Wednesday, May 16, 2012

More Boyd

John Boyd's papers written in his own words are sometimes rather dry, and certainly very dense, reading. However, he has many commentators, and they tend to be more concise and easier to digest.
Here is a passage from one such commentator that certainly resonates with me.
Apologies for completely misplacing where I got it from.

"Boyd postulated that all engagements of opposing forces can be divided into four essential elements: (1) observe and interpret the situation, (2) become oriented to the condition and intensity of the situation, (3) make a decision as to what response to make, and (4) put that response into action. The key is to obscure your intentions and make them unpredictable to your opponent while you simultaneously clarify his intentions. That is, operate at a faster tempo to generate rapidly changing conditions that inhibit your opponent from adapting or reacting to those changes and that suppress or destroy his awareness. Thus, a "hodge-podge" of confusion and disorder occur to cause him to over- or under-react to conditions or activities that appear to be uncertain, ambiguous, or incomprehensible.
"Put more succinctly, deny your opponent the use of his maneuvering advantages against you while you convert your strengths into an advantage over him and cause him to make a wrong move, one that can be easily defeated. Time is the dominant parameter: the pilot who goes through the OODA cycle in the shortest time prevails because his opponent responds to actions that have already changed. In very simple terms, be unpredictable; operate at a pace and pattern that allows you to get him before he gets you."

"This approach favors a fighter that is superior in its ability to gain or lose energy while out-turning an opponent; a fighter that can initiate and control any engagement opportunity; and a fighter that has a fast transient capability to stay inside a hard-turning opponent when you're on the offensive (you are attacking him) or to force an overshoot of an opponent when you're on the defensive (he is attacking you). The F-16 Fighting Falcon has just that kind of agility, plus the situation awareness to capitalize on that agility.
John Boyd photoBoyd's theories didn't make him too popular within the Air Force. Many couldn't accept his premise that speed was not as important as agility.."


Mac said...

Speed is not as important as agility; agility not as important as timing. Timing is a matter of time, time of perception, perception of awareness. One who has mastery over awareness, controls the tools of perception, the flow of time, better timing. Mental agility beats physical agility. Awareness IS speed.

Maija said...

Thanks to Wes for this:
The quote about Boyd was by Harry Hillaker in his "Tribute to John Boyd" which is quoted in the more available book "The Jazz Process" by Adrian Cho.

Mac - Had lunch yesterday with Scott, and we were talking about mental agility. Wondering whether it comes from a 'state' akin to the meditative state. How that state effects awareness and perception, and then ... how to connect that state to the physical? There is a direction, a purpose, in what we are talking about here ... but the 'state' itself is open to all things and thus has no direction until it is related to other (the opponent in this case).
So yes, that to me is the most interesting part - how do you a) Train the state?
- Meditation practice of some kind? Sitting? Moving? 'Pole Standing' perhaps ..?
And b) How do you connect that state to physical action?
- Play? Flow? Or perhaps repetition? Scenarios? Practicing in various emotional states ....?
Sonny made great use of play, music, and 'freezing points'.
What do you think?

Mac said...

All of the above, of course but I found the '3 Practices' to be most effective: meditation (expanding awareness that, by itself, uncovers latent abilities and understandings), concentration (study, scan, practice) and contemplation (visualize, collate, scenario-ize).