In the adrenaline-pumping action and strategic combat simulation world, Airsoft has emerged as a popular recreational activity that attracts individuals from all walks of life. Amidst the thrill and camaraderie found on the airsoft battlefield, some possess a unique combination of skills and passion that sets them apart.
Today, we have the privilege of diving into the world of Airsoft through the eyes of Goran. This remarkable physiotherapist heals bodies and dominates the airsoft field with his precision and tactical expertise.
Let’s get to know him better and discover why he immersed himself in Airsoft.
What inspired you to get into Airsoft, and how did you start?
I have been playing Airsoft for twelve years. Before Airsoft, we gathered in the gym at Kajzerica, Zagreb, which included an indoor paintball field. We bought equipment and, knowing nothing about Airsoft, started playing on the slopes of Sljeme. We later learned that there is a Croatian Airsoft Association, and we quickly adopted rules of conduct. On one occasion, someone from the team brought an airsoft replica that we tried in the parking lot, and we liked the whole story.
Would you classify Airsoft as a sport, and if so, why?
Airsoft is a group sport and is a great way to motivate young people to get out into nature, socialize and engage in physical activity. It is an excellent way to inspire the younger generation to step away from computer games.
Besides physical fitness, Airsoft requires good orientation and navigation and is a perfect way to make good friends. By continuously attending training and meetings, the participant gets better and more easily achieves results. Awakening the senses of hearing, sight, coordination and developing motor skills are just some of the skills this sport encourages.
How do you usually prepare for an Airsoft match, physically and mentally?
The preparations always begin with preparing and checking the equipment, both the replica itself and the uniform and other props used in airsoft (protective masks, glasses, insect repellants, reflective vests).
Preparing meals and drinks is essential, especially when going to multi-day meetings. For one-day meetings, it’s important to bring lots of water and other beverages. I don’t have any special physical preparations; mental preparation goes with coffee before the meeting.
What is your favorite Airsoft gun, and why?
My favorite replica is the M14 G&G assault rifle replica because of its design, reliability, and ease of service.
What is the most challenging thing about Airsoft for you?
One of the most challenging things in Airsoft is locating your opponent.
What is your favorite strategy or tactic in the game, and why?
There is not only one strategy that is applicable in all games. Strategy and tactics are adapted to each game, each opponent, and each individual when possible. Sometimes the opponent is approached from several sides, sometimes directly.
One of the standard tactics is preparing an ambush for the opposing team or approaching a stationary team from an unexpected side. The best tactic is the one that enables the elimination of the opposing team with as little effort as possible and the elimination of one’s own players.
Have you ever participated in Airsoft tournaments or competitions, and what was the result?
I have participated in tournaments several times, although airsoft has no “league” or ranking. Competitions are gatherings that can last several days, and the winner is declared after the end of the meeting, although there is a saying – “Airsoft has won”.
Have you ever encountered a team that cheats in Airsoft, and in what way? Can you describe that situation?
Cheating is the main reason Airsoft sometimes loses its meaning. Inexperienced younger players often think the opponent is cheating, even though this is not necessarily true. Namely – hitting a moving target or in cover such as dense vegetation is not easy, and younger players often overestimate their abilities and are convinced that the opponent does not recognize the hit. Often they are unaware that the vegetation changes the BB’s direction and that there really is no shot.
I have had the opportunity to see a direct hit from a well-placed cover when the opponent is not aware of you, which does not register, and the opponent remains in the game even though I hit him. A hit from close range is painful, and by the reaction and movements of the hit person, and sometimes by the exclamation, you can hear and see that the opponent has been hit but does not admit it. Also – with optics, the BB’s flight can be tracked, and we can sometimes be entirely sure of a hit that was not reported.
What was your most interesting/fun event while playing?
I participated in meetings of different goals and conceptions. It isn’t easy to single out one event because every meeting is adrenaline-filled. Perhaps one of the more interesting events was on the field in Slatina, Croatia, when we managed to approach a group of opponents who were having fun talking and checking their equipment, completely unaware of their situation.
With a sudden attack from an unexpected direction, we threw them out of the game with surprise. It was a meeting organized by the Airsoft club ASK FOX, which included a lot of different missions and dynamic movements at a moment’s notice.
I remember that we were towing some big rocket towards the base, and we were worried about how we would be exposed to the enemy’s attack because we were moving fast and noisily and towing the rocket. Still, we surprised the enemy and sent their whole team back to the base. There were also examples when, along with the map, I gave the coordinates for an imaginary artillery attack, parachute landings, attacks on mortar positions, or collecting props in the woods.
There were scenarios in which we had to bring the protected person to a predefined position, which the opponent was trying to disrupt, and there were situations in which we also had combat vehicles in airsoft. On one occasion, I was left alone in some building in an abandoned barracks in Karlovac, Croatia, and I let the entire opposing group pass and surprised them with an attack from behind. It was the day I had the most confirmed hits.
Are Airsoft injuries really that scary? What is your experience with injuries?
I have seen few “serious” injuries in these twelve years of airsoft. Once, a colleague fell into a hole, broke his leg, and damaged the replica. One colleague lost a part of his teeth due to a direct hit from a relatively short distance, and I have repeatedly seen minor lacerations and skin damage due to hits on unprotected parts of the body. Falls, scratches, and bruises are an integral part of every sport in nature, so there is no need to make a problem about similar injuries in Airsoft.
What advice would you give to new Airsoft players just starting?
Always just a few things. Airsoft primarily socializes, and negative emotions and anger should be left outside the field. Another thing is that you shoul always, without exception, use protective glasses. And the third, perhaps the most important tip, is to concede a goal.