April 11-12 2015
The first things Mike said to us as class began:
"There is a lot talk about competition shooting getting you killed in the streets. I'm here to tell you there is no street or sport. There is only skill and application. The skills are the same, we just have to adapt them to the application."
I may or may not have pumped my first in the air and muttered a "fuck yeah".
I had heard good things about Mike in the community from a variety of sources. He certainly has a compelling story, and I knew it would be a good shooting course, but I didn't expect him to be such a breath of fresh air.
Over the course of the weekend we shot a variety of challenging drills where Mike was always sure to explain to us in detail the why. He laid out the intricacies of his curriculum, the reasons we where shooting the courses of fire, and what he wanted us to get out of them.
The coursework was full of what he called "conscious contradictions" forcing students to perform skills driving often in opposite directions, make rapid observations and changes, and staying mentally engaged. I found it challenging while offering learning points for all levels of shooters, and we had a wide range of people out for this class.
Mike's advise on students questions about close quarters fighting was direct and to the point:
"You need to get a SIM gun and a helmet on and get out on the mats and fight somebody for that gun."
Damn straight. Mike advocated strongly all weekend for shooting sports, combat sports, and competition pressure. His input was straightforward and refreshing in a world overflowing with bluster, false promises, unearned accolades, and stylized nonsense.
His level of attention to detail is unsurpassed in my experience, and he made time for individual timed and scored runs with every student and gave feedback to each participant on a one on one basis throughout the course as well as putting everyone in multiple man vs man shoot offs and drills in front of the class. Making the time for this, and spending the energy on working with each of us marks Mike as a "true believer" and one that really cares deeply about his students and the work.
I'll be training with him again.