Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Firearms Safety

Originally uploaded by tommrkr
Last night, I was able to implement a class I'd been wanting to do for a long time, thanks to the expertise of a student and former student. We talked about the G word in a martial arts class. That's right, we talked about guns.

We didn't do any fancy disarms, weapon strips, retention drills, etc.

We sat down and talked about them. For about 2 hours, 2 red belts led class through a fascinating and interesting topic. After that, we had about 90 minutes on the range. We discussed types of firearms, from a j-frame revolver up to an AR-15, with some treats along the way (i.e. a bolt-action shotgun!) ammunition, ballistics, and we also talked about some misconceptions and inaccuracies commonly associated with firearms.

Why did we do this? Simply put: education. Before last night, well over half the group had never touched a real firearm, much less fired one. If you never have heard a gun go off, smelled the sulfur, felt the heat and recoil, how can a wooden or rubber gun truly simulate the feeling for you in a drill?

Just like I would teach staff, sword or knife, it was important to establish safety and protocol procedures for the class to follow. The damage potential that lies within the weapon must be respected before being used responsibly.

Turns out, the class went extremely well. There were, as you can guess, a lot of questions. Some people felt awkward asking "dumb" questions, but they received excellent answers which got the ball rolling for more questions. I'm pleased to say that everyone tried their hand at shooting afterwards, and there were lots of smiles as people realized it wasn't so bad after all.
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