The nature of Firearms Training

Firearms for self defense have skyrocketed in recent years.  Many more people are interested in conceal carry than ever before.  Gun Control is one of the most talked about issues in the news as well. But the question that I pose, are we better trained at using firearms than before.

The number of guns manufactured in the U.S. have soared in recent years.  According to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, Guns manufactured in the U.S. rose from 5.5 million in 2010 to nearly 11 million in 2013.  That's close to double in 3 years!  Furthermore, the Center for Crime Prevention estimates that over 16 million adults have some sort of carry permit in the U.S.  The interesting data estimates that only 3 million of the 16 million carry everyday.  Why are these new permit holders not carrying their firearms? Are these new gun owners getting the training that is necessary for a possible self defense conflict?

All over the U.S., we see the opportunity of get these permits, but what is being taught?  Most of these classes teach legalities but no actual firearms training.  You are expected to know how to handle a firearm safely and complete a simple live fire exercise at the end of the class to show proficiency of basic marksmanship.  Unfortunately, these classes do little to teach any amount of training for a self defense situation.  

The nature of self defense training demands a complexity of skills that must constantly be trained.  Adding a firearm only increases the complexity and severity.  Buying a gun and getting a carry permit does nothing to aid in your ability to defend yourself.  This is one of the biggest myths surrounding firearms today.

Deep down, I believe that most people understand this point.  If not, a larger amount of permit holders would carry on a daily basis.  You see, many do not feel comfortable carrying a firearm because they lack basic skills.  And of those who do carry, I believe many of them lack the understanding of the complexity and severity that comes with carrying a firearm.

What types of firearm training is available to the general public?  If you search for firearms training, you will find gun ranges that offer basic gun safety and carry permit classes.  This is the majority of classes that someone could take to enhance their skills. These classes are a couple of hours and will run you hundreds of dollars. The most advanced classes, typically being how to draw your firearm and understand muzzle awareness.  However, I urge you to remember that basic gun safety and handling classes only touch the surface when it comes to the complexity of using a firearm in self defense.

The next level of firearms training are weekend courses. These courses are typically geared toward the tactical community.  The course usually covers a wide range of information and are pretty good for the average citizen. However, These course costs on average about $500 and doesn't cover the costs of ammo.  Ammo for a weekend course is a few hundred dollars.    This is the biggest reason most average citizens do not attend these courses.  Unfortunately,  the price point is just too high. 

What's the average citizen looking to protect him/herself and family supposed to do? 

At Lone Star, we offer classes for the average citizen looking to become more prepared.

Check out our ongoing self defense classes and our weekend courses specializing in offensive gun and knife.

Shawn Vicknair

Owner of Lone Star Karate & Self Defense

Simplifying your training will lead to better results

In a today's world, I see many who continue to pile on to their schedules in effort to become more successful. Many believe that the more we do, the better we get.  Unfortunately, this isn't always the case.

Simplifying your life can be the best thing that leads to happiness. Here's an articlethat speaks to simplifying your life.  You can google more articles that speak to the same thing and how it will make you more productive.

However, today's blog post is about 'Simplifying your training' not your life.  I believe that these two are very similar.  

In training, three things will create success. These are 1.) Simple, 2.) Hard, 3.) Consistent. Yes, that's it.  Period.

We all did science experiments in school, right?  What's the difference between the control group and the experiment group. One thing, That's it.  Only one thing.  It's simple and effective. Why is it effective?  By only changing one thing, you can determine if it works.  If you change too many things, then you will not know which one actually caused the change.  I see this all the time.  People will start a workout program and after a period of time they may see some results, but eventually(due to the novice effect) the results tamper off. The person will scrap the entire program.  They start back at square one instead of finding out what worked and what didn't.  Keep a journal of your training and only change one thing at a time to promote results.  

Hard?  What's hard mean?  Most believe hard is complex. It's not.  Hard is difficult, intense, with effort.  Nothing comes without effort.  However, I will surmise that everyone's level of effort is different.  A person who has never lifted anything over 50lbs. will take a lot of effort to lift 55 lbs.  On the flip side, if a person consistently trains with 100 lbs, lifting 55lbs will be relatively easy and without much effort.  To see results, effort is necessary. 

Lastly, and definitely not least, is consistency.  Consistency is key.  'Rome wasn't built in a day' as the phrase goes.  One of the biggest things that fitness experts agree on is the idea of 'stress, recovery, adaptation'.  When you workout, you stress your body. When you take the next day off, you recover.  Adaptation occurs when you workout again soon thereafter. If you don't, the adaptation will be for nothing and progress will not occur.  This takes discipline and accountability.  

There you have it.  Simple, hard, and consistent will get you to your goals. 

If you are interested in reaching your training goals, whether it is to lose fat, gain muscle, or learn self defense, check out our classes!

Shawn Vicknair

What's a McDojo and why should you care?

What is a McDojo and should we care?  Let's start by defining what a McDojo is.  A martial art's school that is substandard. 

Here's a quick history of what happened?  With the explosion of martial arts in the 1990's and the teaching of martial arts to kids, we saw an increase of martial art's schools being run like a business.  Many of these professional martial art's schools grew significantly.  More traditional garage dojos would call these professional schools, McDojos.  Was it justified?  Possibly.  Most of these professional dojos would sign students up for a 'blackbelt program'. This was a contract for a specified number of years that would guarantee the student 'earn' their blackbelt. The shorter period of time would help the school financially and gain more students.  Another term used was 'blackbelt factory'.  I hope you can see how this happened.  We saw many 6 and 7 year olds walking around Walmart wearing their blackbelts.  The mystic of the blackbelt quickly faded away.  Martial arts over the next decade became child's play.  Most adults stopped training.    Martial arts became big business.  Most owners of dojos didn't even train.  Things have changed over of the years.

Today, adults are looking to start training again. Adults are getting back into martial arts little by little.  However, the McDojo has changed.  The new McDojo is marketing toward 'self defense'.  Martial art's instructors are claiming to be self defense instructors.  This poses a big issue.  On one hand, these instructors claim that their martial art is for self defense.  Another problem is that some only teach avoidance and awareness and say that this is really all you need.  Some may say that by feeling more confident(learning their martial art) you will not need to defend yourself.  Granted, avoidance, awareness, and self confidence can go a long way. However, what happens when it fails and you need to rely on your physical  martial arts training.  This may come as a shock to you, but many of the instructors only teach wrist releases for self defense.  Some may add a few static 'self defense' attacks and call it a day.  This is only fueling a false sense of confidence.  

Yes, you should care about McDojos.  These instructors will advertise toward everything.  They will make you a world champion and capable of handling a group of thugs in no time.  Visit several martial art's schools in your area.  Try out a few classes.  Learn to question what the instructor says.  Don't assume that they know everything. 

Self defense training must include several factors to be complete.  Now, you don't have to get all of your self defense training from one instructor. Most of the time you can't.  Here's a list of things that it needs to include.  An awareness of your surroundings, understanding of your capabilities and limitations, a mindset of self worth,  how to strike effectively, how to grapple(standing and on the ground), an understanding of weapons(offense and defense),  know when to walk away.  This list is by no means exhaustive.  

Tell me what you think.

Shawn Vicknair

Welcome To Our New Website! We’re Proud To Serve Richmond with Kids Martial Arts, Self Defense, and Fitness!

Welcome To Our New Website! We’re Proud To Serve Richmond with Kids Martial Arts!

At Lone Star Karate & Self Defense, we are working hard to go above and beyond for every person who walks through our doors. And you could be next!

We are offering Richmond a hands-on approach to Kids Martial Arts. And you don’t need any prior experience to succeed!

Come visit us at Lone Star Karate & Self Defense and see for yourself what makes us the best Kids Martial Arts facility in town.

Just click on ‘Contact Us’ and fill out the form and stop in for a visit today!

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Building Self Confidence in Your Child!

Many parents bring their children to martial arts to help build self confidence in their child. Martial arts have been known for this for years. So how is it done and why is martial arts so good at it? The class structure, the instructor, and the specific things a child learns in martial arts help to develop these great traits.

First, structure is very important for kids to have. Classes need to have specific structure. A warm up at the beginning of class should be run the same way most of the time. Students will learn the way to do it, get better at doing these skills, and feel part of something bigger than themselves. Kids start to learn the structure, they know what to expect, and what is expected of them. The individual approach to martial arts is very important. This is why team activities or sport cannot build confidence in the same way.

 Second, most martial arts classes consist of fundamental movements that are developed over time. The student will learn these skills and progressively get better at performing them. Also, katas are taught to the students. Kata are a series of fundamental skills repeated in a specific sequence exactly the same way every time. Students will learn and repeat these kata each class. This continues the development of their confidence and self esteem. Students progress through a belt system or some similar leveling system to show them that they are getting better.

Lastly, the instructor is probably the most important aspect of your child’s development of confidence. Instructors can make or break a child’s development. Instructors will need to show sincere care toward each student and take time to help each student progress. Many times this needs to start by finding specific things that each child does well throughout the class. Individual praise is essential. This isn’t always easy. Some students will need the instructor to proactively steer the child into doing something well in order to praise them. This demands sincere and specific praising. Students will see through a general ‘good job’ praise for something they know wasn’t that good. Through time, constructive criticism will help the student become better and gain even more confidence.

This confidence will spill into other aspects of their lives including school, family, and social situations.


Shawn Vicknair