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Posted on November 2, 2022 by in Training

CCW Safe Podcast – Episode 109: Mike Ochsner

Hosts Rob High and Phillip Naman are joined by author and firearms trainer Mike Ochsner to discuss the mental side of firearms training and to discuss Mike’s journey through developing his training curriculum.


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Rob High: Hello, I’d like to welcome everybody to CCW Safe Podcast. I’m Rob High, Joined by my co-host, Phillip Naman. Phil you back in California again?

Phillip Naman: I am, traveling around or back from Wyoming and in California for the duration.

Rob: Good to see you buddy. Glad you could make it. We got a very special guest today, Mike Ochsner. Mike goes by Ox. He has been a competitive shooter. He’s a trainer. He has done some research on lots of things, and I really want to get into the nuts and bolts of the things that he’s put a life’s work into from what I’m looking at.

Phillip: It’s not over yet.

Rob: No, absolutely not.

Mike Ochsner: Not quite dead yet.


Phillip: Helped me out a little will you?

Rob: [unintelligible 00:00:59] those things when Phil and I have brought up on several different shows, things about training reps that I can get without actually spending money. A lot of that is mentally and how I address things like that. The way I initially come into understanding some of this was as a high school wrestling coach back in the late 80s. Mental imaging and mental preparation and I used to call it the psychology of sport, but it’s really way more in-depth than that. There’s so many more levels to it.

As research and medical people continue to make all these advances, we’re learning so many things about the human brain and the fact that we can actually rewire this thing. Basically, rework neural pathways and get a jump on things that mentally we can be on top of without having to have the physical reps in as well. How’d you get started down this path, Mike?

Mike: There were several things that led into it but one of the biggest things was I’ve had a lot of fun, and I’ve done a lot of stupid things and in the process got several concussions. They started catching up with me. My eyes weren’t tracking correctly. I had vertigo almost every night. My hand-eye coordination was off. My– I didn’t sleep well, and I got angry really quick.

Phillip: Like you’re running for senator in Pennsylvania?

Mike: Yes.


Mike: There are some definite similarities of– [laughs] I had to decide, “Is this my new normal or is there something I can do?” I got hooked up with some awesome neurological trainers down in Phoenix through organization called Z-Health. They work– Well, they were both ends of the spectrum. They’ve got trainers that work with people in long-term care facilities helping them get their balance back so that they don’t fall and break their hip. Basically what happens next is people buy a lot of times when they’re in long-term care and assisted living in nursing homes.

Then on the other end, they’re working with world-champion sports teams and world-champion athletes, helping them eke the most out of their body using neurology. I very, very quickly got my function back. My eyes are working together, pain went away, I was able to balance again, didn’t get vertigo every night, and started using some of these drills with shooters and seeing just remarkable change in minutes and sometimes seconds.

That really caused me to dive into it and that’s what I’ve been doing for the last eight years is really going down the rabbit trail of performance neurology and figuring out how can we apply this to firearms training. How can we apply it to something where we want to perform a skill in under life-or-death stress, and do it at a high level?

Rob: That’s something we’ve not previously been able to replicate, we can’t put you on the line and have rounds coming at you. As a law enforcement firearms instructor, for years and years I always talked about the most important time that you’re ever going to be in is a gunfight. We make artificial stressors and we’re trying to speed up and race through a course or force mandatory magazine changes and malfunctions, things like that to where that performance under stress gets refined under that pressure, but this is actually going a whole deeper step than that.

The neurological programming that goes on with this is the thing that really catches my attention the most right now. Did you have– You were talking about having– Are those just sports-related concussions? I was allowed to be a boy to the bone. We did stuff and whether it was playing football or martial arts or wrestling or fighting in the front yard or whatever it was we were doing, we did the same thing. We got banged up and dinged up and got dirty and did those things, but yes I’ve been concussed. I’ve been knocked out. I’ve had those brain injuries as well.

What were the initial pathway is that you started getting directed when you’re talking with these neurologists and things?

Mike: The first thing that I wanted to do was to be able to do push-ups again because I had chronic pain on one side of my body. It would move from my left ankle to my left knee, to my left hip to left lower back shoulder elbow and wrist, but it was always on the left-hand side. What I found out was signals crossover between the left side of the brain, right side of the body, right side of the brain, left side of the body, between the pons and the medulla in the brainstem.

If that area is not working correctly, then a lot of times the brain will create pain to get you to stop moving. That’s what mine had done. That part of my brain was underperforming or under-activated. We did drills to specifically target my midbrain and my pons, and within minutes I went from not being able to do any push-ups to being able to do 20 without pain.

All it was, there wasn’t an injury. It was just my brain. It was so uncomfortable with the conflict between what my eyes were saying and what my inner ear was saying and what I was actually touching when I would reach out and grab something. That it was trying to stop movement, however, it could. Once we got things working correctly, then all of a sudden the brain wasn’t– It didn’t feel threatened anymore, and I was able to do push-ups.

Rob: Take us through and bring us on that journey. How did you start making that reprogramming?

Mike: A lot of it was vision drills. The midbrain and the pons control whether the eyes are going in or going out or up or down. We can activate or send more blood to different parts of the brainstem by where we move our eyes. By moving my eyes in specific ways, I got more blood going to the pons and all of a sudden function came back. In the process, one of the issues was my eyes weren’t moving at the same speeds, and they weren’t pointed to where I was looking. By doing these drills, it got them synced up together.

Now not only was my brain stem getting more blood, but my eyes were sending conflicting messages to my brain and so it calmed things down.

In the years since I’ve used this with hundreds of shooters and other clients, and the immediate impact on performance and on pain can be amazing. I’ve had who were lined up for surgery go from saying they had to drop out of a class to being fine and being able to continue just by doing some silly eye exercises that really shouldn’t work, shouldn’t do what they do.

Rob: You can say they’re silly and you can say that they shouldn’t, but we are more and more seeing absolute mental evidence of what some of this stuff has done or psychological even EMB and things like that and the ability to do things. It all begins with that focused eye movement, almost a training set with your eye and the way your eyes track and that thing. How was it explained to you? Was it just something that they were working with and they thought, let’s try this and see if this gets you lined back out to where you’re not getting those pain receptors your body was trying to send, or?

Mike: Basically, I’ve gone through a lot of training in the eight years since then. Now when I’m walking down the street and I see how people move, I’m seeing what parts of their brain are working correctly and working incorrectly based on how their arms are swinging, which direction their hands are, when their body, whether their feet are pointed in a way or another, or straight ahead, what their head is doing when they’re moving. All of those are basically a [unintelligible 00:12:09] into whether different parts of the brain are performing the way they should be or whether they’re underperforming.

With that, it’s relatively easy to say, this person’s got an issue with the midline of the cerebellum not getting enough blood flow. Let’s do some things to increase blood flow to the midline of the cerebellum and see if it works. Normally it does. It’s not 100% because neurology is not 100% thing but we are amazing creations and the intricacy and the way that things are intertwined is absolutely amazing.

One of the things that I share with people is when you think about drawing a pistol and moving your arm to get the gun out of the holster and get it in front of you, you would think that the first movement would be in the arm or in the shoulder, but 80 milliseconds before that, the muscles of the opposite hip and thigh activate and 10 to 20 milliseconds before that, the muscles of the opposite foot and ankle activate.

The reason is the brain is saying, I’ve got two legs and I’m balancing on them, and if I move my arm quickly, I’m going to create a balance challenge and fall down if I don’t compensate for that movement. The brain maps out how it’s going to compensate for that movement before it allows the movement to start and then it executes, it flexes muscles in anticipation of the movement so that when you move, you’re more stable. It’s just absolutely amazing.

Rob: It’s done autonomically. It’s not ever anything that you and I have to sit there and come up with a mental process to go, before I shift my right hand to my holster, I’ve got to shift my weight to my left foot.

Mike: No, you can’t. The speeds involved, it’s actually one of the biggest problems with robotics and trying to make two-legged robots is they cannot do the balance equations fast enough. If they do do the balance equations fast enough, the computer has to be larger and the batteries have to be larger and the battery life is shrink way down. They get around it by not having two legs for the majority of robots. They have other methods of balance, either three or four or tracks or whatever. The fact that we’re able to do it all in real-time, continually without thinking about it in the background is just simply amazing.

Phillip: Those are your 10,000 reps there, Rob, from the time you’re six months old. It’s just you’re crawling around and jumping around and like you said, being a full-time boy, that happens. Mike, I have a question for you. You’re talking about the very fine balance between our outer sensors, our vision, our hearing, our sense of balance, and your brain health basically. What is your opinion on all these people plugging in this electric stimulus with the big VR helmets and that stuff, do you think that will create a problem for people?

Mike: It has created problems for people. It depends on what you’re doing and how immersive it is. One of the issues is the frame rate of the VR. In a lot of cases it’s getting way, way better, but it’s not fast enough to replicate reality. It’s very difficult to get the reps to go from VR to real world. Now judgment is another thing. Judgment in VR you can train very, very well, but the psychomotor skills are much, much harder to do. Part of the issue with that, it’s an issue that happens in VR, it’s an issue that happens in riding a stationary bike, and it’s an issue that happens with a treadmill, and that is that you aren’t getting the sensory input that your body expects.

When you’re moving forward, your body expects higher air pressure on the front of the body than the back of the body because you’re pushing the body through air and you don’t get that on a treadmill so there’s some sensory disconnect that happens. The gait is different because of the treadmills doing a lot of the work of pulling your feet backwards and you don’t have the balance or the leaning with a stationary bike that you do with a real bike when you turn.

What we end up seeing is a lot of people, if you test range of motion or strength before they get on a treadmill and after they get off of a treadmill, they’re actually weaker and have a narrower range of motion than before they got on it. The brain doesn’t like it. Some people do fine on them, especially on exercise bikes. After four to six weeks, the brain acclimates to it and says, this isn’t real and this is something different than if I was actually on a bike and it will accept it and you won’t see that degradation of performance but for a lot of people it causes a problem.

Rob: As you started getting into this stuff, was it strictly a health-related move? Is that what led you in this direction, just physicians going, hey, we think these things will help you with it. How did you get your start there?

Mike: I didn’t realize how messed up I was at first and I happened to be down in Phoenix for a gun class and stopped in at their facility because some friends of mine, common friends had recommended that I go and talk to them and meet them and that we were doing things in some of the same veins. They just did a quick evaluation, ran me through some stuff, and I was like, oh my gosh, I had no idea what was going on and I had no idea it could be changed so quickly. It started off, it was health and pain and basic function. It ended up being performance and a lot more than I ever imagined.

Rob: That ties that, because I was going to ask and follow it with how did you make that leap into shooting and training in that regard? You were there for training already and then friends had recommended, go check these guys out, let them take a look. Then were these guys already making moves into the shooting world as far as the mentality, of the sport and that thing?

Mike: Yes. Eric Cobb, who’s the founder of zHealth, he’s got a long history with combative and firearms training. That’s not the primary thing that he does, but it has been a passion of his for decades.

Rob: That is really cool. Did you just take things that they were doing or were you implementing things on your own that crossed over into the shooting world? How it was, how did that, advancement happen to you?

Mike: It really happened organically, and it had to do with the problems that people were facing, that who was right in front of me and being frustrated that I didn’t have an immediate answer, and then going and digging in and figuring out how I could help people with that situation in the future. That just snowballed and snowballed and snowballed.

Phillip: What’s the most common defect, if you will, that you find?

Mike: The most common thing is– I call it sensory integration. What it is, the visual system, the inner ear, and body awareness, all agreeing on what straight ahead is, and most people are not synced up. One of the drills that I do in real-time, whether it’s remote or live, is I have them from there, from high compressed ready come up and extend out with their, thumb as if its sights on a gun, and then close their eyes and open their eyes and see if it’s lined up. If it’s not, I have them go through a sequence of head movements to calibrate and synchronize their eyes and their inner ear and their hands, and basic body awareness so that they can come up automatically between their dominant eye on the target.

What I’ve seen in doing this with over well over a thousand shooters live, and then countless more on large remote video presentations is an average of 20% increase in speed and accuracy in two to three minutes.

Mike: It’s, to put that in perspective if you look at guys who are out running classes on the road, for 20 to 30 weeks a year and ask them what they consider success to be with a student after a two or three-day class, it’s 20%. We’re able to get that in two to three minutes and then build on that rather than, so it gives us a better foundation to build on than if our eyes are saying this is straight ahead, our inner ear is saying that’s straight ahead and our hand-eye coordination or body awareness is saying that that’s straight ahead.

Rob: That’s amazing. I absolutely am– I mean like, it’s like a magic bullet.

Mike: It really is. It changes what people think is possible, especially for people who have been struggling. When they do this and their first fast rep, they come up and the sight are automatically lined up between their dominant eye and the holster. We haven’t even touched technique or grip or anything like that. They’re just, it changes their relationship with the gun.

Rob: Are you, presently running instructor courses and or classes that you’re putting people through for these specific things?

Mike: The majority of what I do is online and then a lot of times it will be combined with live training. The reason that I do it that way is if I go out if I fly somewhere and do a two or three-day class and then come home, people are going to have good memories of that class, and they’re going to remember the drills that we did, but they’re not going to develop skill in those two or three days. On the other hand, I can give them an at-home curriculum, and follow-along videos to do, then they can watch 5 or 10 minutes at a time, 2, 3, or 5 days a week.

After a few weeks, they will have learned a tremendous amount and built a tremendous amount of skills and now when we meet live, number one, they’re working from a common foundation. They know the vocabulary that I’m going to use. They know the concepts that I’m going to use. None of the skills that I’m going to be talking about are new, and they’re able to learn at a much, much faster rate.

Phillip: Is that a prerequisite for your training?

Mike: It really depends on the training. I’ll go into organizations and they’ll have me do live training without the priming or the pre-training ahead of time, then I provide video training afterward.

Phillip: What’s your website, Mike?

Mike: Real World Gunfight Training is one of the best ones to reach me at. My two main ones are and

Rob: I want to make sure everybody also knows Mike’s got a book out there that second through. Real World Gun Fight Training goes into everything we’re talking about right here. It’s just one of those things that I don’t think, especially if you’re new to this, it’s not one of those that it’s a one-and-done thing. This is something you can continue to revisit and pick up extra things each time you get into it. Then, the ability to do these things and, really it’s, I think it’s like a cheat code really. Once, you’ve got, your hand-eye and everything dialed in, it’s like I said at the very top of this show the most important timed event you’re ever going to be involved in as a gunfight.

It’s the thing that we’re training for your absolute worst possible moment and we touch over and over and over again that you fall to your level of preparation. You’re not just going to be miraculously– Just because you got a shot of adrenaline, you’re going to be at peak performance. That’s not the way this works. It’s something that there, these are commitments to developing skill sets, but this one really is like a cheat code. It’s, getting you, it’s moving you further up in the line, and giving you that chance, for great success. So I’d really recommend looking into this book reading through it, and just going back and forth with it.

Phillip: Rob, but that’s at your level. This is a performance enhancer for me. I just want the opportunity to take the cork off the end of my fork at dinner. That’s the coordination level that I’m looking for. Then, Dry Fire Cards. Let’s talk about that if you can, Mike.

Mike: Sure. Do you have a question about them or–

Phillip: To explain to people how they work?

Mike: It’s a collection of more than 50 dry fire drills printed on playing cards. The whole idea behind it was that most people get in a rut of doing the same one or two or three drills when they do drive fire. The brain doesn’t like that. In fact, if the brain is not challenged and if you aren’t doing new and novel things, the cerebellum pretty much shuts down because its whole job is error correction. If we don’t, if we aren’t pushing things and creating situations where we make mistakes, cerebellum’s not learning. The cerebellum is one of the biggest players in a chaotic situation and is able to perform at a high level.

I’ve got 50 different drills from basics and fundamentals to advanced skills shooting-on-the-move skills and low-life skills. It was a joint project that I did with some other instructors. Basically, we were all using dry fire extensively with students, and it was dry fire wasn’t as popular than as it has become. It’s hard to believe, but it wasn’t as widely used.

Phillip: The cost of ammo just made live fire a little bit more painful.

Mike: That was part of it. Then another part of it is people realized there was myself and several others who basically were banging the gongs saying, “Hey, you know what? Dry fire is the way that you learn skills. Live fire is the way that you verify and validate what you did in dry fire.”

If you go out and do the majority of your reps with live fire, you’re going to burn through money. You’re going to have fun. you’re probably going to create training scars and flinch being one of the big ones. You’re not going to learn as fast because of the way that neurotransmitters and hormones are affected by an explosion 18 inches away from your face. If we can do the heavy lifting with dry fire and then confirm what we did in dry fire with live fire, all of a sudden our ability to build skill and improve it just shoots through the roof.

Phillip: I think that’s important because again, dry firing, so you’re in your garage, I’m in my garage and you draw and I have a couple of silhouette targets or whatever deer antlers, and it’s like I’m bored now. The 50 cards, different scenarios. You’re firing, you’re changing your mag, whatever. What are a couple sample scenarios that would entice somebody to stay dry firing?

Mike: One of them– Excuse me. One challenge is in a small area, how do we practice moving and maintaining balance while shooting? Larry Ash, former Team Three Seal, one of the drills that he did at his stress shooting facility with students was he would have them run in about a 10 foot diameter circle while keeping the sights aimed at a target sitting on a chair or a bench in the middle. It does some tremendous things for the brain and helps us get used to lining up the sight, running the gun while we’re moving, while we’re maintaining balance, while we’re at off angles.

We’ve got light-based drills in there, recovery from being knocked to the ground. Start on the ground and basically do it with Turkish. Get up while aiming at a target. Can you do it? Do you need to use both hands at some point? One of the keys with all my training is figure this stuff out when there’s no consequences to getting it wrong, so that when there are consequences, you know your performance envelope, you know what you can do and what you can’t do.

Phillip: You’re not the one paying the consequences.

Mike: Right.

Rob: Anytime I can force somebody to get outside their comfort zone and–

Phillip: You just [inaudible 00:33:52] to knock people over.

Rob: Do something–

Phillip: Practice should get up. You just keep pushing them over in the academy. I heard the stories. Come on, Rob.

Rob: [laughs] Any time that– I’ve got people that still are really press and going. Why aren’t you carrying appendix all the time? It’s because all of my retention stuff and defense things are built in to me carrying it at a three o’clock on my hip. It’s what I did for decades. I also have tried it and rolled with a red gun in my belt in appendix position and it kills my hips. It’s one of those things that you have to make yourself do these things before you’re in that position having to do these things for real.

This moving and lining up your sights and maintaining a sight picture and staying on target and getting in different body positions. These are things that I need to have at least walked through before I ever think I’m going to perform in them in a real life and death situation. The greater I can become comfortable in my discomfort, the more opportunity I have to be victorious in that battle. That’s just the way that works.

Mike: You hit it exactly on the head with talking about at least doing it some.

Rob: Yes.

Mike: A lot of the drills that I have in, in different courses, one of the easiest ways to describe them is their exploratory drills. They’re looking at real world shootings and saying, “Okay, what was the balance challenge there that the shooter was having to face while he was avoiding being hit and simultaneously trying to put effective hits on target?” Then how can we replicate those safely in training and get used to them so that they’re not novel and not new and the first time that we’re figuring out how to deal with them again, is in a no-consequence environment?

It really doesn’t take that many reps to go from something that you know well, to exploring something that’s slightly different. If your first rep is, when it counts, you’re going to have a big drop in performance.

Rob: It’s like you were talking about at the very top of this episode, you’re going to draw with your right hand, but that shift to your left and the adjustments and your balance and your weight. Everything is made prior to that first movement. You’re already making those shifts, and it’s truly any manipulation in my spine. Anything there causes everything else to work on the machine, to stay in harmony, in balance, to stay upright.

Just those movements. It even changes my head position as I go to get on my sight. It’s why I like. Don’t just stand behind a barricade. Use that barricade, move around it. Going around a vehicle, learning how to fight mobile and use things for concealment or real cover if it’s available. Once that cover is there, that’s not really usually a movable thing for me. I have to use me to be the movable thing now as we’re adapting to that threat that’s in place. I love this stuff. I love the fact that you’re getting in and truly you’re–

I’ve always looked at it when we’re changing and going from one thing to another is I’ve used this trail forever. It’s all cut in. That’s the direction I’ve done. It’s worn down and it’s nice and easy and safe. There’s nothing grown over. It’s a safe walk from point A to point B, but now I need this new trail over here, and it’s not as worn and easy to go through as the one I’ve used forever, but the more frequently I use that trail, the more worn down and easy that path becomes.

It’s the way it works in our training and we don’t look at it like that. We look at it at the mental aspect of it or the physical aspect of it, and it’s just using that trail over and over again that makes it usable without thought. It’s just something that we do. You were talking about how rapidly people get in and get in there and go from the first contact with the pistol to it’s there and it’s in front of your eyes and you’re on target.

It’s something that you get there, you can develop that relatively quickly. Same thing we’ve talked over and over and over again about nothing more than just dry fire. Just learning the trigger and knowing that this is where this handgun, the trigger is prepped in this position. I know right there, and I know what it’s going to take to break and make the shot go off and all that thing. If we did nothing more than just dry fire, even if it was just a couple of minutes daily by the end of a quarter of a year go through three months and all of a sudden you’ve invested the time in dry fire. The investment is immediately applicable when I start looking at my shots on target. I’ve spent the time to develop that trigger.

Phillip: We talk about the dry– sorry, Rob, talking about the dry fire part, pulling the trigger, pulling the trigger, but I think, and maybe Mike feels this way too, it’s your presentation. It’s like what you did, the 10,000 reps with your .45 when you get your new .45, it’s the hand coming down and just getting the right grip on top of that gun from the beginning it makes everything best. You don’t have to recalculate at your presentation, you don’t have to fix anything else.

That incorporated with your dry fire there, there’s like dry fire mags, you can just keep pulling the trigger which are great and I use them but to go from the holster or from concealment and integrate the whole part as opposed to just shooting at this target-this target-this target once the gun’s already out. I think the more involved you make your practice the better off you’re going to be down the road.

Mike: Yes, absolutely. One of the shifts that I try to get people to make is from aiming with their sights, to aiming with the presentation and simply verifying with [unintelligible 00:41:57] verifying with what you see. It’s not saying don’t use the sight, it’s saying the heavy lifting of aiming should be done by the time your eyes shift focus to the front sight, or by the time you see the dot.

Phillip: One of my first courses I ever took, Hansen Beck with Falcon, he taped over our front sights and her back sights just used masking tape over the whole thing and you still had to shoot at 25 yards and you don’t need the sights for hitting that size of a target at 25 yards. If your presentation then your everything else is together. It does force you back on the basics. You don’t need them and I think as Rob would say, in a gunfight, that’s too late to look for them. The gun needs already be in action before you have a perfect rear notch and front sight post.

Rob: It’s just one of those things that’s built-in, like we’re talking about if I establish the grip at the holster the right way, and I do that over and over again, and I marry my hands together, everything is done properly over and over again that my presentation as I press out it’s there. My sight should be perfect every time I pull the firearm out if I’ve done my repetitions properly.

Phillip: [unintelligible 00:43:26] I think Mike made a really good point is like your sights are there to verify everything else.

Rob: Brian Eastridge goes on and on and on in his debunking things in firearms training. You can be as aggressive and just slap and yank and beat the crap out of a trigger. If I don’t move the platform, if I get my gun on target and don’t move it as I’m doing those things, so I can do whatever with that trigger finger as long as I hold the gun steady on target. It’s the little things that we do that disrupt that, that takes take us off.

Mike: That’s one of the– Oh, go ahead. Sorry.

Rob: No, so to shortcut that and get that practice with your eyes and neurologically get dialed in just hastens that growth in that regard I think.

Mike: Yes, one of the things that I had people do when I’m teaching grip is induce hold it lightly and induce a problem. Instead of pushing the trigger straight to the rear, push it diagonal off to the side and then figure out, okay, what grip do I need in order to be able to apply that same bad pressure with my trigger finger and not move the sight then do the same with pulling the trigger then figure it out with a bad grip. How do I need to hold it so that no matter what I do, the sight aren’t going to move.

Rob: It’s really simple. It’s just not really easy.


Phillip: Well said. Well, the other part on that the practice that you were talking about before about the two trails, we practice what we’re good at, we go to the gym. Okay, here, I like bench press so guess what? That guy always does bench press where he likes you don’t do back, you don’t do legs. It’s just you do what you like and what you’re good at and we fall into the same things with our other training if we’re doing it on our own or to try and stay motivated like what I’m dealing with right now, trying to stay motivated for working out. It’s like sometimes I just don’t want to but I think the dry fire cards gives you like a workout.

It says, this is what we’re doing today, and it’s simple enough you pick up the card, it says, draw fire three, fake reload to fake a jam cycle three shoot over here, whatever, do two back flips a cartwheel and 10 sit-ups then re-holster whatever it is. It’s Mike Steel, but I think that that adds– It’s a training aid. Everybody can pull the trigger, but it gives you something to focus on and it’s not the same thing every time so you’re just doing the same thing. I think that’s a great idea, Mike.

Mike: There’s a concept in weightlifting and fitness called newbie gains, where basically you get somebody who’s never done bench press before and they’re going to see explosive increases in what they can lift in the first few weeks and it’s not because they’re packing on tons of muscle, it’s because their brain is figuring out how to stabilize joints and how to recruit and use the muscles properly.

With shooting, we get the same thing. Initially, we get really fast gains then things plateau off then it becomes a [unintelligible 00:47:30]. You have to trudge through and keep going. If we can add variety, all of a sudden we’re starting from zero at a new skill and it’s building off of something else, but we get those new gains, we get those hits of dopamine, and it makes something that would’ve been difficult way more fun.

I’ll go one step further with this. If you are shooting with a perfect stance every single time, there is basically no balance challenge because that’s one of the purposes of a perfect stance is it takes care of balance for you. Well, if you can induce a balance challenge with drills that you do early on in a dry fire session or live fire session, one of the things that happens when the brain faces a balance challenge is that it causes the brain to release dopamine, endorphins, adrenaline, and noradrenaline, or epinephrine and norepinephrine.

What that does is that’s a new tropic cocktail for accelerated learning. The reason that it does it is falling is the number two cause of accidental death in the world and the brain knows that and so it will go to great lengths to learn how to not fall in different situations. We can hack into that. We get that cocktail of nootropics flowing in our brain, then we do our dry fire rules. All of a sudden we’re able to learn way, way quicker. We’re able to code more skill in the long-term memory than if we’re just grinding out reps with a perfect stance and no balance challenge.

Rob: That cocktail he’s talking about is remarkably similar to what you would do, what you would get chemically by cocaine. It’s pretty simple.

Mike: Yes.

Phillip: We’ve been told.

Rob: It’s why once we get into things like that it-

Phillip: [unintelligible 00:49:52] can’t get out.

Rob: -makes it learnable traits for us. It’s something that I’m getting that reward, but I’m not going to keep getting that same reward as I get better and better at it. You have to find other new ways to challenge and test yourself and stretch those and increase your learning in a new way. It’s always finding the way to, to pressure test something to get better. It’s also the quickest way to make rapid gains as well.

Mike, what do you have coming up? Is there anything you would like to to get out there any anything more than just your website and your book?

Mike: Oh, those are the main things right now. I’ve got a new target system. That very limited release right now. What it is, is it’s a light based system. Targets light up, and you shoot them based on what color they are. When they get hit, then they go out.

There’s a few things that are really cool about it. Number one is that the majority of training that’s done is done with an audible stimulus, and in a self-defense situation, we’re going to be making judgments based on what we see. What this does is it allows us to start off with you shoot the light when you see the light turn on, and then progressed to a red light green light type scenario, where ideally you do absolutely nothing and have no visible movement when the no threat light turns on, and you quickly and without delay respond to the threat.

Then we move to no threat, potential threat that doesn’t need to be shot yet, so that would be drawn a low ready, which is statistically, what happens in about 80% of self-defense situations where the gun owner uses the firearm to stop the threat without shooting.

Rob: The display is enough?

Mike: Yes.

Phillip: Without crossing the lines of brandishing. Right, Rob? [laughs]

Mike: Yes.


Mike: Which would be the green light, you don’t want to draw on the green light or the non-threat light. What that does, then is it gives us the ability to have a target go from being a potential threat to a threat to a non-threat and reanimate back to a threat, depending on whatever happens randomly with lights and multiple targets. It’s a really, really neat setup.

Rob: That’s it’s such a perfect setup. I mean, it really is because Gary, is my partner at work. He’s our critical response team manager, and he talks about that threat window, and the window can open and it can stay open or that window can open and close. That shooting is only good when that window is open, and if that threat diminishes, and it’s no longer a lethal threat to us or others, then it’s not a shoot situation anymore. That’s a great, great setup. When do you obviously you’re you’re limited right now, when are you looking at releasing something like that? I think it’s a great training tool.

Mike: I’m selling them one-offs right now, but there’s a there’s a significant amount of manual labor that goes into making them and so I’ve got to get to the next phase before I can–

Rob: Put them into production dig?

Mike: Yes.

Rob: Good. Good. Good. Well, I like to thank you again for coming on and helping us out today.

Mike: Thank you, Rob. Thanks, Phil.

Rob: It was–

Phillip: Thank you, Mike.

Rob: -a very short notice for you, so I appreciate you being able to adjust with us. Again, Mike’s got this book out there Real World Gunfight Training I would strongly encourage taking a look into that. It covers a lot of the stuff that he’s talked about today. He’s also got and, so check him out. Always, be looking to expand your vocabulary as it is for your training stuff, and keep tuning in. We appreciate everybody you got any takeaways for us, Phil?

Phillip: Yes, I think I’m going to contact him sick and fix my brain so I can keep, kind of get some stuff squared away there. That’s my number one takeaway. I’m going to give him a call. As I mentioned before those dry fire cards, I think are a great idea just to keep things fresh, keep things going, you can put them into two different groups with your buddy and give all the hard ones to him. I think that’s, plan ahead, planning to win.

Mike: One of the things that– We didn’t plan this, but it worked out this way, is a lot of departments and training programs really appreciated them because if there was a drill that conflicted with what they were teaching, that card just disappeared, and there was no drama. It wasn’t the whole book had to be thrown out. It was “Hey, you know what, we’ve still got 49, 50, 51 cards, 51 drills that are applicable.”

Rob: We’d like to thank everybody for tuning in today. Look forward to seeing you guys again next week. If you got any questions, comments, concerns, you guys can always reach me directly at Rob R-O-B Again, we appreciate everybody and we look forward to seeing everybody again next week. Thank you, guys.

Mike: Bye-bye.

Rob: Thanks everybody appreciate it.

[00:56:54] [END OF AUDIO]