The Limitations of “Muscle Memory” Compared to the Versatility of “Hand/Eye Coordinat

The Limitations of “Muscle Memory” Compared to the Versatility of “Hand/Eye Coordinat

This is a discussion on The Limitations of “Muscle Memory” Compared to the Versatility of “Hand/Eye Coordinat within the Defensive Carry & Tactical Training forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; The Limitations of “Muscle Memory” Compared to the Versatility of “Hand/Eye Coordination.” In my years of trying to get people to re-examine the world of ...

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Thread: The Limitations of “Muscle Memory” Compared to the Versatility of “Hand/Eye Coordinat

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    Senior Member Array Sweatnbullets's Avatar
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    The Limitations of “Muscle Memory” Compared to the Versatility of “Hand/Eye Coordinat

    The Limitations of “Muscle Memory” Compared to the Versatility of “Hand/Eye Coordination.”

    In my years of trying to get people to re-examine the world of point shooting, I am constantly bombarded with the myth that muscle memory will give you everything that you need to be successful in a life and death encounter with a gun. In other words, if you practice your stationary, two handed, high pectoral, linear, default drawstroke, the muscle memory of that will cover 99% of the life and death encounters with a gun. Even if the physiological effect of not being able to bring the focus back to the sights is present, your muscle memory will facilitate the ability to make the hits. These statements are commonly made by the “Modern Techniques Only” crowd. This seems to be an attempt to convince themselves that their chosen “gunfu,” has successfully covered all of their bases.

    Now this is true to some extent, but it is no where near the 99% that has been thrown around on the gun forums. Force on force has facilitated a break away from the 180 degree world and slapped us in the face with the 360 degree reality. As soon as we accept the 360 degree reality the muscle memory myth falls to pieces. I will give muscle memory the credit it deserves. It will facilitate accurate threat focused shooting at the “line of sight” from approximately the 10:30 around to approximately the 1:30. That is it! Even with the use of the “turret of the tank” concept it is still just a three hour position on the clock, until the muscle memory no longer applies. The changes in the arm position and the torque on the body that changes the ability to extend cancel out the muscle memory that many people are so fond of. Since there are twelve hours on the clock and muscle memory only takes care of three of those hours, the 99% myth is wiped out…..and this does not even take into consideration every shooting position that is below line of sight or that is compressed for proximity purposes.

    The bottom line to muscle memory is that it is the very first step and most basic form of threat focused shooting. I know that there are point shooting experts that teach these forms and these forms only. In my opinion that is like teaching boxing only up to the point of a jab and a straight right hand. To teach only the most basic of fundamentals and then stop and say “that is all you will ever need” is wrong in so many ways. But that is just me and the way that I look at it from the perspective of an instructor that is and always will be…. a consummate student.

    The only way to reach past the most basic of fundamentals is to understand the need to move past the extreme limitations of muscle memory. One needs to set their sights on the acquisition of the understanding of the all important hand/eye coordination. Hand/eye coordination is something that we are all capable of. Some will take to it faster and easier than others, but the bottom line is that if you are not physically or mentally handicapped you are capable of hand/eye coordination skills. Point shooting basics are all about basic body geometry. Hand/eye coordination is just a bi-product off of this basic body geometry.

    Hand/eye coordination opens up every single aspect of shooting that was not opened up by muscle memory. It will take care of every direction on the clock, from line of sight to below line of sight and all the way down to the hip, from full extension to compressed positions, and everything in between, with whatever movement is needed inside the encounter

    It is my belief that muscle memory takes care of approximately 10% of the skills that you need in a “visual threat locked” encounter. Hand/eye coordination takes care of 100% of the skills that you need in a “visual threat locked” encounter. Once you have these hand/eye coordination skills, they will be accessible at the subconscious level, with the very least amount of access time as possible.

    Do not fall victim to the dogma of the past. Do not take someone else word as gospel. Everything that you have ever learned needs to pass the “common sense” test. It does not matter where or who you learned something from, question the common sense of it. Force on force is an absolute must to be in the position to make these informed distinctions.
    Roger Phillips Owner of Fight Focused Concepts

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    Situations dictate strategies, strategies dictate tactics, and tactics dictate techniques.....techniques should not dictate anything.


  2. #2
    VIP Member Array Redneck Repairs's Avatar
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    Muscle memory IMHO is vital it is what will allow you to find your weapon on your belt , and on un even terrain present your weapon in the general area of a target . I agree that is is not an " answer " to accuracy , but honestly feel from reading your post you are belittleing it a bit . Its a basic " skill set " for lack of a better word that imho is vital . It is not now nor will it ever be an answer to hitting a target , it is vital only in the sense that it enables a person to reliably present a handgun , with speed , and reasonably close to where the target is situated . From that point on aimed fire techniques , or unaimed fire techniques must take over . IMHO Muscle memory is not a shooting technique , nor is ergonomics of a firearm with your natural aim angle . Howeaver both have a play in just how you will present a firearm , and how stable a platform you will provide for it . No matter your posture you should be able to both draw and reholster without looking down .. that is muscle memory , as is the point you present the pistol to . Once you have fundimentals then look at the techniques that you can to put rounds where you want them . A firearm will do you no good in a fight if you cannot put your hand on it , and honestly it is worse if you cannot put it back up .
    Make sure you get full value out of today , Do something worthwhile, because what you do today will cost you one day off the rest of your life .
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    Maybe we can say that muscle memory is the priority aspect of training/familiarization. Without it IMO we are definitely at a severe disadvantage.

    As RR mentions, such simple actions as being able to ''know'' where the gun is - find it fast without looking and even including reholstering. With all this comes one aspect I place high on the list too - and it does include muscle memory - which is gun familiarity - total automatic intimacy with the gun's manual of arms, feel, grip etc.

    I can appreciate that down the line as more advanced training - the hand/eye element can be taken on beyond the muscle memory - altho again, without trying to employ semantics ..... I feel too that all are in reality wrapped up in one package - we are only compartmentalizing for convenience and discussion assistance.
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    Senior Member Array purple88yj's Avatar
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    I agree with both sentiments above. You train your brain and body to react a certain way to certain variables, but at some point, conscious thought has to go into the actual shoot.

    We practice the draw, presentation, reloads and re-holstering by "feel" (for lack of a better term). After that point, the brain must take over and make the final commands to the rest of the body, whether that be to shoot or not, move, look, listen. We must be able to hear when authorities arrive so that we are not taken as a hostile. We must be able to distinguish from where those commands are coming from.

    If we "shut off" all but the muscle memory and becoming completely threat focused, we open ourselves up to additional threats from other angles, with no recourse to fend off those attacks.
    "A simple way to take measure of a country is to look at how many want in ... And how many want out." British Prime Minister Tony Blair

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    Senior Member Array Sweatnbullets's Avatar
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    When I was starting out I used muscle memory in my Modern Technique courses when the time requirements were lower than my skill level. This was my introduction to point shooting....but it was only an introduction.

    As a person that has moved past this "introduction" phase, I feel that people should know that there is an awful lot out there past this "introductionary" point.

    There is so much talk about this muscle memory being all you need to get the hits in the dynamics of a real gunfight, that I feel that I should let people know that this is just not so. This is something that is perpetuated by people that are still at this starting point. People that have picked up real point shooting skills know this to be fact. But if you do not know.....then you do not know what you do not know.
    Last edited by Sweatnbullets; June 1st, 2007 at 07:56 PM.
    Roger Phillips Owner of Fight Focused Concepts

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    Situations dictate strategies, strategies dictate tactics, and tactics dictate techniques.....techniques should not dictate anything.

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    I've used "muscle memory" one time that I know of. That was when a large PitBull charged me when serving a warrant on a drug dealer.

    Without consious thought I drew and fired and connected with each shot. My whole focus was on the target, with no thought whatsoever on my gun or sights. My only thought was that if I didnt STOP the action right there on the spot that it was gonna be very ugly.

    Even so, I will agree that it is a basic concept. However, it must first be mastered to truly be effective, because fact of the matter is, in a serious situatuon you may not have the time to think about clearing leather and firing.
    I would rather stand against the cannons of the wicked than against the prayers of the righteous.


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    VIP Member Array Redneck Repairs's Avatar
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    Definitely not my intention. I am just pointing out that it is a starting point.....nothing less and nothing more.
    Once again i seem to be the " stalking goat " and voice an opinion that we both can agree with on this issue .

    I know of no one who voices that muscle memory is a shooting technique , and i would be the first to have issue with that . I do espouse tho that " muscle memory " is vital to any skill with a handgun or even a rifle . It is a foundation you build on , not a skill to attain tho . I would call relying on " muscle memory " as " instinctive shooting " myself and say its something to stay far away from .. what you , brownie , and others teach is in no way related to that . As your OP what yall teach relies on a hand to eye coordination that is above and beyond " muscle memory " . How far this hand/eye coordination extend downrange is up to arguement , brownie shooting head sized targets out to close to 100 yards aside . IMHO there is no clear cut answer , if your in a phone booth you need " point shooting " if your across a foot ball field you need sights . One constant tho is " muscle memory " will let you both find and safe your handgun . as well as present a stance that will work for the range involved .
    Make sure you get full value out of today , Do something worthwhile, because what you do today will cost you one day off the rest of your life .
    We only begin to understand folks after we stop and think .

    Criminals are looking for victims, not opponents.

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    Senior Member Array Sweatnbullets's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HotGuns View Post
    I've used "muscle memory" one time that I know of. That was when a large PitBull charged me when serving a warrant on a drug dealer.

    Without consious thought I drew and fired and connected with each shot. My whole focus was on the target, with no thought whatsoever on my gun or sights. My only thought was that if I didnt STOP the action right there on the spot that it was gonna be very ugly.

    Even so, I will agree that it is a basic concept. However, it must first be mastered to truly be effective, because fact of the matter is, in a serious situatuon you may not have the time to think about clearing leather and firing.
    I am very thankful that muscle memory work for you. It does do it's job when you are dealing with a threat that is in front of you and within your default drawstroke.

    There is no doubt that the muscle memory is a vital skill, but it is a vital skill that has limitations in the 360 degree world.

    Quick Fire is an excellent example of a threat focused muscle memory technique.
    Roger Phillips Owner of Fight Focused Concepts

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    Situations dictate strategies, strategies dictate tactics, and tactics dictate techniques.....techniques should not dictate anything.

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    Senior Member Array Sweatnbullets's Avatar
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    Once again i seem to be the " stalking goat " and voice an opinion that we both can agree with on this issue .
    That is not the way I see you RR. People like you make me a better instructor. Thanks!
    Roger Phillips Owner of Fight Focused Concepts

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    Situations dictate strategies, strategies dictate tactics, and tactics dictate techniques.....techniques should not dictate anything.

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    VIP Member Array Redneck Repairs's Avatar
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    LOL sweatin I am a " Stalking goat " because i do ask question to clarify . and i make no secret that i am an " aimed fire proponent" where possible . As i have discovered here tho what i used to instruct , and what yall are trying to instruct actually isn't far apart .
    I have went from no respect for anyone who advocates unaimed fire , to a qualified respect for some who do . The folks who post here advocating as the esteemed Crnl. Cooper ( i believe ) said it " Get there the fastest with the mostest " . IMHO unaimed fire is not a means to survival , Aimed fire is not a means to survival ... No matter the range , get there the fastest with the mostest wins .. technique don't , caliber don't , rifle or handgun don't ... get there with rounds on target does ... do that and no matter what you will be OK .

    Edited to add you , brownie , etc . have been doing dammed good on explaining just this . I respect folks who have " a " way to do things and not " the " way , since we are old posting buds , i know you know some of whom i speak to on that statement .
    Make sure you get full value out of today , Do something worthwhile, because what you do today will cost you one day off the rest of your life .
    We only begin to understand folks after we stop and think .

    Criminals are looking for victims, not opponents.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Array Sweatnbullets's Avatar
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    i make no secret that i am an " aimed fire proponent" where possible .
    Have you checked out my signature line lately? The bold print specifies that I am an aimed fire proponent also.

    I wonder if that will still be ignored. LMAO!
    Roger Phillips Owner of Fight Focused Concepts

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    Situations dictate strategies, strategies dictate tactics, and tactics dictate techniques.....techniques should not dictate anything.

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    Senior Member Array purple88yj's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Redneck Repairs View Post
    Edited to add you , brownie , etc . have been doing dammed good on explaining just this . I respect folks who have " a " way to do things and not " the " way , since we are old posting buds , i know you know some of whom i speak to on that statement .
    I have talked to someone on-line that is exactly as you describe. I will refrain from naming names, but as he insists he has taken shooting ot a level that those that don't follow his teachings are sub-level to him and his students. With that kind of ego, I wouldn't take a basket weaving class from him.
    "A simple way to take measure of a country is to look at how many want in ... And how many want out." British Prime Minister Tony Blair

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    Senior Member Array Sweatnbullets's Avatar
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    Edited to add you , brownie , etc . have been doing dammed good on explaining just this . I respect folks who have " a " way to do things and not " the " way , since we are old posting buds , i know you know some of whom i speak to on that statement .
    Quote Originally Posted by purple88yj View Post
    I have talked to someone on-line that is exactly as you describe. I will refrain from naming names, but as he insists he has taken shooting ot a level that those that don't follow his teachings are sub-level to him and his students. With that kind of ego, I wouldn't take a basket weaving class from him.

    Those are very important points and something that needs to be pointed out and taken into consideration.

    While I have a very well rounded skill sets, my course is very much a specialty course. I teach a set of tools that is not really mainstream at this time. They were more main stream in the past and I honest feel that they are going to be much more main stream in the future. Since this is a specialty area, all I do is add tools to a persons already substantial tool box. I accept the tools the person showed up with and I look to improve those tools, while at the same time, adding substantially more tools. I really do not mess (in a negative manner) with the tools that the student already uses.

    What I teach integrates beautifully with what people already do. Since the integration is so easy, it is very much an "inclusive" instructional course. This is what I find so nice about what I teach. All of the work that I have put into the Modern Techniques (MT) was not a waste of time. The MT gave me an outstanding fundamental foundation that facilitates the further building of my skill sets. The MT defines who I am today and my ability to build, almost anything that I want to on top of that, is an outstanding charactaristic.

    It is kind of a shame that people tend to see me as an anti-MTer because I am building something past Coopers work. This is not the case at all. In everything there is a progression. To not pick up where Copper left off and look to advance the art would be an insult to his work. Gabe Suarez and Copper were freinds and Cooper always let Gabe know that the advancement past his work was was not only neccesary, but highly desired. So there are guys out there like Gabe, 7677, and I that are integrating techniques and systems to continue the work that has already been done in the past. This does not make us special in any shape or form.....this just makes us human. The problem is that this advancement is often and incorrectly seen as an insult to the gurus of the past. This is simply not the case....picking up someones work and progressing it is the height of a compliment.

    Now back on topic.

    We all know that "muscle memory" is really an incorrect term. Muscle do not have memories, but the term is used so often that it has to be worked with so people understand what you are saying.

    The muscle memory of thousands or tens of thousands of draw strokes to your 12:00 will allow you to point shoot very well......to the 12:00. But the bottom line is that this is just a starting point for a point shooting skill set. The ultimate skill level of point ahooting and where it really stands out is in the hand/eye coordination. The hand/eye coordination to be able to make accurate hits at logical distances, from any angle (on the face of the clock,) from any position (from line of sight all the way down to the hip,) throughout your completely versatile drawstroke, with whatever movement is necessary, on a moving adversary, and in varying levels of lighting.

    This is the specialty "pieces of the puzzle" that I am working on. They are just pieces of a puzzle, they are just tools. They are not "techniques"or "positions".....they are concepts.

    Concepts that fit into what you already do.
    Roger Phillips Owner of Fight Focused Concepts

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    Situations dictate strategies, strategies dictate tactics, and tactics dictate techniques.....techniques should not dictate anything.

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    Hey Sweatnbullets...

    What do you do about people that have little to no hand eye coordination ? I realize that the people that you see attending your classes probably have more than average, but do you ever get someone stuggles with even the basic stuff ?

    I mean, there are some folks out there I woudnt trust around me with a sharpened pencil...
    I would rather stand against the cannons of the wicked than against the prayers of the righteous.


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    Senior Member Array Sweatnbullets's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HotGuns View Post
    Hey Sweatnbullets...

    What do you do about people that have little to no hand eye coordination ? I realize that the people that you see attending your classes probably have more than average, but do you ever get someone stuggles with even the basic stuff ?

    I mean, there are some folks out there I woudnt trust around me with a sharpened pencil...
    As to date, the guys that I know that teach point shooting have not trained anyone that we could not instill sufficient hand/eye coordination to point shoot accurately at logical distances. You have to understand just how simple this stuff is when taught correctly. It is so simple a caveman can do it once you understand the basics.

    Point shooting is all about basic body geometry. The hand/eye coordination is an inevitable bi-product of that basic body geometry.

    As far as the sharpened pencil thing goes, you drive a car next to these types of people every day. Point shooting is much easier than driving a car. Driving a car is simple hand/eye coordination.

    Point shooting is not like making a three point shot or anything. It is like pointing your finger.

    Hope that answers your question.
    Roger Phillips Owner of Fight Focused Concepts

    http://fightfocusedconcepts.wordpress.com/

    Situations dictate strategies, strategies dictate tactics, and tactics dictate techniques.....techniques should not dictate anything.

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