The discussions that followed the posts on patterns made me want to clarify some things, about terminology, meaning .. and things 'lost in translation'.
When I write/say certain words, obviously
I can picture in my head, and feel in my body, what I mean, but this
really has no effect on someone else's experience of hearing the same
words .... until they feel it too.
This is really what teaching is - Getting someone else to feel what you know.
The questions that came up, a few of which have come up before, are really useful to me because now I can better understand gaps in my explanations that I did not see before.
Good discussion and conversation enables us to get a grip on misunderstandings, and hopefully point the way to clarifying meaning,
First off, what
others call 'flow' is often not the same thing that I mean. Flow, as I
mean it, is not just a back and forth interaction with one piece
connecting to the next - it
is an interaction like a conversation, that involves listening and
speaking .... and there's really no need to have a conversation if both parties know what the other is going to say next - That would be reading a script.
Next, many people question the purpose of flow, where
it 'goes', why it is useful, and what it could possibly teach you,
focusing so little on the technical 'end game' solutions
taught in other systems.
Some also see flowing as just as much a 'dead
pattern' as pre arranged drills.
To keep with the metaphor of flow as
conversation ... this would put it in the field of idle chatter, or
talking around a subject with no thought of resolution.
In some ways I have to agree that anything done without the
'goal' in mind can be a pointless waving around of weapons, randomly done or not, but again, that is not what I see, or
mean, when I talk about Flow Training.
Flow is a process of understanding through conversing with strangers.
Another question that has come up before is - How does
moving around with so much time spent 'dancing' teach
you anything tactical?
I would say that working in uncertainty, flowing, is a
place where you can get your 'eyes tuned in' to what is ACTUALLY going
on in an interaction - What stimuli produce which reactions. And that this is the very
basis for understanding tactics.
This must be done in phases as it is hard to comprehend everything at once, which is why flow is a training method ... not a way of fighting.
lastly - The assertion that random flow as a teaching method is totally
confusing to the beginner.
I believe the human body has a bunch
of innate skills, walking, running, jumping, avoiding objects, catching,
and throwing. Stuff that can be improved and refined for sure, but that
really needs little 'teaching' as such.
The training is about putting all this stuff
in the right context, so that the right thing is done at the right
moment ... and for that you need to create the right stimulus to create
the correct response. You cannot learn to do this without actually trying this out with a 'stranger' ... trying to react appropriately to stimuli thrown at you - In other words, answering off the cuff the unscripted questions posed to you, and throwing out stimuli (questions) without knowing what reactions they will elicit, and listening for answers until you find the meaning.
That to me is what 'Flow' is, and does.
So to recap -
Dead patterns are reading a script.
Flow is a conversation - The process is the training.
Sparring is an argument - A place to see if you have the better one.
Dueling is something else - Hoisting your opponent on their own petard comes to mind .......