Friday, April 29, 2016

Throwing It Out There

People think feeding is something you do so your partner an practice the techniques. It's the boring part you have to do until it's your turn to do the real stuff that matters.

Instead, why not start thinking of feeding as making your partner do things.

I want them to close distance.
I want them to back out
I want them to move left.
I want them to block high right.

Start thinking of every feed as a way to control what happens next.

How would that change how you feed to achieve this?

Sunday, April 24, 2016


The original meaning of 'parapet' was a defensive wall to protect soldiers, usually made of earth.
Nowadays we use the term more loosely. One meaning is a short wall surrounding a roof that is put there to prevent you from falling off the edge.

Back in the day, people used to practice martial arts forms standing on the parapets of roofs to practice their balance, stability, and precision, either standing still or in motion.

There's nothing like the awareness that comes from adding a potentially fatal fall to the equation if you screw up. It requires focus, agility, and confidence in your footwork.

Like the roof, every truth has an edge to it, a parapet, defined by context. Pretty much everything will work in some situation or another, by luck, by chance, or by a specific set of circumstances coming together to make it possible. Doing nothing CAN be a solution. So can offering an ice cream cone to a stranger, or kicking them in the balls. A look CAN sometimes stop someone in their tracks, and merely walking straight towards someone with a sword hanging from your hand can make them freeze and back off.

Problem is, they all work ... until they don't. And relying on something as 'the only solution' or the 'go to' can be an awful lonely feeling when it fails to deliver and the parapet trips you up and sends you sailing over the edge.

I recently had a conversation about 'reality' - a not uncommon occurrence. 'Well I'd just do X' was the jist of it, followed by a critique of why someone else was showing something that was obviously 'wrong'.

I do not purport to have all the answers, and there are better people to ask out there than me. However, I do know that this certainty is not a healthy approach, and believing you have THE answer means you are just raising your parapet to hide behind rather than expanding the size of your roof.

Now, I do agree that there ARE high percentage solutions to problems, which, if you choose to train only one thing, are your best bet. There are also really stupid things that are foolish to pin your hopes on, or at worse get you into even more trouble that you are already dealing with, BUT ... if you have the time and the interest to investigate further, you come to realize that you can in fact connect to the real time dynamics of an interaction and solve issues on the fly. One potential solution can turn into the next and perhaps even one more, with no effort. Your roof, your context, expands and the parapets recede. You are able to adapt on the fly as the context changes and do what you need to do. No boxes. No edges. No parapets.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Violence Dynamics West

The week after next will be The Violence Dynamics West series of workshops here in lovely Oakland California (Home of the Hell's Angels and The Black Panthers .. and Bruce Lee for a while too :-) )

I'm a huge believer in the value of physical, hands on practice, especially under the close supervision of skilled teachers - and there will be plenty of that, from empty hand all the way through to firearms with a day at the range scheduled for mid week. Additionally, I personally gain a great deal watching these skilled teachers work, and being able to ask questions about why they do what they do.

I like to watch how they move, what their body language conveys, and how they manage people. But possibly my most favorite thing of all is learning what they see out of their eyes when they encounter new situations, walk through spaces, and notice the people that inhabit them.

This last thing - being given the opportunity to see through another person's eyes - is possibly the most valuable. It will give you perspectives you may have never even imagined before and enhance your appreciation of your environment, whether it be for threat assessment purposes, urban survival skills, or just making everything in your proximity a bit brighter and deeper.

The line up is ridiculously good and encompasses a full spectrum of characters from 'both sides of the tracks'. We even have a couple special guest coming ...

I can't wait.