I met Brian Enos on a shooting range in Montrose, Colorado in the late-90s where I was training for a couple of days with Ron Avery. Brian was driving an old, meticulously maintained Chevy truck with a blow-your-ears-out sound system and the radar detector set to visual only. He said, “I like to listen loud music and I react to visual stimulus faster than I can respond to audibles.” He was matter of fact, and as simple as that.
Seeing the small “Psychoholic” sticker on the truck surprised me because only a few climber friends listened to White Zombie. When I surfed his cassette collection and saw one mix titled, “Kick Ass Slayer”, I knew we would eventually connect over music. And we did, seeing live shows by 16 Horsepower, Woven Hand, New Model Army, and Wayne Kramer, among others. But the connection went much deeper.
When I first read Brian’s Book, “Practical Shooting — Beyond Fundamentals”, which is considered one of the best books on the subject, and certainly the deepest, I praised it as deeply as I know how, “I wish I had written that book about alpine climbing.” Oddly, I was deep into making my book titled “Extreme Alpinism” and lifted its “how to think” tone from Brian’s work. Ultimately, Brian taught me how to think or rather, he pointed out patterns and formulaic responses as rehearsed, as habit, and not honest. The habitual response to stimulus prevents a new and fresh relationship with the environment—and with one’s own feelings. I never imagined this revelation would help my shooting but it did. Over time I learned how to tune my sensitivity, to respond to stimulus as it was—and I was—in the moment rather than reacting by rote. Brian taught me to notice things without blathering on about mindfulness. Be here. Be free. Simply B.E.
He once told me, “You can only shoot as fast as you can see.” He turned me on to the concept of “visual acceptability”, which some might find synonymous with an 80/20 split or rule: see the minimum of what you need to see in order to produce an acceptable result. Do you need to see the letter A on the target or is it enough to see the A Zone? Later, I applied the concept to training clients by doing the absolute minimum to achieve the declared goal—not because I was lazy but because anything more increased risk and cost time that could be spent to greater benefit elsewhere.
Brian was always curiously detached, or more accurately, non-attached. He could do without anything and disliked what ever might affect his freedom or sensitivity. Watching him burn the tokens of achievement (trophies and plaques and shirts won during the season) in a New Years Eve ritual made me reconsider why I held on to totemic reminders of an experience. Was the experience itself not enough? Why would I bind myself to the experience and the man I was when I had it with a token?
In the Foreword Brian penned for my second book he wrote, “Everything in life is a challenge. You can accept the challenge to improve, or you can bask and distract yourself with success. Mark has accepted and survived the challenge, emerging as a true human being. The reward is personal freedom: not the illusion of the freedom to choose, but the freedom to confidently follow the heart.”
And that’s what it’s all about.
Brian's Shooting Titles:
2-time NRA Action Shooting National Champion
Masters International Pistol Champion
5-time Sportsmans Team Challenge National Championship team member
Member of United States IPSC Gold Team 1983–1999
2-time Stock Gun World Speed Shooting National Champion
Author of Practical Shooting, Beyond Fundamentals
Check out Brian's page and forum here
And his Ep. 20 here