Fundamentals & Technique

“Zen study is basically to reach the fundamental and clarify the essence.”


Understanding the difference between fundamentals and technique is critical for rapid progression.

Fundamental means essential: what you must do. 
Technique is physical: how you do it.


See the target.
Point the barrel at the target.
Hold it on the target until the bullet has left the barrel.

Rob Leatham: master of the fundamentals, on the move.

How you see the target will vary with the target’s size and distance. For an 18” x 24” steel rectangle at 7 yards, for example, you may only remember seeing the target as a blur, before the sights arrive. For an 8” steel plate at 15 yards, however, if you see the target with a clear, crisp focus, the sights will stop on the center of the target.

What you must see to know that the barrel is pointed at the target varies with the target’s size and distance.

For a single shot on an 18” x 24” rectangle at 7 yards, you may just see the top of the slide as it flashes on or across the target. For a single shot on an 8” steel plate at 25 yards, you should see a perfect sight alignment, stopped, paused and still, on the center of the target. 

Between those extreme examples, a variety of visual clues might be required to know the barrel is pointed at the target.

When things go bad, executing the fundamentals—only—can save the stage. For example, you come out of the holster with a terrible grip. If you just: see the target; know the sights stayed on the target until the shot fired (called the shot), for every shot, the result might surprise you. 


The goal of proper technique: Consistently execute the fundamentals, under the widest variety of conditions, both mental and physical.

The three components of the shooting position:
The Grip
The Index
The Base

What the grip is is fairly obvious. The position of everything above your belt is the index. And, not surprisingly, the base is everything below your belt.

The BASE provides a forward stability, or lean, to the index position. As the pistol is coming from the holster to the target, your weight is on your toes, which prevents you from being pushed backwards as the first shot fires.

Shunryu Suzuki

“Whatever happens, study closely and see what you find out. This is the fundamental attitude.” 
-Shunryu Suzuki

Each Monday, I’ll post a new topic in one of two categories. One will be on shooting, and the other will be on living, or: “how I learned to live from what I learned by competing.” 

Thanks for coming in.