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  #1  
Old 12-05-2019, 09:34 PM
adl45 adl45 is offline
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The Zen of the shot

Hello. I feel the need to express something almost magical about shooting sports. Pistol, rifle, archery/bow, etc.. it has even happened when I've been shooting pool.
I'm sure this has been covered here before, but I want to mention it for anyone who hasn't experienced it.
I love to shoot. And, I'm not even that good of a shot. But, for me there is something that happens sometimes when I'm shooting.

I used to shoot long-range rifle. A properly set up rifle, good optics, and match ammo. All the shooting aspects are in play, like fouling the barrel with a few shots, establishing your zero at the distance and windage, and then the whole set of position, cheek weld, hand/grip, trigger/finger, breath, sight picture, heart beat, and the final last bit of pressure on the trigger and then the firing pin hits the primer and the shoot is off.

Time seems to almost stop. I am not shooting a rifle... I am the shot and me and everything that is around me becomes one.

It's really only happened a few times over the 50 years or so that I've been shooting, although I do enjoy the Zen aspect of the shooting experience. But there have been those few times when I've momentarily transcended my physical body and my conscious mind.

I imagine I'm going to get a lot of grief over this post. But, I'm willing to take it to bring this to your attention. Many of you have probably experienced this same thing and this post will remind you of that experience/feeling. For those who haven't, maybe this will point you in a direction and to an aspect of shooting that you might have not considered.

God bless and best regards, Adam
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  #2  
Old 12-05-2019, 09:44 PM
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Ricky T Ricky T is offline
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Why would anyone give you grief? Not me.

Check out this video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iTMoYAKu-wE
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  #3  
Old 12-05-2019, 10:03 PM
shooter59 shooter59 is offline
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Read up and just read Brian Enos....
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  #4  
Old 12-05-2019, 10:29 PM
elongobardi elongobardi is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ricky T View Post
Why would anyone give you grief? Not me.

Check out this video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iTMoYAKu-wE


Great video. That just looked awesome. Nature, shooting and having fun. Doesn’t get better.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
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  #5  
Old 12-05-2019, 10:36 PM
4110mm 4110mm is offline
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Adam,

I enjoyed reading your post and I entirely agree. I am seeking out the same and I find it across many shooting disciplines. Even if I am out with my dog going for a bird leaving early in the AM with some fog out. Or last weekend. I fixed up an old revolver and took it out in the snow and rain. Bad conditions but the Zen happened. More often than not conditions are not perfect and you make due with it but when they are..total relaxation. My wife knows: It is just what I call a nice day out. Even when the weather is just right and the people are right, the scenery is right, a USPSA match can be just as enjoyable as anything. You don't get flamed here, quite the opposite. I often ask myself what do I like about firearms and shooting so much. Your text helped me realize, there are more guys like me out there.
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  #6  
Old 12-05-2019, 10:38 PM
USMM guy USMM guy is offline
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No there is definately a "zen" aspect to it.

I do not think that any serious shooter here will disagree with that. I do not know if any of the really high performance shooters that frequent this forum would qualify me as being in that fraternity. The fact is that while I consider myself to be a pretty good shooter. I am not a great one, and never will be by any stretch of the imagination. I do not loose a whole lot of sleep over this.

I am more inclined to think of myself as a competent shooter. And certainly I see days that I really find myself in the groove and performing well. Other days not so much. That is life. If you choose to measure yourself against other people, you can certainly go that route. I have found it to be much more satisfying to measure myself against myself. Am I improving? Am I holding better for longer shots? This is what it is all about for me. Just sayin.
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  #7  
Old 12-06-2019, 12:30 AM
jjfitch jjfitch is offline
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"Time seems to almost stop. I am not shooting a rifle... I am the shot and me and everything that is around me becomes one."

Our (Sheriff's) pistol team hired a sports Psychologist to teach us the art of "Zen". "Be the bullet"!

I can honestly tell you that it is in fact an important aspect of the highest level of sports. There was a time that I could tell you within the first 5-6 rounds of a match my final score within a few points. This was based on my mental connection to the gun at that moment. At the peak of "Zen" I was able to see rounds as they left the barrel all the way to the target and see it perforate the target! When I was able to make that connection I was in my "Zen" and would do well. It takes extreme concentration! If within that first few rounds I wasn't mentally connected I might as well pack up and go home or call it practice and hope I don't hurt my average.

I found out the hard way, the really hard way that same "Zen" as a motocross competitor in my 20's! If I wasn't mentally connected, load up and make that long ride home

Smiles,
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Last edited by jjfitch; 12-06-2019 at 12:33 AM.
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  #8  
Old 12-06-2019, 12:37 AM
DWARREN123 DWARREN123 is offline
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I can relate. Sometimes it seems the shot goes where I think it should but then there are those days when a shotgun at 10 feet is not any good.
Just enjoy your Zen moments!
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  #9  
Old 12-06-2019, 01:06 AM
johnireland johnireland is offline
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Thanks to the OP...also the great comments. It turned a light on for me. I'm going to go there for some dry fire and then on to the range.
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  #10  
Old 12-06-2019, 06:17 AM
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combat auto combat auto is offline
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Yes, OP, most of us experience what you are alluding too, much of the time. And in those time's is usually when one does their best shooting of all. And yes, when you start out in the sport, when you first start noticing it, it is very enlightening and enjoyable. (But in all fairness, this is not unique to shooting, almost any sport has a "Zen" element, and usually the more in that Zenish state, the better one perform's).
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Last edited by combat auto; 12-06-2019 at 06:24 AM.
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  #11  
Old 12-06-2019, 06:42 AM
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Grandpas50AE Grandpas50AE is offline
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Ricky - awesome video, that almost put me in Zen just watching it!

OP - like others above, there are times when we connect with everything around us and our consciousness becomes an integral part of what we are doing and our complete surroundings, and at those times we perform to our true potential in whatever we are doing at that time. No grief from my end, good post on your part to remind folks of enjoying our sport.
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  #12  
Old 12-06-2019, 07:24 AM
Plantar5 Plantar5 is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ricky T View Post
Why would anyone give you grief? Not me.

Check out this video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iTMoYAKu-wE
Now thats my idea of a fun day/weekend!!

Last outing with one of my bolt guns, it was complete “Zen”, barely shot i box of ammo and put it away because after 4 or 5 strings, We ( the rifle and me) were shooting one hole practically , every round touching or on top of each other.
I wish my pistol shooting was that good...
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Old 12-06-2019, 07:58 AM
scubadad scubadad is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Plantar5 View Post
Now thats my idea of a fun day/weekend!!

Last outing with one of my bolt guns, it was complete “Zen”, barely shot i box of ammo and put it away because after 4 or 5 strings, We ( the rifle and me) were shooting one hole practically , every round touching or on top of each other.
I wish my pistol shooting was that good...
I have had those zen moments with rifles. After a few perfect groups you just have to get up and enjoy the moment.

Shooting is my relaxation therapy. I am blessed to have a back yard range so after a bad day at work I can go outside and run a few mags.
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  #14  
Old 12-06-2019, 09:26 AM
Rwehavinfunyet Rwehavinfunyet is online now
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Zen moments....

What some people call "Zen Moments" may be called "Getting in the Zone" when it comes to various sports.

For shooting enthusiasts, whether rifle or pistol, if a person knows and practices the fundamentals and has the ability to execute the proper techniques, they may experience a neurological condition known as "tachypsychia." I have experienced this in many sports over the years, and when it is happening, my perception of time is altered and it seems like the event is unfolding in slow motion. Tachypsychia can be induced by fear, trauma, or through drugs.....but for me, I experienced this naturally when competing in sports when under mild stress.....it is just total focus on what is happening for a few seconds or more...

The problem is, I can not control tachypsychia, and it just happens.....however, my performance is at a peak when it happens. I have experienced tachypsychia moments in baseball, golf, and often times in shooting..... I always referred to this phenomena as "getting in the zone!"
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Old 12-06-2019, 01:23 PM
magazineman magazineman is offline
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This is addressed, concerning driving, in the movie Ford Vs Ferrari. Which, btw, is very good & my non-motorhead wife liked it too.

The Zone, Then Zen, whatever is for real. Many years ago some shrinks & scientists were tasked with describing & defining what "fun" is.

Their consensus was essentially "an activity so pleasurable that one loses track of time" That too is like The Zone.

And yes, when competing, if any unrelated concern enters your mind, you will fail.

Focus.
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  #16  
Old 12-06-2019, 02:20 PM
Schlitz 45 Schlitz 45 is offline
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I started out with a bow about the same time I got my first BB gun & my father taught me the importance of breathing. Later in life as I strove to improve myself & my skills I read a lot of books & one that stands out was Zen In The Art Of Archery. I got lot of takeaways from this book & the importance of breathing was one of the most important ones.

“The more one concentrates on breathing, the more the external stimuli fade into the background... In due course one even grows immune to larger stimuli, and at the same time detachment from them becomes easier and quicker. Care has only to be taken that the body is relaxed whether standing, sitting or lying, and if one then concentrates on breathing one soon feels oneself shut in by impermeable layers of silence. One only knows and feels that one breathes. And, to detach oneself from this feeling and knowing, no fresh decision is required, for the breathing slows down of its own accord, becomes more and more economical in the use of breath, and finally, slipping by degrees into a blurred monotone, escapes one's attention altogether.”
― Eugen Herrigel, Zen in the Art of Archery
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Old 12-06-2019, 03:39 PM
Amos Iron Wolf Amos Iron Wolf is offline
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I've found that when a trap squad is flowing smoothly with a rhythm that becomes the flow and individual actions seem to fade into the background. It's also one of the reasons I much prefer recurve bows shot instinctively. You flow with the draw and release. The shot is as much, even more, just feeling everything settling into the right place and signaling the smooth release, as any aiming you might consciously do.

As I have tried to explain to a few folks I've showed how to shoot a handgun or rifle. You focus your eyes on the front sight. But your mind you send through the target.
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  #18  
Old 12-06-2019, 05:15 PM
adl45 adl45 is offline
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Hello,

I really appreciate your comments/responses. You have given me some things to think about.
Ricky T, I really enjoyed that vid. Thank you very much. I'm going to watch it a couple more times.
I follow some other forums (firearms and other interests) and rarely post.
I'm new to this forum and I'm appreciating the camaraderie already. Thank you.

God bless and best regards, Adam
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  #19  
Old 12-06-2019, 06:08 PM
okierider okierider is offline
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Really get the Zen with archery, have had a compound bow for years and just enjoy it and all aspects of it. Recently I have started looking into carving a longbow from a stave. Ordered a re-curve bow to shoot while I study and prepare for the project.
I will more than like start from a store bought piece of wood and learn with that before moving on to carving one from the stave.

I am building a Grendel AR now and then maybe while I learn to shoot long range I will get the Zen of the rifle.
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Old 12-06-2019, 10:02 PM
Red Dirt Dave Red Dirt Dave is offline
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When all the preparation, practice, study, learning, concentration, physical conditioning, training, and determination come together at one moment in time and space...
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  #21  
Old 12-07-2019, 06:18 AM
Rwehavinfunyet Rwehavinfunyet is online now
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Tachypsychia......

Tachypsychia has occurred to me quite often in sports, and one other time that still is a very vivid memory.....

I was driving my car on a four lane road in Tampa, FL, and saw an ambulance with lights and sirens blaring in the oncoming far left lane. I was in the right lane, so I did not have to yield, when a car leaving a grocery store pulled out directly in front of the ambulance within 20 yards or less..... There was nothing I could do as I was stepping on my brake pedal, and I watched the impact in slow motion..... the ambulance driver did not have time to brake, and hit the driver side of the automobile at an estimated 45 mph. The full size car was hit and the impact moved it sideways and upward and the car almost rolled on its side, while the ambulance with the EMT's inside, lifted in the air about 6-8 feet, then recoiled away from the nearly overturned car. As the ambulance settled back to the ground, I could see the EMT driver with his radio microphone calling for help.....Fortunately, it appeared the EMT's had their seat belts fastened, but I am not sure what happened to the driver in the car. Several people that were closer to the accident stopped to render assistance.

Last edited by Rwehavinfunyet; 12-07-2019 at 06:26 AM.
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  #22  
Old 12-08-2019, 07:46 PM
joemama joemama is offline
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  #23  
Old 12-10-2019, 09:57 AM
JNW JNW is offline
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Some people shoot because they like like loud noises and blowing holes in stuff. These folks can become pretty good shots if they shoot a lot. For others shooting leads to something else inside them. The very best shooters in every discipline can achieve this heightened mental state almost every time they shoot. For some their sport becomes much more than just shooting. I like shooting as much or more for the mental aspects as I do the shooting itself. Here's a great link to the Zen aspects of pistol shooting.

https://www.bullseyepistol.com/zeninfo.htm

This is a pretty interesting book. It has a lot more than just how to grip a handgun and pull the trigger.

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/pra...yABEgLgUvD_BwE

Jeff
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  #24  
Old 12-10-2019, 10:12 AM
MichaelE MichaelE is online now
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I get that way when shooting too. Sometimes it may take a mag or two, but it will come.

I would imagine this is the same 'zone' Olympic Class shooters experience every time they compete.
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  #25  
Old 12-10-2019, 11:11 AM
drail drail is offline
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Read Practical Shooting - Beyond Fundamentals by Brain Enos if you want to really understand the Zen of shooting. Then read it again. Enos and Leatham tried EVERYTHING and figured out what really works.
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