Ep. 12: Intro to 3 Gun and How to Be a Sponsored ShooterIn this episode, sponsored 3 gun shooter Taka Kuwata takes you through the sport of 3 gun competitions as well as how to become a sponsored shooter and the duties and responsibilities surrounding sponsorship. Taka speaks about exercise and the diet that he adheres to in order to stay competitive as well as pro tips on how to properly bring your firearms across the border for competitions. This weeks episode is brought to you by gearpack.ca. Gear Pack is a subscription based mystery box. Gear Pack has partnered with some of the biggest brands in the business to bring you top quality products, delivered to your doorstep every month. Knives from Esse, Spyderco, SOG and Kershaw , stoves, backpacks, watches, optics. What’s awesome, is if you can show proof of a valid Silvercore Club membership, you receive 30% off your first order. Check out gearpack.ca for full details. At the bottom are the links and dates which were referenced in this podcast.
Travis Bader: I’m Travis Bader and this is The Silvercore Podcast. Join me as I discuss matters related to hunting, fishing, and outdoor pursuits with the people in businesses that comprise of the community. If you’re a new to Silvercore, be sure to check out our website, www.Silvercore.ca where you can learn more about courses, services, and products we offer. As well as how you can join The Silvercore Club, which includes 10 million in North America wide liability insurance, which sure you are properly covered during your outdoor adventures.
[00:00:43] This week’s episode is brought to you by GearPack.ca. Gear Pack is a subscription based mystery box and is partnered with some of the biggest brands in the business to bring you top quality products delivered to your doorstep every month. Knives from Esse, Spyderco, SOG and Kershaw stoves, backpacks, watches, optics, and more. What’s awesome is if you could show proof of the valid Silvercore Club membership, you receive 30% off your first order. Check out GearPack.ca for full details.
[00:01:17] Alright, I’m sitting down with Taka Kuwata, who for the past seven years has been an avid 3 gun competitor in Canada and the United States, and is sponsored by a whole slew of companies. And we’re going to be talking about his journey through competitive shooting, what it’s like to shoot in Canada, in the United States, and a number of other things. Taka. Thank you very much for coming here.
Taka Kuwata:: [00:01:41] No, Travis, thanks for having me on the show here.
Travis Bader: [00:01:43] So 3 gun, tell me a bit about it.
Taka Kuwata:[00:01:47] 3 gun is probably one of the most frustrating, but also most rewarding sports that you could do. It consists of rifle, pistol, and shotgun. They have different divisions involved, but now being, I think it’s in it’s I think 20th season, now there’s more divisions, but the main three divisions that are going to be open class, where you have all the optics that you need bi-pods anything goes, bags on your guns.
[00:02:15] You have your mag fed shotguns, you, your carbine, and your open pistols, and you’ve got your tech ops division, which is going to be your tube fed shotguns, a iron sight pistol, and then your standard carbine with a one to six times optic. Then you’ve got your limited, which is strictly going to be your bare bones of your pistol. Iron sights are just one, one times magnified magnification for your optics and a mag fed or a pump shotgun.
Travis Bader: [00:02:47] Very cool. So you know, I’ve know a bit about a number of the shooting sports. I’ve never competed in 3 gun, but it’s probably follows a similar format to let’s say IPSC or IDPA, in so much as they’ve got the different divisions and classifications and you travel around in groups and compete. Is that more or less.
Taka Kuwata: [00:03:08] More or less, it’s, it’s fairly the same. What it entitles is that within one of course of fire or within the stage, you have to go through all three firearms.
Travis Bader: [00:03:17] Okay.
Taka Kuwata: [00:03:17] So you’re transitioning from whether if it’s pistol start to rifle start or to your shotgun. Sometimes you might have all three firearms on yet once, so you’re slinging the rifle on and you’ve got your pistol hot and holstered.
Travis Bader: [00:03:31] Right.
Taka Kuwata: [00:03:31] And you know, you, the buzzer goes off and you go at it, and then you got tons of arrays of targets that you need to, to make sure you use the right, proper fire, firearms in terms of the course of fire. So if there’s steals, there’s obviously gonna be pistol steel and shotgun steel, and also rifle steel, so you can’t shoot the steel with the incorrect firearms or else you’ll get penalties.
Travis Bader: [00:03:52] Okay.
Taka Kuwata: [00:03:53] So it’s a more of a, a memory game at the same time as well. So it’s so crucial that you literally got to walk your stages. Have a, a stage plan in your head and you’re visualizing throughout the entire entire time because the stages could be as long as up to 200 seconds or even up to five minutes long. So it’s, it’s a really long process versus IPSC. It could be 27 seconds or even 10 seconds to finish off that course of fire, but 3 gun’s a little bit longer.
Travis Bader: [00:04:23] Oh, very cool.
Taka Kuwata: [00:04:24] Yeah.
Travis Bader: [00:04:24] So let’s back up a little bit now that I’ve got a bit of an understanding about what 3 gun is. How did you get into that?
Taka Kuwata: [00:04:33] My brother in law sent me an email years ago and I opened up this email and it said, YouTube, watch this. I opened up the email and literally it was the classic Benelli 3 gun promo video.
Travis Bader: [00:04:47] I’ve seen that.
Taka Kuwata: [00:04:47] Yeah, and I think the video was 14 minutes long. It’s a fairly long promo video had Taryn Butler, it had Greg Jordan in it.
Travis Bader: [00:04:54] Yeah.
Taka Kuwata: [00:04:54] And instantly I was hooked, like hooked. And from that moment, I knew exactly that was the discipline that I wanted to do. But then ironically, when I started to do Google search and I didn’t find anything in the Tri-City.
Travis Bader: [00:05:11] Okay.
Taka Kuwata: [00:05:11] It took a long time for me to find anything. And the only thing closest that I could find was Ryan Steacy’s two gun over at Abbotsford.
Travis Bader: [00:05:19] Okay.
Taka Kuwata: [00:05:20] Which was a CQB that he ran two years ago.
Travis Bader: [00:05:24] Right.
Taka Kuwata: [00:05:25] And so I got into that and loved it from there, met a few friends and especially with the keen colleagues that I’m part of with Team White Rice. Met them over at at the event at Abbotsford, and then we all ended up going to do the practical rifle matches over at DSS over at Thompson Mountain and Chilliwack and just strictly did carbine competitions.
Travis Bader: [00:05:50] Okay.
Taka Kuwata: [00:05:51] Then someone dropped a line and said, there’s 3 gun over at Abbotsford and it was run by the Mavericks event there.
Travis Bader: [00:05:58] Okay.
Taka Kuwata: [00:05:58] For Maverick multi gun. I think the first time I did that was, four, five years ago for the first time.
Travis Bader: [00:06:08] Okay.
Taka Kuwata: [00:06:08] And that was my first opportunity. Had the wrong rifle, wrong shotgun for it. Wrong pistol for it. I was using a chest rig, which was completely incorrect for that sport, but you know, you just come in and use what you, what you can.
Travis Bader: [00:06:24] How did you do on that one?
Taka Kuwata: [00:06:26] I, I did fairly well. I did fairly well.
Travis Bader: [00:06:28] Despite having all the wrong kit.
Taka Kuwata: [00:06:30] I think the main, main goal for myself that day was like literally just don’t, DQ just don’t disqualify.
Travis Bader: [00:06:38] Right.
Taka Kuwata: [00:06:38] And I did, I did okay. But I didn’t know what I was really doing and it was a ton of fun.
Travis Bader: [00:06:45] So Team White Rice, and we talked a little about this before we got on mic here, and we know a little bit about the background. It’s about eight people, I think you said on.
Taka Kuwata: [00:06:54] It started with eight people and it started with four Caucasians and four Asians.
Travis Bader: [00:07:01] Okay.
Taka Kuwata: [00:07:02] So that’s where the, the name of Team White Rice kind of started from. I don’t really know the origin of where the name, how it started and who created the name.
Travis Bader: [00:07:10] Sure.
Taka Kuwata: [00:07:11] I would say that it’s because of the the half half.
Travis Bader: [00:07:13] Yes.
Taka Kuwata: [00:07:14] Right. The logo’s got a, a lead farmer.
Travis Bader: [00:07:17] Okay.
Taka Kuwata: [00:07:18] So that it’s, so, it’s, it’s one of the coolest logos that I’ve ever seen and we’ve got to new 2.0 version of logo that’s coming out this year.
Travis Bader: [00:07:26] Who made that logo? Cause I’ve seen the current logo.
Taka Kuwata: [00:07:28] Yeah. That’s been created by a gentleman by the name of Cooch.
Travis Bader: [00:07:32] Okay.
Taka Kuwata: [00:07:32] Yeah. And he’s our team artist and he designs our jerseys as well.
Travis Bader: [00:07:36] Very cool.
Taka Kuwata: [00:07:37] And he’s, he’s talented at sketching and he’d sketches logos for other people as well. And he’s, yeah, he’s awesome at it.
Travis Bader: [00:07:44] If somebody wants to get into 3 gun now, you just saw the YouTube promo and decided to do some internet research. You now belong to a team. If somebody wanted to just dip their toe in the water and see what it’s all about, do they have to get a team together? Can they, can they do it by themselves?
Taka Kuwata: [00:08:01] You could do it. It’s a total solo sport for sure. And luckily for 2020 this year with, with taking over the multi gun event over at Abbotsford. And started a new league called AML, which stands for Abby multi gun league.
Travis Bader: [00:08:17] Okay.
Taka Kuwata: [00:08:18] So we have a whole series of scheduled events this year. The first one coming up is February 22nd, which is a practice event for new shooters to kind of understand about what 3 gun is. And literally, they’ll bring whatever they have. The, the visions that we created, or this league, we have everything from 3 gun, two gun. So the two gun will be your carbine and pistol only.
Travis Bader: [00:08:43] Okay.
Taka Kuwata: [00:08:43] We have a, a PCC division. So your pistol calibre carbine. You could shoot the entire course of fire, which is strictly a PCC, but if there’s a aerial clay that pops up, then you can’t obviously engage that.
Travis Bader: [00:08:57] Right.
Taka Kuwata: [00:08:58] Then there’s also the two by four stage, which is also pistol, shotgun carbines and your PCC. The only thing is that you have to use two firearms in the course of fire regardless.
Travis Bader:[00:09:10] Okay.
Taka Kuwata: [00:09:11] So literally you’re hauling a lot of gear, you’ve got a lot of mags and pouches on you, but it’s a really fast sport because it’s literally two hits on paper. You don’t really need to have A zone hit or a, you know, a a C zone or a D, it’s anywhere on paper, which is neutralized. So, which is really fast. You don’t really need to aim all too well unless you’re to be shooting at at steel.
Travis Bader: [00:09:35] Sure.
Taka Kuwata: [00:09:36] But yeah, we’ve got a whole slew over the events taking place of over at Abbotsford. Sunday march 29th is the actual match, April 19th we got to practice again, it’s, again, it’s open to the public. May 31st is another match, which is a Sunday. Sunday, June 21st is a practice. July, but we might be doing a drop in match. We haven’t decided because we were all gearing up to get ready for the BC 3 gun provincials over in Lone Butte, so we’re not sure if we’re going to do one then. August 30th which is a Sunday, there is a match, and then the last event for AML is probably going to be Sunday, September 27th. And that might be a practice.
Travis Bader: [00:10:19] Okay.
Taka Kuwata: [00:10:19] Or like a little mini match.
Travis Bader: [00:10:21] So I tell you what, if you sent all of those dates over to me, I’ll put them up on the website and put links over to it.
Taka Kuwata: [00:10:27] Absolutely. Will do.
Travis Bader: [00:10:28] What’s the, what’s the culture like? I mean, if somebody wants to get into it, is it kind of intimidating for a new person to get into it?
Taka Kuwata: [00:10:34] I think it’s going to be intimidating. I remember my first experience, I was nervous. You know, like you’re, you’re dealing with three firearms, but I think our community is so open to it that if we know that you’re a new shooter, we’ll definitely handhold ya. We’ll definitely coach you. So I wouldn’t really worry too much if you’re a new shooter, just come out, bring whatever you have. If it’s a pump action shotgun with no chokes, come on out, you know. If you have a revolver, come out, shoot it with a revolver.
Travis Bader: [00:11:05] Nice.
Taka Kuwata: [00:11:05] You know, you just don’t need to go out and spend money on equipment that you’re unsure that it’s, it’s right for ya. And if it’s what everyone’s using and you think you have to get it, just try it out with what have you got first and see what works and what doesn’t work. It’s, everyone in our community and within Canada, we’re so open, you know, we’re, we’re pretty welcoming to the sport and just as long as you tell me that this is my first time. I’ll take care of you. We’ll all take care of you.
Travis Bader: [00:11:34] Nice. And I like that. A lot of people, there’s, there’s a number of limiting factors. There’s a number of factors that will cause a person to perhaps not want to try out a new endeavour like this. One of it’s going to be the trepidation of the group, the intimidation that I think in play a big role. Another one is the kit. Am I going to show up with the wrong kit? Am I going to not be competitive? I think you were saying earlier that your, your very first one that you showed up and shot using all the wrong kit had a great time and you actually did pretty well.
Taka Kuwata: [00:12:09] Yeah, it’s, it’s one of those things that he think you have to have the right gear, but at the end of the day, it’s, we’re all there to have fun, you know, and of course there’s people that cares about ranking. But you know, I don’t really care about where I placed the day of, you know, I’m just there to, to shoot, enjoy myself, and I want to do well, but at the same time, I don’t really want to get trapped by constantly looking at the scores after each you know, after each stage that I shot. But again, this is more, I know I’m rambling at this point, but.
Travis Bader: [00:12:44] No, no, no.
Taka Kuwata: [00:12:45] You know, like, it’s, it’s, it’s supposed to be fun at the end of the day, you know, come out and experience it. It’s, it’s a, it’s a ton of fun.
Travis Bader: [00:12:53] Well, that looking at the scores, one is an interesting one because we’ve had different people on the show here, and some people have to look at their scores. And you were saying you don’t.
Taka Kuwata: [00:13:03] I can’t do it, Travis. I just can’t. It’s everyone that shoots with me. They know not to come up to me with the tablet or the scores and for me to sign off on it. My personality type, if I look at the score and if I know that I bombed it, I will take that negativity, you know, carrying on to the next stage.
[00:13:22] And I have a tough time blocking that out of my head. So if I take that negativity to the next stage, and when I’m on deck. Then I know that, okay, I’ve got to try harder or I’ve got to try 110% and I don’t believe in that 110% I believe in my 100% of what my current level of ability is, because if I go be on that then I’m going into unchartered territories where I’m not familiar with shooting faster or reloading quicker, and I’m start fumbling with the, with the magazine and I drop it. So I want to be at a comfortable position where I know that I’m good at in terms of training wise, because that’s what I trained for.
Travis Bader: [00:14:00] Right.
Taka Kuwata: [00:14:00] But if I train, if I shoot it in a way that I, I’m beyond my current level of ability, then that’s where I will make mistakes. Other people might not be making the same mistakes and they’re okay with trying harder, but I just can’t, that’s who I am.
Travis Bader: [00:14:16] Well, let’s talk about your training regime because something’s obviously working and it’s caught the eye of a number of companies who want to have their logo on your back. What do you do for training?
Taka Kuwata: [00:14:27] Training wise I, because I’m a young father with two kids, married as well.
Travis Bader: [00:14:36] Congratulations.
Taka Kuwata: [00:14:37] Thank you. You know, it’s tough to find time to do or do anything. You know, once the kids go to bed, then you kind of have that little window to unwind or relax. That’s the time that I’d use to, to dry fire.
Travis Bader: [00:14:49] Okay.
Taka Kuwata: [00:14:50] I probably, my training works out to be 90% dry fire.
Travis Bader: [00:14:56] Okay.
Taka Kuwata: [00:14:56] And 10% live-fire just because I, I don’t have the luxury to be able to drive down to Abbotsford all the time to, to chuck led all day.
Travis Bader: [00:15:06] Right.
Taka Kuwata: [00:15:06] So I have to dry fire it off a lot, a lot. And dry fire I would do every single evening for about 45 minutes.
Travis Bader: [00:15:14] Okay.
Taka Kuwata: [00:15:15] Leading up to a match. If it’s seven days coming into a match, I’ll drive fire two times a day. I wake up at 5:30 or six o’clock in the morning and I’ll drive for, for about 15,20 minutes. Then get ready for work, go to work, come back, take the, put the kids to bed, then I train again in the evening, 45 minutes. That’s my, that’s my training. After I’m done that match, I will literally take a break from dry fire and training completely for about five to six days, just because if I don’t I will start to burn out and I don’t feel like doing it. And I don’t ever want to get into that habit of Ughh do I have to train?
[00:15:53] Because for myself, if I train when I’m not motivated, then I start to practice bad habits. And that’s the one thing I just don’t want to do. Or just get into the motion of doing it and getting it done quickly because you just want to get it over with and want to go sit on the couch and relax. And that’s something I don’t want to start doing either. So I have to take a break.
Travis Bader: [00:16:14] And that’s what they say, practice doesn’t make perfect, perfect practice makes perfect.
Taka Kuwata: [00:16:19] Exactly.
Travis Bader: [00:16:20] Practice only makes permanent, and if you’re doing something incorrectly, you’re just ingraining that into the, into your regime, into your mind.
Taka Kuwata: [00:16:27] Yeah. So the dry fire portion of it, it’s, it’s just not standing there and drawing the pistol and know, pulling the trigger for myself. It’s, I’m doing a lot of running movements.
Travis Bader: [00:16:40] Okay.
Taka Kuwata: [00:16:41] I’ve got to, I’m, I’m, I’m lucky that I have a fairly big basement where there no furniture involved, so I could literally lay props that I’ve made, like a little mini V tack board that I cut out, which is a little bit smaller. I’ve got stands, I’ve got targets pasted to the walls where my wife is, frankly okay with that. The kids obviously have their toys in there as well, but they’re all pushed to the side. I’ve use painters tape to literally have starters boxes and shooting boxes. I have 2×4’s that I cut out just to use as fault lines where I could stand on, so I could kinda get that feeling of what it feels like to stand on a fault line and lean in, lean and shoot.
[00:17:19] So I have a lot of props that way. I used to use a lot of the smaller targets, which it was great to work in a smaller size room, but now I just use the full size targets. So if I shoot them at just say 10 meters, it’s what the actual size of the targets are. So if I shoot them even further, then the size of targets won’t really change in my eyes and my view. Where are those little five inch targets are always going to be small, so you’re always thinking that you’re taking a crack at them at 50 yards.
Travis Bader: [00:17:51] Right, right, right.
Taka Kuwata: [00:17:51] You’re not really getting that good depth of vision there, so I just trained what they actual size targets.
Travis Bader: [00:17:57] Now, looking at you, you don’t look like the stereotypical average range user. The person, you’re a fit guy, right? You’re, it looks like you’ve incorporate exercise into your training regime as well.
Taka Kuwata: [00:18:11] Fitness is, is one of those things that it’s, to me, I think, let me backtrack a little bit. I think that for shooting sports, whether if it’s IPSC, IDPA, USPSA, multi gun, it’s a sport. Yeah people say it’s a game, but a game is no different from a basketball, baseball game. You know, we’re all athletes in many ways. And my belief is you just can’t go to the range or just do dry fire, and that’s your training. I think strength conditioning is important because our firearms aren’t heavy. Pistols aren’t heavy. I’m sorry, pistols are heavy.
Travis Bader: [00:18:42] Sure.
Taka Kuwata: [00:18:43] Rifles are heavy, and then even these mag fed shotguns are even heavier.
Travis Bader: [00:18:46] Sure.
Taka Kuwata: [00:18:46] So when you’re struggling with holding that up to be able to shoot off hand, then you know, if you’re not training, then literally, you got the wobble of your sights, which could, obviously affects you at a hundred yards and and whatnot. Every movement that you take. So I think strength and conditioning is extremely important when it comes to your biceps, triceps, shoulders. Working on your core, sit-ups, leg lifts, you know, because your core is extremely important. It’s, it attaches everything to you, your arms, your legs. What else is there?
Travis Bader: [00:19:19] Cardio.
Taka Kuwata: [00:19:20] Cardio is huge. Keeping your heart rate down and keeping it down to 80 you know, beats per, you know per minute versus having an amped up heart rate of 150 or whatever it is that when you’re running around. Cardio is super important, especially when you’re shooting multi gun where the stages could be easily up to 200 seconds long. Stretching. I stretch every single night because basically you’ve done IPSC where you have to get into positions where you have to shoot below the barrier walls.
Travis Bader: [00:19:47] Sure.
Taka Kuwata: [00:19:48] Or you know, you want to feel nimble at the end of the day.
Travis Bader: [00:19:51] Yeah.
Taka Kuwata: [00:19:51] I’ve also gone into lengths where I would go on to YouTube and I’ll watch videos about tennis players, basketball players, football players, a hundred a hundred meter sprinters on how they train about how to get explosive sprints.
Travis Bader: [00:20:04] Interesting.
Taka Kuwata: [00:20:05] How they stop like for running backs. How they literally cut corners left, right, and centre and be able to move up, you know, explosively. Tennis players, the same thing with their footwork. And I’ve put together a list of things that I do at home where it helps me for sprinting, to be able to run quicker I’ve learned about plow metrics, so there’s a lot of tons of free videos on YouTube for plow metrics is type that in.
[00:20:29] There’s tons of exercises when it comes to running mechanics. Box jumps, which is super explosive on your legs, and then you can literally stop on a dime sprint on a dime. That’s, it’s a great workout to do and I do that at home. Another clever one that I learned from soccer players and football players where the, the ladder exercises where you put the ladder on the floor and you literally do an in and out exercises.
Travis Bader: [00:20:55] Yeah.
Taka Kuwata: [00:20:56] So you can definitely buy those on Amazon for about $50.
Travis Bader: [00:21:00] You found that pretty helpful?
Taka Kuwata: [00:21:01] Super helpful because when it comes to shooting, you’re running in and out of positions, going into rooms, you’re going into, you know, it’s all about footwork at the end of the day for shooting. Especially when you’re, when it comes to movement shooting. But I’ve found a cheaper way of actually doing, I ended up getting painters tape and literally marking it on the carpet and doing a ladder. So you can do that to save money and not have to spend $50, $60.
Travis Bader: [00:21:26] Looking at my crystal ball here, I see the Taka Kuwata school of 3 gun in the future.
Taka Kuwata: [00:21:31] Yeah, absolutely. What else is there? I think I haven’t done yoga, but I think yoga will be really good in terms of strengthening your core and getting your flexibility up. I think that’s extremely important.
Travis Bader: [00:21:43] You know, you’re talking about the physical conditioning, and there’s a couple of things that I find interesting. One, when we have new shooters on the line and I’m watching them, I can typically pick out who’s going to be a more competent shooter than another. Not always, but usually with a high degree of confidence.
[00:22:01] And a lot of that comes down to their physical conditioning and what you say, being able to hold up the firearm, they’re heavy, right? Especially if you’re going to be holding up, holding the firearm up for awhile. But it also plays a strong part into the mental side too. There’s a confidence that comes with being fit. There’s a confidence that comes with knowing that sights aren’t bobbing around and you can spend your time concentrating on the trigger press, so that’s a huge one.
[00:22:27] I know we’ve talked about mental fitness and mental management on previous podcasts. The actual physical side ties right into that. The other one that I find really interesting when I said, you don’t look like your stereo typical range user because there is a stereotype out there. A lot of people will spend a great deal of money and time on getting the latest, greatest equipment and shaving an extra ounce off of their firearms so it comes out a little bit faster and they can hold it a little bit easier, but they forget about that 30 pounds on their belly.
[00:22:59] I think the combination of the mental management with proper physical fitness, and you can save yourself a heck of a lot of money on getting all the fancy kit and your training time will be greatly reduced because you’re going to be seeing better results, which of course feed back into that mental mental loop.
Taka Kuwata: [00:23:19] Yeah. You know, like earlier before, before we started recording, we were talking about different types of shooters out there, and I, and I brought up the fact that, you know, we see the 300 pound shooters that are, that are winning stages.
Travis Bader: [00:23:32] Sure.
Taka Kuwata: [00:23:33] They’re winning. You know, they’re coming in first place. They’re 300 pounds in that are really great shots, but their movement is really slow.
Travis Bader: [00:23:39] Right.
Taka Kuwata: [00:23:40] So just imagine if they shut off 150 pounds of that and there will be even more quicker on their feet, you know? And I think, yeah, the whole physical side of things, people tend to forget because they’re comfortable at their current state.
Travis Bader: [00:23:54] Right.
Taka Kuwata: [00:23:55] You know and being a parent, you know, you start to develop that dad bod, of course right? That’s normal, right?
Travis Bader: [00:23:59] Sure.
Taka Kuwata: [00:24:00] But.
Travis Bader: [00:24:01] I don’t know what you’re talking about.
Taka Kuwata: [00:24:04] But yeah, the physical thing is important. You know, we all went to high school and post-secondary and did sports. We all trained and we all did physical fitness or football or whatever sport that we were doing. As, you know, when we were younger, it’s, it should be no different when it comes to shooting competence as well. It shouldn’t always be dry fire and live fire, it should always be about fitness as well.
Travis Bader: [00:24:27] Totally agree. Let’s talk a little bit about sponsorship. You’re an ambassador for a number of different companies that’s going to carry with it certain responsibilities and just even getting to be sponsored. I’m sure that’s a question people ask all the time. They say, how, how do you get sponsored? Can you quit your day job and, and just shoot now?
Taka Kuwata: [00:24:47] You can’t. You can’t quit your day job for sure, especially being in Canada. I think if you’re in the US and you had a gazillion sponsors, absolutely. Getting a sponsorship, it’s, it’s not as easy as what people think it is.
[00:25:01] Of course, everyone has endorsements from basketball players to you know, everyone on Instagram or on Facebook or social media, people have ambassadors, ambassadors, sponsorships. My first sponsorship was with Vortex, or is with Vortex and how I got that one was literally a simple email to Vortex Canada saying that, how much I love their gear and I’m a competitive shooter and that’s all it was.
[00:25:27] It was, it was something simple like that. And frankly, I ended up getting a, an email from a gentleman named Paul Slattery, asked to to meet with me and we met up in downtown and had coffee, and he got to know me a little bit and offered a sponsorship with me right off the bat. And I think about a week later, they sent me a contract to sign.
Travis Bader: [00:25:50] Wow.
Taka Kuwata: [00:25:51] Since I had that opportunity. Then all the other sponsorships, we’re more about, you gotta have, it’s more of the hospitality. What am I trying to find the words to say?
Travis Bader: [00:26:03]You’re an ambassador?
Taka Kuwata: [00:26:04] It’s all about your personality. At the end of the day, it’s, yes, you gotta be a decent shooter, but you’re representing these companies and these companies are putting a lot of trust in you to represent.You have to be able to talk to people, have good people skills. Know exactly what to talk about. You got to stay neutral when it comes to talking about these products because a lot of people are die hard fans of maybe non Vortex or might be in love with Leupold, right?
Travis Bader: [00:26:33] Sure.
Taka Kuwata: [00:26:33] And you gotta be neutral completely about it and you can’t really talk negative about other companies because we’re all in the same industry for a reason you know? And so I will never talk bad about a particular product, you know, with the product that I currently use. It’s, you know, I’m sure they do have an equally decent product as well and you’re, you’re also the face of their company of wherever you’re at in shooting at.
[00:27:00] So a lot of the times when you’re a sponsor shooter, you’re letting people touch your equipment, use your equipment, spending the time to, to talk to these people about, you know the brands that you represent as well too. Through social media, you get direct messages constantly about, Hey, what’s a, what’s a great optic for hunting? What’s a great optic for this competition? You know, what red dots should I use for, you know, this pistol competition. So it’s not all about literally getting free gear or getting discounts on gear.
[00:27:30] It’s, it’s a lot of work where you’re the face of the company and making sure that you’re directing people to, to purchase these products so the companies that you represents are getting a decent ROI on you.
Travis Bader: [00:27:42] Of course, you put together a business case for them. If they’re going to invest in you, they’ve got to see some.
Taka Kuwata: [00:27:47] Absolutely. You have to be open to talk to people. You just can’t be shy in hiding, hide out in the corner. And for myself, I’ve never really been that type where, where it’s easy for me to approach people, you know, and especially if it’s a new shooter. I, I love talking to new shooters and I could literally tell them. Okay, I see you’re struggling with your rifle, use my rifle, and they get to use the products that I’m representing from Odin Works to Vortex to you know products from Reliable Gun, DS Tact- sorry I’m plugging a lot of companies that I representative.
Travis Bader: [00:28:21] That’s fine, hey we’ll throw em up in here. That’s fine.
Taka Kuwata: [00:28:22] You know and they get to try that and then once they get to try it and they like it, then hopefully they’ll go out to the stores and start purchasing them.
Travis Bader: [00:28:31] On the sponsorship side, you see people look at it and say, wow, it must be neat to get some free kit. What I think a lot of people don’t truly understand is that nothing is free. And in order to put together a business case for a sponsor, not only do you have to be working hard at your game in the sport, you’ve talked about the people skills. But there’s a lot within the brand that doing some research and putting together having product knowledge, which might be completely outside of the sport that you’re in. It’s going to take effort from an individual.
Taka Kuwata: [00:29:04] Definitely. You gotta, you got to know all the products instead of inside and out of those catalogs. You know, if someone’s talking to you about a monocular, you know, a lot of people are into binoculars, but if someone walks up to you and they’re like, Hey, talk to me about the monocular from this catalog, you gotta know everything about it. Or if you’re talking about handguns and they ask you about the latest and greatest Atlas Gunworks pistol that’s out there, and they ask you about the new model, the Hyperion, you got to know the specs on those guns to be able to talk to people about it.
Travis Bader: [00:29:38] Right.
Taka Kuwata: [00:29:39] Right, you just can’t represent these companies and have their logo on your shirt and not know anything about their company.
Travis Bader: [00:29:47] Yeah.
Taka Kuwata: [00:29:47] Right. It’s all about brand recognition, which is yes, but it’s all about their products that you’re trying to showcase and sell. So you got to do a lot of studying for that. Even on your off times, if there are shows or events, they’re going to call you to go out there and meet people, talk to people. Vortex is really big on that, which I’ve had to which I’m going to be doing an event, I believe in April over in Chilliwack, which I’ll be meeting, meeting people and talking to people, to people, and.
Travis Bader: [00:30:14] Very cool.
Taka Kuwata: [00:30:15] Yeah. So it’s, it’s not just all about going out to the range and showing your stuff in your skills to be able to shoot. It’s, you’re, you’re in the public and you’re talking to people, and that’s the, that’s the big thing. We did the same thing for Reliable for their big 69 year anniversary sale as well, and the whole Team White Rice was there to, to meet with people and in help.
Travis Bader: [00:30:35] Have you ever been in the situation where you’ve been approached by a company that wants a sponsor, you and you look at their product and say, I can’t get behind this.
Taka Kuwata: [00:30:46] I have, I have. There’s a, a couple companies that has approached me about it. Even another company that approached me two nights ago through email and said, Hey, I want to send you some free stuff, and I just I’m not in it to get free gear.
[00:31:02] And especially if it’s something that I won’t find the value, or if I don’t have passion for it, I will, I won’t waste my time and I won’t waste the company’s time. It’s not fair for them, for me to take gear and, and I, and I try it out and it’s, I’m not feeling it. It’s, it’s, it’s not right. It’s not in me to do that. I don’t think it’s right for, for both parties.
Travis Bader: [00:31:23] I can see the temptation being there. Hey, there’s free kit, or there’s money or there’s something associated with it. But at the end of the day, if, if you, I believe in the product that you’re repping, it’s less like work and you’re, it’s fun.
Taka Kuwata: [00:31:38] It’s passion. You know, the companies that I represent, I, I physically would use, even if I wasn’t sponsored by them. So it’s, it’s really natural and it’s easy for me to, to direct people to, to certain stores that, that I represent. Because I will go there regardless.
[00:31:57] If I need a jacket or pants from 5.11 yeah the first place I’ll tell people to go is DS Tactical because I will go there regardless if I wasn’t sponsored by them. So it’s so natural for me to just to, to take them up on their sponsorship or their brand ambassadorship and it’s, it’s, it’s a win-win. It’s a lot easier for you to do it that way.
Travis Bader: [00:32:19] Good advice to anybody out there who’s looking to follow the same path. Now competing in Canada, taking your guns around. I think a lot of the audience who’s listening, listening here in Canada will know the ins and outs, but you do a fair bit of training and competing in the United States as well.
Taka Kuwata: [00:32:36] Right. It’s a, it’s an area where I think a lot of people are curious about. A lot of people are, it’s kind of that gray area that a lot of people don’t know about. They heard some Canadians will go down to the US to compete, but they don’t know how to get started in it. There’s a, there’s a quite a bit of a process to that.
[00:32:55] For my, for my first time, I went down to the US because the 3 gun competition in our Tri-City was kind of going to a droughty stage and there wasn’t a whole lot happening. So I ended up doing a little bit more research and found out that the 3 gun nation was at Custer in Washington and Blaine there. And Blaine’s only about 10, 15 minutes South, South of the border.
Travis Bader: [00:33:19] Super close.
Taka Kuwata: [00:33:19] Super close, so I started to kind of do my research and started to kind of figure out how do I, how do I get across there? And I knew there were some Canadians that were going down there and the two, the two people that kind of came out in my little research was a guide by the name of Sam.
Travis Bader: [00:33:40] Okay.
Taka Kuwata: [00:33:41] And another gentleman by the name of Curtis. And those two guys were the guys that I know that or die hard 3 gun shooters. So I reached out to Sam and asked him, Hey, can you kind of give me a bit of a, a tutorial about how to, what I need to do to get down there? So he was gracious enough to be able to tell me exactly how to fill out the form six NIA papers. So the form six NIA, NIA papers, just pretty much your application papers towards the US to sign all your firearms on that application to get their government to approve it.
[00:34:14] So it lists everything from your, your home address, your, your PAL information, and you got your, your firearms information from the length of your barrels, the length of the actual firearm, the brand. State’s the address of the firearms that you use for the companies. It also, you also have to list the ammunition on there.
Travis Bader: [00:34:36] Right.
Taka Kuwata: [00:34:36] The brand of ammunition, the grain, all that type of stuff. Then you send it in to get it proved. It does say that for you to fax it but never fax it. My tip to listeners today is, is to email it and if you have any questions, I’ll, I’ll give the email address to, to Travis.
[00:34:56] The problem that I found with faxing it is that it doesn’t print well on their end. So when they print it, it’s, it’s not as sharp and clear. So when they print that off and there’s reading through all the information, and especially if you are handwriting everything, it comes out even more warped. So if they do approve it, then they sign it, they scan it again and they send it back to you, and then you got to print it. And so the resolution is getting worse and worse and worse.
Travis Bader: [00:35:24] Got it.
Taka Kuwata: [00:35:25] So I recommend to, to email it so you’re not having to print it and all that stuff.
Travis Bader: [00:35:31] And then when he come across a border, you’ve got a piece of paperwork that you can show the border officer.
Taka Kuwata: [00:35:37] Yeah.
Travis Bader: [00:35:37] That’s legible.
Taka Kuwata:[00:35:38] Yeah, exactly. So even without handwriting it, I would just literally use Adobe PDF editor and I’ll type everything in so it’s clear.
Travis Bader: [00:35:47] Oh, another good tip.
Taka Kuwata: [00:35:48] Yeah. I’m not the most cleanest, light writer ever, so that’s why I should type everything out. And then instead of me printing it out to sign it, I will actually do the Adobe PDF signature on it.
Travis Bader: [00:36:00] Right.
Taka Kuwata: [00:36:00] So I don’t have to print it, scan it, and then send it over out to, to the US for that. So everything’s, it’s crystal clear for them. And then I get it back from them and it’s clear. I print it, I’ll leave it into book. That’s another thing that what new shooters should do when they’re coming to the US is have all your information in a, in a one inch binder with clear plastic pages. I will literally have everything from invitation letters for the clubs that I’m going to. So if it’s Marysville or Custer, I have all the invites, let, letters in there. Make sure you have your calendars of the event matches in there cause that’s what they will ask to see the schedules. You’ll have your form six papers in there.
Travis Bader: [00:36:42] Yeah.
Taka Kuwata: [00:36:42] And I will have the registrations for all the firearms if they’re restricted.
Travis Bader: [00:36:47] Sure.
Taka Kuwata: [00:36:47] All of that information will be in there. What else am I missing? I’ll also have the the memberships or restricted. So if you’re a Silvercore member, print that out, put inside the book.
Travis Bader: [00:36:59] You know, you need an invitation as well in the States, don’t you?
Taka Kuwata: [00:37:01] Yeah. So before you actually do fill out the form six, you got to get an invitation from the club that you will like to compete. There are, I heard a rumour that you’re able to still submit your form six without an invitation letter. I heard that it’s, it’s doable, but I’ve always sent it with an invitation.
Travis Bader: [00:37:19] So here’s what I heard on that one. Either invitation letter to an event or a hunting license in the States. And at one point in time people were doing the Alaska hunting license because it was, I think, free, I think it was free or 10 bucks or something, dirt cheap, and then they’d cross into Washington with their Alaska hunting license.
[00:37:41] Which to me would have people scratching their head a little bit, right? Like what are you doing down here? If you’re hunting licenses up there, I agree with you, get the proper invitation, go across the border. Last thing you want to do is be denied entry. Well, what’s harder going into the States or coming back into Canada?
Taka Kuwata: [00:37:59] I think coming back into Canada as a, it’s a little tougher.
Travis Bader: [00:38:03] Isn’t that funny?
Taka Kuwata: [00:38:04] Yeah, it’s a, yeah, it’s, it’s a, it’s a little tougher. Regardless of when I do go into the States, I do get called into secondary most of the time.
Travis Bader: [00:38:12] Sure.
Taka Kuwata: [00:38:12] But when I get called into secondary in the Canadian side, there’s been times that I’ve been on there for an hour and a half.
Travis Bader: [00:38:20] Yeah.
Taka Kuwata: [00:38:20] And I’ll get into that a little bit later about why I got called in there for an hour and a half.
Travis Bader: [00:38:26] Yeah. Oh, let’s talk about it now.
Taka Kuwata: [00:38:28] Okay, let’s talk about it. So, but I’m going to tell you as a tip, is that make sure you pack your trunk or your car perfectly with your firearms. So what happened was that I got called into secondary. And then the border is the CBSA border agent went to my car to look at my serial numbers for my firearms to make sure that they match with the paperwork inside the binder. So I’m sitting in there for an hour and a half just twiddling my thumb and I’m looking out at the parking lot thinking, what are they doing?
[00:38:56] But they’re not taking contents out of my car, they’re just literally looking at the trunk and you can see that the firearms are coming out of the bags and whatnot. And an hour and a half later, they come out and they approached me in the ask, where’s your pistol? And I go, it’s the side, the, the rifle bag instead of a sleeve.
Travis Bader: [00:39:15] Right.
Taka Kuwata: [00:39:16] And I’ve have a, a Voodoo Tactical rifle bag, a 3 gun bag, which has a internal pistol sleeve inside of it. They didn’t know that was stuffed in there. So this entire time they were looking throughout my trunk for this pistol.
Travis Bader: [00:39:29] Ahh.
Taka Kuwata: [00:39:29] So to make the long story short. Pack your guns, so they’re visually apparent that they’re there, so you’re not stuck there for such a long period of time. So, I will literally pack my trunk in reverse of how I load it. So making sure that the firearms are right at the edge, making sure that they’re all in one bag. But Oh, I have a pistol pouch that goes inside my rifle bag. So when they unzip everything, they’ll see my shotgun right there, my rifle there, and then, Ooh, there’s a beautiful pistol pouch. Says it’s all combined together right there.
Travis Bader: [00:40:01] Yeah. I love it.
Taka Kuwata: [00:40:02] And then you have your ammo, which is probably right to the side, and they could see that it’s all there locked up. You know, your trigger guards on there, w whatnot, and it’s, it’s going to save you a lot of time.
Travis Bader: [00:40:14] Can you go across Nexus?
Taka Kuwata: [00:40:15] What you can do is, I’ve got my Nexus card and what I do is, you can’t cross nexus with your firearms, but I do use my nexus card to go through the regular, regular lines. And the reason why I do that is because I’m been double screen for Nexus, so they kind of have that trust in me. And the beauty of nexus too, is that when you do get called in for secondary, you go through the Nexus line and to be able to bypass the wait if there is a weight in the lineup. Now, I did hear from a friend that he’d tried doing that and was told that he can’t use a Nexus card inside secondary for the line, but I guess it might be case by case who you see at the as your CBSA.
Travis Bader: [00:40:56] Sure, sure, sure. Yeah, it’s funny, I remember, I guess it was a pre 9-11 late teens, early twenties, and heading across a border in a old beat up Ford F250 pickup truck. And I have a thing, rarely wanted to start and I had a little Baton that I’d use to whack the starter to get it going and otherwise am have to make sure I parked on a hill to get the thing roll, rolling and roll started.
[00:41:23] And I’m crossing with a another fellow, and he was, went on to be the owner of one of the local gun stores around here, and we’re going into the States. I forget what we’re doing down there, but they asked me, well, what’s the purpose of the trip and where you’re from? And they look over at him and they say, I think it was, have you ever been to the States before? And he says nothing, and then he takes the cigarette out and he puts it up and he lights it. I’m like, what do you do at smoking in my vehicle right? Takes a big drag, looks over at the border officer and says nope.
[00:41:59] And then, Oh wait, no. When I was a kid, we went to Disneyland, that’s in the States, right? Wait, Houston, it’s going through. This officer says, get over your in secondary. So we go in, they go through the whole vehicle and I’m like what’s taking them so long? And they come back and call me up and like, you’re in a lot of trouble.What do you mean? What are you doing? You’ve got a Baton. Well, no, no, no, this Baton, I use it for whacking the starter and try and getting it going. Okay, we’ll buy that. But you’ve got ammunition in your vehicle. What? What do you mean? And I guess he had ammunition in one of his pockets and, and so he explains what’s going on.
[00:42:38] And okay, we’ll buy that, but there’s a gun in your vehicle. And my heart sunk at first and I’m like, and then I got all excited. I’m like, all my guns are accounted for, I’ve got an extra gun? Like, what is this? There was a starter pistol that was in the first aid kit that I had with, it was, launches bear bangers out. There’s no bear bangers, there is no blanks, there’s nothing else. Anyways, they, after a stern talking to sent us back. We came back in half an hour later after we drop everything off. Now that was pre 9-11. Now, I think that there would be a much longer wait, and you might have more difficulty getting into the States.
[00:43:18] So your idea of doing a proper tack of the trunk as well as, let’s do a sweep of that vehicle and make sure that we don’t have any, you’re saying the ammo’s got to be listed on the form?
Taka Kuwata: [00:43:30] Mhmm.
Travis Bader: [00:43:30] Maybe there’s ammo that’s a, you’re using federal and that’s listed on the form, but you had some spear ammunition as well. Make sure you do a proper suite because it’s pretty easy to do.
Taka Kuwata: [00:43:40] Yeah, definitely. And you know, if he are filling out the form six, you might want to buy case lots of the ammo because there are going to be times that there’s droughts of the certain types of ammo.
Travis Bader: [00:43:51] Right.
Taka Kuwata: [00:43:52] And if you’re crossing the border and you’re using for example, say blazer, and you’ve got something else that’s listed on the form they could potentially we reject you for that.
Travis Bader: [00:44:02] Right.
Taka Kuwata: [00:44:03] Because you’ve listed something and declared something on paper that this is what you’re bringing into the US for. So if you’re a reloader for rifle and pistol, then that’s no problem. You can use any type of head stamp on your, on your brass whatsoever, and they don’t care, but.
Travis Bader: [00:44:18] Okay.
Taka Kuwata: [00:44:19] Yeah. I’ve heard that there are quite a few people that has been rejected because they brought the wrong type of ammo that wasn’t perfect match on their paperwork.
Travis Bader: [00:44:28] Okay.
Taka Kuwata: [00:44:29] Yeah.
Travis Bader: [00:44:29] Interesting.
Taka Kuwata: [00:44:30] But I wouldn’t really, you know, if you’re interested in crossing the border and it’s your first time, I know it’s scary coming across the border with, with firearms and you know, it’s always about gun control, you know, going back and forth the border. It’s, it’s what they do, but just be honest with them, you know, just be brutally honest.
[00:44:48] They ask you about, Hey, what are you coming down into the US for? I blindly just tell them I’m here for a shooting competition. Then they look at me with their eyes wide open. And they ask, so you have guns in the car? I go, yes. They ask how many? I go, three. And then their eyes get even bigger. And it’s, it’s funny if it’s, if it’s a rookie that’s in the, in the booth, because they don’t really know how to handle that at that point.
[00:45:12] So just stay nat, natural, just show them your, your form six papers, everything that’s in your binder versus having it folded up, you know, four times. And you pull it out of your pocket and you look a little shady with your paperwork. Just try to look professional with your paperwork and make sure that it all looks legit there and you just show them and then they, they’re at ease as well too. And they appreciate that everything’s all labeled and easy to find and that you’re a good Samaritan and.
Travis Bader: [00:45:37] Yes.
Taka Kuwata: [00:45:37] You know.
Travis Bader: [00:45:38] What’s the culture like in the States shooting?
Taka Kuwata: [00:45:41] Oh those guys are, I love those guys. They are, I don’t have anything bad to say with any Americans that I’ve shot with. And I’ve been shooting in S, in the US for I think four years or five years, counting now. And every single one of those guys, I call them my brothers.
Travis Bader: [00:46:01] Yes.
Taka Kuwata: [00:46:01] They are, they’re the nicest guys that you could ever meet. They will never judge you.
Travis Bader: [00:46:08] Mmm.
Taka Kuwata: [00:46:09] They’ll make fun of you because we’re Canadian.
Travis Bader: [00:46:11] Yeah.
Taka Kuwata: [00:46:12] But they are the most welcoming people ever. They are always willing to give you pointers and to give you tips you know. They’ll let you share their firearms with ya. If you run you, out of ammo, they will literally give you boxes of ammo for you to finish.
Travis Bader: [00:46:28] Wow.
Taka Kuwata: [00:46:28] That doesn’t happen in Canada.
Travis Bader: [00:46:30] I’ve not seen that to that extent in Canada. No.
Taka Kuwata: [00:46:33] Right. You know, if, if, if your firearm breaks, there’s always a guy that’s kind of handy and they could literally give you a brand new bolt for you to use to carry on. And it’s, it’s that type of culture in the US that they’re all very, it’s a, it feels like a family, you know, and.
Travis Bader: [00:46:49] I like that.
Taka Kuwata: [00:46:50] You know, they’re very open and they’re, I just love going down there. I sometimes like to go down there to shoot just because of the culture down there. It’s just, it’s pretty wicked.
Travis Bader: [00:46:59] Yeah. You know, we talked with that culture as well before we’re on on the mic here, and being in the training industry and looking at the culture in Canada and then looking at the States. I do what I can in Canada to bring some of that culture in because I’ve trained in the States. Firearms Academy of Seattle, Marty Hayes’s school, great school, great guy, and he’s got a specific way of doing things.
[00:47:22] He’s got his reasons behind it, and he’ll tell his students, here’s the reasons why we do things. Here’s why I believe it’s good, but you know what? My competition up the street runs courses as well. Go check them out, in fact, here’s their phone number, here’s their website, and use the date that you can.
[00:47:40] Because you might learn something from them as well that works for you, that might not work for me. And then once you’re done with them, come back to me and then we’ll, we’ll work it together and maybe it’ll change my, my idea or my approach and that mentality. And I don’t know, I don’t know why it is, but maybe it’s because everyone in their grandma has a gun in the States. It’s, it’s, it’s
Taka Kuwata: [00:48:02] Who knows.
Travis Bader: [00:48:02] Not viewed as such a elitist or special or, I don’t know what it is, but it’s, it is a positive culture.
Taka Kuwata: [00:48:12] It is. You know, and, it’s the more that you spend time in the US you see that there’s a lot more people that are concealed carrying it. And it’s a positive thing down there. And I don’t think anyone needs to be alarmed that there’s people walking around with firearms. I think it’s a really, you know, it’s their right to do it, but at the same time, I don’t think. You know, people should be frightened, you know, for people that go down to the US right now to go shop at the outlets.
Travis Bader: [00:48:38] Yeah.
Taka Kuwata: [00:48:38] There’s probably 50 people that they walk past with concealed carry pistols. And you’re not worried about it because you know.
Travis Bader: [00:48:46] You have no idea.
Taka Kuwata: [00:48:47] You have no idea you know and.
Travis Bader: [00:48:49] And most people don’t think about that. But it’s very true.
Taka Kuwata: [00:48:51] It’s true and now because you and I obviously could tell who’s concealed carrying it.
Travis Bader: [00:48:55] Sure.
Taka Kuwata: [00:48:55] Because of the clothes that they’re wearing.
Travis Bader: [00:48:56] Sure.
Taka Kuwata: [00:48:57] Or there’s like this weird bulge on their belt or whatnot, we know we could tell.
Travis Bader: [00:49:01] Sure.
Taka Kuwata: [00:49:01] You know, like it’s, but I don’t care if they conceal carry, you know, it’s.
Travis Bader: [00:49:06] So we’ve got a good idea of what 3 gun is about. We’re going to post those dates up on the, on YouTube, and we’ll see about putting something up on the website as well. Maybe even in the mailer will blast out the different dates if people are interested. We’ve got people that listen to this that are obviously outside the Lower Mainland, so those dates will mean nothing to them.
[00:49:24] But the takeaways for being able to cross the border, that’s huge. The getting into 3 gun, knowing how to, at least find it. I guess 3 guns is doing a better job of promoting and advertising themselves than they were seven years ago when you were getting into it. What about kit? If we start talking about kit, if somebody gets in and they just wanted to have something that would be entry level competitive, get into, is that something that you’d want to talk about.
Taka Kuwata: [00:49:55] Oh, I think that conversation will carry on for hours and hours, but you know what? I think if it’s your first time, bring what you currently have. If you’ve got a battle belt, bring it. Got only a chest rig, just bring it. If you don’t have any thing to carry your, your shot shells with just dump them in your cargo pants, you know, in your pockets.
Travis Bader: [00:50:17] Yeah.
Taka Kuwata: [00:50:18] You know, or if there is a table, Hey, I’ll let you stage the, the shells on the table and you could reload that way, you know, it’s. Or just use a, a dump pouch and stick that on your belt and you just dig your hands in there, grab a hole, you know, handful of shells and reload that way. It’s, I wouldn’t really waste too much time getting the the right equipment, you know, especially if it’s your first time, you know, just come on and play and see what you like.
[00:50:42] And then, then you’ll see a whole bunch of other shooters with different types of equipment and different belt setups and you know, pick and choose to see what you think you might like and go from there. Like what I really like from my belt set setup, and I think a lot of elite shooters like is the Safariland ELS belt system where-
Travis Bader: [00:51:00] Right.
Taka Kuwata: [00:51:01] You could literally take your mag pouches off instantly. You know, you can take your handgun off as soon as you’re done, holstered of course, and you place it into your gun bag. And you know, you’re literally taking 20 pounds of weight off your belts. You know, because you’re shooting all day and you’re walking around with 20 pounds on your weight, on your waist.
[00:51:19] It kind of adds a lot of fatigue eventually, and you won’t notice it until maybe around two o’clock, three o’clock and you’re wondering why you’re kind of tired and you just want to get the last stage done and over with. The ELS belts pretty cool that way. The other thing too is that for 3 gun, the stages are never all the same. So if there’s a prone stage where you’ve got to lie down and you got all these shot shells on ya, pistol mags, rifle mags on ya.
Travis Bader: [00:51:43] Ahh good point.
Taka Kuwata: [00:51:43] You know, you gotta move those pistol pouches to the back now, so you could actually go prone comfortable.
Travis Bader: [00:51:49] Right.
Taka Kuwata: [00:51:50] Right. So that’s what the ELS belts system’s really good for. And I think blade tech and all the other companies have their own different styles of quick lease attachments or these days. But I like that. Holster, I think is one of the more important things where. Instead of using like a IPSC or speed style holster, you got to have something with a level three or with a hood on it where your gun doesn’t fall out because you are running with the, with the pistol your on your hip.
[00:52:17] So I think that’s pretty important. Making sure that the trigger is actually covered and there’s a hood. In terms of the number of mag pouches that you need for pistol wise, I think you should be safe with three but have four just in case if i’s a, a high pistol count stage.
Travis Bader: [00:52:32] Sure.
Taka Kuwata: [00:52:33] You know, for rifle, depends on the magazines that you’re using of course, like if you’re using the p mags, which is five rounds, and yeah, you’ll probably need 10.
Travis Bader: [00:52:43] Right.
Taka Kuwata: [00:52:44] And then if you’re using like your LAR mags, and you know that’s 10 in there, and you know, you could probably have them double, double stacked or coupled together.
Travis Bader: [00:52:56] Right.
Taka Kuwata: [00:52:56] And then you might just need 40 rounds on your hip. So that’s just two mag pouches, you know, however, set up that you want it. And then for your shotgun. It’s probably safe for you to have maybe 18 shells on you, just to be on the safe side.
Travis Bader: [00:53:10] And you’re saying just dump them into your cargo pocket if you don’t have, obviously preferable to have.
Taka Kuwata: [00:53:14] Yeah it’s preferable to have your, your like a chest rig of shell caddies of course. You know, Invictus Practical, Taccom sells them, Safariland has their new design for that?.So there’s a lot of companies out there that make shell caddies now. And you know, if you, if you’re curious and feel free to direct message me or direct message, any of the guys on Team White Rice on their Instagram page and ask, Hey, what’s the best caddy that we like to use? And then, you know, we’ll tell ya.
Travis Bader: [00:53:40] So what’s your favourite thing about 3 gun?
Taka Kuwata: [00:53:45] That it’s constantly different. I like the fact that stages are really complexed. It’s tough to do because there’s so many things happening and there’s a lot of moving parts to it, but I like the fact that they will incorporate long range in there if, if the, you know, if the range allows it to. You know, I remember when I shot in Idaho, there was a long range section of the stage where we had to shoot out to 800 yards. And you know, it’s, it’s challenging to do, right.
Travis Bader: [00:54:21] Sure.
Taka Kuwata: [00:54:21] And, but you know, when you throw stuff like that in there, or if you’ve got spinning targets or a Texas star or a Polish plate rack and all these other types of targets, like it’s, it’s, it’s fun you know. The scenario’s very different. It’s a fast paced sport where you literally don’t have to aim as hard.
[00:54:42] All it, all it matters is your two hits. Or just to knock your steel over or just hit them and they just turn 45 degrees and that’s you know, considered neutralized. It’s, it’s fun and, and you get to shoot 3 guns at the end of the day. You know, you’ve got your pistol, shotgun and your rifle, and now you’ve got your PCC, and you get to use all of them. You know versus just one gun.
Travis Bader: [00:55:05] I love it.
Taka Kuwata: [00:55:06] You know, it’s, it’s, you’re, you’re running around with it. It’s, you know, you got all your gear with ya and it’s just fun. You know, you’re, if you’re, if you’re one of those guys that it’s tough for you to choose which gun you like. At least you get to shoot all of them.
Travis Bader: [00:55:19] Yeah.
Taka Kuwata: [00:55:19] You know? And it’s a good time. It’s a such a good time.
Travis Bader: [00:55:23] Oh, that’s like me, the ADHD. Which gun do you like best?
Taka Kuwata: [00:55:26] Yeah.
Travis Bader: [00:55:27] That changes a second from, from second to second, if you’re asking me.
Taka Kuwata: [00:55:31] Yeah, totally. And it’s just, it’s. You know, the event that we’re going to do at Abbotsford is it’s going to be a good time. You know, there’s going to be prizes there as well and then you could find the matches on practice score. It also email the, the email address that we have, which is multigun, let me just look that up here [email protected], which is the email address. And just shoot your email there and, and just state in the subject line that you’re interested in getting newsletters.
[00:56:01] And we’ll send you newsletters of upcoming matches if you want to register for them. So all that information will be there. And if you have questions about what gear to use, what to bring, what footwear, all that type of stuff, feel free to shoot emails there. And then there’s a guy on the team that literally will reply back instantly.
[00:56:18] And that’s the beauty of having a, a 9 to 10 man team where everyone has their own duties for this multi gun event. And you know, we have our director that manages the event, then we got an assistant match director. Then you got a master range officer, and then we got a, a director of life and safety, which is, he’s part of the fire departments.And we all have our own jobs in, in the Abby multi gun league. You know, we have a treasurer as well, which he’s good with his numbers and.
Travis Bader: [00:56:50] That’s always important for a treasurer.
Taka Kuwata: [00:56:51] Yeah, so like everything that we have is a, it’s very transparent. And you know, we have two guys running the practice score tablets and setting up the stages in practice score. So it’s a, it’s, it makes it a lot easier versus having one or two people running the entire event. And so it takes a load off.
Travis Bader: [00:57:10] It’s a well oiled machine.
Taka Kuwata: [00:57:11] Yeah.
Travis Bader: [00:57:11] Is there anything that we should cover before we wrap up?
Taka Kuwata: [00:57:14] I wanted to talk about a diet a little bit here.
Travis Bader: [00:57:18] Ya, let’s do that.
Taka Kuwata: [00:57:19] Where, you know, in terms of diet wise, like for me. I became pretty apparent three years ago where yes, I was trying to lose weight, of course.
Travis Bader: [00:57:31] Okay.
Taka Kuwata: [00:57:31] But I remember there were certain types of food that was kind of fogging my head.
Travis Bader: [00:57:36] Did you, before you jumped there, did you have a lot of weight you had to lose.
Taka Kuwata: [00:57:40] No, I was always okay with my weight, but it was always, I’ve always had that tire around my stomach.
Travis Bader: [00:57:45] Sure.
Taka Kuwata: [00:57:45] You know? And then that was the tire that couldn’t get rid of. And even if I did cardio and I was riding my road bike to work from Burnaby to Richmond and I would ride four times a week, I couldn’t shed that, that tire off my waist right.
Travis Bader: [00:57:59] Right.
Taka Kuwata: [00:58:00] And then it wasn’t until I started to eat the right foods and whatnot then finally it came off, naturally, which was neat. But I remember what kind of the trigger point for me was cutting out sugar.
Travis Bader: [00:58:11] That’s huge.
Taka Kuwata: [00:58:12] Huge.
Travis Bader: [00:58:13] Yeah.
Taka Kuwata: [00:58:13] And I always thought that sugar can, kind of help me with my energy. But what I realized is that when I consume sugar, there is that period that it takes to burn off the sugar in your system. And then you start to bonk and get really tired. So in the afternoon, you’re, you’re literally tired.
Travis Bader: [00:58:30] Right.
Taka Kuwata: [00:58:31] So in shooting, I won’t have any sugar whatsoever previous of the match during the match day so I don’t go through this up and down peak.
Travis Bader:[00:58:40] Right.
Taka Kuwata: [00:58:40] And then people that have the monster energy drinks or the red bulls.
Travis Bader: [00:58:44] Seen that.
Taka Kuwata: [00:58:45] Try to avoid those because then you’re going to be on an all time peak in your caffeine, sugar rush levels.
Travis Bader: [00:58:50] Right.
Taka Kuwata: [00:58:51] And then you start to jitter and shake, and then when you shake like that, then you, it starts to create anxiety and you get tense.
Travis Bader: [00:59:00] Right.
Taka Kuwata: [00:59:00] And then when you’re tense, you can’t shoot.
Travis Bader: [00:59:03] Right. It’s cyclical, it just of self perpetuating loop.
Taka Kuwata: [00:59:06] Exactly. So diet is a huge thing. And then even on rang day, when the food trucks come you know, it’s all unhealthy foods. You know, like, of course I love my hamburgers, I love my deep fried food. I love that stuff. Is that really what you want to intake? You know, during the noon hour and when you still have another three stages or maybe five stages yet to go. You know, it’s to bog you down a little bit.
Travis Bader: [00:59:33] Maybe if you want to have a map in between eating and.
Taka Kuwata: [00:59:36] Yeah.
Travis Bader: [00:59:36] Competing.
Taka Kuwata: [00:59:37] Yeah. So literally for me, I would just bring cheese, sliced meats, you know something light. You know and you don’t feel as heavy and you don’t feel bloated. And you know, I think food’s extremely important for shooting and a lot of people don’t realize that.
Travis Bader: [00:59:53] Well, you mentioned mental acuity as well. Food for that.
Taka Kuwata: [00:59:55] Yeah.
Travis Bader: [00:59:56] So the, the high protein meat, cheese, you find very helpful for that?
Taka Kuwata: [01:00:01] I find that, you know, three years ago is one of my brother-in-law introduced me to the keto diet.
Travis Bader: [01:00:06] Okay.
Taka Kuwata: [01:00:07] And I know there’s all this hoopla and people have their own opinions about it sucks. It’s, you know, it’s, or it’s great, you know, it’s, it’s worked for me. I love it how I have this energy and I love it how my mind’s not as foggy all the time. My wife appreciates it because I’m not constantly forgetting about dates for my kids to take them to swimming and whatnot. You know, where I would always forget and have that daddy brain.
Travis Bader: [01:00:31] Yeah, yeah.
Taka Kuwata: [01:00:32] So I think the keto’s helped me that way. But the other thing that’s kind of helped me too is that a friend of mine, which I call the doctor, Dr S, is who I will say, introduce me to the celery juice. And I will have celery juice every morning now and literally that will help appease my, my appetite.
Travis Bader: [01:00:53] Interesting.
Taka Kuwata: [01:00:53] And it’ll clean out your liver as well. It’s good for you. Look it up on Google, celery juice.
Travis Bader: [01:00:58] It’s high in salt, isn’t it?
Taka Kuwata: [01:00:59] I don’t know if it’s high in salt, I don’t know the content, but it’s really good for ya. And the one thing that I’ve noticed is that my beard grows so fast.
Travis Bader: [01:01:08] Yeah.
Taka Kuwata: [01:01:08] And then I’ve got better skin now because of it. And I’m not as tired at that afternoon, four, five o’clock time where you know you’re coming home and you’re driving and then you’re kind of dozing off. I don’t get that anymore.
Travis Bader: [01:01:21] Interesting.
Taka Kuwata: [01:01:21] Yeah. So that’s, if you can’t afford to get a juicer, like a cold pressed juicer, check it out, try it. Like it’s, it’s done wonders like it’s now I’m trying to figure out how can I bring this juicer when I go hunting, that’s, that’s the next thing, how I got to figure it out. I figured out how to make good coffee, but it’s the juicer now. How do I transport my celery and then the juicer and do it at the camp site. So that’s the one thing I’ve got to figure out.
Travis Bader: [01:01:47] I‘m sure you can do it, bring, bring a big gin set with ya.
Taka Kuwata: [01:01:49] Yeah, exactly. Right. So I was thinking maybe I got to do that, you know? And then the other thing too is that I cut out liquor as much as I can, you know. Of course, I love my, my booze.
Travis Bader: [01:02:02] Sure.
Taka Kuwata: [01:02:02] I love scotch, I love whiskies, bourbons, all that, so that’s.
Travis Bader: [01:02:05] Amen.
Taka Kuwata: [01:02:05] That’s my go to for sure. Especially for hunting. Right?
Travis Bader: [01:02:07] Yeah.
Taka Kuwata: [01:02:08] But I realized that it’s not legal for minors for a reason.
Travis Bader: [01:02:15] Yeah.
Taka Kuwata: [01:02:15] Right? We all know that right? And it’s not really good for your health right? But I’ve also realized that it’s not good for your head either right?
Travis Bader: [01:02:23] When did you realize that?
Taka Kuwata: [01:02:24] I realized that recently actually.
Travis Bader: [01:02:29] Interesting.
Taka Kuwata: [01:02:30] Yeah, my dad, my dad likes his, his, his drinks right. And then you know, my father’s obviously retired now right.
Travis Bader: [01:02:38] Yeah.
Taka Kuwata: [01:02:38] And, and I would always come his house to go pick up the kids every now and then. And then he’s there and he needs got his drink at four o’clock, four o’clock, five o’clock. And I was talking to him and then some of the words that he was saying, it just didn’t really make sense. You know and I was like, wow, okay. Yeah, of course, when people are kind of slightly intoxicated, like they’ll get a little bit.
Travis Bader: [01:03:00] Yep.
Taka Kuwata: [01:03:00] You know, and I was thinking okay, then you got your hangover the next day if you do drink a lot.
Travis Bader: [01:03:08] Sure.
Taka Kuwata: [01:03:08] You know, and then, so I kinda thought a little bit deeper in terms of the mental management side of things, right? Because, yeah when you’re, can’t think right, you’re not going to be able to perform right. So where I’m going to go with this a little story is that we all go to these major matches. Which is like two day, three day events, and it’s more like a a hangout for guys right.
Travis Bader: [01:03:32] Yeah.
Taka Kuwata: [01:03:32] Hanging at the hotels and whatnot and, but we all drink heavily because we’re all together and we’re just talking about stuff, right? We all go to bed late. But you tend to forget that you’ve been training your butt off this entire time. Dry firing, going into the range, spending a lot of money on ammunition, the gas to get to the range and coming back, and then, then when you get up there, then you’re literally drinking your faces off.
Travis Bader: [01:03:58] Staying up late.
Taka Kuwata: [01:03:59] Staying up late. You’re tired by the time you wake up and then you got a headache and you know, and you’re, and you’re regretting that you, you’ve had those drinks where you could have just kind of skipped it. Or maybe had one drink maybe, and you’re kind of throwing all that hard work away, and that’s the way that that kind of put things together for me about liquor is that. Okay, maybe I should cut it out.
Travis Bader: [01:04:24] Sure.
Taka Kuwata: [01:04:26] Have it, not as often, but have it from time to time.
Travis Bader: [01:04:29] Well, the sugars as well, bout cutting it out, of course with the alcohol and the production of sugars, it’s pretty huge.
Taka Kuwata: [01:04:34] Yeah, it’s, it’s, it’s kind of like poison to your brain, you know? It’s, it’s, it’s legal, but is it really all that good for you.
Travis Bader: [01:04:43] So what’s it like being, I guess now you’re the odd man out of these competitions. Everyone’s having a few drinks and you’re not.
Taka Kuwata: [01:04:50] I feel fresh, you know, I feel, I feel good.
Travis Bader: [01:04:53] Yeah.
Taka Kuwata: [01:04:54] You know, like, you know where some of these guys are, you know, they’re drinking like a litre of water just to flush out the system, you know? And, or they’re pounding that the red bulls so just to kind of get their energy levels up and, but I’m okay.
Travis Bader: [01:05:10] Yeah.
Taka Kuwata: [01:05:11] You know, and.
Travis Bader: [01:05:11] No one’s giving you a hard time?
Taka Kuwata: [01:05:14] You know what, I get pressured the odd shot and I’ll have a shot, you know? But I just won’t get to the point where I can’t walk, you know? But my gy, a lot of guys in our sport, they could literally Polish off a whole bottle of vodka and they’re fine right?
Travis Bader: [01:05:27] Right, right, right, right.
Taka Kuwata: [01:05:28] You know those types, right.
Travis Bader: [01:05:29] I do.
Taka Kuwata: [01:05:30] And there’s a lot of us like that on, you know, that, you know, have firearms right. But you know, me being Asian, I can’t drink lots. Like I’m just being honest right? I could have my four, four scotches and hey, that’s it. But when it comes to the Russian guys, with their, with their vodkas, like I can’t compete to that. Sorry.
Travis Bader: [01:05:49] I love it. Alrighty. Well, mental health, physical health, diet.
Taka Kuwata: [01:05:55] Diet, it’s, it all ties together, you know, and every, your food physical, all that ties in with your mental management. It does.
Travis Bader: [01:06:02] You know, I was raised on sugar every meal we had, we’d have dessert with, and I figured that’s just how it is. And I never correlated the sugar with highs and lows within the body until just fairly recently actually. My wife would shake her head and gave me a hard time. I just, you know, food goes in and you go about your day. I wouldn’t think anything of it. But cutting sugar out. Massive.
Taka Kuwata: [01:06:29] Yeah.
Travis Bader: [01:06:29] Hard, hard at first. Hard hard for a person who just raised on sugar.
Taka Kuwata: [01:06:33] Yeah.
Travis Bader: [01:06:34] But after a while I find even just the sugar that you find in fruits, you have too much and you’re, you’re feeling it.
Taka Kuwata: [01:06:41] Yeah, totally. Like, it’s, I realized that even, you know, starch, vegetables have lots of sugars in it.
Travis Bader: [01:06:49] Yeah.
Taka Kuwata: [01:06:49] You know, like, so the way that I kind of figured out what, what vegetables said to avoid was anything that’s grown under ground avoid. So carrots, potatoes right?
Travis Bader: [01:06:59] Right.
Taka Kuwata: [01:07:00] And then when it comes to fruits that I cut out, I pretty much cut out everything except for berries. Berries is got really good sugars to it.
Travis Bader: [01:07:09] Interesting.
Taka Kuwata: [01:07:09] So that I will eat that a lot is berries. Yeah. You know, but food’s got a lot, you know, even your, your baked goods has lots, right? There’s also types of, you know, compounds in food that turns into sugar when you do consume it.
Travis Bader: [01:07:24] Right.
Taka Kuwata: [01:07:25] Right? So there’s that trick as well, right? So you gotta yeah, it’s all about diet. And, you know, I’ve always never really had to struggle with weight, but, you know, by the time I got kids and again, the dad bod just naturally comes out right? You know, and you kind of want to get rid of it and, you got to try different things. And I don’t think the stuff that I talked about today will work for everybody, but I hope that it will help some people.
Travis Bader: [01:07:52] You know what? It works for you and I know it’s going to work for some other people.
Taka Kuwata: [01:07:55] Yeah.
Travis Bader: [01:07:56] And anybody else looking to get into the sport or even if they’re in a completely different sport, just learning how a high level athlete who’s sponsored and recognized by numerous companies, how you comport yourself and how you train. How you conduct yourself in through meetings, in life, in general. All of these things are great takeaways for anybody else looking to follow a similar path.
Taka Kuwata: [01:08:20] You know, it’s, it’s good to have a, a good support team as well too and I’m blessed to be a part of Team White Rice. Like those guys are such great supports and I talk to these guys every single day in our, on our group chats.
Travis Bader: [01:08:31] Yeah.
Taka Kuwata: [01:08:31] And whatnot. And it’s good to feed off of each other. And you know, we’ll talk about strategies and whatnot about shooting and obviously there’s some other stuff that we talk about, which is non shooting. Of course, you know, being a dad, of course, and having to talk about, you know, other things. But, it’s, it’s good to be a part of a team like team that way and especially being on the range we’ve got that teamwork environment and. You know, being able to be lucky to share great sponsors together within a team like that. It’s been phenomenal.
Travis Bader: [01:09:04] Right.
Taka Kuwata: [01:09:05] There’s been a lot of great things that’s happening for us for 2020 and yeah, I just can’t, I’m excited to see what 2020 has for us and even the years after that. So it’s great to have a good, solid physical team because this is such a individual sport that we do.
Travis Bader: [01:09:22] It is.
Taka Kuwata: [01:09:23] You know, and it’s usually, you’re usually by yourself all the time and it’s a, it’s, it’s nice to have your support staff for sure.
Travis Bader: [01:09:30] We’ll Taka thank you very much for taking the time to do this podcast. Really enjoyed getting to know you, and we’ll get those details that you provided up on the website and get it out so others can enjoy the sport, or even if they’re not getting into 3 gun, hopefully have some good takeaways about how they can up their game in their own activity.
Taka Kuwata: [01:09:49] Thanks Travis is a, I had an awesome time being on the show and I hope to be back one day.
Travis Bader: [01:09:54] Absolutely.
Taka Kuwata: [01:09:54] All right. Take care.
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