Tactical Firearm Training is a martial art

Jared Traveler

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I have run in many circles, including the "martial arts community" and the "firearms community" or if you will the "tactical firearms community."

Are these different communities? That is a definitive YES and a definite NO. The martial arts community definitely does not claim or identify with the firearms community. And the firearms community definitely sees the martial arts as something different than what they do. This is a mistake.

The reality is the martial arts have always been connected with weapons. The fact is training to use any weapon, for the purpose of employing it in a battle, or fight, is unquestionably a martial art. Firearms have been a part of martial arts longer than most modern systems of unarmed combat. So why are these not linked into the same community? Why do firearms instructors or students not considered themselves martial artists? Why do martial artists not considered firearms training an important part of being a well rounded martial artists?

The problem is, those teaching firearms, don't understand the arts, or martial arts history. So they are in many respects unnecessarily reinventing the wheel, thinking they are being original and inovative. Mean while in many ways far behind modern martial arts concepts, that are well know in the martial arts community.

Even still, if you consider modern firearms training a martial art, you suddenly understand that a large majority of people who thought they were practicing the most realistic and effective martial art, are infact not. Because despite the fact that firearms training suffers from being behind the martial arts community in their understanding of how to develop skills, it is still one of the easiest and most effective systems you can learn.
 

lklawson

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And the firearms community definitely sees the martial arts as something different than what they do.
That's not my experience. My experience is that most serious/semi-serious folks in the gun community think of it as an expression of their martial arts training. Further they usually cross-train in some other art(s). The most common are BJJ, Judo, FMA, and Boxing/Muay Thai, but that's hardly an exhaustive nor exclusive list, BJJ definitely gets the lead. Look at Mike Seeklander as an example.

Heck, according to long time firearms luminary Michael Bane, in the early days of what became IPSC, there were two "types" that competed, those who compete for competition sake and the ones who called themselves "martial artists" and used the competitions as a training mechanism.

Frankly, with the rise of what has been dubbed "Gun Culture 2.0," martial/self-defense intent for firearms training is now the dominant position.

Peace favor your sword,
Kirk
 

Bill Mattocks

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Why is military training not considered to be traditional martial arts in that case? It's formal, organized, has structure and a hierarchy, has promotions and ranks, certain has pressure-testing and what might be called tournaments. What's not to like?

I've done both. So why are the communities not closer together?

Because they are different in a fundamental way. This also applies, I believe, to the firearm training community.

It's not a 'd'. In other words, it's not a way or a lifestyle. It's a hobby. Like bowling or darts or cornhole.
 
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Jared Traveler

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That's not my experience. My experience is that most serious/semi-serious folks in the gun community think of it as an expression of their martial arts training. Further they usually cross-train in some other art(s). The most common are BJJ, Judo, FMA, and Boxing/Muay Thai, but that's hardly an exhaustive nor exclusive list, BJJ definitely gets the lead. Look at Mike Seeklander as an example.

Heck, according to long time firearms luminary Michael Bane, in the early days of what became IPSC, there were two "types" that competed, those who compete for competition sake and the ones who called themselves "martial artists" and used the competitions as a training mechanism.

Frankly, with the rise of what has been dubbed "Gun Culture 2.0," martial/self-defense intent for firearms training is now the dominant position.

Peace favor your sword,
Kirk
While I certainly believe some people cross over well, I certainly haven't seen that most firearms guys identify as martial artists and a part of the martial arts community.

I have probably at least 15 close friends who are active professional firearms instructors. Only two of them have legit martial arts experience. The vast majority have nearly zero interest in training martial arts, or zero knowledge of it's methods or history. And even those two have not looked at the history of martial arts as a resource for improving firearms training.

In fact most people look at firearms as an alternative to martial arts training.
 
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Jared Traveler

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Why is military training not considered to be traditional martial arts in that case? It's formal, organized, has structure and a hierarchy, has promotions and ranks, certain has pressure-testing and what might be called tournaments. What's not to like?

I've done both. So why are the communities not closer together?

Because they are different in a fundamental way. This also applies, I believe, to the firearm training community.

It's not a 'd'. In other words, it's not a way or a lifestyle. It's a hobby. Like bowling or darts or cornhole.
I think many current martial arts systems where founded and developed as military systems. This applies to both armed and unarmed systems.

I'm not sure what you are suggesting. Are you suggesting that firearms training is not a hobby but martial arts is?
 

lklawson

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Why is military training not considered to be traditional martial arts in that case? It's formal, organized, has structure and a hierarchy, has promotions and ranks, certain has pressure-testing and what might be called tournaments. What's not to like?

I've done both. So why are the communities not closer together?

Because they are different in a fundamental way. This also applies, I believe, to the firearm training community.

It's not a 'd'. In other words, it's not a way or a lifestyle. It's a hobby. Like bowling or darts or cornhole.
Maybe I'm misunderstanding you. But there are plenty of accepted "martial arts" which aren't a "do" per se, ranging from classical Fencing through Muy Thai and FMA with lots and lots in between.

There are tons of firearms programs with organized structure and hierarchy with ranks based on objective skills and/or competition and formalized instruction. The traditional Riflery rankings ending with "Distinguished Marksman" (by some WWI era manuals I've read), or any of the Bullseye competition ranks, ISPC (up to "Grand Master" ims), Practical Pistol, 3-Gun, NRA-Winchester skill awards, etc. Rich Brown and Mike Seeklander's (both cross-training martial artists) American Warrior Society has an escalating series of training regiments for developing and improving skill sets. Heck, a lot of them even have set-play drills which some martial artists might describe as analogous to kata.

Sure looks similar to Savate, Muay Thai, Boxing, BJJ, or FMA to me.

Did I misunderstand you?

Peace favor your sword,
Kirk
 

lklawson

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While I certainly believe some people cross over well, I certainly haven't seen that most firearms guys identify as martial artists and a part of the martial arts community.

I have probably at least 15 close friends who are active professional firearms instructors. Only two of them have legit martial arts experience. The vast majority have nearly zero interest in training martial arts, or zero knowledge of it's methods or history. And even those two have not looked at the history of martial arts as a resource for improving firearms training.

In fact most people look at firearms as an alternative to martial arts training.
What can I say? My experience is vastly different. I also have a number of friends in the community, including (maybe a dozen-ish or so) professional instructors. All of them cross train in something and have a "martial arts" background of some type or another. Heck, I was just teaching an OPOTA firearms instructor at Judo the other night and he's not the only OPOTA instructor to do so, never mind the non-LEO professional firearms instructors I know.

Maybe we're self-selecting or something; gravitating to the like-minded, but frankly, as I wrote, of the serious/semi-serious firearms-for-self-defense folks that I know and have met, many more of them have MA experience and/or still cross-train than the other way around. While there are some, they're below the 50% threshold and even most of them express to me that they'd like to do some cross-training.

<shrug>

Peace favor your sword,
Kirk
 

Bill Mattocks

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Maybe I'm misunderstanding you. But there are plenty of accepted "martial arts" which aren't a "do" per se, ranging from classical Fencing through Muy Thai and FMA with lots and lots in between.

There are tons of firearms programs with organized structure and hierarchy with ranks based on objective skills and/or competition and formalized instruction. The traditional Riflery rankings ending with "Distinguished Marksman" (by some WWI era manuals I've read), or any of the Bullseye competition ranks, ISPC (up to "Grand Master" ims), Practical Pistol, 3-Gun, NRA-Winchester skill awards, etc. Rich Brown and Mike Seeklander's (both cross-training martial artists) American Warrior Society has an escalating series of training regiments for developing and improving skill sets. Heck, a lot of them even have set-play drills which some martial artists might describe as analogous to kata.

Sure looks similar to Savate, Muay Thai, Boxing, BJJ, or FMA to me.

Did I misunderstand you?

Peace favor your sword,
Kirk
The majority of recreational shooters I know are not part of any group or formalized training (other than whatever their locality requires for them to get their CCW). They're more like hobbyists who show up to the range in groups of two or three or whatever whenever the urge hits them, and bangs away until they're out of ammo.

I grant you that I don't run with the competitive shooters. They might be more in the nature of some kind of martial art, based on how you're describing it. But I do think they're much less common than the guys down at Accurate Firearms near my house who are more of the casual type shooter.

On the other hand, if we're going to describe the competitive shooters as martial artists, I guess you have to include PPC and Cowboy Action shooters as well? What about role-players and larpers and for that matter the Meal-Team Six Militia boys as well? LOL. I'm mostly kidding here, buddy. But fair is fair. If shooting arts are martial arts, where do you draw the line? Do costumes and uniforms include you in or out? I mean, I wear white pyjamas and a funny belt.
 

Bill Mattocks

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I think many current martial arts systems where founded and developed as military systems. This applies to both armed and unarmed systems.

I'm not sure what you are suggesting. Are you suggesting that firearms training is not a hobby but martial arts is?
The opposite. Most firearms training is hobbyists banging away at paper plates with pictures of bad guys and political enemies and boxes of stuff that explodes in an entertaining fashion when struck. It's casual and not organized and not what I consider any type of martial art. There are certainly those who take it more seriously; just no one I run with.
 
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Jared Traveler

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The majority of recreational shooters I know are not part of any group or formalized training (other than whatever their locality requires for them to get their CCW). They're more like hobbyists who show up to the range in groups of two or three or whatever whenever the urge hits them, and bangs away until they're out of ammo.

I grant you that I don't run with the competitive shooters. They might be more in the nature of some kind of martial art, based on how you're describing it. But I do think they're much less common than the guys down at Accurate Firearms near my house who are more of the casual type shooter.

On the other hand, if we're going to describe the competitive shooters as martial artists, I guess you have to include PPC and Cowboy Action shooters as well? What about role-players and larpers and for that matter the Meal-Team Six Militia boys as well? LOL. I'm mostly kidding here, buddy. But fair is fair. If shooting arts are martial arts, where do you draw the line? Do costumes and uniforms include you in or out? I mean, I wear white pyjamas and a funny belt.
I don't think the fact that it is occasional or consistent would be a key determining factor as to if it is a martial art or not. Especially since one might achieve the skill "they feel" is needed with comparatively less time than it takes to become proficient at martial arts.

Certainly the firearms community has a wide range people who participate in the activity. But I think you hit on something, that speaks to the crossover. Cowboy action shooting with costumes, could easily be seen as the same as someone, dressing up and training Kung Fu or Karate with antiquated traditional weapons. I think I'm both cases they are legitimately practicing a martial art.
 

lklawson

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The majority of recreational shooters I know are not part of any group or formalized training (other than whatever their locality requires for them to get their CCW). They're more like hobbyists who show up to the range in groups of two or three or whatever whenever the urge hits them, and bangs away until they're out of ammo.
I see what you're saying. To be honest, I don't really consider them "serious." They're just recreational occasionally, like that person who buys a set of Sai or "katana" from an online site and swings it around in the back yard and thinks they're a ninjer.

I grant you that I don't run with the competitive shooters. They might be more in the nature of some kind of martial art, based on how you're describing it. But I do think they're much less common than the guys down at Accurate Firearms near my house who are more of the casual type shooter.
...or the girl who takes a weekend "self defense" course where she learns to kick an attacker in the nuts or hit someone with her high-heel then thinks she's "trained."

On the other hand, if we're going to describe the competitive shooters as martial artists, I guess you have to include PPC and Cowboy Action shooters as well? What about role-players and larpers and for that matter the Meal-Team Six Militia boys as well?
Maybe. I've known some SASS guys that I wouldn't take bets against in a gun fight. ...most of them, actually. I know that some people think of them as the gun-guy equivalent of LARPing but they run a SAO handgun and lever-action rifles faster and more accurately than many people know is possible and they learn to do it from cover/concealment as well (such as the "Stage Coach" stages). And, yes, they're ranked by competitive standing typically.

LOL. I'm mostly kidding here, buddy. But fair is fair. If shooting arts are martial arts, where do you draw the line? Do costumes and uniforms include you in or out? I mean, I wear white pyjamas and a funny belt.
Funnily enough, I was just thinking about the white pajamas. :)

Peace favor your sword,
Kirk
 

Bill Mattocks

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I see what you're saying. To be honest, I don't really consider them "serious." They're just recreational occasionally, like that person who buys a set of Sai or "katana" from an online site and swings it around in the back yard and thinks they're a ninjer.
Right. I just think that's mostly what the gun ranges are full of. I forgot to mention the guys who show up at the outdoor range a couple miles from my house to sight in their hunting rifles every fall. They're legit training, but still individually and not as some kind of organized deal.
...or the girl who takes a weekend "self defense" course where she learns to kick an attacker in the nuts or hit someone with her high-heel then thinks she's "trained."
You forgot the kubaton and the car keys trick. Sigh.
Maybe. I've known some SASS guys that I wouldn't take bets against in a gun fight. ...most of them, actually. I know that some people think of them as the gun-guy equivalent of LARPing but they run a SAO handgun and lever-action rifles faster and more accurately than many people know is possible and they learn to do it from cover/concealment as well (such as the "Stage Coach" stages). And, yes, they're ranked by competitive standing typically.
Amazing skills at a certain type of shooting for sure. Don't they run greatly reduced loads? Granted they would be wicked in a real gun fight.
Funnily enough, I was just thinking about the white pajamas. :)

Peace favor your sword,
Kirk
How can you not think about the white pyjamas? I was just wearing mine last night, beating up small children whilst their parents cheered.
 

lklawson

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Right. I just think that's mostly what the gun ranges are full of.
Just like most of the people who bought a "katana" and swing it 'round in the back yard aren't martial artists with training. It's exactly the same. I don't have any stats but would you care to guess how many 440 Stainless "katana" owners are out there compared to people who have real training? I'd guess that the percentages are comparable.


I forgot to mention the guys who show up at the outdoor range a couple miles from my house to sight in their hunting rifles every fall. They're legit training, but still individually and not as some kind of organized deal.
They're legit training for hunting, not self-defense.


You forgot the kubaton and the car keys trick. Sigh.
Or those "cat ears" thingies.
;p


Amazing skills at a certain type of shooting for sure. Don't they run greatly reduced loads?
Often times, but not always, yes. A lot of people misunderstand the purpose or context of "Cowboy Loads," thinking it's just wimpifying a cartridge for men who don't pee standing up. It's is common for those who shoot .45LC to use "Cowboy Loads." These are "reduced" power compared to modern .45LC but are closer to a lot of the historic Black Powder .45LC loads in terms of muzzle energy which is a bit less than comparable bullet weight muzzle energy for .45ACP, i.e.; something over 300-350 FP/E. A lot of SASS guys shoot standard .38SPL in SAA's chambered in .356 Mag and I doubt that you'll argue very hard against .38SPL at standard muzzle energies if you're shooting a modern expanding bullet. A lot of them reload their own ammo and tune it for best accuracy in their gun, which may or may not be "reduced load" or upwards on the scale from there.

Granted they would be wicked in a real gun fight.
Well, I mean few people volunteer to stand in front of a .38SPL or a 350gr .45 bullet even if you tell them "it's only traveling at about 800 fps." :)

How can you not think about the white pyjamas? I was just wearing mine last night, beating up small children whilst their parents cheered.
It's one of the advantage of being a Sensei. :D

Peace favor your sword,
Kirk
 

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