by Kellene Bishop
Instincts. Believe it or not, we have the power to control and condition them to protect us.
Two years ago I asked my hubby for TIVO for my birthday. He’s very protective of his time and thus is not a big proponent of watching television. So he wasn’t too thrilled with getting it for me. But after all, birthday gifts are about what the person wants, not what you want to give, right? (Boys, you should be nodding your heads in agreement right now. ) Yup. I’m busy and don’t “have time for TV either” but it does have its place in my life. For example, I use the Netflix service and though I was relinquished to bed rest this weekend, I still got some research done by watching several documentary movies right on my TV which educated me on many aspects of the preparedness theme. Television is nice when you’re not feeling well—unless all you have access to is Gilligan’s Island reruns and I’m usually on bed rest about 3 days a month. So I indulge. Additionally, when I teach a class until 9:00 p.m., I just want to come home and turn my brain off and relax. The right kind of television entertainment helps with that. That all being said, I simply don’t have the time or inclination to give my time to advertisers. If I’m going to take time to watch something, I want it over and done with as soon as possible. I’m a “get to the point” kind of person in many respects—so skipping the commercials is very attractive to me. Besides, I also find that the commercials are all too often morally objectionable as well. So when a commercial comes up, I instinctively go for my remote control and fast forward past them. As a result, I can now watch an “hour long show” in about 27 minutes. Even better, when I don’t quite get/hear/understand what I was listening to, I can rewind it and listen to it again. I’m also a big fan of slapstick comedy. So sometimes I can belly laugh again and again through the rewind process. After two years, this habit is absolutely instinctive to me now. However, there is a downside to this.
When I’m at someone else’s home and they have the TV on, the sound of a commercial is so foreign to me, that I look for the remote to fast forward through them. Even worse, when I’m listening to a person speak and didn’t quite hear what they were saying, I find myself wishing I could just TIVO the conversation and hear it again. When I’m driving in the car and listening to talk radio, I keep finding myself wanting to hit the fast forward or rewind button, to no avail. The ultimate is when I’m at the movie theater. When the commercials are blasted at the beginning, I instinctively grip my arm rest as if it was the TIVO remote. I once absent mindedly went to the bathroom during a movie thinking that I could just rewind it when I got back. Yup. TIVO has definitely learned to control me and my life.
As crazy as all of this may sound, it’s actually demonstrative of what can happen naturally with a lot of physical practice. The instincts can be put into place in spite of a chaotic experience. What makes the TIVO action so memorable and instinctive is that it’s a physical action triggered by a mental one. The same kind of instincts that I have with the remote control can easily be duplicated with firearm self-defense training.
When you practice physically to defend yourself with a firearm, be sure to go through the entire motion of doing so. One of the dumbest things I think that folks do is stand at a shooting range and shoot one shot right after another. From a fun standpoint that’s great. But if they are trying to improve their self-defense skills, shooting one shot after another is self-defeating. In terms of a real life self-defense scenario, no one ever sets their firearm up and just starts shooting an immobile target. I’m thinking that a criminal is not going to wait while you put yourself in the same position that you practice at the range—you know…ammo laid to the side, shooting a stable target at whatever distance you’re comfortable with, etc. “Excuse me Mr. Bad Guy. Can you give me a moment while I put you in my sights. Oh, and come forward just about 12 inches more. I shoot much better that way.” In a realistic scenario, you should practice drawing your firearm properly, shoot at your target, evaluating the environment (stay engaged), shoot again as necessary, and then safely reholster your firearm. Don’t worry about the speed of this. Instead be focused on the proper physical actions. The speed will come later. This kind of practice is the only kind that will help you in a genuine self-defense scenario. It’s important that you not create bad physical habits that will impair you from protecting yourself. So be sure that every step of your practice is conducted properly. Again—the speed will come. I assure you that if you only practice shooting at the range instead of the rest of the self-defense motions that are necessary, regardless what a great shot you are at the range, you will inevitably miss your target due to the physical movement, the heightened emotions, and a foreign scenario. Missing your target isn’t just about you protecting yourself. It’s also about confidently knowing you won’t hurt anyone else. Practicing with deliberate physical movements through the entire defensive scenario will put more of those unknown factors in your favor.
By the way, if it’s any consolation, this year I’m asking for a full-fledged square foot garden plot built for me this year for my birthday. Perhaps it will help me sleep too. 🙂
Copyright Protected 2010, Women of Caliber and Kellene Bishop. All Rights Reserved. No portion of any content on this site may be duplicated, transferred, copied, or published without written permission from the author. However, you are welcome to provide a link to the content on your site or in your written works.
Filed under: firearm education, firearms / guns, Preparedness, Uncategorized, weapons, women and guns | Tagged: firearm self defense, instinctive shooting, mental instincts, muscle memory, physical instincts, shooting range mistakes, TIVO |