Friday, June 28, 2013


Humans are adaptable creatures. We are constantly changing how and what we do, dependent on changing circumstances. But the circumstances need to be changing for any adaptability to be necessary ....

This is what Random Flow training is for ... Though perhaps it should be renamed Constant Adaptability Training seeing as 'Flow' is so open to misinterpretation? (Not really sure about the re-naming yet ... CAT brings to mind images of ferociously pouncing black Panther emblems with 'Eye of the Tiger' playing in the background .... so perhaps this needs a bit of work ..)

Anyway, the point is, that both parties in the interaction are actively trying to find things to adapt TO ... and what better than moments when they are stuck, or when it's too late to escape?

Here, finally are questions worthy of answers - How to either avoid being there in the first place, or for changing the stuck place into an opportunity to prevail.

So .... first you have to get stuck, which means that you have to be in a vulnerable position, or open to attack. It also means that your opponent will have seen the opportunity and taken advantage of it.

Once you are stuck, it may already be too late, so you can rewind a little and play from there, or better, move around again and notice when the same set up happens again ... only notice it sooner (This is where an experienced player can help, and create the same combination of elements again).

Whatever you choose to do to negate the possibility of getting stuck again will now have created a new place to play from - are you now controlling the situation? Yes? No? Now what?

If you countered, your opponent will be dealing with your attack .... They will now have to adapt to this new piece in the game, which again will give you something to work with ... and so it goes.

You will either adapt successfully, or not. And I bet if it was unsuccessful, next time you will try something else.

And there you have it Random Flow a.k.a. Constant Adaptability Training ....


The European Historical Combat Guild said...

Good thoughts as always.
I just been looking in to IBT, Initiative Based Tactics, an unofficial doctrine that came out of the Battle of Fallujah and seems to be now in use in the Marine corps.

IT has four Rules, #4 is the most interesting one,
The Four Rules of Initiative Based Tactics
1- Cover all immediate danger areas.
1- Eliminate all threats.
3- Protect your buddy.
4- There are no mistakes. Every Marine feeds off of each other and picks up for the slack for the other. Go with it.
"Every Marine needs to understand and memorize the rules governing IBT. These rules should not only apply to MOUT, but all small unit infantry engagements. Rule number four must be pounded into the squad. There are no mistakes in combat, only actions that result in situations: situations that Marines must adapt to, improvise, and overcome in a matter of seconds."
The Full AAR can be read here;

Maija said...

Thanks for that.

It seems that humans have a tendency to crave certainty/answers/a plan, as the most comforting way to problem solve - There is a 'right' way, and everything else is a cock up that needs another solution.

Yet "Tell me what to do if this (or that) happens" is looking for individual solutions to dynamic problems.
How much better to accept the ocean of unknown possibilities as your field, and learn how to surf :-)

The European Historical Combat Guild said...

Yes I get the "what should i do if" questions. People want plans and solutions for everything things that might go of course. Of course there are solutions one has to the questions because of experience. However I generally answer when someone asks "what should I do if..." with "DO something"
I have always thought the analogy with surfing is a good one, dropping in is about commitment and intent, doubt and hesitation are the downfall, and the knowledge and "acceptance" of wiping out, and knowing that it can go bad big time.

Maija said...

HAH! Interesting to hear your take on 'surfing'.

I see the analogy as meaning something a little different -
The sea/waves, like the weather can be read if you learn how, but are never totally predictable. Add small miscalculations of angle, timing, alignment of your own interaction with it ... and you can wreck .... or ride.
The chaos is not infinite, you can learn to 'feel' when the right moment comes, and you can learn through experience when the circumstances start to shift into something else - what the safer, and less safe, options are, and when bailing is the only one left.

You can learn to make smart decisions, and adapt with the changing situation ..... but it takes familiarization, basically you have to play in the water to learn to understand it, and sword play, perhaps because of the 'lethal' consequences of being 'wrong', seems to be able to create a chaotic yet controlled enough environment to learn how to play here too .....
BUT .. ONLY if the chaotic nature of the play is preserved, and the lethality is assumed to be real. Being wrong has to matter, and has to hold within it a great enough incentive to work out how to avoid it happening again.

The European Historical Combat Guild said...

Oh I agree with your analogy too! :)
The extreme activities that take one one to the edge of possibility and requires the blend in cognition and intuition share much with too, thinking climbing, especially free climbing, white water canoeing, parkour. But unliek those I think surfing is the closest to sword play, because you can't study or see the exactly what you are going to be dealing with like you can.
You might know generally how the waves may break, how the sets can tend to come in. But the wave you drop in on is the unique to itself