Greetings from the PGH SRA!
We’ve been asked to provide a report back on InrangeTV’s Woodland Brutality in West Virginia, and we’re happy to oblige. While we had some interest in attending last year, it didn’t coalesce in time, and 2 of our comrades went and attended Cornfield Brutality 2022. They came back with nothing but good things to say about the match, so we rallied a large group of us to attend this year.
Why should you attend?
- It’s one of the only competitive events that we know of that are incredibly welcoming of all types of folks. This means lots of leftists of all stripes, as well as a wide range of other folks. No bigotry is the name of the game and strictly adhered to, at least while we were there.
- You want to put yourself and your “kit” through more interesting and stressful scenarios than a flat range can provide. It would be very hard to replicate the kind of experience one gets from these matches unless you have access to thousands of dollars worth of targets, MILES (laser tag with blanks) gear, and a shooting space with varied terrain.
- You want to meet new and interesting folks to build solidarity. Our chapter members built friendships with people across the country at this event for example.
What you should do before the match
- Select a division (partizan or armored+p for WB23). Partizan has more limitations on what you can bring, armored requires plates and a helmet, although you’re allowed to get creative with both. Read the rules for more info. Lean on your chapter if you’re having trouble sourcing the required gear, that’s what we’re here for.
- Train with that equipment. Our chapter started training somewhat hard for this starting in January 2023, for the event which was May 5. Some in our chapter started even earlier. We set up 2 training events a month until May, with some members doing even more than that. We watched past brutality footage and set up drills that replicated them the best we could, with the goal being to mix cardio, strength, and shooting.
- Weight train and cardio train. The shooting drills are optional, doing some sort of cardio and weight training isn’t. Our members did a range of things, from going on weekly walks and lifting 15lb weights to throwing 65lb kettlebells in our backyards. Anything is better than nothing here. Even so, at least one member didn’t do any of this and still learned a lot by going.
What to expect at the match
- Our chapter broadly agreed on two goals for our match. Don’t DQ and have fun. Both of those goals were met. Individual members had other goals, like no penalties, place in the top 50% of their division, etc, but those were regarded largely as bonuses on top of our two fundamental goals. Some other goals and achievements were unlocked throughout the event though that should be called out:
- Push through some incredibly adverse conditions: This is the nature of this event and something you should strive for.
- Handle stress compassionately: Easier said than done, and something to rely on comrades for. Definitely think about your own plan in regard to stress management.
- Apply training and learn quickly from failures: Accomplishing this means you learned something from the match, which is great.
- Create a welcoming environment for other squadmates: Goes without saying, but cheer people on!
- Build community with a bunch of people: Downtime is great for this, say hi to new people!
- Expect to shoot anywhere from 80-150 rounds of rifle and pistol. You’ll need to bring more because of the division requirements, but that’s the ballpark of what our members shot.
- Folks uncase and case rifles at their car, no safe tables. Chamber flags were required but not strictly enforced. Overall it felt safe, but those expectations were different from how we do it locally and worth calling out.
- Remember to ask someone to film your run! We gained valuable knowledge by looking over our footage about areas we needed to work on and things we did well.
- Broadly speaking the ROs were great. They all have their own ways of doing things, so listen closely.
- Use downtime to chat with other folks, scope out upcoming stages, and generally chill. Don’t forget to drink water, and bring a camp chair. Why stand when you can sit.
So how did we do?
We did great! We met our goals and unlocked all of those other achievements mentioned above. When you go into these things not really caring about where you place, you open yourself up to growth in different ways. That said, some of us placed really well, but we'll let them do their own bragging ;). Big shoutout and heartfelt thanks to all those who organized and labored to put on this event, including InrangeTV, One Shepard, and the ROs. An incredibly welcoming bunch of folks, and we’ll see you there next year!