Please take a look at my bibliography if you do not see a proper reference to a post.

When you begin to feel like you are a tough guy, a warrior, a master of the martial arts or that you have lived a tough life, just take a moment and get some perspective with the following:


I've stopped knives that were coming to disembowel me

I've clawed for my gun while bullets ripped past me

I've dodged as someone tried to put an ax in my skull

I've fought screaming steel and left rubber on the road to avoid death

I've clawed broken glass out of my body after their opening attack failed

I've spit blood and body parts and broke strangle holds before gouging eyes

I've charged into fires, fought through blizzards and run from tornados

I've survived being hunted by gangs, killers and contract killers

The streets were my home, I hunted in the night and was hunted in turn


Please don't brag to me that you're a survivor because someone hit you. And don't tell me how 'tough' you are because of your training. As much as I've been through I know people who have survived much, much worse. - Marc MacYoung

Purposeful Compliance

This is another term coined by Rory Miller in his Prevail Podcast #4. If you haven’t noticed I tend to like terms and phrases that can and do lead to greater lessons. Sometimes I come up with my own terms or phrases but more often I find them by listening to others such as Rory Miller, Marc MacYoung or Michael Clarke and many others. Over the years these guys have taught me more through such connective verbiage then I have learned in other disciplines but then again this one speaks to me a lot more that those others. 

This particular phrase is about a type of avoidance that is seldom taught in many SD (Self-defense) classes. Oh hell, this one and a whole lot more but that is another posting. Do SD classes actually train and reward students/practitioners to get away safely, to follow the scripts of violence, to give up the urge to karate chop them into submission and take the logical and safe way out, i.e. mugger says “give me your wallet” and you follow the script by keeping the monkey mouth in its cage and simply hand over the wallet then walk away - safe, alive and unhurt. This model is about using purposeful compliance when that is available to them, knowing when to safely leave, give up the item and other forms of compliance.

Marc MacYoung, in his book In the Name of Self-Defense, speaks about how most violence has scripts that both sides follow or should. He speaks/writes that often when violence, in those instances, is given is often because one side or the other fails to follow the script. Usually, it is the victim of said violence/conflict/action. 

This also comes back to the emotional monkey ego pride thing. SD, in my mind, training tends to cater to our natural tendency toward violence so they focus on the cool kung fu ultimate technique SD system over such boring and often counter-ego driven monkey crap that gets us humans into more trouble than necessary. It is so not cool and when you tell yourself that you're listening to the monkey brain. Now, that ain’t cool. 


Caveat: this post may seem like that “one” answer to all things self-defense, about violence or about conflicts but it is only about one very small important aspect that is about one narrow aspect of the world that involves SD and in some cases MA. This post is about introductions and about peaking curiosity so that you, the reader, will actually go out and research the “rest of the story.” 

Why

It suddenly occurred to me, “Why do I have this fascination with MA, SD and Conflict/Violence?” Yes, you would have thunk that maybe I would have addressed this question at one time or another but those questions were more in line with, “Why do I practice a martial art?” or “Why do you know about violence and why?” type questions and those do no really address the question of fascination or maybe a better term would be “obsession.” 

I think this can be a very complicated question with an even more complicated answer given any great thought toward it. I am actually giving it free reign while I type my thoughts because, for me, that is sometimes a really good way to find out what I truly think. Maybe more of a feeling rather than a thought. 

I suspect that it is because we as humans are evolving but until we actually reach that level we are still tied closely to conflict and violence. I am actually of the feeling that we, as humans, will never truly disassociate ourselves from conflict and/or violence. We are tied to them as a normal human condition and humans cannot associate socially without either as that is part and parcel to human communications (maybe this is why Mr. Miller and Mr. MacYoung call what they do “Conflict Communications?”).

In addition, at the start, it was about an ability to defend myself as a youngster. First in my pre-teens against a bully then again against bullies in junior high and then high school. You know, much like many of us remember but of course my situation was “special ;-)” Then, to continue that need to fill that need I went on the join the Marines, to become a professional warrior defending my way of life. Then it became about how to use my body to its absolute best in combatives. Then it became about handling more civilian violence of which I actually had a few situations that self-confirmed my needs. (Note: I didn’t really begin to understand just how self-confirming my actions were until the last ten years but I was always a bit late on the uptake)

Now, it has become a means to self-improve while connecting to my natural tendency, as all humans, toward conflict and violence. Actually, now that I think of it, these last nineteen years searching out the truth of our human condition for the purpose of MA and SD has actually taught me more about humans and living without actually succumbing to conflict and violence (Note: when I say this it is with tongue in cheek cause I realize that almost all we do as humans with other humans comes from the application of conflict resolutions and violent encounters of the mild kind, etc. yadda yadda yadda)

I think you get the picture. Along with my having, at one time, a violent sometimes raging temper (of which this study has provided me the knowledge and therefore the tools to get a handle on that monkey shit) the need to know about and deal with conflict and violence has resulted in a more Zen like attitude that seems to fit or inter-connect with the philosophy we westerners associate with the study of MA. 

Anyway, this is “why” I do what I do. It is not often known and I would not normally present this side of me to folks simply because of their societal mind-washing toward violence is bad, violence must be avoided, violence must be wrong types will find me a bit more “wrong.” Anyway, think what you will cause I can tell you now that I am a kitten compared to some cause there are some that make my life look like a walk in the park and those guys know other guys who scare the piss out of them. 


Conclusion: there are many who are just plain blind and ignorant about what humans are instinctually and naturally. On the grading of humans on conflict and violence say from 1 to 100, I am maybe a .25 (that is a point or period 25) when others sit around 50 or 75 with a few that exceed 100. Go figure. 

Luck [運]

In recent postings it has become known that in relation to the experience threshold, i.e. “According to Ken Murray in 'Training at the Speed of Life', the Air Force set ‘ace’ at five dogfights because there best research showed that no one—no one—remembered their training for their first three to five dogfights.  Personally, I would set the threshold for unarmed encounters closer to twenty. Grasp that.  With the best training in the world, you still got through your first 3-5 on instinct and luck.” - Rory Miller, Teaching, Training, Conditioning and Play. Chiron Blog dtd May 9, 2014

This might be perceived as disheartening to those who practice a MA for SD or those who are taking SD because they feel they need the protection because of the possibility of it taking up to twenty encounters to finally pull up training in lieu of surviving on “luck.” Well, luck maybe what you get when you do all that training and practice. Consider this, would you rather have to deal with violence cold and without any exposure or knowledge, i.e. where you simply roll up into a ball and hope you live, or would you rather have it there where the lizard may or may not extract it for your survival?

For me, after hearing all this in regards to that experience threshold I thought that maybe taking MA or SD for defense is fundamentally not worth the time or effort since, expect for those professionals who deal with conflict and violence on a daily basis, almost all civilians will never encounter violence in their entire life times and even if they do then it sure is not going to reach a level of three to five encounters with the additional seventeen or so for empty hand per the Mr. Miller’s estimate of empty handed experience threshold. 

I also believe that in most cases you make your own luck. I believe that even with the experience threshold that one with that kind of luck is due to all the hard work, hard training, sweat-blood expended that when push comes to shove that luck will be based on the created mind-state of the practitioner. Yes, you may not drop into your kung fu posture and apply those cool combinations necessary to apply SD but what ever you do if you have the history in training and practice and if your experience threshold is currently at zero that luck that leads to your survival will be there. 

Don’t use the perception of the experience threshold, especially for empty hand, as an excuse to stop training and practicing because it will contribute to your “luck.” Remember, “The Mysticism surrounding any good martial art is not so much religion as mindset.” - Unknown Focus in that mind-set or mind-state because that is what will help you make the leap even if that leap is a lot of luck while you build toward that experience threshold. 

Experience Threshold is a phrase used by Rory Miller, and possibly many others including Ken Murray, that is about getting to that point where your training and practice actually reach the point where it pushes luck to second place right behind or inter-connected to your efforts in MA, SD and/or both. 

Note: these are my thoughts and theories and mine alone, I just used others phrases and terms to create a viewpoint that may provide MA/SD practitioners more to think about in their training and practice and most of all, application of MA and SD. 

Addendum:


Luck: where success or failure apparently brought by chance rather than through one’s own actions; chance to find or acquire. One looks at luck as something that comes from nowhere and for no reason when in fact luck is about preparation, knowledge and experiences. Every day of our lives is about accumulating experiences, skills and knowledge that adds to our so called “luck.” Luck is more about pulling the right decisions and actions from deep down in our lizard brains, i.e. the instinctual level of our brains serving mankind since the beginning of man’s time for survival. It is that which rises up from our unconscious that is often perceived as magic or inspiration when in fact it is the human ability to take a bunch of apparent unrelated experiences and knowledge to form theories, ideas, actions and new knowledge to tackle obstacles and find answers to life’s questions in providing growth of humans, both personal and societal. Make your own luck, seek out knowledge; seek out experiences; seek out all those out of the box things that will bring about the type of luck that will mean “survival.” 

Kata - ROTE or NOT ROTE

In a recent roundtable podcast one of the participants said something like, “Techniques learned by ROTE wire the wrong part of the brain.” It was also stated that the focus on making sure a technique “looks right” is not correct. The techniques must be about working right along with a knowledge of its depth and breadth along with its shortcoming. 

Does the instructor focus on such things as:

1. Whether you are doing the technique right? 
2. Do they work on how well a practitioner is doing vs. what they are doing wrong?
3. Does the instructor focus on how well a practitioner moves, how they feel the movement, etc.?
4. Does the instructor focus on how well the technique actually works. 
5. Does the instructor focus on actually practicing sparring, drills, etc. at the proper range or do they tend to test out techniques, etc. at a sport oriented distance for competition?
6. Does the instructor use a form of measure for testing where they correct and quantify toward a curriculum vs. actually how well it works in reality?
7. Does the training and practice have practitioners hitting or being hit, does it induce both fear and anger along with the adrenal stress releases, and does the training result in common injuries to that particular training, practice and applied techniques in paired practice?
8. Does the training actually cover all aspects of violence and force?
9. Does training actually train and practice avoidance such as seeing, detecting and then “turning and leaving” as a viable option in SD? Do they also reward practitioners when they use “walking away” from conflict and violence as an intricate part of training and practice?
10. Do the instructors provide training and practice in coupling judgement with skills?
11. Is the system trained under an “operant conditioning” model/system?
12. Does the training actually cover and train for the “experience threshold,” i.e. that in empty handed systems for SD often it takes up to twenty or so encounters before skill is finally coupled with training, etc.?
13. Does the training cover the “freeze” as to both benefits and obstacles in SD and MA?
14. Does the training and practice work toward utilization of the lizard brain vs. the thinking and monkey brain?
15. Does training and practice cover the disparities between the monkey brain and the lizard brain? 

This brings me to the subject of this post, kata being taught, trained and practiced in a ROTE manner. ROTE is a fixed, habitual, or mechanical process or routine that can describe how kata are taught and trained. This can come from the more sport competition side of martial systems where the look and feel of the kata carry more importance than that kata’s application in conflict/violence. 

Often kata becomes this form of practice that is done mechanically and repetitively so that it becomes habitual, i.e. ROTE performance. ROTE performance is not taking kata and other types of drills and combinations toward the ultimate goal in SD and MA. It is easier and a measurable that can be tested but the true test is when such things actually work in a stress adrenal induced chemical dump scenario/situation where your health and well being are endangered. 

Looking at the fifteen above, by the way an incomplete listing of questions on this subject, you must have this in your training and practice to even have something from that training and practice available to the lizard brain after the three to five and most often the twenty encounters necessary to achieve proficiency in both MA and SD. Does this make sense?

Can you ask and answer these and other questions as a part of an analysis and discovery process to ensure what you are training is what you are training. Luck can only carry you so far and for the professional it is absolutely critical as they are the only ones who will actually encounter three to five to even twenty encounters of violence in the performance of their duties. 

Marc MacYoung, and others, will tell you that it is what you don’t know that can really and truly hurt you. Do you want to be one of those? Then there is the before and after that can take that hurt into other areas other than the direct physical application of violence or SD.

Kata to be useful must address and consider all these things and when practiced must go outside the barriers ROTE places on them if they are to apply toward reality. There is a point where ROTE patterns must be broken, mixed and matched in a fluid way to achieve not only proficiency in application but to encode it so that it becomes a lizard function in the heat of the situation.


It’s Critical

This is the start of what I am going to call, “It’s Critical,” and the goal is to provide some tidbits of information that I personally feel critical to anyone teaching, training or applying self-defense. I will begin by saying, “It’s Critical everyone in the SD world get, study, learn and apply what is being presented in the books by Rory Miller and Marc MacYoung. Start with Mr. MacYoung’s book, “In the Name of Self-Defense.” 

Next, I was listening to a podcast where one of the speakers made a statement that I did not know and did not realize was “critical” to applying SD training and practice. I think he referred to it as something called the “threshold concept.” In a nutshell it is about how many encounters a human would go through before their training would actually become usable. I believe the statement is, “No one remembers their training in their first three to five encounters.” 

Now, to my mind that is a huge “It’s Critical,” thing. I wonder just how many SD graduates and/or Martial Artists get this idea in their minds that because they have practiced it a gazillion times that it will actually work the first time out? I am not saying that it won’t work or that the speaker is saying it won’t work but the averages regarding reality must be close to right since the concept was presented by professionals. 

Now, also consider that the discussion also spoke of how certain professionals would in all likelihood have an experienced professional with them as a guide or mentor to help them get through this three to five threshold then ask yourself how many SD graduates who are not in a professional capacity will have that same guidance or mentor if they run into conflict/violence in an SD scenario in real life? How many actual SD encounters you have with or without that mentor/guide would it take to get your training to actually kick in. (Note: see quote at bottom for a real eye opener) 

Granted, I suspect there is a small percentage through luck might actually have their stuff activate but then I would ask how many of those smaller numbers remained within the SD Square that Mr. MacYoung draws for us in his teachings, i.e. in his INoSD book? 

My sole goal here in this post is to get folks in MA and SD to “THINK” bout stuff like this. Take a moment and listen to the podcast of professionals (especially part 2 where this post was inspired) and see what you get from it. To my way of thinking with all this available there should not be anyone who unknowingly ends up in such situations unaware of what may, might, could and will happen. 

Note: threshold concept is used by the podcast professional to describe this three to five concept and may not connect to the descriptions of that same model as found on sources about “The Threshold Concept.” 

“According to Ken Murray in ‘Training at the Speed of Life’, the Air Force set ‘ace’ at five dogfights because their best research showed that no one—no one—remembered their training for their first three to five dogfights.  Personally, I would set the threshold for unarmed encounters closer to twenty. Grasp that.  With the best training in the world, you still got through your first 3-5 on instinct and luck.” - Rory Miller, “Teaching, Training, Conditioning and Play. Chiron Blog dtd May 9, 2014 http://conflictresearchgroupintl.com/?p=2736

The question I then ask myself is, “Is SD training actually going to keep you safe?” To answer that adequately I would have to see the full curriculum of that SD training. If that full and complete curriculum included “ALL ASPECTS” of SD then maybe it will if for no other reason that those aspects would achieve a level of a type of awareness that would lead to things like avoidance, etc. To be a fully and complete SD system of instruction then those curriculum would encompass all those things taught in the sources listed as bibliography and more.

(Note: It’s Critical also promotes another aspect of criticality, that SD is more than MA, more than technique and more than what almost everyone thinks it is and that seems IMPORTANT! DoubleNote: I have a fledgling understanding and feel that this subject, although complex in its simplicity, is so darn big that it is not even remotely funny how the business of SD is run today - then again, what do I know, talk to the professionals)

Bibliography:
MacYoung, Marc. "In the Name of Self-Defense: What It Costs. When It’s Worth It." Marc MacYoung. 2014.
Goleman, Daniel. "Emotional Intelligence: 10th Anniversary Edition [Kindle Edition]." Bantam. January 11, 2012.
Miller, Rory. "ConCom: Conflict Communications A New Paradigm in Conscious Communication." Amazon Digital Services, Inc. 2014. 
Miller, Rory. "Violence: A Writer's Guide." Pacific Northwest. Wyrd Goat Press. 2012.
Cain, Susan. "Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking." Broadway. New York. 2013. 
Bown, Tim and Miller Rory. "Leading the Way: Maximize Your Potential as a Martial Arts Instructor." Rachelle Bown. Kindle. 2012
Overland, Clint; Anderson, Drew Dr.; Kane, Lawrence; Trahan, Terry; Burrese, Alain; Demeere, Wim; Eisler, Barry; MacYoung, Marc; Miller, Rory; Miller, Kamila. "Campfire Tales from Hell: Musing on Martial Arts, Survival, Bounding, and General Thug Stuff." CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform. 2012.
Miller, Rory and Kane, Lawrence A. "Scaling Force: Dynamic Decision-making under Threat of Violence." YMAA Publisher. New Hampshire. 2012
Miller, Rory. "Force Decisions: A Citizen's Guide." YMAA Publications. NH. 2012.
Bolton, Robert, Ph.D. "People Skills: How to Assert Yourself, Listen to Others, and Resolve Conflicts." Simon & Schuster. New York. 1979, 1986.
Navarro, Joe. "What Every BODY is Saying: An Ex-FBI Agent's Guide to Speed-Reading People." Collins. New York. 2008.
Kane, Lawrence & Wilder, Kris. "How to Win a Fight: A Guide to Avoiding and Surviving Violence." Gotham Books. New York. 2011.
Grossman, Dave LtCol. "On Killing: The Physiological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and Society. Back Bay Books. New York. 2009.
Grossman, Dave Lt.Col. Christensen, Loren. "On Combat: The Physiology and Physiology of Deadly Colnflct in War and Peace." Warrior Science Publications. 2008.
DeMente, Boye LaFayette. "The Origins of Human Violence: Male Dominance, Ignorance, Religions and Willful Stupidity!" Phoenix Books. Kentucky. 2010.
MacYoung, Marc. "A Professional's Guide to Ending Violence Quickly: How Bouncers, Bodyguards, and Other Security Professionals Handle Ugly Situations." Paladin Press. Boulder, Colorado. 1996.
Newberg, Andrew MD and Waldman, Mark Robert. "Why We Believe What We Believe: Uncovering Our Biological Need for Meaning, Spirituality, and Truth." Free Press. New York. 2006
Sutrisno, Tristan, MacYoung, Marc and Gordon, Dianna. "Becoming a Complete Martial Artist: Error Detection in Self Defense and the Martial Arts." Lyons Press. Connecticut. 2005.
Miller, Rory Sgt. "Meditations of Violence: A Comparison of Martial Arts Training & Real World Violence" YMAA Publishing. 2008.
Miller, Rory Sgt. "Facing Violence: Preparing for the Unexpected." YMAA Publishing. 2011.
Pearlman, Steven J. "The Book of Martial Power." Overlook Press. N.Y. 2006.
Elgin, Suzette Haden, Ph.D. "More on the Gentle Art of Verbal Self-Defense." Prentice Hall. New Jersey. 1983.
Elgin, Suzette. "The Gentle Art of Self-Defense at Work." New York. Prentice Hall Press. 2000.
Elgin, Suzette. "The Gentle Art of Verbal Self-Defense" Barnes & Noble. 1993.
Elgin, Suzette. "The Gentle Art of Written Self-Defense" MJF Books. 1997
Elgin, Suzette. "The Last Word on the Gentle Art of Verbal Self-Defense" Barnes & Noble. 1995
Elgin, Suzette. "Staying Well with the Gentle Art of Verbal Self-Defense." MJF Books. 1990.
MacYoung, Marc. "Violence, Blunders, and Fractured Jaws: Advanced Awareness Techniques and Street Etiquette." Paladin Press. Boulder, Colorado. 1992. 
Goleman, Daniel. “Emotional Intelligence: 10th Anniversary Edition [Kindle Edition].” Bantam. January 11, 2012.
MacYoung, Marc (Animal). “Taking It to the Street: Making Your Martial Art Street Effective.” Paladin Press. Boulder, Colorado. 1999.

Morris, Desmond. “Manwatching: A Field Guide to Human Behavior.” Harry N. Abrams. April 1979. 

Don’t Lose the War

Ever hear the quote, “They won the battle but lost the war.” This kind of reminds me of self-defense. I came up with the thought or you could say it kind of jumped out at me after reading the book, “In the Name of Self-Defense by Marc MacYoung.” It kind of reminded me of the mind-set or mind-state of those who teach and take self-defense training. They are often taught that the particular fight, battle or skirmish is to be won at any cost while in truth they are losing the SD war by such narrow and stagnant thinking. 

You really don’t want to lose the war of self-defense because you are so intent on winning the fight at the moment. There are so many skirmishes, firefights and battles that must all be won to achieve a victory in the SD war and to ignore the whole to achieve victory over a single aspect seems, stupid. 

The Urban Dictionary defines, “Won the battle, lost the war,” as when an individual or group are so concentrated, so focused on winning the fight, that they were consumed in that one win they didn’t realize till the end that it was nothing compared to the big picture that the person lost.”

In self-defense you have to face many battles starting with the one within yourself, the restraining and caging of the monkey brain. Then there are many battles to face where any one up to the actual physical can achieve victory for the war but once you enter the fighting fields you truly have to win all the succeeding battles to achieve an overall victory of the SD War. 

Think about this!

Bibliography:

MacYoung, Marc. “In the Name of Self-Defense: What It Costs. When It’s Worth It.” Marc MacYoung. 2014.

In the Name of Self-Defense


I am a martial artist of thirty-seven plus years. I “thought” I taught self-defense but many years ago by reading things from folks like Marc MacYoung I discovered I was “missing a lot” of stuff. I am so happy that those I had taught never had to deal with all of self-defense outside the training hall. 

I can truthfully say that everyone, everyone who teaches, trains, practices and learns a self-defense system can benefit greatly just from reading the introduction alone. It sheds all on its own the complexities and obstacles you will encounter if you have to go physical. It provides solid information, in the introduction mind you, that avoidance is really the greatest thing you can do for yourself regarding self-defense. 


So, with that said, take a moment and go to Amazon and get your copy. Even if you are not in the SD industry as a provider or a customer reading the book or even just the introduction (bet you a buck when you read the intro you will read the remainder of the book :-), you will benefit from it. Go get your copy, well worth the pennies you will pay.

Read also: Our Brains on Self-Defense

dtd, September 15th, 2014 at 10:00am - Reading the second go round of this one. You also get the idea reinforced that it is always a good idea to give things a second, third and even more thought so as to make sure you get the entire and complete picture. On my second go-round many, many things I missed or misunderstood are coming to the top like the cream in a good wholesome full bodied milk.

When you read something as full bodied as this book along with use of tools, i.e. a high liter and pen with ruler, etc. you get a bit more clarity. You really need that clarity for something as important and life changing as Self-defense.

Let me be clear here, this is not a dry book of facts but a real page turner that just happens to be non-fiction but is written with the flare and interest one would get with a good fictional tale. In some studies the second or third time round tends to be harder but to date this one is just plain fun to read and study - that is real important here.

I get the same sense from other books by other professionals with the same type of credentials as this author but for the size and word count in this book, which is awesome in so many ways, are page turners both the first time and second time round. So much so I am looking forward to reading it again - and again - and again. Like I have said, "A Must Read!"

Addendum dtd October 9, 2014: Just read the last page on this bear. Ready for third go-round. When done, I think it is time to take a break, let it settle, do some thought meandering and contemplations, then return once again like an old friend and go another round with this book. Maybe, in support of his efforts, I will purchase another clean copy and start over again. I feel strong that if you want to talk or write about this stuff, if you want to teach SD using this stuff and if you are seriously going to have it available to see the norm vs. the abby-normal of this stuff you really have to spend time on it. Consider it this way, if you want a BS in some discipline you have to spend the time, effort and sweat over time to achieve the required results - that is my goal.

Through out his book he mentions stuff his editor axed from the final copy, I just wonder what that could have been that caused the publishers to "leave it out?"




My copy of the "In the Name of Self-Defense" book written by Marc MacYoung. It is beginning to show a bit of wear and I have not had the print copy more than a month or so. This is what it looks like as I finish it for the "SECOND" go round. Next, on the third go-round, there will be a lot of underlining to go with the high lighting and the yellow post-its marking some interesting parts I have read to date. Now, after the third go-round I figure to read it again and transcribe my self-notes onto a notepad at my computer. Once I do that, then I figure to print that out and while re-reading it again, transcribing my notes with more notes - by hand to paper - I just "MIGHT" start to truly understand it on a very fundamental level. Marc MacYoung and others who have read it are really right on, it does take a bit to really get a sense of all that he has tried to convey. It is a really and truly awesome piece of work. You don't just make this shit up!

Getting Hit

In SD it never occurred to me that getting hit would carry importance and when I first started teaching SD in MA I always preached that one had to “hit something” a third of the overall time spent in training and practice. In other words, about twenty minuted to each hour of training - if you are serious. I guess since sparring, etc., was a given that I didn’t need to address actually getting hit as an intricate part of a persons SD ability along with a lot of other stuff like reality stress adrenal training.

I just assumed that if you are hitting something that in all likelihood you are also getting hit. Now that I think of this it is very likely that many can hit a makiwara or heavy bag or speed bag while never getting hit. Kind of a big “boo-boo” don’t ya thunk?

First, if you have never hit or been hit there is no reference point for the thinking, monkey and very important lizard brain to reference and compare. Think freeze and emotional freaking out time. Then, as Marc MacYoung will convey in his book, “In the Name of Self-Defense,” if you have never experienced being hit you don’t know that those hits you have seen on TV and in the Movies is not a devastating and debilitating as you may think. In other words, “it won’t destroy you.” 

Part of the monkey might want to naturally fall into a state of “trauma-drama-esque and ‘triggered’ over having been hit in your past. Then there is fear, fear of being hit. When you have only a TV/Movie reference to being hit with all the dramatization that tends to go with that you really will fear being hit. When you are hit and find that although it hurts, you find that you are not completely and utterly devastated into submission and frozen, you can still act - ain’t that cool. 

Marc MacYoung states, “Your ability to handle being punched is a stable dat point on the spectrum of how bad things are - or are going to get.” You get hit, you learn that, “Hey, no big deal.” Then you learn that you can get hit and keep right on going. It is a bit like Marc MacYoung’s mini-book on getting shot that in reality you don’t just drop when shot and that in a lot of cases you can keep right on keeping on after. Taking the pain of a punch, hit or strike while continuing to act is really a huge thing in SD. 

Marc MacYoung goes on to say, “Our fear of getting hit is more debilitating than getting hit.” You don’t really want to freeze, drop and curl up in a ball or just stand there as a stationary target for an adversaries continued onslaught of punches, slaps and head-butts - do you?

If you can control your monkey brain and know in your minds deepest recesses that you can be hit and still function, to think and process with the thinking mind and lizard, then you are better able to apply SD and stay in Marc MacYoung’s square, the SD Square, where you really, really want to be in such situations. 

Marc MacYoung has more to say about being hit, the type of hits that tell you things of importance to SD and even mentions the female perspectives. Like:

1. Ability to assess people’s ability to punch.
2. Your assessment of being hit that allows you to walk away.
3. An ability to assess an adversaries abilities while knowing your limitations. 
4. Your ability to take a hit as it would apply to your ability to de-escalate the situation.

and a whole lot more. He provides us with a different perspective toward SD that, for me, has not been adequately addressed until INoSD. 

Oh yea, pain is a factor and now you know about it especially as it relates to being hit. So hitting something is important and the flip side of that is being hit. I am understanding it a bit more that in my first years my Sensei insisted we hit, hit hard and that we use a minimum of padding on the hands with none on the feet (except maybe shin guards). 

Note: remember, hitting and getting hit, using gloves, light padded protection or other type of hand and head protection is great but when being hit, it is different from being hit with bare hands, fists, feet, etc. Safety has to be paramount but be creative in the ways you “get hit and hit” so as to really know about “getting hit and hitting.” 

Bibliography:

MacYoung, Marc. "In the Name of Self-Defense: What It Costs. When It’s Worth It." Marc MacYoung. 2014.

Three levels: Escape, Control, Survival ~ Rory Miller Chiron Blog

Escape: Literally means, “Break free from confinement or control. an act of breaking free from confinement or control. getaway, breakout, jailbreak, bolt, flight, disappearance, vanishing act.”

Control: Literally means, “The power to influence or direct people's behavior or the course of events. Jurisdiction, sway, power, authority, command, dominance, government, mastery, leadership, rule, sovereignty, supremacy, ascendancy; charge, management, direction, supervision, superintendence.

Survival: Literally means, “The state or fact of continuing to live or exist, typically in spite of an accident, ordeal, or difficult circumstances. an object or practice that has continued to exist from an earlier time.”

A quote from a post at the Chiron blog by Rory Miller. I had asked if he could expand on that concept regarding basic self-defense as a model to teach along with things like avoidance, etc. I have a concept that I believe is relevant but would not assume that this perception or perspective was what Mr. Miller meant when he made that statement containing the three levels.

In my perspective escape is a model that comes into play at a variety of levels. I would assume that to avoid circumstances that might escalate to violence is a form of escape. Any action taken in a SD model means to me any action that results in a person escaping a situation and/or circumstances that would result in physical violence and so on. For example, when in a social situation that seems to be escalating into conflict any method of deescalation such as how you control your own monkey brain, how you respond verbally toward an antagonist, and the body language you present could result in deescalation meaning you just escaped violence or at least opened a path to leave - escape or as I used in the Marines, my ability to advance to the rear. 

Then to me escape also means a model of actions that allow you to escape the physical actions currently being used against you in a physical encounter, i.e. someone grabs you or throws a haymaker at you or is posturing and yelling and building up toward taking some physical action toward you to break free, etc. An example is someone attacks you so you use such techniques that release the hold on you allowing you to move in a manner that provides you a means to escape. Another is when you find yourself with not escape route so you move and take actions that will open a path or take you right over the top of an adversary as a means to create your own escape route. Finally, if in the fight trying to escape as part of your defense, assuming you could not avoid, evade or escape beforehand, is to use leverage through joint manipulations to provide a means to place an adversary in a position that would allow you to escape. 

Finally, as a means of survival all the above are a part of that model. After all, survival of not only an attack but as a part of your SD defense by remaining, as Marc MacYoung states as staying within the SD Square, within those confines that allow you to survive things that happen while in the fight then all those legal, medical and psychological aspects after all is done. Surviving just the fight is of course critical but survival is a lot more because of so many different obstacles and hurdles a fight in SD presents if you are unable to escape and avoid the entire situation. 

Now, I am not sure that this would fit with Mr. Miller’s intent but it seems relevant if someone is trying to learn and apply SD to any given situation. I can take this thought a bit further that these three can also be applied to any given conflict at any given level of conflict be it a personal argument between spouses to the argument or discussion with bosses or fellow staff members all the way up to that encounter with either a social monkey or an asocial adversary. 

Like most things I am slowly learning that the narrow model of SD often taught within MA tends to focus on the cool stuff and the rest seems to be ignored, discarded or simply missed by those who teach it, learn it and then try to apply it. 

What are your thoughts about a model of SD that also focuses on the three levels of escape, control, and survival? Granted, my examples above may not be comprehensive but at least they are idea’s that will benefit in SD. Go along with all the materials that, at a minimum, both Rory Miller and Marc MacYoung have worked so hard to create and provide such as their books (see below bibliography for some recommendations, that there is really no excuse for any SD model to not include the entire spectrum including such atomistic topics as, “Three Levels: Escape, Control, Survival.


Thanks Rory Miller, for todays Chiron blog post:  Organization

Bibliography:
MacYoung, Marc. "In the Name of Self-Defense: What It Costs. When It’s Worth It." Marc MacYoung. 2014.
Goleman, Daniel. "Emotional Intelligence: 10th Anniversary Edition [Kindle Edition]." Bantam. January 11, 2012.
Miller, Rory. "ConCom: Conflict Communications A New Paradigm in Conscious Communication." Amazon Digital Services, Inc. 2014. 
Miller, Rory. "Violence: A Writer's Guide." Pacific Northwest. Wyrd Goat Press. 2012.
Cain, Susan. "Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking." Broadway. New York. 2013. 
Bown, Tim and Miller Rory. "Leading the Way: Maximize Your Potential as a Martial Arts Instructor." Rachelle Bown. Kindle. 2012
Overland, Clint; Anderson, Drew Dr.; Kane, Lawrence; Trahan, Terry; Burrese, Alain; Demeere, Wim; Eisler, Barry; MacYoung, Marc; Miller, Rory; Miller, Kamila. "Campfire Tales from Hell: Musing on Martial Arts, Survival, Bounding, and General Thug Stuff." CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform. 2012.
Miller, Rory and Kane, Lawrence A. "Scaling Force: Dynamic Decision-making under Threat of Violence." YMAA Publisher. New Hampshire. 2012
Miller, Rory. "Force Decisions: A Citizen's Guide." YMAA Publications. NH. 2012.
Bolton, Robert, Ph.D. "People Skills: How to Assert Yourself, Listen to Others, and Resolve Conflicts." Simon & Schuster. New York. 1979, 1986.
Navarro, Joe. "What Every BODY is Saying: An Ex-FBI Agent's Guide to Speed-Reading People." Collins. New York. 2008.
Kane, Lawrence & Wilder, Kris. "How to Win a Fight: A Guide to Avoiding and Surviving Violence." Gotham Books. New York. 2011.
Grossman, Dave LtCol. "On Killing: The Physiological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and Society. Back Bay Books. New York. 2009.
Grossman, Dave Lt.Col. Christensen, Loren. "On Combat: The Physiology and Physiology of Deadly Colnflct in War and Peace." Warrior Science Publications. 2008.
DeMente, Boye LaFayette. "The Origins of Human Violence: Male Dominance, Ignorance, Religions and Willful Stupidity!" Phoenix Books. Kentucky. 2010.
MacYoung, Marc. "A Professional's Guide to Ending Violence Quickly: How Bouncers, Bodyguards, and Other Security Professionals Handle Ugly Situations." Paladin Press. Boulder, Colorado. 1996.
Newberg, Andrew MD and Waldman, Mark Robert. "Why We Believe What We Believe: Uncovering Our Biological Need for Meaning, Spirituality, and Truth." Free Press. New York. 2006
Sutrisno, Tristan, MacYoung, Marc and Gordon, Dianna. "Becoming a Complete Martial Artist: Error Detection in Self Defense and the Martial Arts." Lyons Press. Connecticut. 2005.
Miller, Rory Sgt. "Meditations of Violence: A Comparison of Martial Arts Training & Real World Violence" YMAA Publishing. 2008.
Miller, Rory Sgt. "Facing Violence: Preparing for the Unexpected." YMAA Publishing. 2011.
Pearlman, Steven J. "The Book of Martial Power." Overlook Press. N.Y. 2006.
Elgin, Suzette Haden, Ph.D. "More on the Gentle Art of Verbal Self-Defense." Prentice Hall. New Jersey. 1983.
Elgin, Suzette. "The Gentle Art of Self-Defense at Work." New York. Prentice Hall Press. 2000.
Elgin, Suzette. "The Gentle Art of Verbal Self-Defense" Barnes & Noble. 1993.
Elgin, Suzette. "The Gentle Art of Written Self-Defense" MJF Books. 1997
Elgin, Suzette. "The Last Word on the Gentle Art of Verbal Self-Defense" Barnes & Noble. 1995
Elgin, Suzette. "Staying Well with the Gentle Art of Verbal Self-Defense." MJF Books. 1990.
MacYoung, Marc. "Violence, Blunders, and Fractured Jaws: Advanced Awareness Techniques and Street Etiquette." Paladin Press. Boulder, Colorado. 1992. 
Goleman, Daniel. “Emotional Intelligence: 10th Anniversary Edition [Kindle Edition].” Bantam. January 11, 2012.
MacYoung, Marc (Animal). “Taking It to the Street: Making Your Martial Art Street Effective.” Paladin Press. Boulder, Colorado. 1999.
Morris, Desmond. “Manwatching: A Field Guide to Human Behavior.” Harry N. Abrams. April 1979. 

Asian Sources

In martial arts the Western mind gives a good deal of credence toward sources that come from Asian sources. Because martial arts come from and have in-depth historical history the westerner has come to rely on the “Asian experts.” In a nutshell they give Asian sources a level of acceptance and validation without truly making sure that the sources are being factual, straightforward and truthful. 

It is a bit like giving a lot of credence to history as it is written in any culture or society. When you are given the quote that history is always written by the victors then you have to wonder, is that history true and accurate or simply the viewpoint, perception and beliefs of those who conquered that society and so on. Makes me wonder. 

In my past posts I have addressed a perception that a lot of what westerners have gathered regarding martial arts may be flawed by the actual cultural system that the source lives under. As I pointed out by my studies often Asians when asked and don’t answer are faced with the western minds need for answer by a consistent push results in the Asian saying and doing what ever is necessary to keep harmony. It is also, from my studies, often a way that even within their own society results in half-truths and sometimes out right lies in the need to keep harmony among one another. Often times even within their own groups they must enter into a specific atmosphere and take certain steps so they can actually feel comfortable enough to express truth that may disrupt a harmonious setting. That atmosphere is a night club and that step is the consumption of copious amounts of alcohol. 

While studying Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Golemen it was “kind of” confirmed that maybe my theory is correct and that a result is that some or most of our information and concepts of Asian Martial Arts is flawed at best and an out right fabrication at its worst. 

“A third (the discussion has two other thoughts on this subject with this one being the last, i.e. the rules of emotional display) is substituting one feeling for another; this comes into play in some Asian cultures where it is impolite to say no, and positive (but false) assurances are given instead.” - Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman

In the realm of karate from Okinawa it may be that many of those early pioneers who studied in the fifties and sixties in their fervent pursuit of knowledge about the system and the systems creator may be flawed. It does not mean that some are not actually telling the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth but if a westerner asks for information and either receives a no or no answer at all they tend to persist - after all, it is very important to the westerner. When push comes to shove, for the sake of harmony, the Asian then may defer to some positive (but false) assurances that could be true, part true or not true at all - whatever the questioned perceives as keeping harmony among the group. 

It has only been in recent times, mostly due to the plethora of information on the world wide web, that more truth is coming. Even those Asian sources, the upcoming younger generations, may be doing the research and putting forth more accurate data but that is also flawed because except in rare circumstances and a lot of analysis and hypothesis are certain types of information are created and assumed. The why is that as to facts and history in these smaller and somewhat perceived lessor historical stuff were not documented or documentation is small, sporadic and creative. Then again, it may be written by the hands that conquered. 

It may be that what we have is all we have and unless someone creates a time machine that can take us back to witness reality we will never truly know the history. So, we have to accept what we have and hope that it is accurate. In the end, and only to those interested in the past and the connection to the present and future, it is a moot point. 

Face it, every single human being on this planet is going to say and do what they deem necessary to support their belief systems and that includes martial arts. If they cannot find truth supported by facts, details, factors, influences and other complicated stuff (courtesy Marc MacYoung on beliefs, etc.) then they will do what ever they can to find something then make it appear as factual without proper assessment in support of the problem creates an acceptable solution even in the face of refuting information, questions, facts, details and perceptions from any other valid, as valid as valid is acceptable to the whole, sources. 

As also stated by Marc MacYoung and I accept, “Beliefs are not facts, much less truths.” Adding in unsubstantiated sources that cannot be validated or refuted along with the cultural system as posted in my above comments means it is questionable at the very least and just plain bullshit at the very worst. 


I quote, “This becomes important when someone insists on a solution to a problem based, not on facts and the actual dynamics of a problem, but on belief.” - Marc MacYoung

The Lesson

I learned a lesson the other night. I first learned of this lesson reading the book by Marc MacYoung, In the Name of Self-defense. It comes with the understanding you get from his stuff. You learn about violence and self-defense and you also learn that when your become involved in violence and self-defense others will take a different view of you even if you are immediate family or close friend. 

As an offshoot you will find that your new found knowledge will garner more aggressive responses from those caught up in the ill informed scripts folks take on violence. Mr. MacYoung explains his perspective on this issue as well and I believe his explanation trumps anything I can add here.

Here is the rub, a discussion came about due to some article read in a news source. In a nutshell it prompted a comment from a close friend, “If an intruder enters my house I am going to shoot him dead.” You can probably imagine that since I read the book that a lot of thoughts jumped into my head of which the “level of force” used in his example, without other qualifications, might be perceived as not self-defense and possibly murder. 

I mentioned that I believe that his use of force might not be acceptable in this instance without those additional qualifications he immediately and vehemently countered that the law gave him the right to shoot an intruder into his home. Considering his quick and emotional retort I once again ran through some thoughts that came from reading the book and I quickly shut my mouth, nodded knowingly and changed the subject. I would guess that his Monkey jumped the driver and took over the emotional train ride toward that belief. 

I then realized that unless a person is predisposed to such topics that regardless of whether or not I have it right or factual their beliefs will override their common sense and the monkey will assume the control taking them on a wild ride confirming their belief regardless. It drives home the fact that no matter how informed and knowledgeable and especially if there is any real experience involved that most people do not want to hear about it - ever.

Now, as an exercise, lets take that a bit further, “What if later this week some young intruder breaks in late at night thinking no one is home and my friend pulls out his pistol and as the intruder starts up the stairs he shots him dead.” Say, that this is perceived by police as out of the self-defense box and starts to process him for the prosecutor. Would my friend then be open to suggestions as to finding a good attorney, one who has experience or at least will listen to what Mr. MacYoung presents in his book to build a good defense? Not sure, to many factors but I suspect that he would not want that advice and would simply seek out an attorney and jump on the band wagon that he had the right to protect himself, his wife and his property. Would this be true and would it pan out as the process of the legal system went forward? Again, don’t know, not sure but for me it is about “taking those chances.”

Here is the lucky part for him and most people like him. The probability of being in that situation are remote at best and very unlikely at least. I believe this is how me and people like him go so many decades without incident and even now, as more knowledgable as I am now from reading and studying the book, etc., I would not encounter a situation like this and am confident that if I did I would be able to act accordingly, i.e. intruder entering house at one end, me and wife exiting house at other while dialing 911 on our cells that sit by our bed. I hope so anyway. 

So, lesson leaned, keep your mouth shut and test the waters before providing such information in such a discussion. Another reason is twice now my wife has asked me, “How do you know this stuff? and Why do you know this stuff?” Lucky me, my answer so far has worked, I am in martial arts and these things come up for self-defense training. She nods and says, Oh, ok. I think maybe keeping my mouth shut more often is more conducive to a peaceful and pleasant relationship with wife and friends, you think?

Bibliography:

MacYoung, Marc. “In the Name of Self-Defense: What It Costs. When It’s Worth It.” Marc MacYoung. 2014.

Flow: The Zone

Nagare [流れ] The characters/ideograms mean, “Flow; current; stream.” The firs character means, “Flow; forfeit; current; a sink.” 

Flow, what is it and how does it help us achieve mastery in our discipline(s)?

Flow, as some call, “The zone,” is a state of present moment mindfulness that fosters an effortless mind of no mind state of immersion that is flow. “Flow is EI at its very best; it represent the ultimate in harnessing the emotions in the service of performance and learning. Flow is EI is positive, energized, and aligned with the task at hand.”

It is that something where the mind is in the present moment without distractions or disturbances of the mind that flow out into the body as it performs along an inter-connectedness of mind and body with strong spirit. It becomes the reward for the effort and dedication one takes in any discipline. 

Flow is focus, a focus that is immutable and results in a focused awareness of a narrow range of perception related to the immediate task, the practitioner loses all perceptions of both time and space. It is not a result of adrenal stress flooding. 

Flow as in present moment awareness removes all worry and rumination. It is being absorbed by the discipline where encoded actions, etc. take control leaving the mind to simply be in that moment. It is that state that allows one to lose all distractions of the mind, and thus the body, removing obstacles such as being self-conscious or being pre-occupied. It is about achieving a state of egoless ego. 

True masters of any discipline achieve this flow, or the zone, allowing control to be a mastered control of what they are doing at any one moment, moment-to-moment. Once a master locks in to the effort of the discipline, it takes on a life of its own removing or providing relief from emotional disturbances thus making the actions effortless. 

It is a balance of the mind, both emotional and physical, where one is neither bored or suffering anxieties that tend to come with a lack of mindfulness. Once you achieve flow you enter into a state of pleasure, grace, rhythm, and effectiveness that are the direct opposite of things like mind chatter that results in “emotional hijacking,” i.e. the limbic surges that usually take control of your mind when you need mindfulness the most, the flow. 

To achieve flow you also have to have a mind or mindfulness that is highly focused while being positively relaxed. It is such flow that makes a master, a master, who is often perceived as performing at levels that seem “Easy, natural and ordinary while making the mind-state appear cool, calm and in the moment. It results in a quiet mind and a quiet mind is easily held in the moment. 

Flow, mastery, is achieving a state of action that is efficient, proficient, requires a minimal of mental energy while displaying well-practiced moves. 

Flow is about challenging oneself to develop, train and use their capacities to the fullest so that skills that increase tend to take on a higher challenge to get into the flow. A means to develop flow while developing the mind, body and spirit both inter-connected and building on one another to reach higher levels of expertise and mastery. It is a master of a discipline that is supported and development as created by the experience of the flow. It is a tool of motivation, a motivation to reach higher and higher. It is reaching beyond the moon and out into the stars themselves. 

The flow is about the creative of the discipline through a single-minded immersion in the discipline, it is that some call, “The Way.” Look at flow as a prerequisite for mastery of the discipline, such as karate - martial arts. Flow is a keystone of traditional mastery of the “Do (doah) or Way” that is martial arts. 

The flow results in those who train, practice and apply a discipline tend to study their art to do better. It is the unspoken principle underlying the Way of the Empty Hand. 

Bibliography:
Goleman, Daniel. “Emotional Intelligence: 10th Anniversary Edition [Kindle Edition].” Bantam. January 11, 2012.

Jeremiah Johnson (1972)

What does this have to do with anything other than entertainment? Well, it has to do with awareness. It has to do with self-awareness and environmental awareness. Oh, do tell me how? Well, first, as our protagonist he ventured into territory that was hostile and unknown to him regarding rules and scripts that govern tribes, animals and the actual environment of the wild country he moved into.

It is about how a novice who ventured out of his comfort zone assuming many things due to his history and beliefs had to make changes in order to survive. When you leave your home and neighborhood along with work environment where you know all the rules and scripts you cannot take those with you to different environments and expect them to work because …. it’s different. 

Then take into consideration the hostility of the new environment he had to learn. That is a valuable lesson in and of itself, you have to be open to understand that what you came from may not apply to where you are going - a type of self-awareness. If you blindly go and assume your rules and scripts and beliefs are apropos to the new place you could end up hurt or killed. Jeremiah had to learn this about the wildlife in the wild country and along the way the various rules, beliefs and cultural requirements, rules and scripts of various tribes, tribes as in Indians.  

Add in all the trials and tribulations of all these variances that would result in conflict, violence and even death you have to admit that his knowledge, mind-set and awareness (Self and Environmental) were survival skills and through luck and good fortune he learned from others and by his own efforts. 

This is similar in self-defense. When we venture out into spaces and places that are different we have to either know or we have to learn about those areas and leave our personal culture, beliefs and scripts at home. I believe, although a movie and drama, that this brings about a symbolic representation of what is meant by awareness and most of all environmental awareness. 

You also will notice that when the opportunity presented itself Jeremiah remained calm and polite. He watched and listened to perceive, register and retain the knowledge that at the end favored him with survival and deep respect of the Indian tribe who sent warrior by warrior after him to take revenge. This also brings up those awarenesses necessary to know and understand who, what, when, where and HOW they would hunt him down and try to get revenge for is discretions against their beliefs and cultural especially when it occurred against their dead. 

So, when you are asked how to be aware you can at least provide some symbolic connectedness with this example to help students and fellow practitioners what it means to have environmental awareness. It is more than simply knowing the locale where you are but all those various seen and unseen, heard and unheard, recognized and not recognized issues, beliefs and scripts that will be encountered. 


Actually, I feel that one or two of the characters that befriended Jeremiah Johnson in the movie kind of remind me of an author and professional I am aware of …. kind of. 


Timing

This is not the timing used on competitions, etc. but the time as it applies toward the time of the day, the day of the week, the week of the year and the month as well then add in the timing of the seasons, etc. So you might ask, “What has this to do with karate, training and self-defense?”

Well, it has to do with your mind, body and spirit as to its optimal time to train and practice. You already are aware that some folks seem to do better in the mornings and tend to decline as the afternoon wears on while other will do better after the morning has passed and the afternoon and evening arrive. It can be even more intricate than that, it can actually involve one to three hour segments throughout the day and night as well. 

Even the I Ching gets involved as to the timing of events and actions to take, etc. So, it might be that practitioners need to find those optimal times and those very low times to do training and practice. It also means they might want to deliberately schedule times when they are at there lowest energy points for training and practice. Consider that when you are under attack often it is to the timing of the adversary and your energy levels could be high, medium or even very low when that occurs and if you have not trained for it …..

Some believe those time segments are or similar to:

Noon: 12 to 3pm
Afternoon: 3 -6pm
Late Afternoon Sunset” 6 - 9pm
Evening: 9 - 12pm
Midnight: 12am - 3am
Early Morning Sunrise: 3 - 6am
Morning: 6 - 9am
Mid-Morning: 9 - 12pm

You can see these times in the I Ching, also through the system of Chi Gong as well as Tai Chi Chuan. I believe, have to check, that the Bubishi also discusses energy levels and timing through out the day and so on. 

I believe systems also discuss targets on the body as to timing, time of day, energy levels, etc. Similar to the discusson of the types of impact within the striking arts this also discusses timing toward those and factors such as these. 

Worth the effort to research, discuss and apply in training and practice, yes? Personally, I do my best early mornings. I tend to go to work around 7am, get up at 5am and do my best from 7am to around 1:30 or 2:00pm so I work straight through. I also get in practice before 7am, then again at break at 9:30am and again at lunch around 11:30am.

As the sun sets and goes dark my eyelids tend to lower and close but that is just me. I can often tell throughout the day when my energy level is high and when it is waning or low. 

Hard-to-Soft/Soft-to-Hard Maxim - Amended

In my postings I have made reference to the “soft-to-hard:hard-to-soft” maxim. Simply quoted, “Lastly, I also feel it signifies the maxim of soft-to-hard:hard-to-soft applications. I believe this is symbolized because it provides a maxim that applies to all technique applications depending on the targeting. A punch involves the closed fist and punching with the fore-knuckles, i.e. karate punch, and a strike involves the open hand such as a slap to the head, an open handed back hand to the face, or the use of the open hand, the elbow, the forearm or both elbow and forearm. The soft-to-hard:hard-to-soft maxim means use a hard, fist, against soft targets; a soft, strike/slap, against hard targets.”

Thanks to the article/post by Wim Demeere at his blog by the same title/name clears the air of any inferences that this maxim is all encompassing as it sounds. (http://www.wimsblog.com/2014/09/open-hand-closed-fist-striking-best/#comment-33245) It is kind of inferred in its presentation that this is the end all of striking with the hands against human targets, i.e. head vs. stomach, etc. It is not, there are many more aspects to this maxim that are not really apparent when reading such short/terse explanations of such things.

First, nothing in print is ever complete and comprehensive, there is always “more to the story.” What most postings are about is information you may not have that “requires” additional explanation. Postings do a good job but often for the sake of brevity and ease of reading (actually, to get most humans to read at all they need to perceive that it will be short and sweet and interesting before they will attempt to read it) tend to be short, terse and incomplete. 

Anyway, when I talk, speak or write about this maxim it must be understood, similar to the principles of martial systems, that there are more factors to this maxim than simply hit to hard with soft and hit to soft with hard. Like Yin-Yang, that concept and symbol are far more complex then simply stating they are opposites such as Hard is the opposite to Soft, it ain’t all that simple and neither is the hard-to-soft/soft-to-hard maxim.

Other factors are:

Your own body, i.e. your mass, your bone structure, the bone density, your ability to align and attain correct structure, the strength of the muscles-bones-tendons-cartilage, etc. along with body conditioning. 

Your mind, as in the extent and detail of your instruction, practice, and ability to apply said training into applications under the roof of things like level of force, violence and the conflict along with all the physical and chemical effects triggered by fear, anger and the level of danger, etc.  

There there are more minute details such as the bone structure of the tool that will apply the technique. Take the hand, since most will directly assume that this model applies to the hands for striking, etc., for instance. The hand bone structure and ability to make a fist, etc. also have an impact on whether you strike with the fist or open hand. As in boxing, the hands ability to clench and make a fist (there are several forms of the fists in martial arts alluded to in regards to how it is applied and to what target, etc.) determines whether it will either resist breaking or break when applied to targets that are hard such as the head or say the shin with a double fist block used as bunkai in karate (oh, by the way, my interpretation of that block is not to stop a kick and that bunkai changes the dynamics of this example). 

Then we can discuss those details that are explained in Wim Demeere’s article on this subject, i.e. “the types of impact; the target of the strike, punch, etc.; the angle of that attack along with the applied strike, etc.; the person or adversaries body type; and finally the type of martial art or self-defense system.

In addition I also attribute this maxim to the completeness and proper application of the fundamental principles of the martial arts, i.e., those major principles of “Theory, Physiokinetics, Technique and Philosophy.” Also as example, sub-principles of say physiokinetics such as “breathing, posture, centerline, alignment, structure, body-mind, centripetal/centrifugal forces, sequential locking/unlocking, etc.”


Martial Arts/Karate are not simple and easy disciplines to teach, learn or explain - especially in written forms. They are simply complex systems that take time, energy and dedication to learn, train and apply. Any maxim explained should be assumed to be simplistic for the nature of postings and articles so that the reader can explore, experiment and get further guidance from more experienced sources to “get the rest of the story.” 


Fostering Mood in Training and Practice

You know, once a person stated that to learn you really had to have “fun.” When I questioned that lack of seriousness toward training and practice as it applied to a very serious subject, self-defense, I still thought that having fun would cause that person to lose or freeze when serious violence was encountered. 

Today, I realize I was talking about apples and oranges. To have fun is about creating a mood or mildly elated state called “bypomania” creates an optimal state for creativity and promote fluidity and imaginative diversity of thought. When you learn that agitation undermines our ability to think cohesively you start to understand just how important mood is to learning. 

When you learn that, “Laughing, like elation, seems to help people think for broadly and associate more freely,” you begin to see the benefit of having “fun” regardless of the seriousness of the discipline and/or topic. When you learn that the effects of the mood you are in effect how you think, you get the picture “having fun with it” becomes important. 

If you promote an atmosphere that results in higher states of anxiety you are fostering an environment and mood that will eventually cause that person to fail in training and in that discipline when applied in real life. 

EI states, “Being in a foul mood biases memory in a negative direction, making us more likely to contract into a fearful, overly cautions decision. Emotions out of control impede the intellect.” It says to me that to allow the monkey emotional train to run the tracks puts us into bad situations when we encounter cross traffic along the way. 

To foster a mood in people that best suits learning and to foster out of the box thinking should strive to put students into a mood-state that has balance. In other words taking the training seriously but with humor to achieve “bypomania.” :-)

In other words, “have fun, train hard and have fun.” There are times to take things serious but in learning and fostering the best learning environment possible make sure you and your students “have fun.”

Note: the flood training (stress and adrenal dumps, etc.) is another topic on training and practice but I suspect in between those sessions that trigger you monkey and adrenal stuff there is a healthy amount of “fun.” 


Hey, I finally get it!

SD and Impulse Control

Now, granted not many will actually connect impulse control with SD but just think about it a moment. I quote, “There is perhaps no psychological skill more fundamental than resisting impulse.” - Emotional Intelligence, “The Master Aptitude” chapter 6

Think about how most of us end up in violent situations? When it comes down to it often it is the inability to resist impulse, especially when it is driven by out monkey brains on drugs, i.e. the physical chemical flooding often called the adrenal stress dump. How we handle impulse in our lives does effect how we react to situations at all levels.

Think of it as “emotional self-control,” i.e. “all emotions, by their very nature, lead to one or another impulse to act.” - EI, “The Master Aptitude section of chapter 6.” 

What I propose is that SD training must also include how one practices to control those types of impulse where one might say or do something that will cause an escalation of conflict toward violence. It is said in the EI book, ‘The capacity to resist impulse to act, to squelch the incipient movement, most likely translates at the level of brain function into inhibition of limbic signals to the motor cortex, though such ain interpretation must remain speculative for now.” It is that ability developed or enhanced that fundamentally is “the ability to restrain the emotions and so delay impulse.” 

Lets see about how one who is more adept at controlling impulses can be “less apt to go to pieces, freeze, or regress under stress, or become rattled and disorganized when pressured.” Those folks tend to be more “self-reliant and confident, trustworthy, and dependable; they take initiative and plunge into projects; they are able to delay gratification in pursuit of their goals.” Lets see where this leads.

Controlling impulse in a conflict can be achieved not only through training and practice but also by developing those traits found to be that which controls or assists controlling impulses. When we succumb to self-gratifying impulses to feel good about what we are doing, most especially when the monkey is running the show where that monkeys gratification is often counter intuitive to safety, security and good health, let alone the best resolutions in any conflict, tend to hinder our ability to control our impulse to simply, “kick that assholes ass.” 

If your goal happens to be avoidance of conflict and especially violence then these traits trained and practiced under the appropriate environment, i.e. both the physical and emotional, etc. then we can achieve better impulse control. If we are able to control how we act and react to conflict, danger and violence along with the emotions triggered in such circumstances such as anger and fear then we can come closer to achieving more acceptable goals, tactics and strategies. 

Controlling impulses are synonymous with controlling the monkey. The monkey is driven by emotions and flooding when it comes to conflict and violence so it may be that focusing on the many factors driving our monkeys including a healthy look at our self-control or impulse control may assist in our SD goals and training/teaching strategies and so on. 

Think of it this way, delinquency is connected to emotional intelligence, i.e. “impulse to control in childhood is a powerful predictor of later delinquency.” EI also means a greater ability to accurately read social situations, that can still be learned. Isn’t one of the many abilities in SD geared on how one would actually read social situations, i.e. social violence usually comes from social situations gone astray, etc.?

Impulse control, that ability either innate or developed through training, practice and application in ever day life can be connected to learning how to apply such impulse control under the effects of flooding in a conflict with potential to escalate toward physical/psychological violence. Is this something to pursue in SD training and practice?

Questions, questions and more questions. Is “impulse control” just another way to look at the “monkey brain?” How does one train and practice an impulse control response, well the book suggests a possibility, i.e. “goal-directed (I assume setting certain goals to train your impulse to act) self-imposed delay of gratification is the essence of emotional self-regulation: the ability to deny impulse in the service of that goal, whether it be solving a mathematical problem or pursuing a self-defense ability. This is often referred to as an “emotional intelligence meta-ability.” 

In social situations where things can get out of hand it might be practicing recognition of when your actions or your mouth are about to spit out something cute or irritatingly offensive so you can soothe your monkey mind you simply tell your monkey to shut the f*(& up then restrain yourself from saying your mind. Whenever you get the urge to spit something out you count to ten or when you decide that you want that latest and greatest electronic device you hesitate, think then take time to reconsider whether you actually need it now or whether it can wait - then wait. 

I have a feeling we all can relate to impulses to do things quickly and for instant gratifications but how about every other time you resist that temptation as a means of building that impulse resistance muscle up. 


In the MA/Karate world, you might get the impulse to skip over some boring and tedious requirement thinking it is not worth the effort - stop, think and then resist that impulse. This could be a novice training and practice goal.  In other words, hit that impulse control red button to put a hold on your monkey when it wants to slap some silly asshole  up side their head.