Random Thoughts: A Mindful Miscellany

from Marcus Wynne

Posts Tagged ‘Random Thoughts

Coffee With Friends…

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I like coffee. I like coffeeshops. I like the smell and taste of good coffee, and I tolerate bad coffee when there’s nothing else to drink. I like the social aspect of coffee. I like sitting with friends and enjoying a convivial conversation on just about anything over coffee.

Today I had one of the best coffee dates of my life. It was in a little place called Richard’s Coffee Shop in Mooresville, NC. You can find their webpage here: http://welcomehomeveteran.org/

The coffee was free. The sweet treats were free. So was the conversation. My friend Bob, a Special Forces linguist and intelligence officer of the Viet Nam era took me in and introduced me around to his running buddies. I was privileged with conversation from an infantry officer who’d commanded a line company on Okinawa during WW2. A pilot who’d flown the Hump and dropped supplies to Merrill’s Marauders. An SF officer who rebuilt a C-46 and still flies it to drop paratroopers at re-enactments. A seasoned SF sniper with three grown sons who have now, after their service in Iraq, have become “not only my sons, but my brothers” through their service. A whole slew of brother paratroopers, Marines, Airmen, Navy, Coast Guard…veterans all. Enjoying coffee and company.

I was welcomed Home.

It’s a mighty fine place to be.

If you’re ever traveling in North Carolina, stop by and visit Richard’s Coffee Shop. The story’s on their web-page. If you’ve Served, come by on Thursday. Coffee’s free. So’s the conversation.

Never know who you might run into there.



Written by marcuswynne

August 29, 2013 at 7:57 pm

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Random Thoughts On Mental Training and Performance Enhancement PT 7, or Deconstructing Jerry Miculek

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I get asked, often, to take a look at videotape from various combat athletes. For one reason or another I might not be able to go to them or they to me, or it’s just easier for both parties to look at video and then confer via phone or e-mail.

I thought it might be interesting to look at the short video of the phenomenal Jerry Miculek demoing his V-drill at speed and see what lessons we might pluck from an informal analysis of his demonstration.

I’m going to keep this short, as the technical detail of elicitation and evoking high performance attributes in real-time takes *way* longer to write than to do. So I’ll just point out the process I might use (one of many) to study Master Miculek’s performance and pluck out some points that can be utilized to enhance a shooter’s performance.

One of my first considerations in selection of a model to demonstrate superior performance is to make sure that the superior performance demonstrated applies to the end-user audience. For instance, in my opinion (and I’m not interested in arguing my opinion, it’s offered freely to dismiss or consider) for shooters you need to context the demonstration of the skill *and* the context of the potential end-user. Is the shooter a 3-gun competitor? A military special operator? A police SWAT member? A citizen exercising his right to be well armed and highly proficient? The specifics of the desired end-use help shape the selection criteria for the best model.

I like this particular demonstration, as the skill-set demonstrated applies in competition as well as in tactical application, and so pertinent parts can be plucked out to suit the needs of the end-user.

Snapshot: What do we see? Watch it with the sound turned off. What’s more important now is what we SEE. Why? Shooting is a Visual-Kinesthetic (VK) skill; many things happen simultaneously that FEEL right to the user…unlike a conversation or a lecture or a blog post which requires you to make sense of words one after another and then generate a gestalt.

VK skills take place first in the realm of visual processing, where an enormous amount of data is processed simultaneously by the visual cortex and the eyes, and the body sorts that date pre-consciously by FEELING it’s way to the most useful APPLICATION.

So for you hard-core shooters out there, how would you rather learn about a new firearm handed to you:

A. Sit in a chair in a stuffy classroom and listen to a 2-hour lecture on how cool your new firearm is, read the manual front to back, watch a demonstration by someone else on how to handle the weapon…


B. Get handed your shiny new shooting iron with a basic visual demonstration of safety procedures and get to fingering it?

Your choice of A or B defines your VK learning style (or not).

So what do we see?

The shooter is relaxed, poised, confident in bearing. Notice the kinesthetic markings of his hands and body as he moves through his explanation (keep the sound off if you haven’t already turned it off — watch, don’t listen). His explanation is readily understandable without any words, yes? Why? Because he marks out exactly what he’s going to do with his body before he does it.

So what does that tell us about the internal mental processing?

He’s walking his talk, i.e. he’s walking through his internal visualization of the drill to come. Pay attention — he defines the initial start distance, walks up close and marks out his target zone specifically, touches it, marks it out with his body language, goes through the sequence, looking at each target and touching or pointing at it.

So he’s gone through the whole sequence in the much slower sequential process of verbally explaining the drill.

What do we see, then?

Relaxed and poised = confidence.
Confidence comes from what? Previous experience of success, a success he’s replicating in his real-time visualization, and a rehearsal that ends in his successful completion of his drill.

How does he know? He feels it. It’s body knowledge. He walks it through, watch his carriage, the direction of his gaze, the marking of his hands. If he were wearing a device to track his neurology (soon, maybe…) you could track the sequence of warm-up to activation of the shooting sequence, first visually in rehearsal and then in real-time.

What kind of presuppositions can we imagine?
Training and critique (which he shares in his discussion about the need to stay focused; watch his body language there).
Control of internal time sense (ability to walk through in talking slow time and then execute in dramatically faster VK processing time)


Check out what happens to his face and body set when he sets his weapon up. This is something he’s done countless millions of time, notice the sequence that starts with his muscle tension shifting as he rotates the weapon up and acquires the offset red-dot and starts his engagement…watch it a couple of times and then watch what happens when he drops that state when he safes his weapon —

That’s a man who has just completed a visual-kinesthetic cognitive track that he’s run through several times while we’ve watched *before* he does it in real time to an extraordinary level.

Lessons for the shooter seeking improvement:

Confidence doesn’t come just from burning ammo. Comes from perfect visualization coupled to perfect performance and using that as a foundation.

Processing information the way you need to *use* it — visually first and feeling your way to the “rightness” of it.

Practicing 75% to 90% visually and dry (especially in days of ammo shortages) and reinforcing that mental rehearsal with a validating run…and running it till you have validation.

Making mistakes and embracing the mistakes. And then run your visualization around that particular mistake, focusing on three to five solutions that work through that problem in real time and conclude in a successful run.

More points as I think of them later, but that’s a snapshot of a process that’s much easier to do in real time than by writing it through…


PS: The latest chapter of THREE’S WYLDE, Chapter Three, is up today on Smashwords here: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/313937

Written by marcuswynne

May 7, 2013 at 4:46 pm

Random Interesting Things…

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Here’s an Old Guy showing the Young Guns how it’s done:

My friends all know my love of post-apocalyptic and dystopian fiction; this gem by the astonishing duo of Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett is one of the *funniest* takes on the Apocalypse I’ve ever read:


This graphic is a pretty cool overview of what’s minimally necessary in an emergency kit or “Bug Out Bag”:


I’m working on two books and a variety of articles (one will be forthcoming in John Robb and Shlok Vaidya’s http://www.resilientcommunities.com) as well as some blog posts. Think the next thing will be a gear round up. Or something else completely Random.

Stay tuned for another chapter of THREE’S WYLDE, available only via Smashwords for the time being. Thanks to my beta readers for your comments and notes; I guess I could turn down the f-bomb usage, however, that is *exactly* how people in those circumstances talk…as one of my teachers at the Iowa Writer’s Workshop opined…”Marcus has a grasp on the most pungent aspects of the colloquial…”

That’s fancy talk for “I swears a lot sometimes, jist like real pipples.”


The Cognitive Neuroscience folks at DARPA are undergoing some changes to reflect the massive influx of attention and funding that last month’s announcement of the BRAIN initiative generated https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BRAIN_Initiative — I’m looking forward to my next visit out there:

Written by marcuswynne

May 1, 2013 at 7:34 pm

Blast From The Past – John “Lofty” Wiseman on Military and Police Special Operations

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During a past life, when I toted a gun for a living, I had the privilege and benefit of training and working with the very best operators of my era. One of those men was Lofty Wiseman. I met Loft during the first CQB Services training course offered in the United States. I then coordinated US operations for CQB Services for some years. We did military and law enforcement training in high threat close protection, hostage rescue and advanced tactical operations. We also from time to time ran courses that were open to the public.

Lofty is a very rare bird: legendary special operator, best selling author, master survival instructor, motivational speaker. He is funny enough to have made a living as a professional comedian, and counts water colors, golf and wood working among the skills he maintains.

As you’ll see from reading the interview (first published in GUNS AND WEAPONS FOR LAW ENFORCEMENT in 1996) Lofty is also the Godfather of American Special Operations. He was involved in the start-up of just about every major US Tier One Unit. I believe this to be the only unclassified interview Lofty ever gave on this subject. I find it interesting to compare his thoughts from the 90s to what’s happening in military and special operations today.


Written by marcuswynne

August 23, 2012 at 3:16 pm

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A Random Post with Random Thoughts For Today

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I just realized I haven’t posted for a week and a half. All three of you who actually follow this blog, thanks for your patience! I’ve come in off a three month road trip. One thing I worked on while on the road is a series of posts I’ll be putting up on John Robb’s blog Resilient Communities; I’ll also continue posting some of those here along with other random miscellany.

Upcoming posts will include:

Gear reviews: Ares Gear Gun Belt, Raven Concealment Holsters, Kelty MAP 3500 back pack, Salomon Fastpacker boots, Bio-Lite stove (also over on John Robb’s blog), Ken Brock Badger (custom knife), etc.

Resilience: What is a resilient community? How to build the social structure that underpins true resilience. Lightweight emergency bag and inexpensive preparation advice for families on budgets.

Interviews: Karl Sokol, master gunsmith to the special operations gunfighters; John “Lofty” Wiseman, survival master and legendary special operator on the difference between law enforcement and military special operations; John Robb on “Why Resilient Community?” and so on…

Writing: Snippets from the upcoming WYLDE novel and some short story experiments.

Training: More neural-based exercises and some insights into how human performance and cognitive neuroscience are being integrated into the most cutting edge training programs for the tip of the spear gunfighters.

Random thoughts: Whatever I think of after I’ve had coffee.

Thanks for reading; stick around, the show will get going sooner than later now that I’m back….

Written by marcuswynne

August 18, 2012 at 4:58 pm

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Richard Smith, 1957-2012

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Last week the international special operations community lost a respected member. Last week I lost a friend. Rich Smith was my friend and today I remember and honor him.

I first met Rich in 2006, at an invitation-only training event I presented in the UK. I knew Rich by reputation, as he’d trained with my long-time friend Dennis Martin, and he worked closely with my brother-from-another-mother Clint Oosthuizen, the lead CQB instructor for the South African Police Service.

Rich was the oldest student in the class, same age as me, and just a few years younger than Dennis. Despite his age he dominated much younger and fitter operators throughout the training. Tough, quiet, and fierce when he switched on, he was — in a word — formidable.

Dennis, Rich and Clint in an early CQB Services Close Protection course.

We talked a lot while we were there in the UK, and that was the beginning of a long-distance friendship that continued via Skype and e-mail.

Rich (second from left) at the Neural-Based Instructor Course.

Rich began his special operations career as a very young man in Rhodesia. He was an operator with the Rhodesian SAS, and later worked with other special operations units. More recently he did several tours in Iraq and Afghanistan working on contract for various organizations.

Rich on the job.

He was a warrior. He was a man who lived and breathed the warrior’s ethos. Deeply intelligent and well read, he enjoyed hashing out training concepts and theory and putting them to the test in the real world.

He was humble. Modest to a fault. He never spoke of his A-List military lineage or his deep body of experience, but was always willing to share the expertise he’d developed over a lifetime. Rich walked the walk and never talked. His experience shone out of everything he did – at least to the trained eye.

He was a gentleman. An Old School gentleman who embodied in everything he did the heritage of English, Rhodesian, and South African manhood.

Rich and I were working together on a training project and I’d planned to meet up with him in Sierra Leone or South Africa, at his base in Durban, later this year. I may make that trip and visit his resting place. Rich believed in the Old Religion of Odin/Wotan, and practiced the Warrior’s Path. In his belief, warriors received a special place in the Hall of Valhalla, a seat earned by their Service in going in harm’s way on behalf of others — their family, their clan, their tribe, their community, their country. Their friends.

Rich spent his entire life in Service, taking lives and saving lives, and he’s earned his seat of honor in the Warrior’s Hall.

May you rest well, my friend, and may you always be honored in accordance with all that you have earned.

Rest well, my friend.

Written by marcuswynne

August 6, 2012 at 3:01 pm

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What matters most is how well you walk through the Fire ~ Charles Bukowski

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July 21, 2012 at 2:02 pm

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