE, RIR, etc… it’s all processes. If you just do the things and you do it right, it works… you’ll get bigger and stronger.
In shooting a handgun, you have to acquire grip, hold well, align sights, press trigger without disturbing the sights, manage recoil, follow-through, repeat if necessary. Again, there’s a process. Heck, unloading a semi-automatic pistol requires a particular order: 1. remove magazine, 2. rack slide (3. verify). If you rack then remove, it may not be unloaded. Process.
Now, there’s always a process, there’s always an outcome; what do you focus your attention on? Back in 2019 when I took Gabe White’s Pistol Shooting Solutions class, a huge lightbulb came on regarding the effectiveness of process-focus. Of being in the moment of this shot now. That shot, it’s in the past. That other shot? it’s in the future. But this shot? Be here: grip, sights, trigger, viola. And the results of that weekend were beyond my expectations. Then there’s my performance a month later at the Rangemaster Master Instructor class in November 2019. High? Revolver day, perfect score on qual tied with Weems and Labonte (Labonte won the shootoff). Low? Completely fucking the Casino Drill (Tom ran the timer) in front of Tom and a poor showing on the qual (passed, but 91%). I was so outcome-focused that weekend – “Daub, don’t fuck this up.” – and so what did I nearly do?
And so here in the 100 days, I get to a new level of process-focus understanding.
This is pretty simple: just keep lifting. I’ve been lifting since I was a teenager, most seriously from 2011 to today; after 11 years, I think it’s habit and “part of me”. I have to continue to adjust what and how I lift to manage fatigue, wear-and-tear, progress, and quite simply – enjoyment. I gotta enjoy the lifting. I like lifting heavy, but I have to take an even longer road to get there now. But I think it’ll be good – because of something I heard Dave Hoff said about “owning the weight” regarding progression. Yeah… I need more of that.
A number of people have expressed concern over my lifting. I appreciate that I have so many people in my life that care about my well-being. Know that my long-term motivation around lifting is: to not be decrepit. There’s far more to my lifting and workouts than I show on Instagram, and everything is ultimately guided by my lifetime desire to not be decrepit. I want to be like Sonny:
Dry fire… I have been doing more of it. I trailed off a bit towards the end because of other life things, but I’m coming back to it. I don’t get too bent out of shape over those things, because often I find stepping away from something for a moment to let things simmer, I find when I come back to it the notion I was working on will be more refined. It’s all good. But that said, I do need to pick up my game.
Eating / Defatting
This remains a struggle for me. However I did have one solid outcome from the 100 days.
I was able to get a more refined look at how “eating outside my windows” costs me, and THAT is the thing I need to give attention to before anything else. And once I get that managed, then I can truly let it rip.
See, I might leave my office around 6 PM. Supper’s in the works but not yet ready. Glorious smells and “taste this” stimulate the appetite. I snack on something. I keep snacking. I’m probably 500 cals in, and then supper consumed on top of that. And that doesn’t do me good.
If I keep to my time windows (pre, breakfast, lunch, shake, supper) and eat ONLY then, that’s what I need to do. Then it’s just “do the math” and “prep according to the math for a week of meals” and do it to the right cal total and macros and boom… just do the thing and do it right and don’t eat like an asshole outside of windows, and it will just work.
Here’s the twist! I monitor my bodyweight. I see how what I consume affects that aspect, as well as how I look in the mirror (e.g. size/swell of my gut). If eating between windows is helping me maintain, those extra 500 cals (or whatever) are necessary – which means when I DO eat within my windows, those window meals MUST account for that 500 cals somehow so I can still maintain! So I have to eat at particular times AND I have to eat more when it’s time to eat… and I gotta tell you, sometimes all the eating is a chore (look up Blaine Sumner chicken shakes).
So that’s the trick for me now: windows. Mrs. Hsoi has been wonderful in helping with meal preps. That I get to eat her cooking AND do the meal stuff is… wonderful. ❤️
I’ll get there. I do see finally #BecomingLean being within reach.
Discipline done poorly is better than none
If a thing’s worth doing, it’s worth doing poorly.
“Worth doing poorly? Why would you want to do something shitily?” That saying just irked my sensibilities. But then I came to understand it. It’s more like: if it’s worth doing, it’s ok to do it poorly. Like one of those it doesn’t matter if you can’t dance, dance anyways sort of things, dig?
It’s that something is better than nothing. Now of course it’s not just any something, it still has to be something correct and directed towards desired outcomes. But done poorly is still done. And so, something is better than nothing. It’s not about going from 100 down to 10, rather it’s about being at 0 and going up to 10.
What’s magical is that even if say all you can give is a 3, if you keep giving that 3 every day, those 3’s add up. And then maybe one day, you’ll do 4. I recall one night wanting to go straight to bed. That means I skip brushing my teeth, but I tell myself to just go dry brush each surface once and be done. I do. Next thing I know, I’ve brushed every surface a few times, wondering why I didn’t just put paste on the thing… it’s not like it would have taken much more effort. And so next time, I do that. 3 becomes 4.
I am most happy about this. I love books… I have 3 large bookcases in my office stacked with books. I love going to the bookstore and coming home with neat finds. But, I don’t always get to read the books… I want to, I intend to, but time isn’t always there. However, I know it’s not that the time isn’t there; it’s more about how I am spending the time I have. Like I don’t need to scroll social media, I can read a book.
YANSS was a great start, because it’s a lot of little chapters. It’s an easy read, and once you get started it’s only a few pages to finish a chapter. So you make faster progress than 1 page per day. It’s a fun and enlightening book too.
The other two books were just things for fun. I didn’t want to have to read something serious, but they were both enriching. Andrew really hates hair metal. 🤘 And Aaron knows meat. I’ve been putting some of his teachings into practice to good outcome.
If there’s anything I’m really most proud of from this 100 days it’s this – that I’m getting books read. It may have been only 3, but that’s more than before. It feels really good, and I want to keep it up. I’m already into my next book.
I’m standing more. I need to stand moreer.
I also realized something… when I take a break at work, I kick my feet up in my chair and scroll media to kinda tune out my brain searching for a dopamine hit. Why am I not instead starting by doing some stretches and even getting on the floor and stretching and moving stuff. Do that just 5 minutes… then you can scroll or whatever.
Will start doing that.
I’ve been watching my squat, especially as I get into the hole and what happens with my upper back and hips. In part, it’s due to “being tight” because I get to a certain point and the tightness wins, tho I can continue to be mobile by bending, which isn’t quite optimal. So doing things like Asian squat-sits on the reg should help me open things up a bit, including my hip adductors. This’ll just be good for me all around.
I also think, with increased intention around my yoga times, I do some of the knee PT stuff and stretches. That will not only be good for the knees, but my entire lower body.
100 more days?
I did notice that within a few days of finishing the 100, I trailed off in keeping the diary. That’s ok as that’s not really needed long term (I think…). But I have been working to keep up with all the things. I do need to work on reframing my work breaks at least partially into “yoga” sessions. Heck, after I stretch I could do 5 minutes of dry fire practice. 🤔
I did think about trying to extend it out another 100 days, but I didn’t see much of the point. I got what I needed from the rigidity of this exercise, and what I really need is to just maintain the momentum towards it becoming just a part of me, just a normal everyday way of being. To maintain the structure of the 100 day challenge would feel artificial. But could it just feel that way because it’s novel and not yet a habit? Maybe. I’ll see. I have a Reminder repeating on a monthly basis to at least reflect on my performance in these areas.
So I’m feeling rather beat up, especially in my knees and shoulders. I think the shift in lifting style here in meso 3 – more focus on singles towards hitting some numbers again – is in part to blame. I really want to do things like set new lifetime PRs in press (225), deadlift (515), bench press (325), squat (SSB 405). I know what got me there, but a repeat isn’t going to get me there again. I’m older, more beat up, more worn out. But still kickin!
It’s things like posture at work, sitting at the computer… posture is a thing. Plus I have to be mindful side-sleeping, because if I truly sleep on my side, that’s a LOT of bodyweight on that shoulder joint and I can hurt my shoulder if I’m not mindful about side sleeping. And let’s be frank: I’m 50… things are wearing out.
I think I want to play seriously with my squat for once. I’m going to stop deadlifting and instead squat again as a second “technique” day. I want to use it as a time to really focus on squat technique, plus see if I can sink a bit more into the hole and get to stretching those muscles so I can improve that hip mobility to better hit depth. I think that will also take some tension off my lumbar area. All good long-term matters within my mission to not be decrepit.
So like a heavy day working up to a heavy triple on squats (then 1 backoff of 5-8), then a light day of like 5×5 or 5×3 on pause squats with a heavy technique focus – very very light weight, enough for a response, but not much more.
As for my deadlift? if my squat goes up, my deadlift should too. Not worried about it.
Similar for bench. Work up to a heavy triple, then backoffs for 5-8. Simplify the upper-push day a bit. Then on upper-pull day, just do like DB incline benches and call it good for “push” on that day; also open with BB rows (heavy) and close with the DB benches – I have never benched last before. It’ll be novel to try. 🙂
I’ve been paying attention to Paul Carter’s stuff about “effective reps”. I’m slowly finding weights that fit this 3×5-8 (to failure) model. Trying to find how little I can do in terms of volume, but max in intensity and growth, y’know? It’s interesting.
I do like the upper/lower A/B split spread 3x week (9-10 day micro). I will keep most of the same movements: BB rows, Dante rows, seated leg curls, calf raises, seated calf raises, etc. I’ll make minor changes, like making DB curls primary biceps exercise (vs. EZ bar curls of the past 3 mesos) with Cable EZ curls as the second (vs DB curls).
I want to keep working to build strength, but I do need to take a different approach to get there. I really gotta think more in terms of things like building my 3RM vs 1RM.
My video series – It’s Cold Drill Time Again – is now available on YouTube.
I learned the value of cold drills from Rangemaster’s Tom Givens: when the flag flies, you’ll be cold – what can you do then? Understanding one’s cold performance has merit towards knowing and application of your real-world skill.
It’s Cold Drill Time Again aims to demonstrate the value of cold drills, and provide ideas on cold drills one can do.
Season 1 is about starting. It’s about me building the habit to shoot cold drills – and video and post them – as a regular thing. It is as much about the performance work as it is the video production: going from Instagram stories with no idea what I was doing to do, no preproduction, to IGTV with some idea of a script and a smidge of editing. It was a good place to start, and while I love Instagram, YouTube is the place to be. I am bringing Season 1 of It’s Cold Drill Time Again to YouTube.
To celebrate the YouTube debut, here are the first 5 episodes of It’s Cold Drill Time Again (which I guess I now refer to as Season 1).
Yes, I’m a fan of the hottest band in the world, KISS!
One day at the range as I was motivating myself to shoot a cold drill I said in my head… “Welp… it’s cold drill time… again.” Instantly the song “Cold Gin” by KISS popped into my head.
It’s cold gin time again
You know it’ll always win!
Cold gin time again
You know it’s the only thing that keeps us together.
Hear in your head, Gene Simmons growling that out.
Yesterday was a Defensive Pistol Skills 2 day at KR Training. I was assisting Karl with class. After class, a few students reshot the Three Seconds or Less test, and I joined them on the line.
I shot with the Sig P365XL Holosun from my Enigma/JMCK. I finally picked up a Sport Belt (where have you been all my life you sweet thing!). I also chose to rotate my carry ammo, so throughout the day I shot up my Gold Dot 124 grain +P.
First thing I noticed was I was going back into the holster by the time students were just breaking their first shot. Getting out of the holster quickly has merit.
Second, I way failed the test.
Where was the fucking dot?
That’s all that kept going through my head.
Where’s the fucking dot?
I tried playing with some things like slide/window indexing. But still… where’s the fucking dot?
During class, I was running the shoothouse. Afterwards I cranked off some 25+ yard rounds to the 3-D reactive targets – behold the power of the dot.
If you can fucking find it. 🤪
I’ve not been dry practicing for a couple weeks. I’ve been massively burned out due to sleep issues. If I can’t increase my reserves I have to cut expenditures. It’s why I took the last week off from the gym, and why I’m readjusting my gym work with regards to fatigue management. In fact, I’m writing this on a late Sunday afternoon, where I’ve napped most of the day and am starting to regain myself. I rewatched this from Rob Leatham:
and I’m feeling a rise within to want to get back to work.
That’s a good sign.
Oh another thing. It’s ok to suck in public. A couple students stayed after and spectated the shooting. I – the instructor – failed and sucked in front of students/clients. On the one hand, I get the ego involvement and protection. On the other, as Jake the Dog said:
Dude, suckin’ at something is the first step to being sorta good at something.
On June 1, 2022 I was a student in the Rangemaster Practical Tactical Course presented by Tom Givens, hosted by Karl Rehn at the KR Training facility. I took this class not only because I appreciate a refresh on Tom’s doctrine, but it’s also part of my journey of the red dot pistol.
The Rangemaster Practical Tactical Course is 8 hours of intensive training in defensive marksmanship, proper gun-handling, and personal tactics. The class started in the classroom with Tom speaking on the importance of mindset. Tom dove into the 1986 FBI Miami shootout and the lessons it holds. Home security matters were addressed (tl;dr “lock your damn doors”). Staying safe in public. Who is around me? What are they doing? Active shooter realities. This classroom portion is the money of the class (or really, any class with Tom Givens) – the mechanical skill of shooting is, relatively, easy. But to have what? 5+ decades of direct knowledge, professionalism, and experience laying it down for you? People… that’s where it’s at.
I get the feeling the design of the class is half-classroom half-range. I say “feeling” because we experienced sudden, unpredicted downpours throughout the day and were confined to the classroom for a fair portion of the day. Tom of course being a wellspring of knowledge there was no shortage of things for him to teach, and so he did. Eventually the rain stopped and we went out. It’s a pleasure watching Tom run a range – I got reminded of a few places I need to tighten up.
Range work was strong on fundamentals. Note: Tom had the following prerequisite for the class:
Registration is strictly limited to students who have had any prior Rangemaster handgun course, such as Combative Pistol, Intensive Pistol, or Instructor Development. This assures that everyone is on the same page on Safety and Basic Marksmanship procedures, so we don’t have to use time in this class to cover those topics. This assures everyone of a better learning experience in this course.
(I think a KRT DPS1 grad would be minimal for this course)
In range work, Tom went over the 4-count drawstroke, refining technique. We did a lot of drawstroke, dry work, present from low ready, DTFAH, multiple hits, Parrot Drill. Good stuff. Very fundamentals, very much ensuring people have (minimum) competency.
For me, the range work wasn’t anything I couldn’t already do… but I had the dot. More on that in a moment.
I’ve taken around 150 hours of training from Tom – I’m familiar with what he teaches. I think this “Practical/Tactical” class makes a fantastic entry into the world of “The Gospel of Givens”. It is solid and well-considerate of topics for a 1-day class offering – it is rich in appropriate and relevant skills and information. I am happy people were introduced to Quickly, Carefully, Precisely. And again, the real money is the classroom material. Folks… THIS IS THE SHIT YOU NEED. And I’ll be real for a moment: I dunno how much longer Tom’s gonna keep doing this, so get your ass into one of his classes.
If you are more on the experienced side, this is still a valuable class. You can ALWAYS stand to hear the classroom stuff again – plus the way Tom tells it, well… you can tell he’s an articulate motherfucker who knows his shit. And the range time is excellent work on fundamentals – you will learn something new, that will help you along.
People go to classes because they want fun: a class has to be fun. It is a bit of an escape for most of us (e.g. I came home refreshed, actually! a day outside away from the computer…). Practical Tactical provides fun – you’ll get “pew-pew time”. But this is one of those classes where your satisfaction comes later, after class, when you realize how richer you’ve become for the experience.
Bottom line: a solid 1-day offering beneficial to those who wish to become richer in their knowledge of defensive handgun
I shot my Sig P365XL, curved trigger, Wilson Combat grip module, Holosun 507K (circle-dot), PHLster Enigma & JMCK Enigma Shell (recently adjusted).
My biggest problem was eye focus: I’m heavily myelinated on front-sight focus, so I wound up doing dot-sight focus. I’m also learning how to acquire (hunt for) the dot. I’ve been mostly working on the press-out, which implies ready positions like “high-compressed ready” (which is what is done at KRT). Tom works from the low ready – I haven’t worked that with the dot. The “on press-out” techniques to help you find/acquire the dot like starting slightly muzzle-up waving/dropping the muzzle as you get to extension to allow the dot to “drop in” – you can’t do that from low ready. So how the F do you manage low ready? What’s the trick there? Seriously, I’m asking – comment below.
I just have to continue to (un)learn it. I think I need more live-fire at this point, because recoil, sun, etc. It’s just going to take work – I need to get my eyes/brain seeing what needs to be seen here. I was thankful Doug Greig was AI’ing, as he was a solid resource for dot-specific tips.
To that… remember. The old man is 70, still uses irons, and outshoots all of us. Take that to the bank.
I was better in my grip… almost too good:
Blood blister, I reckon from a bottom-corner on the mag well. I’ll be taking some sandpaper to round off edges. I like the WC module, but it’s a trade-off for the part vs. something like a Boresight module. I have an off-the-shelf BS module, but I think to work in my hands I need a custom job, which is time and money so… yeah.
After adjusting the Enigma/JMCK setup, it’s working better. I need to get a sport belt…
It was an informative time. Things I see I could stand to do:
Do more dry work “at speed”
Think about that DTFAH skill.
Drive the gun, especially during dry work.
Small gun issues…
Continue to work on eye focus
Live work – use Gabe’s 4 technical skills, perhaps.
It was good to see Tom. I’m privileged to know and learn from him.