in: Manly Know-How, Podcast, Skills

• Last updated: September 28, 2021

Podcast #129: Competition Gun Shooting & Self-Defense with Mike Seeklander

Today we take a look into the world of competition firearms shooting with competitive shooter and instructor, Mike Seeklander. Mike has ranked in national and international firearms competitions and was also one of the first contestants on History Channel’s Top Shot. In addition to competing, Mike travels the country instructing not only civilians, but law enforcement officers in defensive firearm use. He’s served in the Marines, and worked as a federally certified firearms instructor and as the Branch Chief and Lead Instructor for the Federal Air Marshal firearms division. Mike’s also helped us with some firearms content on the site. In today’s podcast, Mike and I discuss competitive and defensive shooting.

Show Highlights

  • Mike’s experience as one of the first contestants on Top Shot
  • What’s involved in three gun competitions and how to get started
  • What to look for in a firearms instructor
  • Advice on buying your first firearm
  • The training regimen every responsible firearms owner should take part in
  • The common mistakes seasoned firearms practitioners make
  • How to improve your situational awareness
  • The role of physical fitness in self-defense
  • And much more!

Your competition handgun training program book cover Mike Ross Seeklander..

If you’re interested in learning more about competitive shooting, be sure to check out Mike’s site, Shooting Performance. He’s also published several books and created several instructional DVDs on both competitive and self-defense shooting. I own both his handgun books and DVDs and have found them incredibly useful. Also, be sure to sign up for Mike’s forthcoming American Warrior Society. And just a quick note, the Udemy courses that Mike mentioned in the podcast are no longer available due to a change in policy prohibiting content about firearms at Udemy.

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Special thanks to Keelan O’Hara for editing the podcast!


Brett: Brett McKay here and welcome to another addition of the Art of Manliness podcast. Today on the show, we’re discussing firearms. In particular, we’re talking about a world of firearms that I didn’t know much about. That’s competition shooting. My guest today’s name is Mike Seeklander. He’s based here in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He’s actually helped me with content about firearms on the site. He’s a champion competitive shooter. He’s actually one of the first contestants on History Channel’s Top Shot, if you’ve seen that show. Today, Mike and I discuss about three gun competition shooting: How you get started, what’s involved. If you’re looking for a new hobby, a new sport, and you like guns, you’ll get a lot out of this podcast. Besides being a competitive shooter, Mike is also a firearms and self defense instructor so he travels the country teaching not only citizens, but also law enforcement agencies how to be better tactitions with weapons and not with weapons. So Mike and I also get into a little about self defense. All right. Really interesting podcast. I think you’ll like it. Without further ado, Mike Seeklander.

All right. Mike Seeklander. Welcome to the show.

Mike: Thanks, man.

Brett: All right, Mike. You are a world class firearms instructor as well as competitor. Can you tell us a little bit about your background? How did you end up doing what you’re doing?

Mike: Man, the background is pretty diverse. I, from childhood, loved to shoot. Love guns. You know, actually, I joined the Marine Corps in 1990. Sometime in that time frame, I ran across some videos of these guys shooting, what we call, practical shooting. Running and gunning. You know, I shot a handgun as a young child. I hunted. I did all these different things, but when I saw what these guys could do, their ability to shoot and the speeds they could accomplish with the handguns, I was like, “Man, I’m in love with this. I got to try this.” Throughout my Marine Corps career at the tail end and then later on in law enforcement, at the same time, while I’ve always been doing tactical or defensive stuff, I’ve been competing as a shooter. Now, I’m a sponsored professional shooter. It’s been an interesting road.

Brett: You were an air marshal right. Is that what you did in law enforcement?

Mike: Yeah. It’s funny. Your listeners won’t think I can hold down a job. So basically I went from the Marine Corps and then moved to Knoxville, Tennessee, where I was a police officer there for years. Then 9/11 happened and because of my shooting background and some of my connections, I had a connect with the instructors in the Federal Air Marshal Academy. Man, I made a phone call and they said, “Wow. You know so-and-so and you can do that?” And I’m like, “Yeah.” And they said, “Come on up for an interview.” So I did and the next thing I know, I’m the lead firearms instructor for the Federal Air Marshal, what we used to call, phase two training program, which was … After 9/11, they hired all these FAMs and then we had to train them. I was in charge of the initial firearms program. Of course there were a lot of instructors that worked with me and for me and the contractors and special forces guys. It was really a great place to learn a lot.

Brett: Awesome. You mentioned the difference between like, there’s practical shooting and there’s competition shooting. You’re a sponsored competitive shooter. Can you talk a little bit about competitive shootings? I think it’s a world that a lot of people aren’t familiar with. What are the events in competitive shooting? I guess there’s one called three gun, right?

Mike: Right. Yeah. When we talk about practical shooting, the original sport called IPSC, which is the International Practical Shooting Confederation, was started years and years ago. Basically, it was a gun handling and skills test made up by these old gun fighters guys that carried 1911s and wanted to find a way to test their skills. That evolved into the US version of the sport, which is the United States Practical Shooting Association, and then later on IDPA, which is called the International Defensive Pistol Association. The bottom line is, it’s almost all done from the holster. Different sports require concealment, but if you can imagine running and gunning where, you know, speed and accuracy is always balanced. For example, a lot of competitive sports, you shoot a bull’s eye very slow with a rifle or a handgun or a bow and arrow. With practical shooting, we’re constantly shooting on the move. Like I said, it was a combative oriented sport. Of course, these days, there are really fancy handguns in certain divisions. It’s not really practical in any aspect unless you shoot IDPA, but it’s running and gunning. You mentioned three gun, of course there’s a sport in three gun, which instead of just competing with handguns, you’re shooting the rifles, handguns, and shotguns. Often times, you’re shooting all three guns on one stage in a match.

Brett: Wow. When you say running and gunning, you are on the move. Are you getting behind obstacles or barriers and then shooting from those positions?

Mike: All of the above, man.

Brett: Okay.

Mike: If you can imagine. We don’t necessarily, I wouldn’t say we’re on obstacles like an obstacle course, but similar. There are walls, there are doors. There are positions we can shoot while we’re moving. We’re literally shooting targets and then running to the next targets and shooting the next array of targets. Originally what happened was they said, “We’re going to set up an array of threat targets and then you’re going to have to run around and use cover and do all these different things.” That evolved into a more athletic sport, which was really, when I describe it as running and gunning. If you got on my YouTube page or whatever page out there and look up IDPA or USPSA or my name, you’ll find videos of us running and gunning. It’s an athletic event, but skill with a handgun, rifle, or shotgun is also really, really important to do well in these sports. They’re incredibly fun. They’re not slow. Some of the sports out there, to me, are maybe a little bit more boring. I mean, I enjoy them, but they’re just not as fun. There’s a fun sport, man.

Brett: Does that carry over to like, actual self defense?

Mike: It does, but the people that use it need to be aware that they’re in a sport and what they’re going to get from doing sports like that is that they’re going to get to test their gun handling and their marksmanship skills under stress, but they’re not going to learn good tactics, for example. So someone that’s a serious defensive shooter needs to both. They need to have the ability to shoot in the sport, at the same time, they need to understand good tactics. Self defense type tactics.

Brett: We’ll talk about tactics here in a little bit, but here’s a thing. You were on Top Shot, History Channel Top Shot. Can you tell us a little bit about how did that happen? Can you tell us about the experience there?

Mike: I wasn’t on very long. I’m famous man. Nobody can ever claim my title because I was the first person to ever get kicked off.

Brett: Oh no.

Mike: It is what it is. It was a really unique show and it was something I’m proud of even though I got my butt kicked. We all lose here and there. The deal was, they started recruiting people from my sport and all these other sports and the History Channel put this show together. Basically it was the reality TV show where they put all these different shooters. Some of us professional shooters, some people that were just from the military and etcetera in a house and then we had to go to these different competitions. If you screwed up … We had the red team and the blue team. If you lost, then of course you had to vote and two team members had to shoot it off and if you lost the shoot off, you had to go home. I went into it pretty much blind. Nobody had any idea what the show was all about, how to train for it, what it will be like. It was unique because you had Hollywood people setting up a TV show and they didn’t know anything really about guns or shooting. There were a lot of little things they did that probably could have been done better. But it was a neat deal. You know, lots of people watch the show. It was a great thing for the gun culture.

Brett: Yeah. It had some weird Wild West type stuff. I remember.

Mike: Yeah, man. Wild West. Some of the shows they were shooting from this ropes they were hanging off of. They did all kinds of unique challenges. That’s probably my biggest disappointment, other than getting my butt beat, was that I didn’t get to do all these other fun challenges.

Brett: Do all that other stuff. One thing I love about Mike … For you who don’t know, Mike lives here near Tulsa. This is Owasso, right? Kind of down that area. Anyways, Mike has helped me out on content about firearms on the website. So if you search on the site how to fire a handgun, how to fire a shotgun, how to fire a rifle, you’re going to see Mike looking all scary with his bald head and goatee. No. One thing I love about Mike is that he makes firearms extremely approachable for the average guy. With that in mind. For the guys listening who might want to get into firearms for whatever reason, whether it’s just for a hobby, let’s admit it, shooting guns is just fun. Making things go boom is just fun.

Mike: Yeah.

Brett: Or for personal defense. What’s the best way to get started? Do you sign up for a class? Do you just go to the range? What do you do?

Mike: Yeah. You know, man, obviously I’ll just toot my own horn. I have classes that I sell and I have online programs. We can talk about that later. The thing that I tell everybody is first of all, you need to basically get rid of the fear and say, “I’m not going to be afraid of this anymore.” Here’s the deal. Guys, we are the worst, because we’re afraid of doing anything that’s unknown, especially when we’re talking about something in the manly gun culture. It’s like, “Wait. I don’t know how to hold a gun or shoot a gun. I don’t want to admit that to my family or friends or other people out there.” The reality is, you know, if you go to any range and find any good instructor or any kind of program, especially a competitive programs, people are the nicest people you will ever meet.

I would tell the listeners, just jump into it. Go to a local gun range or contact me. I’ll help you find one. Get into it. From there, don’t rush it. Go to the gun stores. Rent handguns. Rent a handgun. Rent a rifle. Rent a shotgun. You know, read your articles, Brett. All the basics are there. Once you’re ready to take it to the next level, you could consider buying some books or videos. There’s lots of good ones out there. Take an online course or actually take maybe a four hour or one day course. I don’t recommend that new people take like the two day course or three day course, because that’s very intensive and it’s hard on your body. Shoot a little bit first, get comfortable, and then jump into it. If you want to try the competitive sports, watch out, because once you try them, you’re going to be hooked. They’re so much fun.

Brett: Speaking of like firearms instructors, what should you look for in a good instructor? There’s lots of them out there. There’s really no accreditation, right? That has its vices and virtues. There’s pros and cons. With that in mind, what should you look for in an instructor?

Mike: First, you’re right. It does have its vices. Number one. The problem is, especially since the global war on terrorism is winding down, however you want to put that, there are lots and lots and lots guys and gals out there that are now instructors and instructing. I would tell people a few things. Number one: The NRA does certify instructors and there are some certification programs in the federal and state local law enforcement entities. Just because someone has an instructor certification doesn’t mean a lot to me. Here’s what I would tell people. Number one: Look for someone who has a really good base of knowledge. Meaning if you’re going to go take a class from someone, the first thing you should be able to do is go meet them and watch them shoot and/or see videos of them shooting and/or know of their shooting background. Because to really be a good instructor, you have to have a body of knowledge. Because I would want students to go to someone who has a very deep body of knowledge versus just a certification.

Then of course, the second thing is the certification helps. If someone is a certified instructor, at least they understand the format of instruction. I wrote a book last year called The Art of Instruction and that’s what it teaches people. It doesn’t teach people specific techniques that I want them to teach. It embodies the energy and the structure of instruction, because as you know, Brett, if someone is a good instructor and they have the ability to teach something that the student’s job is simply to enjoy the process and learn. If the instructor’s a bad instructor or, God forbid, teaches bad techniques, then it’s very hard to erase that bad experience for the student. That’s my recommendation. I’ll give you one last thing. If you ever go to an instructor that won’t shoot in front of you or that won’t do things, whatever they’re instructing … If they’re a piano instructor, they better play the piano in front of you. If they don’t do it in front of you, then they’re not very good. Find someone else.

Brett: What about guys who want to buy their first firearm? Any advice on that? Should you just rent stuff and then find what you like? What should we be looking for?

Mike: I will tell you this, dude. If you haven’t seen this, you might like this too. I just did a YouTube video on a trip to the gun store, where literally, I paid my videographer to go to the gun store with me and I videoed the whole thing and I talked about how you would select a handgun and selecting a family of guns. Here’s the deal. I go to so many classes where people show up and they have the wrong gear and the wrong gun for them. It just doesn’t work for them. One of the biggest tips I give on that video, which is on my YouTube page, is rent them. Exactly. You hit it spot on. Once you rent a gun, you know what it feels like to fire it. The second thing is, once you’ve rented it, get some instruction before you buy that handgun because just because it feels good to you doesn’t mean it is good. You know what I’m saying?

Brett: Yeah.

Mike: As a new shooter, you don’t know what you don’t know. I mean, you innocently lack the knowledge to really select the proper handgun and gear initially. Go rent a few guns. Get some instruction. Shoot the instructor’s guns. Most instructors have a dozen different handguns that they’ve bought over the years. But like I said, the video that I did is … Because everyone told me, “Mike, your books and your videos are great, but you don’t have anything that’s very basic. I’m brand new to this. What do I do the second I walk in the gun store?” I teach that in the video.

Brett: Yeah. I mean, the thing I found is that you can spend a lot of money. Like wasted money too trying to figure out … If you had just taken the time to try stuff before you actually buy.

Mike: Yeah. The thing about that is, once you’ve bought, it’s … All guns retain their value, but they’re not going to retain the same value. Like I said, i did the video because I’ve had so many students that show up that have been so misinformed in their gun purchase or their gear purchase trip to the store. It’s really pitiful.

Brett: Yeah. All right. You buy your gun. You want to own that, but you want to be a responsible gun owner. What should a typical firearms regimen look like? If you want to be really serious and really adept at using your firearm?

Mike: Okay. Before I answer that, let’s separate in the two different arenas. Number one: If you’re going to be … If you’re trained for defensive reasons or self defense, that’s a completely different context than training for competition.

Brett: Okay.

Mike: If I were to say, and more likely most of your listeners, they’re going to want to use a firearm for self defense, maybe home defense, vehicle defense. Whatever. The bottom line there to approach that in a serious nature is to learn how to build the skills with drills. The drills have to be built properly. For example, most of my skill, Brett, and most of the professional shooters I know spend a large amount of time dry firing and manipulating their firearms at home. There’s some safety rules you have to follow. But basically, handling the firearm, learning how to draw it. Learning how to reload it. Learning how to clear malfunctions. Those skills can all be practiced and taught in dry fire. You don’t have to go to the range at all. Matter of fact, in my online course, all of the first drills are dry fire drills like the first fifteen of them, you never have to leave your house. You can do it in a safe area in your home and develop a tremendous amount of skill without firing a live round. Of course, the next step is to find a good range and go to the range, whether you’re getting instruction from videos or person, start to put those aspects into use when you’re actually firing that rifle, handgun, or shotgun yourself.

Brett: So is dry fire everyday something you should probably be doing?

Mike: Man, almost every single day. It’s like fitness. If you don’t stick to it and do it routinely four five times a week, you’re not going to get anything out of it. Three days a week dry fire for ten to fifteen minutes will develop skills that are really unbelievable to most people. You know?

Brett: Yeah. Then try to get to the range once a week?

Mike: Once a week, man. Yeah. If you hit the range once a week, you’re golden. I know people that once they develop the initial skill, will maintain their skill every other week, maybe once a month for like half a day for a longer range session. Once a week is really good. If you’re dry firing three four days and go to the live fire range once a week, you’re going to develop some serious skills.

Brett: What about competition? Is that something you have to get a little more serious about? Spend more time with?

Mike: Well, you do, but here’s the thing. I’ll tell everybody out there. Don’t wait until you think you’re at a certain level to shoot your first match. It’s much better to show up and get into it. Now, I’m not saying that I have to go to a match and shoot the first one I ever see. Go and watch one, initially, if you’re new to this stuff. Don’t be that person that waits for one or two or three years until you think you have a certain level of skill to go the match, because what you’re going to realize is once you get to the match itself, you missed all of that fun and all of that experience along the way. Secondly, you probably don’t have the skills necessary to be able to participate in the sport. It sounds weird. My recommendation is to get a basic level of skill, go watch a match, and if it’s like, “Man, this looks really fun.” Jump into it. You’re going to have a half a dozen people there that will help you out and give you gear or loan you gear. Because people, generally, in our sports are very friendly.

Brett: We talked about sort of beginner firearm … People who want to get started. What about people who are seasoned firearm practitioners? Are there mistakes that you commonly see that they make or things that they’re overlooking in their own self defense training or competition training?

Mike: Yeah, man. Here’s the deal and I don’t say this to insult anybody, but most of us are taught, if we’re a shooter, we were taught to shoot probably by a parent, probably by our father. Okay. Some of us are taught really well. Some of us were not taught that well. You know, one of the comments in emails I get all of the time, is that when people get on some of the free stuff that I give out. The articles on my blog or the videos or whatever and they try some of the techniques. For example, handgun shooting. How to properly grip a handgun and how to manage the trigger better so you can shoot it faster and more accurately, because I think there’s always a balance that needs to be met. People just … This light bulb goes off and they realize how wrong they’ve been taught along the way. Most people that come to my classes don’t know how to grip a handgun properly. They fail to understand how to manage the trigger properly. Brett, what I’m talking about is to shoot it fast and accurately. And understand fast and accurately, that’s applicable in both the self defense arena and the competitive arena. It’s the same skills sets. We don’t need to separate those.

You know, from the self defense perspective, there’s a lot of information out there, especially if you start to get on a follow some of these videos that are wrong where you’re just watching some crackerjack do whatever. Unfortunately, people learn wrong. Most of my classes, I spend a large majority of the time fixing problems that were ingrained. You know. Bad habits.

Brett: All right. You mentioned tactics as an important part of self defense. Where was I going with this? I’m going to have my editor edit this out. Okay. Yeah. As far as tactics go, you see a lot of in the tactical world and everyone’s obsessed with the gun. Right. It’s like, my gun. You know. If I got a problem, I’ll just shoot the guy. It’s sort of like a joke on our site amongst me and our fellow writers that whenever we publish an article on hand to hand combatives, like Krav Maga or something like that, there’s always going to be some guy who’s going to say, “Well, I’ll just shoot him with my gun.”

Mike: I know, dude.

Brett: All the time. Let’s talk about tactics. What role does a firearm play in self defense?

Mike: Well, here’s the deal. First of all, what you just said was so incredibly true. The problem with people saying, “Well, I’ll just shoot him,” is number one, you may not be able to because you might not be able to get your gun out. What we do is, I do what’s called … We do a lot of MMA type combative stuff here. I do it with some guys that are also armed with blue guns and training knives, so we’re using safe, plastic firearms or little, what’s called SRT firearms, and training knives. What we do is, we just arm ourselves like we’d normally be armed and everything is in place. Strikes, kicks, knees, wrestling, and then we work on how we would get to the gun or get to the knife or draw the handgun, etcetera. I’ll tell you, man. I’m pretty good at drawing handgun. I’ve been doing it professionally for about 20 years now. I cannot get a handgun out more often than not against a motivated attacker that’s punching me in the face.

When you say that, you’re exactly right. People need to have a self defense continuum, for a lack of a better word. They need to understand distance, they need to understand how to use their hands and their feet, for both striking as well as movement off line, or maybe sprint movement where they’re literally sprinting and putting a vehicle or something between them and the attacker. When we’re talking about self defense, it’s not just one part. It’s not like, “I’ve got a handgun, I’ve got a carry permit, now I’m able to defend myself.” No no no. It goes way beyond that. You understand? That’s the first thing I try to get across in most of my classes.

Brett: Yeah. That whole distance thing, because I’ve done a similar drill like that where you had a guy with a knife, I had a blue gun in holster, not even, it was like where I conceal carry and he attacked me and I can never get a shot off. I got stabbed multiple times and got stabbed multiple times. It was really humbling. An important part of tactics and self defense is being situationally aware. You talk a lot about this. You taught me this really kind of cool game to improve your situational awareness. Can you talk about that a little bit?

Mike: Well, I’m thinking we were talking about where we were doing the identification and later on, you kind of test your buddy, test whoever you’re with to see what they saw?

Brett: Yeah.

Mike: Yeah. Yeah. Basically, I turned it into a game. I actually play this with my nine-year-old son, believe it or not. We’ll be in a weird area and I will spot someone that maybe looks like they’re out of place or whatever and then later on, I’ll ask whoever I’m with, “Hey, who did you see in the store that was out of place or that …” The bottom line is, what I try to do is get them to recall information. To really develop what we call awareness, because awareness is the first step in avoidance. Everybody always says, “I’m going to avoid the fight. I’m going to avoid …” You can’t avoid unless you’re aware first. That’s the first thing is turning your senses back on. We’re so dumbed down in the world. Our heads are stuck in our cellphones. We’re thinking about other things. We’re just not aware of our surroundings. Where if I dropped all of your listeners off right now in Kodiak, Alaska right now in a river and the salmon probably running sometime soon. They knew there were Kodiak grizzly bears around and the first thing they do would be turn up their awareness level. You know what I’m saying?

Brett: Yeah.

Mike: We don’t do that in society. The awareness game is very simple. You just play it with your spouse or friend or children, whoever else and you say, “Hey. What did you see? Inside Walmart, there were two guys that were weird. Did you see them? If you did, what were they wearing? What were they doing?” Whoever catches those little details of information wins the game. You start keeping track of points. For kids, it becomes a game. The neat thing is, you can ask them, “Do you think that person was a bad guy or bad woman?” They’ll say, “Yeah. I think so.” Then you ask, “Who was in the store that could help you?” They’ll be like, “There was a mother with two children, because a mother with two children is probably pretty safe.” Or there was a police officer or security guard in a gray uniform. That’s how I make it into a game.

Brett I guess that whole point situation. You talked about avoiding the fight. That’s something I think, when you bring out your gun, that’s not a good day. Right.

Mike: That’s a horrible day.

Brett: That’s a horrible day. I mean, I guess what I noticed in firearms training, that I’ve taken, is that as far as tactics go is how to not get in that position in the first place and I guess situational awareness plays a big role in that.

Mike: Well, yeah, man. If you think about this. All of these millions of concealed carry holders are doing the right thing. I’m hoping they’re getting some training, they’re carrying their firearms, etcetera, etcetera. But even on the best day, if they had to defend their lives and they had to shoot somebody, they are going to spend almost everything they have in their bank accounts, unless they’re super rich to defend the right decision. I applaud them for that but if they could have just avoided that problem. If they could have avoided that fight all together, they’re going to be so much better off. Like you said, a lot of people are like, “I’ll just shoot them.” It’s not that easy. It doesn’t work that way. More importantly, if you do, it’s going to be a miserable, miserable experience. It’s one that I recommend that you avoid entirely. You know what I’m saying? It’s just a bad situation. Turn on that awareness and be a humble, polite individual. Have the ability to defend your life if you need to, but, man, stay away from it if you can avoid it.

Brett: Another thing I love about your content, Mike, and your approach toward self defense is the role physical fitness plays in that. What role does physical fitness play in your philosophy and training?

Mike: Man, physical fitness is everything. Understand it ties in both my competitive shooting and what I do in my sport, as well as self defense. As you know, and I know you’re into some of the lifting. I’ve been watching some of your videos and everything else. A self defense situation is more than likely often times going to start out in a fight, where your fitness is going to have to be really, really high. The higher it is, let’s say that’s the great equalizer. The higher your fitness level, the better off you are. You know, the bottom line is, the more it increases your skill set. You know, having good fitness is like having a force multiplier. You’re going to be able to defend yourself better and I wrote about this not long ago. I said, “As a side, you never get into a fight if you focus on your fitness,” what I call fighting fitness, “Guess what? You’re going to be in better shape. You’re going to be happier. You’re going to feel better. You’re going to live longer because you’re more likely to die from heart disease than you are probably from a gun fight.”

Brett: Yeah. One thing I think what’s good about physical fitness for self defense, not only is it useful in a fight, but it’s great for avoiding fights in the first place. It acts as a deterrent, right?

Mike: Absolutely.

Brett: If you look strong and in shape. Here’s the thing, most criminals, they’re criminals of opportunity. They’re only going to go after people they think they can beat, because they look out of shape, they’re fat, they’re small and skinny, whatever. That’s why most attackers attack women.

Mike: That’s right.

Brett: If you look big and strong, you’re probably not going to get messed with all that often.

Mike: Yeah. You know another thing about that, when I started training, doing combatives, and I’ve been doing martial arts for years. I find that the more in shape I am and the better trained I am, my confidence level goes up to the point where people can read and they can feel that. More importantly, that internal confidence level, you know, if a guy tries to pick a fight with me, I am completely comfortable walking away. He can call me a carrot. He can call me a scaredy cat. That’s fine. I have no interest in fighting. Now, if I do have to fight, I know what my abilities are. It gives you a confidence that allows you just to relax and walk away from things. Like you said, you’re right. That appearance is a very big deterrent to criminals. They prey on the weak.

Brett: What does your fitness regimen look like? Is it lifting and cardio? High intense cardio?

Mike: Man, almost everything I’m doing now, it has some sort of function. For example, my cardio is not cardio, it’s a circuit where I’m doing some sort of intervals and I’m doing a set of strikes on my bag. Elbows, hands, knees, legs, whatever. Then I’ll work into weapon strikes, believe it or not, where I’m working some of my close range techniques. These are hard to describe on audio, but videos better. Then I’ll go right into something like kettle bell swings or some sort of functional fitness type exercise. That’s my cardio routine. I normally do one minute up, one minute down. Sometimes I vary that. I really push the intensity on the up interval and then I try to bring my heart rate back down. Sometimes I’ll go longer. Two to three minutes. That’s what you’re going to do in a fight. You’re going to expend a whole bunch of energy and then you’re going to try to rest. That’s what I want to try to mimic. My lifting stuff, and I don’t know if you know this or not, Brett, but I had both hips replaced.

Brett: Yeah. You mentioned that in email.

Mike: Now, my lifting has changed. I’m doing all the stuff, the strength. I’m watching your videos, dude. I’m doing dead lifts. I’m starting to squat again. What I want to do is I want to build as much strength as I possibly can with perfect form. I want to be able to push someone off me. I want to be able to pull my body weight up. I want to be able to pick something off the ground. I really focus a lot of my grip strength, because grip strength is everything in a fight. I focus, really, all of my fitness time is spent doing something I could functionally use on the shooting circuit or in a fight.

Brett: Do you ever do like exercise and use like a SRT pistol or an airsoft pistol?

Mike: In that routine, I actually do, man. For example, on my down set, when I’m letting my heart rate go back down, I’ll use a SRT and I’ll dry fire and work maybe a trigger control drill with two hands or trigger control with my strong with my strong hand or trigger control with my weak hand or maybe my reloads. I’m doing that during the down. I’m using my trigger finger. I’m not using the big muscles and then when I go back into the next set, I’m doing the next cardio set, whatever I’m trying to do. You know what I’m saying. Yeah. I integrate that stuff all the time.

Brett: That’s cool.

Mike: It also allows me to integrate my firearm stuff when my heart rate is up, so I get to experience what it’s like when my heart rate is up. Because your heart rate’s going to scream in a fight. You know what I’m saying?

Brett: Yeah. Yeah. That affects your physical performance.

Mike: Absolutely, man.

Brett: For those of you that aren’t familiar, a SRT pistol is a laser pistol that looks like a glock. Exactly like a glock. It’s really cool. It’s an awesome training tool.

Mike: It’s a phenomenal training tool, man. I use mine all the time in my combative stuff. The founder, Mike Hughes, that developed these doesn’t want to hear this, but I’m striking my bag with my pistol. I’m literally doing weapon strikes with it. I haven’t been able to break it yet.

Brett: Yeah. I got one, I keep it on my desk. I’ve killed every single light switch in my house with it.

Mike: There you go. I’ve literally, listen to this. I’ve got one in my hand right now. Literally, man.

Brett: You’ve got to make the pew pew noise.

Mike: Pew pew. That’s right.

Brett: No. Don’t do that.

Mike: We got to delete that.

Brett: We got to delete that. Yeah.

Mike: Throw it away.

Brett: All right. Mike, where can people find out more about your work and your online training programs that you have to offer?

Mike: Man, the best link to me is probably just to go on my website because my website has all of the training courses, both the physical courses, the location, the training calendar, the online training, links to the Vimeo videos if you want to download the videos, as well as my web store. That’s Of course, the dash is a hyphen. My blog is, but there’s a link to my Facebook, my blog, and all of the training stuff of the website. That’s the best place to go.

Brett: Awesome. You got training programs on Vimeo and Udemy, correct?

Mike: Yeah, man. Udemy is an actual online course where I interact with the students and Vimeo is just a video. For example, a lot of people want to download the videos and take them to the range. That’s why I did the Vimeo videos. Udemy is a little more interactive. It’s something where if you’re a new person to shooting, I would recommend you do the online because you can do it at your own pace, you can do it from your home, you can share it with your husband or your wife or your boyfriend. That’s the one I’d recommend.

Brett: Very cool. Well, Mike Seeklander, thank you so much for your time. It’s been a pleasure.

Mike: Thanks a bunch, man. Take care.

Brett: Our guest today was Mike Seeklander. You can find out more about his work at Also check out the American War Society and if you’re looking at some of Mike’s books on competitive and defensive handgun training, just search for Mike Seeklander on

That wraps up another addition of the Art of Manliness podcast. For more manly tips and advice, make sure to check out the Art of Manliness website at and if you enjoyed this podcast, I’d really appreciate it if you give us a review on iTunes, Stitcher, whatever it is you use to listen to the podcast. Help to get the word out about the podcast and give us feedback that we can use to improve the podcast. I said podcast a lot there. Anyways, until next time, this is Brett McKay telling you to stay manly.

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