The Search for Animal Chin
The wizened old guru, Won Ton “Tactical Animal” Chin is out there. Isn't he? Part of my misspent youth was taken up by this film, one of many movies that nobody ever watched, that I really liked. The plot is these young souls looking for the source of all the wisdom in their chosen field.
As a firearms instructor, there’s a certain fantasy about our own Animal Chin being out there. As someone on this path, should I be searching for him? I’ve had many long talks with the world’s greatest firearms instructor and he is the one who told me that out there somewhere is a guy teaching the best stuff to his students. The heart of gunfighting without all the flair that we see in the current training community. I’m also guilty of adding flair, I post photos and write little blurbs like this one. But those aren't teaching. Time spent doing that is not time spent pressure testing curriculum to find any deficiencies. But somewhere, that instructor is out there doing that. He doesn't update his website, because he didn't make one. He isn't posting on instagram, because that's not important to him. There’s not a bookface page we can follow his exploits on because he is too busy passing along his wisdom to his students.
I don't know who he is, because he has never talked about himself. And his students have not told me about him. Maybe because they assume I know who he is, or maybe they don't want to share this gem they have found. But his students, whomever they are, find him with word of mouth. Someone told them and they searched him out. Animal Chin might not even realize that he is this wise guru, he might think he’s just a dude teaching dudes good skills. Which makes the search all the more difficult.
I know this, his range has a berm. It does not have fancy reactive targets, nothing is remote controlled, I doubt there is running water. He doesn’t give a silly certificate at the end, and there is no swag shop in the trunk of his 87 Honda Civic. Just staplers and a stack of targets. You get a handshake and a “good job” at the end of class. But the actual reward is tenfold more than you get from the biggest, most famous schools.
I brought this idea up at a recent class I was at with another awesome instructor who certainly is not as well known as he should be. He concurred that Chin might be out there. Filling his classes with students because they tell their friends how great he is, not because he advertises. He doesn't even know he is the Animal Chin. He’s just doing his thing. He doesn't tell his students the history of a technique, he might not even use the name of the technique as the industry does. Because he doesn't care what it's called or who or when it was invented, he just cares that his students understand how to do it and why they are doing it.
I was not convinced that Chin existed. And frankly, I’m still not. But two of the most talented instructors to ever teach think he does. Is that reason to set off in search of him? Should it turn into a cheesy movie with a bunch of cool shooting action? I’m going to say "probably" to the first question and "no thank you" to the second. Not that it wouldn't be a fun film, but if that teacher is out there, it’s not my place to put him in a limelight that he did not choose. But if any of you have any leads, please point me in the directions of the Tactical Animal Chin. I may have to get this quest started.