Sunday, March 27, 2016

Grey Man in the Mirror

If you have not heard the term 'Grey Man' before, here is an article explaining what it means, how to become one, and how to notice one.

This is a useful skill set to have if you even find yourself in dangerous times and places, but does it have anything to do with training for sword play?


Grey Man is all about blending in, and observing one's situation. Grey Man understands what people see, and how to avoid triggering their RAS to stay safe and survive. Grey man is all about gaining intel without being noticed.

Know what people see and what they don't, and now you have both options to play with when you play. 

Here are a few quotes from the article that I think are particularly useful:

"The RAS will send data related to fast movement, threatening movement, movement on vectors that will intercept your own ..... The RAS ignores areas of continuous color, shadow, dull, natural colors, slow movement and off vector movement."

"The speed at which people move, the way they gesture, the volume and speed with which they speak. All these elements and many more make up the baseline."

"The element of matching the baseline is probably the single most important element of personal camouflage. Learning to walk like the natives walk will hide you better than just about anything else."

Just substitute "opponent" for 'natives' and now you have the concept of 'Mirroring' so key to our system.

Mirroring your opponent's movement is not only the best way to disappear, but also one of the quickest ways to understand their character.

Thing is, you have to dispense with your own personality and ego to be successful at this. To lose your identity and become others, is perhaps one of the harder things for most people to accomplish.

And to know whether you are doing it involves feedback from them. You cannot know it yourself until you have NOT been seen.

Monday, March 14, 2016

For Your Consideration

In progress:

Move. Always.
Relative movement is more important than movement alone.
Know and use still points - What moves, what does not?
Every thing has space around it.
The halfway point between things is important.
2 angles are better than 1.
Arcs are better than straight lines.
The center line is dangerous.
When you attack you are open.
Constant range is dangerous.
All tempo has gaps.
A constant tempo is easy to read.
Disconnect intent from tempo.
People tend to notice the upper body more than the lower body.
People tend to defend their eyes.
Commit last.
Have an exit.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Keep Out/Come In

 Questions about 'opening the door' came up recently, so here it is in a nutshell:

One of the counter intuitive things you have to learn in sword play is letting your guard down. I mean literally, taking your sword off the defensive line, removing the cover that it gives you, in fact removing it completely from the space between your opponent and yourself.

This is hard to do because we like to protect ourselves from things that are scary/dangerous by building a barrier, a fence (as in de-fence) no less, with our arms or weapon(s) to keep the threat at bay. It's very natural and there is absolutely nothing wrong with it .... unless ... it's the more dangerous option ...

Here's the logic

If we accept that change creates opportunity, and that a holding pattern only gets more and more dangerous as the moments tick by, you can't stay there.

The reason it gets more dangerous is that when you do nothing, you are in fact waiting and you have no idea what is going to happen next, or when. So the temptation to take a risk grows, possibly because we have an innate understanding that waiting is bad, tactics go out of the window, and the fastest person tends to get the first hit .. though often eats one in return due to the risk they too are taking.

Neither party is controlling the space, the time, or the action, so bad things happen.

This is when you have 2 options - You use your opponent's fence as your bridge to close the distance and bring the live hand into play, or, if this does not work, drop your guard and invite the opponent to come to you (resulting in the same change in range).

And the range needs to change. Standing at static range on the center line is the most dangerous place to be.