This new post, after a long absence, was inspired by recent events relating to a seminar happening soon that will showcase blade systems from around the world. As with any large, disparate, congregation of talent, the drama increases exponentially as do the politics.
In this case, the organizers, a sponsor, and even some students have received death threats merely for being associated with the event. So this post is dedicated to the trolls who raise the sword of righteousness whilst threatening to hurt people's children in their 'virtuous' quest for vengeance.
have written a couple of blogs on this subject of teachers and enemies before (links below),
and about how useful enemies are in training. After all, who is it you are training to beat?
Fighting systems since ancient times have developed their tactics according to the enemies (threats) they faced. There IS no martial art without an enemy. They are integral to what you do, and how you
do it. You find your enemy's weaknesses and exploit them. You find their
strengths and try to negate them.
Over time, as the enemy changes, adapts, or new enemies come, so does the fighting style.
would fight differently against people in armor than people with no
armor, right? Just like you would fight against an attacker with a rapier
differently than you would against one armed with a katana.
The mirror of this is that if you always stay within your own
system, and only fight with people that move like you do, think like you, and use
weapons like you do, you have a massive gap in your perception. What happens when you meet someone who moves in unexpected ways? Someone who knows how you feel about them because you have made it crystal clear? You have both shown your cards, and are predictable because of your training.
Sonny would say that it's always the one that you don't see coming that hits you, so best to 'see' as widely as possible. This is smart thinking.
If you had the opportunity to observe the training methods and movement patterns of an enemy before you had to fight them, surely you would take that opportunity in a heartbeat? The tactical advantage of understanding who they are and how they move would be incredibly useful.
Gain intel whenever you can. Become a good interviewer. You learn nothing by shutting people down. You gain everything by letting them show off and talk about themselves as you take notes. Think about this next time you train, and before you tag yourself as one who does not listen, only talks.