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Thread: Muscle Memory 1

  1. #41
    Moderator bwaites's Avatar
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    Every time I think of working with LR1955 I am reminded of the old Bob Newhart skit, "Stop It" (look it up on YouTube, one of the funniest things on there!).

    He has developed a "cut it to the bare bones" philosophy of shooting that is incredibly effective for people who are new shooters or long timers. I've watched him take people who had never shot past 100 yards, including my two sons, and have them regularly hitting steel at 700 yards in less than 4 hours of instruction.

    Want to talk about proper breathing technique while shooting? His response is, "you learned how to breathe a long time before you learned how to shoot, the two are not mutually exclusive!" But he then will point out that pulling the trigger at the time of least movement during your breathing process, in the respiratory pause, will bring the best accuracy effect.

    There simply is no BS when learning from him, and he accomplishes more in a shorter time by building confidence in the shooter than any precision teacher I have seen. When I was just starting 10 years ago, I had grave concerns that I would ever shoot at the level of my equipment. He pointed out that I never would, if that was my attitude. He told me that equipment was limited, it could never improve on its own, but that my potential was not limited by anything but my own thoughts and body. Within a year I was shooting in F class matches. I simply learn more being around him and the other teachers he has at Boomershoot every year than anything else I have ever done.

    If you can get to Boomershoot and take the 2 day Precision Rifle course it will be the cheapest class you have ever had available to get to where you are going.
    ”You seek escape from pain. We seek the achievement of happiness. You exist for the sake of avoiding punishment. We exist for the sake of earning rewards. Threats will not make us function; fear is not our incentive. It is not death that we wish to avoid, but life that we wish to live.” - John Galt

  2. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vasux86 View Post
    I knew he was in the Who's Who of the shooting world, but didn't know all those details. Even more of an honor to be engaged in a discussion with him.
    V86:

    Not in any 'Who's Who' and should not be considered anything particularly special.

    I have always been interested in marksmanship and training so have seen a lot of techniques, heard a lot of theories, put in practice many of both, and even got paid for doing it for a number of years following my career. Probably the single most important thing is that I had the opportunity to devise and implement my own marksmanship training strategies for various Army units over about a twelve year period. And, wouldn't you know it? Just when I really got something going (after about ten years of constant adapting and learning), the opportunities ended due to one of the more prominent budget crisis in the Army circa 2012.

    A very unique set of conditions allowed me to do what I liked. The conditions ended but at an apex so I can't complain. A very few guys did some very good things while under immense pressure and some have attributed their success to something we did in training that helped them succeed. I will also say honestly that nothing I thought particularly important was normally the one thing that popped into their mind and calmed them down enough to succeed.

    As for Boomershoot, that one is another example of change and adaptation in order to provide folks with individually focused training under some very unique circumstances. It is a challenge every single year we do it.

    I didn't do it myself and without a bunch of real focused guys, from unit level NCO's to the crew I have today at Boomershoot (Bill Waites and LRRP52 are two of my cadre), I wouldn't be saying any of this. They are the ones who sit there with shooters all day patiently working people through problems to succeed.

    Am glad I did what I did for those years. Learned a lot about training Joes and civilians. Had a good time doing it, too. Glad it is over except for a few individual sessions and Boomershoot.

    LR55

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    Warrior Vasux86's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LR1955 View Post
    V86:

    Not in any 'Who's Who' and should not be considered anything particularly special.

    I have always been interested in marksmanship and training so have seen a lot of techniques, heard a lot of theories, put in practice many of both, and even got paid for doing it for a number of years following my career. Probably the single most important thing is that I had the opportunity to devise and implement my own marksmanship training strategies for various Army units over about a twelve year period. And, wouldn't you know it? Just when I really got something going (after about ten years of constant adapting and learning), the opportunities ended due to one of the more prominent budget crisis in the Army circa 2012.

    A very unique set of conditions allowed me to do what I liked. The conditions ended but at an apex so I can't complain. A very few guys did some very good things while under immense pressure and some have attributed their success to something we did in training that helped them succeed. I will also say honestly that nothing I thought particularly important was normally the one thing that popped into their mind and calmed them down enough to succeed.

    As for Boomershoot, that one is another example of change and adaptation in order to provide folks with individually focused training under some very unique circumstances. It is a challenge every single year we do it.

    I didn't do it myself and without a bunch of real focused guys, from unit level NCO's to the crew I have today at Boomershoot (Bill Waites and LRRP52 are two of my cadre), I wouldn't be saying any of this. They are the ones who sit there with shooters all day patiently working people through problems to succeed.

    Am glad I did what I did for those years. Learned a lot about training Joes and civilians. Had a good time doing it, too. Glad it is over except for a few individual sessions and Boomershoot.

    LR55
    Well thank you for your service and for continuing to share your wealth of knowledge and experience with the regular Joe's, like myself. I have learned more about shooting from experienced shooters than I have from any other source.

    That being said, I wonder if a part of this discussion is a matter of semantics. What is commonly known as muscle memory, you might view as "what success is, looks like, and how it is quantified or qualified," and I might view as a motor plan or some learning experience. I'm not sure how different these are in practice, without getting into the weeds of things.

  4. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vasux86 View Post
    Well thank you for your service and for continuing to share your wealth of knowledge and experience with the regular Joe's, like myself. I have learned more about shooting from experienced shooters than I have from any other source.

    That being said, I wonder if a part of this discussion is a matter of semantics. What is commonly known as muscle memory, you might view as "what success is, looks like, and how it is quantified or qualified," and I might view as a motor plan or some learning experience. I'm not sure how different these are in practice, without getting into the weeds of things.
    Vas:

    More a motor plan as you theorized.

    This whole thing started because I experienced far too many guys blaming poor performance (either themselves or someone else) on 'muscle memory'. It was a cop out, just like the typical blaming of poor marksmanship on 'breathing', or because of how someone put their finger on the trigger. Although breath control and trigger finger placement may be part of a problem, they are rarely if ever a primary problem and most of the time they are not a problem at all.

    Not sure what the current excuse is for a failure in marksmanship but when the CQB stuff had its hold on the Army, the leadership used the false notion of muscles having a memory to force their Joes to endure hours of 'Ready - Up's with absolutely no way of getting a bit of feedback in terms of their ability to ID a threat, safely bring the rifle to bear, see a good enough sight picture, flip off the safety, pull the trigger well enough for success, then recover safely.

    So, when someone started the 'Muscle Memory' stuff, I started having them prove it worked. After letting them dry fire at a full E Sil at 10 meters for as long as they wanted, and without having them move their feet, I would blindfold them and let them do a couple of controlled pairs with live ammo. I stood right next to them to ensure the barrel remained pointed in a safe direction. I let them do four or five controlled pairs. Of course, they missed the entire silhouette almost every single time. Any hit was pure luck. So much for Muscle Memory playing such a key role in marksmanship. Can't do real well if you can't see. So, what is better to train for a marksman? Seeing (a good enough sight picture) and moving the finger well enough for success or focusing training on the false notion that 'muscle memory' is the key to success.

    No, I didn't ignore position but I also knew that position would be a natural outcome of efficiently bringing a rifle or carbine to the eye, pointing it well enough for success, and pulling a trigger without pointing it somewhere else.

    It is funny that with all the muscle memory stuff, all the time spent getting into a text book position for Snipers, DM's, or just the average Rifleman, not once can I recall any of them telling me they actually got into such a position when they had to shoot back at someone. It all came down to seeing a good enough sight picture and pulling a trigger while keeping that 'good enough' sight picture.

    So, that is why this whole thing started a few years ago.

    LR55

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    For someone new to shooting as a whole, this has been fascinating. Thank you 1955

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    Quote Originally Posted by schrödinger's cat View Post
    For someone new to shooting as a whole, this has been fascinating. Thank you 1955
    SC:

    Thank you.

    Just note that this approach was the result of requirements. If the requirements were pure accuracy and there was enough time to get into a rock solid position, my approach would initially place a lot of emphasis on position.

    At Boomershoot we spend a lot of time dealing with position because the requirements are extremely fine accuracy and the firing line is basically a farm field. Far from flat.

    LR55

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    Quote Originally Posted by LR1955 View Post
    Vas:

    More a motor plan as you theorized.

    This whole thing started because I experienced far too many guys blaming poor performance (either themselves or someone else) on 'muscle memory'. It was a cop out, just like the typical blaming of poor marksmanship on 'breathing', or because of how someone put their finger on the trigger. Although breath control and trigger finger placement may be part of a problem, they are rarely if ever a primary problem and most of the time they are not a problem at all.

    Not sure what the current excuse is for a failure in marksmanship but when the CQB stuff had its hold on the Army, the leadership used the false notion of muscles having a memory to force their Joes to endure hours of 'Ready - Up's with absolutely no way of getting a bit of feedback in terms of their ability to ID a threat, safely bring the rifle to bear, see a good enough sight picture, flip off the safety, pull the trigger well enough for success, then recover safely.

    So, when someone started the 'Muscle Memory' stuff, I started having them prove it worked. After letting them dry fire at a full E Sil at 10 meters for as long as they wanted, and without having them move their feet, I would blindfold them and let them do a couple of controlled pairs with live ammo. I stood right next to them to ensure the barrel remained pointed in a safe direction. I let them do four or five controlled pairs. Of course, they missed the entire silhouette almost every single time. Any hit was pure luck. So much for Muscle Memory playing such a key role in marksmanship. Can't do real well if you can't see. So, what is better to train for a marksman? Seeing (a good enough sight picture) and moving the finger well enough for success or focusing training on the false notion that 'muscle memory' is the key to success.

    No, I didn't ignore position but I also knew that position would be a natural outcome of efficiently bringing a rifle or carbine to the eye, pointing it well enough for success, and pulling a trigger without pointing it somewhere else.

    It is funny that with all the muscle memory stuff, all the time spent getting into a text book position for Snipers, DM's, or just the average Rifleman, not once can I recall any of them telling me they actually got into such a position when they had to shoot back at someone. It all came down to seeing a good enough sight picture and pulling a trigger while keeping that 'good enough' sight picture.

    So, that is why this whole thing started a few years ago.

    LR55
    Okay. Now I am understanding what your qualms are with the idea of muscle memory. Certainly you can't roll through a shoot house without eyesight and be effective, which you so cleverly demonstrated.

    Motor plans are much simpler than entering a room, doing your sweeps, identifying threats, determining whether friendly or foe, making a decision to engage, and then actually engaging. Motor plans are downstream of all this. After a shooter has already processed the information and is now engaging the target. At that point, I think there is something to be said about how past experience impacts the simple act of engaging a threat after all the information has been processed and a decision has already been made. Not to say that "muscle memory" explains performance, but I do believe that memory, or learning of some sort, plays a role in how effectively a person engages the threat.

    An anecdote from my own experience- when I went through Advanced Urban Combat, each shooter had an instructor over their shoulder evaluating their performance as they went through the shoot house. The instructors then gave specific feedback about whether or not shooters effectively engaged the target and would apply specific interventions based in this feedback (i.e., slow down until you can hit the target because fast shooting doesn't do you any good if you're missing). They would also tape weapons on friendly targets and tape non-threatening devices on threat targets. This forced shooters to identify whether or not there was a weapon before deciding whether or not to engage. Generally, there was a noticeable improvement in reaction time, shots on target, and less shots on friendly targets. I think this was partly due to focusing on processing speed, but also partly due to familiarity with the actions required to effectively engage a threat. I do not believe the improved performance was muscle memory, per se, but I do believe that a learning experience and interventions focused on specific skills improved performance. However, I never saw combat with any guys from that unit, so I cannot comment on how well the training transferred to a kinetic environment. The guys I have seen in combat definitely didn't rely on textbook methods, especially the Iraqis with their spray-and-pray room clearing SOP.
    Last edited by Vasux86; 02-10-2016 at 02:43 PM.

  8. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by LR1955 View Post
    Vas:

    More a motor plan as you theorized.

    This whole thing started because I experienced far too many guys blaming poor performance (either themselves or someone else) on 'muscle memory'. It was a cop out, just like the typical blaming of poor marksmanship on 'breathing', or because of how someone put their finger on the trigger. Although breath control and trigger finger placement may be part of a problem, they are rarely if ever a primary problem and most of the time they are not a problem at all.

    Not sure what the current excuse is for a failure in marksmanship but when the CQB stuff had its hold on the Army, the leadership used the false notion of muscles having a memory to force their Joes to endure hours of 'Ready - Up's with absolutely no way of getting a bit of feedback in terms of their ability to ID a threat, safely bring the rifle to bear, see a good enough sight picture, flip off the safety, pull the trigger well enough for success, then recover safely.

    So, when someone started the 'Muscle Memory' stuff, I started having them prove it worked. After letting them dry fire at a full E Sil at 10 meters for as long as they wanted, and without having them move their feet, I would blindfold them and let them do a couple of controlled pairs with live ammo. I stood right next to them to ensure the barrel remained pointed in a safe direction. I let them do four or five controlled pairs. Of course, they missed the entire silhouette almost every single time. Any hit was pure luck. So much for Muscle Memory playing such a key role in marksmanship. Can't do real well if you can't see. So, what is better to train for a marksman? Seeing (a good enough sight picture) and moving the finger well enough for success or focusing training on the false notion that 'muscle memory' is the key to success.

    No, I didn't ignore position but I also knew that position would be a natural outcome of efficiently bringing a rifle or carbine to the eye, pointing it well enough for success, and pulling a trigger without pointing it somewhere else.

    It is funny that with all the muscle memory stuff, all the time spent getting into a text book position for Snipers, DM's, or just the average Rifleman, not once can I recall any of them telling me they actually got into such a position when they had to shoot back at someone. It all came down to seeing a good enough sight picture and pulling a trigger while keeping that 'good enough' sight picture.

    So, that is why this whole thing started a few years ago.

    LR55
    Jerry Miculek is definitely an outlier in any shooting debate, but here is an interesting video nonetheless- https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=lZqmUW8SYeM

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    Quote Originally Posted by schrödinger's cat View Post
    For someone new to shooting as a whole, this has been fascinating. Thank you 1955
    Absolutely!!
    Knowing everthing isnt as important as knowing where to find it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vasux86 View Post
    Jerry Miculek is definitely an outlier in any shooting debate, but here is an interesting video nonetheless- https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=lZqmUW8SYeM
    Jerry is a freak, but I know of one other very similar in skill level that could do the same kind of thing. But I don't think of that as muscle memory. That's a combination of multiple gifts.
    ”You seek escape from pain. We seek the achievement of happiness. You exist for the sake of avoiding punishment. We exist for the sake of earning rewards. Threats will not make us function; fear is not our incentive. It is not death that we wish to avoid, but life that we wish to live.” - John Galt

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    Quote Originally Posted by bwaites View Post
    Jerry is a freak, but I know of one other very similar in skill level that could do the same kind of thing. But I don't think of that as muscle memory. That's a combination of multiple gifts.
    Agreed.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vasux86 View Post
    Jerry Miculek is definitely an outlier in any shooting debate, but here is an interesting video nonetheless- https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=lZqmUW8SYeM
    V86:

    Anyone can shoot a 20" X 20" target at 7 or 10 yards for five consecutive shots and probably repeat it two or three times before missing one. Maybe even eight consecutive shots. Although I don't have data on it, I would bet that once you go over six or maybe eight that the chances of missing a shot rise pretty fast. Note the video the shots were drifting down and to the left as he shot his string.

    Back to the point that anyone can do this feat although not as fast as Miculek. When I can get on a range that lets me, I will periodically close my eyes and shoot a couple of shots, just to see how much my position changed between shots. I was getting pretty good at two or three shots before missing. I had to shoot paper but I would think steel would be a better choice because of its immediate feedback. And that shooting faster would also increase the potential of hits because the pistol would not have moved as much between shots.

    I think success came more regularly due to my balance improving while holding the pistol. Note Miculek is really focusing his attention and eyes totally on the steel target as the blindfold is placed over his eyes. His head does not move even when he raises his hands and draws then shoots. He is maintaining excellent balance and I bet that is a key to his success. I say this from regular practice balancing and doing some movements while having my eyes shut. Yes, I know the inner ear is the key to balance but eyesight lets you judge how well you are balanced. Stand on one leg and close the eyes and see how long you can balance on one leg. It is a decent way to get a bit better in about any physical activity, shooting being one of them.

    Not sure what Miculek focuses his attention on when doing this or his other fantastic feats but sure would like to know. Not that his techniques are universally effective but just to know. In many cases, guys like him are not focused on anything. Their minds are blank and they let themselves do the task without interference. It is pretty difficult to do on demand. In other cases their attention is totally focused on one single thing that is the key to their success. When guys get into trouble is when their attention is focused on more than one thing or on the wrong thing.

    LR55

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    Balance is perhaps the ultimate in muscle memory. It requires instantaneous and recurrent feedback from muscles to the brain and from the balance center in the brain to the muscles. As adults we have learned to perceive certain cues as more important than others, such as vision vs inner ear. As children, we are easily made dizzy by simply spinning us on a merry go round. As adults, our brain accepts visual clues as more important than those made by our inner ear regarding spacial orientation, and we ignore that spinning middle ear and take the visual cues. It is what allows gymnasts, ice skaters, dancers, etc. to spin dozens of times without becoming dizzy. However, take away visual cues, and we are easily discombobulated. Put adults in dark rooms, and they have a much more difficult time than children do in finding there way out. The longer adults are without sight, the more difficult things become, until we learn to rely on our middle ear again for balance, and for most of us that takes a long time.
    ”You seek escape from pain. We seek the achievement of happiness. You exist for the sake of avoiding punishment. We exist for the sake of earning rewards. Threats will not make us function; fear is not our incentive. It is not death that we wish to avoid, but life that we wish to live.” - John Galt

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    Quote Originally Posted by LR1955 View Post
    V86:

    Anyone can shoot a 20" X 20" target at 7 or 10 yards for five consecutive shots and probably repeat it two or three times before missing one. Maybe even eight consecutive shots. Although I don't have data on it, I would bet that once you go over six or maybe eight that the chances of missing a shot rise pretty fast. Note the video the shots were drifting down and to the left as he shot his string.

    Back to the point that anyone can do this feat although not as fast as Miculek. When I can get on a range that lets me, I will periodically close my eyes and shoot a couple of shots, just to see how much my position changed between shots. I was getting pretty good at two or three shots before missing. I had to shoot paper but I would think steel would be a better choice because of its immediate feedback. And that shooting faster would also increase the potential of hits because the pistol would not have moved as much between shots.

    I think success came more regularly due to my balance improving while holding the pistol. Note Miculek is really focusing his attention and eyes totally on the steel target as the blindfold is placed over his eyes. His head does not move even when he raises his hands and draws then shoots. He is maintaining excellent balance and I bet that is a key to his success. I say this from regular practice balancing and doing some movements while having my eyes shut. Yes, I know the inner ear is the key to balance but eyesight lets you judge how well you are balanced. Stand on one leg and close the eyes and see how long you can balance on one leg. It is a decent way to get a bit better in about any physical activity, shooting being one of them.

    Not sure what Miculek focuses his attention on when doing this or his other fantastic feats but sure would like to know. Not that his techniques are universally effective but just to know. In many cases, guys like him are not focused on anything. Their minds are blank and they let themselves do the task without interference. It is pretty difficult to do on demand. In other cases their attention is totally focused on one single thing that is the key to their success. When guys get into trouble is when their attention is focused on more than one thing or on the wrong thing.

    LR55
    LR- I'm not trying to be difficult, but I am trying to understand your position on this. You are saying that anyone would shoot a target blindfolded. However, you are also saying that the service-members you trained couldn't. I trust you can help me make sense of this...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vasux86 View Post
    LR- I'm not trying to be difficult, but I am trying to understand your position on this. You are saying that anyone would shoot a target blindfolded. However, you are also saying that the service-members you trained couldn't. I trust you can help me make sense of this...
    V86:

    No problem.

    I am pretty positive that Miculek rehearsed what he did, either live a number of times or dry a number of times, maybe just visualized it, but he did rehearse it. And so he went ahead and did it when he believed with certainty that he could do it. This type of thing is his way of having fun and earning a living. Miculek is also probably the most talented and skilled speed shooter on earth.

    GI's on the other hand don't get the time or resources to do such things and I am also pretty positive that blindfolding someone and letting them shoot on a military range would be frowned upon to say the least.

    Anyone can do this task though. All they need is the belief they can, the motivation to continue to try until they do, and the resources for them to succeed. Miculek embodies the notion that confidence plus focused training will bring success.

    Guys who wanted to try this, I let try. A bunch got into it because it was a challenge for them and they believed they would eventually succeed.

    It wasn't something I let them do for a long time and wasn't a regular part of our training. It was a good way to show what needed training though, seeing and moving a finger.

    LR55
    Last edited by LR1955; 02-16-2016 at 11:06 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LR1955 View Post
    V86:

    No problem.

    I am pretty positive that Miculek rehearsed what he did, either live a number of times or dry a number of times, maybe just visualized it, but he did rehearse it. And so he went ahead and did it when he believed with certainty that he could do it. This type of thing is his way of having fun and earning a living. Miculek is also probably the most talented and skilled speed shooter on earth.

    GI's on the other hand don't get the time or resources to do such things and I am also pretty positive that blindfolding someone and letting them shoot on a military range would be frowned upon to say the least.

    Anyone can do this task though. All they need is the belief they can, the motivation to continue to try until they do, and the resources for them to succeed. Miculek embodies the notion that confidence plus focused training will bring success.

    Guys who wanted to try this, I let try. A bunch got into it because it was a challenge for them and they believed they would eventually succeed.

    It wasn't something I let them do for a long time and wasn't a regular part of our training. It was a good way to show what needed training though, seeing and moving a finger.

    LR55
    Fair enough. It's sounds like we agree on most everything. I'm not sure why it's still feels like we are disagreeing... Maybe because I'm being challenged, which I appreciate.

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    It is kind of an overused term, but because it's something that I don't think is going away, we might as well try and make our own definition of it. I think the best way to think about it is an almost instinctive reaction that you have honed in your behavior. Like any sport, doing it without really thinking about it.
    Love shooting over anything else -- full time manufacturer worker, part time blogger

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