In Defense of “Slow is Smooth, Smooth is Fast”

Lately, I’ve seen a lot of criticism over “slow is smooth, smooth is fast.”  I think part of it is that a lot of folks have seen, heard, or possibly even said that line without actually knowing what it meant.

While I’m not an IDPA grandmaster, ever even been in an IPSC match, or some high speed low drag firearms instructor, I am a martial arts instructor.  As such, I’ve used the term, and I’ve heard many other instructor state similar.

The real message behind the that mantra is to focus on technique.  When we try to go as fast as we possibly can, our technique tends to go out the window.  I’ve seen folks jump straight into trying kicks or hand techniques at full speed, and their technique was generously described as “flailing.”  Lots of movement that doesn’t do anything but waste energy and throws them off balance, no force actually landing on target, and, while their limbs my be going at high speed, the entire action is slow.

The solution to this is to slow down and focus on what you’re actually doing.  If you’re doing something in the middle of your action that doesn’t directly help that action, why?  There might be a good reason (like keeping your hands up), at which point, keep doing that.  If there’s not, maybe you shouldn’t.  Slowing down allows you and your instructor to make sure you’re not only moving efficiently, but that the maximum amount of the energy you’re expending ends up on target.  Once a student’s technique is good, then we move to actually speeding things up.

There’s two ways to “be faster.”  One is obviously to have your muscles respond faster.  While you can definitely train to increase muscle speed and decrease reaction time, that’s only part of the equation.  Sadly, it’s also the part that will go south as we grow older.

The other reason is to improve technique.  The fastest way between two points is a straight line.  The closest your technique is to that straight line, the faster it is.  You will also get to point B faster if you don’t make a stop for gas or food at point C, D, and E first.  Sometimes it’s necessary to hit those points (example: it’s pretty much impossible to go straight from the gun in your holster to a proper firing position), but it doesn’t mean you have to dwell at those middle points.  That’s where the “smooth” part comes in.  The smoother you can flow from “holstered” to “drawn by your side” to “forward and ready to fire,” the less time you will take overall.

You will see just about any traditional martial artist work on techniques slowly as they work things out.  It’s common for Muay Thai practitioners to do so.  BJJ folks definitely work on techniques slowly while training.  I’ve seen boxers take a minute on a heavy bag to make sure their jab or their cross had exactly the right form.  If you ever have a chance to play with a Tai Chi master that knows the practical application, they’re almost magical because they’ve spent years focusing single mindedly on technique and balance.

I even believe that this is what Wyatt Earp was talking about when he said that the key to winning a gun fight was to “take your time in a hurry.”  Yes, speed is very much an important factor, but if that’s all you’re focusing on, you’ll end up being slower over all and have a larger chance of missing in the first place.  The trick is to run the ragged edge of going as fast as you can while maintaining good form.

Quick update

Just in case anyone was wondering, I was in Academy the other day and the ARs were back on display.  Looks like I was right, and they hid them under the counter after the nightclub shooting in Miami until the craziness blew over.

Real life example of why registry is bad

If you’re reading this blog, you probably already know the usual arguments about registry.  A friend of mine just brought up a scenario that I had never thought of.

He has an older friend that is unfortunately in the hospital with one of those issues that a lot of folks don’t come home from (hope that’s not the case here, but…).  Life has apparently treated his buddy pretty well, and he’s been able to afford some machine guns.  This is where it gets sticky.  Some folks have apparently attempted to rob his buddy’s house a couple times.  My friend is the only one that the guy and his family trusts/knows that has the ability to properly lock up the guns away from the now vacant house.

From the admittedly small amount we know about the NFA registry, this may not be exactly legal.  When getting your NFA tax stamp, you can either register by your lonesome, or set up a trust.  If you get the stamp directly tied to you, you’re the only one that can possess the item.  No loaning it out, etc.  If you set up a trust, anyone that is named on the trust can possess it.  Unfortunately, I don’t know which this gentleman did, but, if it was a trust, my friend was not named and there’s a decent chance that the guy will die before the ATF gets back to him about adding a name to the trust.  Not to mention that the third robbery attempt may succeed.

If there wasn’t a registry, it would be a simple case of “oh, I can hold onto that for you.  With the registry?  Things get a lot trickier.

(By the way, no.  This isn’t me.  It really is a friend of mine.  I won’t tell you his name.  On the other hand, if you have a tip other than “find a lawyer,” I’ll be happy to pass it along.)

Fun with Headlines–“I can’t even” edition

Play the game yourself.

1) Go to a major news outlet’s website.
2) CTRL+F “Trump” or “Ban”
3) Click on the link
4) Read the headline, the story, and the comments
5) Go find the source material: Documents or video.

That’s it. Who knew I had discovered “Fake News” long before Fake News was a thing?

The Army goes Sig

A non-gun geek friend of mine actually brought this to my attention.  Apparently, the Army has finished it’s trials for a replacement of the M9.  They’ve decided to go with the Sig Sauer p320.

As a Beretta fanboy, I’m sad to see the M9 replaced, but the Sig is a damn good gun.  The M9 was a great gun in the 80’s, but there have been improvements since then.  Specifically in ergonomics an modularity.  The M9 fits great in my hand, but I have freakishly large hands.  Of course, I find the M9 a much nicer looking gun, but that doesn’t really matter to the military.

The Sig has been on my list of guns that, if I could justify another full sized 9mm, I would buy.  Heck, I might anyways.

Good reason to carry a spare

So… when putting my carry gun in the safe last night, I discovered that the magazine wasn’t in the gun!

Apparently, when I ran out to the store to pick up stuff for dinner last night, I had managed to hit the mag release.  Went back out to the car, and it was sitting there on the driver’s seat.

And yes, I was wearing a good quality holster in good shape.  I’ve tried recreating this event and can’t, but it’s obviously happened.

Which meant I was walking around carrying a single shot pistol.  Of course, I had a spare mag in my pocket, but…

If it weren’t for double standards…

Ben Rhodes, Obama’s Deputy National Security Advisor, on 12/23/2016, reacting to Donald Trump’s commentary on the US allowing United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334 to pass:

“On the president-elect, the first thing I’d just say is that there’s one president at a time. President Obama is the president of the United States until Jan. 20, and we are taking this action, of course, as U.S. policy.”

President Obama on 12/26/2016:

“That doesn’t mean that if a year from now, or a year-and-a-half from now, or two years from now, there is an issue of such moment, such import, that isn’t just a debate about a particular tax bill or, you know, a particular policy, but goes to some foundational issues about our democracy that I might not weigh in. You know, I’m still a citizen and that carries with it duties and obligations.”

So the President-Elect should shut up until he’s President, but a former President has a duty to speak out. Okay, then.

It’s almost like he knows me

Christmas presents from my dad

 

Are you freaking kidding me?!

Apparently, it’s illegal for folks to carry pepper spray in Canada.  Some folks with clear heads are trying to correct that.  You’d think that would be a no brainer, right?  Nope.

Ok.

Fine.

Are the detractors stating that bad guys might use the sprays to attack the innocent?

Nope.

Maybe they’re concerned that folks might over react and spray someone because they got into an argument?

Nope.

The argument against is that legalizing pepper spray is evil and wrong because “places the onus on women to defend themselves rather than focusing on addressing and preventing gender-based violence,” and is “offensive to women.”

That’s right.  It’s evil because we should just teach boys not to rape, and then we’ll live in a magical world of peace.  Oh, and it’s offensive to think that you might want to be prepared if some droog’s treatment doesn’t work.

I can’t even.

Random Thought of the Day

I now have a TV that has no buttons on it, the remote has no number pad, but I can control it with my phone.

Living in the future is weird.