My first post of this year briefly discussed my goal of doing 3,650 minutes of dry practice in 2019. These posts are mostly for my own accountability. Here are my results to this point in the year:
January 1 – 11: 200 minutes, January 12 – 31: 140 minutes
February 1 – 15: 140 minutes, February 16 – 28: 130 minutes
March 1 – 15: 160 minutes, March 16 – 31: 160 minutes
April 1 – 15: 140 minutes, April 16 – 30: 160 minutes
May 1 – 15: 140 minutes, May 16 – 31: 170 minutes
June 1 – 15: 180 minutes, June 16 – 30: 160 minutes
July 1-15: 150 minutes,
July 16: 10 minutes presentation with EDC setup
10 minutes shotgun shoot 1/load 1 and shoot 2/load 2
July 17: 10 minutes reloads w/ EDC setup
July 18: 0 minutes
July 19: 0 minutes
July 20: 0 minutes
July 21: 0 minutes
July 22: 10 minutes presentation with EDC setup
July 23: 10 minutes presentation with EDC setup
July 24: 10 minutes presentation with EDC setup
July 25: 10 minutes presentation with EDC setup
July 26: 10 minutes presentation with EDC setup
July 27: 10 minutes presentation with EDC setup
July 28: 10 minutes presentation with EDC setup
July 29: 10 minutes presentation with EDC setup
July 30: 10 minutes presentation with EDC setup
July 31: 10 minutes presentation with EDC setup
Monthly Target: 310 minutes
Monthly Actual To Date: 280 minutes
Cumulative Target: 2,130 minutes
Cumulative Actual to Date: 2,160 minutes (36 hours)
I didn’t do anything terribly interesting during this period. I was basically traveling the entire time. I had two work trips that overlapped with this time, as well as traveling to my friend Teai’s celebration of life. This made dry practicing difficult, so I decided to give myself a four-day weekend. Since I was traveling I usually only had access to my EDC firearm, so that’s what I worked with.
I’m not going to lie: I hit a bit of a wall during this period. I struggled with being tired from traveling and from some very long days at work (during the longest week in this period I worked a little over 79 hours). I think taking a break hurt more than it helped. I thought a few days off would give me both a mental and physical recharge, but it actually made it harder to get back into the swing of daily dry practice. If I could go back, I wouldn’t have taken a break; it didn’t do a lot for me then, and where are those days now?
Presentation with EDC
I was thankful to have some distraction-free practice drawing my EDC firearm. This is perhaps the single most important skill that a practitioner of self-defense can master. I’m never going to be as fast as many instructors, competitors, and operators out there, and that’s not my goal. My goal is to make certain tasks – presentation, reloads, malfunctions – happen automatically so I can focus on other things if I find myself in a fight for my life. Jim Cirillo talks about his gun just appearing in his field of view during gunfights. That’s where I want to be, and the only way to get there is to fully myelinate and automate these skills, the most important of which is presentation.
This also gave me time to focus on some finer points. Since I carry concealed, I always practice from concealment – usually in the morning, usually in what I am wearing that day. One thing I occasionally screw up is quickly clearing the cover garment. Occasionally I just miss the tail of my shirt (especially in a button-down shirt) and my hand goes up with a whole ‘lotta nothing.
I spent a lot of time presenting beginning from the surrender position or with my hands clasped behind my back. This prevented me from pre-staging my hand to clear my shirt, and forced me to make a discrete effort to secure the hem and “rip” it up. One of the awesome things about doing so much dry practice, spaced over such a long period of time, is the opportunity to identify little things like this and work on them.
The Bottom Line
If you do anything for this long you’re going to have ebbs and flows, times when finding the energy is easy and times when it’s hard. That’s why I think the 10-minutes/day model is sustainable. It would be hard to convince myself to get out and dry practice for half an hour a day, but 10 minutes? It’s not that hard at all. Whatever training program you set for yourself, set something that’s consistent and achievable. Whether it’s a gym routine, dry practice regimen…whatever. Find a program that works for you and do it!
If you aren’t dry practicing. . . WHY NOT? It’s not hard to find 10 minutes a day to dry practice, and it’s COMPLETELY FREE. Take ten minutes you’d be spending vegging out on Instagram or in front of the TV and turn it into a tangible skill.