Saturday, May 11, 2013

Limited Palette

Rory Miller has been in town for the past week, and it's always a great pleasure to be able to hang out and interact with him.

I did not have the time to attend everything he was teaching, which was OK as I have been through his workshops on more than one occasion, but I did want to play One Step with some new people and see what had ingrained and what had not. So I jumped in for an afternoon of environmental fighting in a garage/warehouse.

I am personally much more comfortable playing weapons than empty hand, so it's fun to jump into something I kinda dislike but want to understand more, and even more so with opportunities to fight in bathrooms, stairwells, on ramps, and amongst the dumpsters.

So, what did I notice?

I noticed that it's still hard to remember to 'find the emptiness' and not struggle against the force, and that I am not naturally good at seeing locks or pressure points. Also that my internal sense of geometry diminishes when I am grappling with someone who knows what they are doing, and though I can see simple take downs ... reversals are difficult for me, as my brain can't see the set ups, or in other words, the time frame in which I can negate the opportunity, or be ahead of the power to take advantage of the momentum.

Of course it's just a question of doing it more to get the feel for it, but I admit that at my age, I'm not too keen on taking break falls or having the semi skilled apply joint locks onto the 'tools of my trade' - my hands (for painting) - and the rest of my joints to keep those hands employed.

What did seem better than previously, was seeing the opportunities in the environment to use to my advantage, shearing angles, and the use of at least 2 'weapons' at once.

We all fight from the limited palette that our body type, personality, and health/age dictate, and these parameters change over time. So on the one hand, it seems totally reasonable to enhance what one has, and learn to negate the opponent's ability to take advantage of the weaknesses .... but still, it seems risky to avoid looking at the weaknesses at all ......

For me, at the most basic level, it is a risk reward scenario .... How great are the risks of injury compared with the potential skills learned? How risky is it to have great yawning gaps in my skills?

Logically, and realistically, I know that I will probably end up training what I enjoy the most, it's just the way it is ..... but there's still the part of me that is bothered when I don't understand something ..... like an itch I can't quite scratch .....

Perhaps it will come down to the opportunities that cross my path and their timing.

In the end, it's all about the timing ......


Jake said...

I've had a similar experience with working in some of Rory's drills with good grapplers. I'm comfortable enough with grappling to not feel TOTALLY lost, but definitely not anywhere approaching "decent" by any stretch. Never mind good.

(And I feel you on the concern for preserving joints. I need all of mine working for most of my work, which means risking them seems foolish, at best).

I keep hoping the opportunity will pop up for that (and some other stuff), but so far, the timing hasn't quite worked. Close once or twice though.

I think the risk of having "yawning skill gaps" kind of depends on context. For sport, it's huge, but only for that sport. For self-defense, it's also huge, but I think the technical skill actually required for self-defense is lower than we sometimes believe. My grappling isnt good, but I can manhandle most untrained people. Of course, if they're really trying to murder me, it might be harder :-)

It always comes back to goals for me lately...

Unknown said...

First time commenting here. Keep those blog posts coming. I've read some of the entries and they are quite high quality.

I can readily identify with your feeling of having "yawning skill gaps" as I often feel that way in my own training and it's an itch I HAVE to scratch. I think that, in a sense, martial arts is a lot like astronomy. Astronomers are fond of saying that "the more they know, the more questions they have." I'm sure that it's maddening at some level but isn't that keeps things interesting?


Maija said...

Thanks for taking the time to comment, Brian.
And yes, agree, though suspect there are those that only seek answers, and only some that find following the questions the most interesting part. :-)

Maija said...

Oh, and here's a great example of something I'm not good at .. but that would be awesome to know -

We'll see ......