Fighting, self-defense, whatever you want to call it, is one of the most natural things in the world. Competence at it is your birthright. We do a disservice, I think, when we teach it as if it is complicated, as if it is something that needs to be learned. Not that you can't improve, learn and train. It is complex and nuanced to be good... but it is not complicated. That's a thought for another time.
But in the end, this is not about "forging warriors." This is about rehabilitating a predator so that it can take its natural place in the world. This is your nature.
Not fighting, the fear (not of fighting, fighting hurts, it is wise to fear it) of trying and learning, the insecurity is not nature. It is conditioning.
We are a large population of effective predators. Individually, not impressive. But teamwork is a power multiplier like no other and we are, often, better than wolves at working together. But unlike wolves, we're shitty at getting along. IMO, our teamwork was learned behavior, for wolves it is their nature. Without the genes to get along, we created rules, and we instilled those rules into our children from the first day. That's conditioning.
So when your student can't pull the trigger or can't grab a face, that student is not fighting his nature, he is fighting his conditioning.
There are two immediate implications of this, at least in my mind.
I walk in peace with you because I respect your strength. I see your nature, even if you have been blinded by your conditioning. The Hindu greeting "Namaste" I have been told translates: "The divinity in me recognizes the divinity in you" (seems unlikely, that's a pretty small word for two nouns, a verb and two locations). We walk in peace, you and I, because the animal in me recognizes and respects the animal in you. Negotiation and cooperation are preferred to testing who is the wilder.
The second: I understand that people need to be trained from a very young age to get along. But training makes it a choice and conditioning removes choices. And it seems that more and more effort is going into making people more and more passive. Who wanted you to be a victim so badly that they convinced you passivity was normal? Who feared your animal nature so much?
Take your power.
This grew out of a conversation yesterday with Kathy Jackson, the Cornered Cat. Kathy's a great instructor and great people. She has the magic power of making me think.
We were attending a weapon retention program designed by Don Stahlnecker of the Firearms Academy of Seattle. Good stuff. Best civilian program I've seen. (LEO weapon retention focuses more on holster retention, since officers open carry).
1. Train against attacks to the head
The head is an obvious target. Not only can we be knocked unconscious through strikes to the head, our ability to hear, see, shout and even our balance can be damaged. We do have natural reflexes to protect the head which will be activated should our eyes receive a stimulus once it is too late to access and execute a trained protective action, but these reflexes are not always effective. The best way to become skilled at protecting the head is to have to defend against attacks to that target on a regular basis. It does not matter whether those attacks are intended to make contact or not, all that is required is the incentive to continuously protect our head from impact and to learn carry the arms in such a way that we can do so speedily with ease.
2. Train against HAOV
Pushes, shoves, grabs, wild haymakers, head butts, headlocks, shoulder barges, tackles, clinches, stomps… the use of habitual acts of violence in training can be controversial. From a self defence perspective they are essential training tools, for in a violent situation you are far more likely to be attacked using haov than any more precise form of attack, even if your attacker is themselves a skilled martial artist. The downside of training against haov is that it means that a proportion of the training time is spent delivering a skillset in which you do not want or need to become proficient at employing. How much time you spend on training against haov should be weighted according to your primary skill development aims.
3. Train at Close range
By close range I’m referring to tactile contact and working at a distance where you are generally within at most ¾ of the arm reach of your training partner. Most violent confrontations quickly close to this distance no matter how skilled a ‘long distance’ fighter one participant may be, and this infighting range is one at which it is important to be comfortable.
4. Make Contact (actually hit people and pads)
Contact in training is tremendously important. I’ve written about it here and here. Both types of contact are important. Experiencing contact in training so that real shoves or knocks don’t faze you or affect your will to continue is invaluable, and it doesn’t have to be knockdown or dangerous/damaging to do so under the supervision of a good teacher.
5. Use verbal abuse and distraction
Verbal abuse, whether by one person or a group, can freeze a person unused to personally experiencing it more effectively than the shock of contact. Exposure to bad language at a distance, or on the screen is not the same. There is a big difference between facing a silent focused training partner, enduring the kiai of a confident partner, and having one or more people swearing and shouting directly in your face.
6. Train against multiple opponents
Dealing with multiple opponents isn’t easy and it isn’t pretty. There are lots of different ways that this can be done: some that genuinely put the trainee under gradually increasing pressure, others that are frankly ridiculous either because they are always so intense that they offer no chance for progression or learning outcomes, or because they are so spaced apart that there is no added pressure or learning gained. There’s no guarantee that training against multiple opponents is going to enable you to fight more than one person (and you should try to avoid even fighting just one person), but this form of training will make you aware of the difficulty, give you indications as to things that definitely don’t work, and possibly provide a more appropriate focus for your one on one strategies.
I haven’t picked these six training paradigms at random. From the experience of observing many trained and untrained people from a range of backgrounds in hundreds of simulated aggressive and violent confrontations, these are the six factors that determine how easily a person is able to access their combative skill set. The more of these a person deals with in regular training the easier it will be to access their skill set, the fewer of these they work regularly or have experienced the harder it will be to access that skill set. This model helps explain why personality, upbringing, martial arts styles and training regimes all have an effect on how successfully people can physically defend themselves.
Not everyone is able to meet all six of these criteria in their regular training, but that doesn’t matter. I have seen people who meet only three criteria in their martial arts class (attacks to the head, contact and close range) do exceptionally well because in their work as LEO (Law Enforcement Officers) they have encountered verbal abuse, haov, and dealing with multiple opponents. The more you meet the easier it will be. If you identify a gap in your class, and if you are not in a position to fill it (or your instructor doesn’t want to) then it is usually easy to gain experience and have fun by cross training at a seminar, or inviting an instructor to teach at your club or workplace.
Have fun and train safely!
What you see completely controls what you can do. You can't solve a problem you can't see. You can't implement a solution you can't imagine. And it's not just what you see, it's how you see it.
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A chair is for sitting in. If all you see is a chair, the only affordance in that chair is sitting (and lounging and snuggling… but all chair stuff). If you see it as a shape, you have the additional affordances of all the things you can do with flat surfaces. See it another way and it is a flotation device; or a ladder; or a collection of fabric, wood and metal that can be deconstructed…
The more you perceive, the bigger the world and your possibilities increase. The more you look for things, the less you see. Narrowing your focus narrows your mind. We all know the one-trick-pony-professional-victim who can construe any statement as proof of oppression. Looked at one way, they're annoying as hell. They are just as or even more into oppressing others as the people they rail against. Looked at a little different, they are sad little people looking so hard for ugly--creating it if they can't find it-- that they will never see beauty.
The first drill I ever learned for this was from a survival class in '81 or '82. The drill was to come up with twenty uses for a spoon that had nothing to do with scooping or eating. It was hard at first. I think it took most of the hour for most of us to make or lists. Now I sometimes pick random items and it's rare for it to take more than five minutes to come up with twenty things.
This even applies to abstract things and to people. Being able to come up with a hundred different answers to a question is cool. Coming up with a hundred different ways to interpret or alter the question is an order of magnitude more powerful. Want to be rich? I live in a house that's warm and dry; I can get cold drinks from the fridge and hot water falling from the sky (a shower) on demand. My food today came from at least two continents and originated in at least three. No Roman emperor had this luxury. I am typing this on a machine that no government in the world could have obtained 35 years ago. I am richer in material things than the the entire US government was a century ago. My life is awash in things unobtainable.
That's just material riches. At what point in history did it become possible to read both Lao Tzu and Marcus Aurelius?
That was abstractions. What about people? How you label a person controls what you perceive and controls your affordances, your possibilities. If K was my wife it creates a relationship that comes with roles and scripts. She is undoubtedly my wife. She is also the best thing the universe has ever created and somehow I am allowed to be in her presence. 'Wife' means certain comforts and annoyances. 'The best thing in the universe' makes it easy to be madly in love for a quarter of a century.
Is someone your enemy? Or a human being who believes you are part of his wealth of problems? Is that your student? Or a companion on this journey?
And yourself. What labels do you put on yourself that artificially control your behavior? Are they necessary? Do you have to be you? (The answer is 'no' by the way, but people get very uncomfortable with the fact that they are constantly changing.)
In the interaction, sometimes conflict comes up because of incompatible labels. I see most protesters as whiny, entitled punks. They see themselves as champions of the underdog du jour. If you are having trouble with your significant other, quit seeing her as your wife or girlfriend for awhile and find out how she labels herself. Try working from there.
The ideal is to just see, without the labeling. That's hard. But it maximizes possibility.
I wrote this there years ago:
Normal 0 0 1 351 2003 16 4 2459 11.518 0 0 0 I've already made my feelings pretty clear about people awarding themselves incredible rank and starting their own style. In general I consider it an ego trip- someone who can't be the big fish creating his own puddle. I was challenged recently to describe what would convince me that a self-awarded rank was legitimate. Here are my initial thoughts.
1) If your style has any tournament component you should have been and/or trained at least one national champion. More, if the tournament circle is small.
2) If it is called a combat style, it must be tested, and that is hard. Perhaps 100+ uses of unnassisted, weaponless uses of force as either a cop, corrections officer or bouncer. Alternatively, a history of cops, etc who have previous experience with martial arts seeking you out and staying with you for more than one year. Many people hold seminars for LEO's then claim that they teach DT's while the officers that attended the class under orders feel nothing but contempt.
3)Designate and document all the skills your students must master from the lowest rank to the highest. If any of the high ranks are honorary, award yourself the highest real rank. If your style is worthwhile, as students mature and take over the ryu they will vote you the honorary rank, just like Kano.
4)Figure out how long it would take for a good student to achieve the rank you award yourself and be sure you have studied at least twice that long. If it would take a student longer to get to where you are than it took you, the style stunts students, it does not teach them.
5)Obviously, the art must have significant, preferably profound differences from all other arts you have studied.
6)If you are breaking off from another organization you must maintain loyalty to those that taught you- you owe them much. If that is impossible your maturity level may be too low for instructor status, much less master. At the very least maintain dignity.
7)If you are breaking away you must be better at both the art and teaching than anyone else in the old organization, especially if the technical differences are minor.
8)Please, if you choose to use a foreign language to describe or rank your art at least make the effort to use a real word and translate it correctly. Then live up to the terms you use. For instance, if you choose to call yourself an ancestral style at least have one parent to child transmission of leadership in your history.
It's been years, but I think the sentiment holds up.
A white male in his 30’s to 40’s. 5’ 11” to 6 feet tall, medium build with shoulder-length brown hair and last seen wearing a blue zip-up jacket and black jeans grab at a West Seattle teen girl. He presents a clear and present danger to the community. Here are some things you can do to make you and yours safer and help the police as well. The predator mind, the hunting grounds, means of being safer, groups, electronics, running to safety and calling in what you see.
If you have information about a serious crime that you want to report anonymously,
you can make tips to Crime Stoppers by using their:
A few weeks ago I discussed the value and importance of training alone, but solo training is only one part of the bigger picture. There are very good reasons why you should always make the effort to train with other people.
Timing and reactions
Practicing a movement many times increases our ability to perform that movement, but only training with a partner can develop our ability to know when to apply it. Paired and group training teaches us to spot the little telegraphs or behavior patterns that indicate an attack is imminent. We can develop our striking power on our own, but to properly develop our evasive tactics and to learn ‘when’ to move and how to recognize the stimuli we need lots of paired training, and the more people we train with the better we become.
Impact work is an essential part of training any repertoire that involves striking, even if that striking is only a redundancy or distraction element for control or holding techniques. The bag, the makiwara, the speed ball and the wooden man are all excellent tools that can be used for power development in solo training, but they do not teach or train the ability to apply that power in a dynamic context. Training with a partner holding focus mitts, thai pads and kick shields is invaluable in teaching and training to gain the right distance and angle to apply power to a moving and reacting target.
Contact & resistance
It is one thing to hit another pad, it is something else to hit a person, or even to be hit by another person. I discuss both in earlier blog posts here and here. There is no substitute for this in training. It does not have to be heavy, it should not cause injuries, and it should be appropriate to the age, ability and health and fitness (both physical and mental) of the individuals concerned.
No plan survives contact with the enemy. Working against resistance is essential for learning and applying the nuances that make techniques, especially tactile techniques, work. Anyone can apply a technique against a static non resisting weaker person, but it takes practice (and the practice with lots of different people of different heights, strengths, limb size ratios and flexibility) to be able to do so with minimal risk. There is no substitute for paired practice.
Tactile sensitivity is an important attribute for effective grappling, controlling, holding or close quarter striking. It is an attribute that can only come from paired practice, and the more the better. To those unfamiliar with close quarter training this is not a matter of skin sensitivity, but a sensitivity of touch or pressure that can be felt through clothing.
We are all prey to our own judgement. Training with other people presents us with two important opportunities. Firstly it gives us the opportunity to be observed and critiqued by others and it doesn’t matter whether that feedback is right or wrong because what it does is force us to examine what we do from an alternative perspective. Secondly it also gives us the opportunity to be asked questions by other people that answering may lead us to look at the way we approach things from previously unconsidered angles. Both of these are invaluable tools to help shape our training.
So the next time you get home later than normal, feel more drained than than usual, and say to yourself that you’ll ‘skip this one’ or ‘make it up with a little bit of solo work’ – if you aren’t actually ill, pick up the kit bag and head out to that class. You’ll be a better person for it.
Well, a storm rocks a ship on a sea
The wind shakes the leaves on a tree
I'm like a nervous wreck
I'm all shook up
And that's what you are doin' to me
'Cause I'm jumpin'
An' I'm shakin'Little Willie John, "Shakin'"
Do the move with quirky jerk.The Cars, "Shake it Up"
I think it's funny when some New Age believer, some Reiki master or energy healer, some ESP mind reader or remote viewer or telekinetic practitioner, some chi fighter uses the word "vibrational" to try and explain what it is they're doing. Well, it would be funny if these people didn't charge good money for what they do. If they didn't rip people off who don't understand or care to understand science and use the rigorous methods of science to investigate outrageous claims.
Take a look at the quote from the book Conversations with God: "As you undertake to inhabit a physical body here on Earth, your ethereal body lowers is vibrations, slows itself from a vibration so rapid that it cannot even be seen, to a speed that produces mass and matter."
Or how about this gem from Deena Zalkind Spear in Ears of the Angels: "If it vibrates, it can be tuned. Everything is energy--violins, people, potato chips, thoughts, feelings, and events. They all vibrate."
Here's how Deena's method works, and I'm not making this up:
"Using the techniques of distant healing, or 'tuning,' that she first developed to adjust the sound of violins, Deena tunes the human body or the body of a pet that she connects with while its owner is thinking about it. Deena works over the phone, which has to be a conventional, plugged-in phone-not a portable or cell phone. (The vibrations of wireless phones feel too inharmonious and unpleasant to her.) She then asks you to count to five and may have you sing a couple notes as well. Then she puts you on hold and does her tuning thing. After that, you repeat the count and the notes. I heard and felt the difference in my voice immediately. It became deeper and more resonant. And if you have a health problem, it will often (but not always-it depends on the intention and readiness of the recipient to allow stuck energy/emotions/beliefs to resume natural flow) improve as well, sometimes immediately." (1)
Here's an interesting explanation from an ESP advocate:
"If everything is empty space with patterns of energy running through it, then it is these patterns, or the wavelengths or vibrations of these patterns that determine whether something is a car, a person, a thought, etc... Differences in these frequencies determine the exact form of the field in its every detail. There is a range of vibrations that compose ordinary human consciousness and manifestation on the physical plane. Clairvoyants and healers either come programmed with an expanded range of perception, or can alter the state or frequency of their of consciousness in order to perceive energy vibrations outside of the normal human range. Higher frequencies and forms are invisible to most humans because these higher frequencies are beyond our perception." (2)
Want to know how paranormal events occur? Well, Russian DNA research has discovered what's going on:
"The Russian biophysicist and molecular biologist Pjotr Garjajev and his colleagues also explored the vibrational behavior of DNA. In brief the bottom line was: 'Living chromosomes function just like a holographic computer using endogenous DNA laser radiation.' This means that they managed, for example, to modulate certain frequency patterns (sound) onto a laser-like ray which influenced DNA frequency and thus the genetic information itself." (3)
Don Lincoln, a particle physicist, explains some of the weird science of Quantum Field Theories:
"Electrons aren’t the only particles to consist of localized vibrations of a field; all particles do. There is a photon field, an up quark field, a gluon field, a muon field; indeed there is a field for every known particle. And, for all of them, the thing that we visualize as a particle is just a localized vibration of that field. Even the recently discovered Higgs boson is like this. The Higgs field interacts with particles and gives them their mass, but it is hard to observe this field directly. Instead, we supply energy to the field in particle collisions and cause it to vibrate. When we say 'we’ve discovered the Higgs boson,' you should think 'we’ve caused the Higgs field to vibrate and observed the vibrations.' (4)
But here's the thing. You can't just come along and use quantum physics to explain non-scientific, faith-based, magical ideas. You can't simply use words and concepts from science that you don't understand for things they were never intended to explain. You can't take a quote out of context because it sounds good and adds to they mystery of what you're doing.
Perhaps you can. Perhaps you can do it and make oodles of money. Promote a best-selling book, sell a series of DVDs or seminars or take part in on-line or over-the-phone personalized 'therapeutic' sessions. Sure, you can do it. But it's not ethical.
It is downright criminal.
I actually know a guy who claims he can heal using vibrational powers from the palms of his hands. He seems to actually believe that some type of force emanating from within his body, a force that cannot be detected using scientific instrumentation, is unblocking energy paths, opening up energy superhighways at the cellular level, and surrounding sickness and injury with a loving warmth. He's a nice guy. Doesn't seem to be out there trying to trick anybody or make a quick buck off of their suffering. But he is still being dishonest. Perhaps even convincing some to avoid effective treatment in favor of superstition and ritual.
I have met sincere people who believe that while the medical industry is filled with fraud, the local New Age supply shop sells nothing but quality, state-of-the-art healing and empowerment devices. The candles, the wands, the powders and the crystals, which to me look like something straight out of a wizard's cellar from the 16th century, are there to help them feel better, live longer, and obtain enlightenment.
I so want to tell them that the crystal that they wear or that that use for healing works even when it's not even a crystal. It's just magical thinking...it's the placebo effect at work.
As Kyle Hill explains it, "While I do think that it is natural to attribute supernatural powers to things due to either our pattern-seeking brains or wishful thinking, the beauty of science is that we do not have to simply wonder if crystals can have some effect, we can test it." (5)
An interview with Aaron and Beau fro Exist Anew (and you know I gave then shit about their name before the interview started). Fun, and if I ever decide to publish the manual on enlightenment for non-wusses, the last bit will be a preview.
Kris caught me a half asleep. And he'd left a couple of messages which I'd interpreted to mean there was something wrong. Had completely forgotten that he wanted to do an interview when I had a break from traveling.
Gila Hayes, of the Armed Citizen's Legal Defense Network (a great resource for anyone interested in SD, btw) did a review of the Logic of Violence DVD:
Did an "Advanced People Watching" course at the Lloyd Center Mall and Kathy Jackson (the Cornered Cat and one of my favorite people-- my go to for the crossover between WSD and the firearms world) did a write-up:
Interviewed by Matthew Apsokardu in June:
And Matt linked to an interview that David Silver did last year. Evidently, saying I hate people because they are stupid pretty much defines my worldview:
Sam Harris asked my opinion on a couple of questions that somehow turned into a roundtable interview on SD and the law. In my opinion, the best piece was left out of the final edit. One of the examples that came up, the FaceBook common wisdom (as is often the case) had nothing to do with actual facts... it struck me as a good point to check your sources, especially if they seem to make your point too well.
Sometimes I wonder, why do we bother with martial arts anyway? For sport and fun, OK, but for combat? Why would you want to learn an art that worked for someone else sometime in the past, possibly under different circumstances, legally, ethically etc... Not to mention all the useless shit you have to buy (gi, belt, hakama you never use utside the dojo) While combat is complex, it's not complicated. There are just systems trying to distrupt or destroy other systems. Combat is governed by anatomy and physics. Those do not change. Why is combat an art, not science? Maybe because carrying the legacy of the samurai/ninja/viking/whatever has much appeal to the monkey?
Complex versus complicated is something I desperately want to riff on. Later.
Why are people driven to study something that worked in the past? Possibly because the other option is to study something that didn't work in the past. Something that has never worked.
Which would you prefer: "According to the old legends, Sir Hackemup used these tools and these tactics to survive against insurmountable odds at the Battle of Last Man Standing."
Or: "We had a committee meeting with the University's Departments of Physics, Medicine, Kinesiology, and biology departments and we're pretty sure the best way to survive a close quarters ambush is to..."
There's no right or wrong answer to that (though I personally love it when scientists and historians agree.
My wife and I were talking about doing some minor home surgery. I was, really. K has a very non-scientific attitude about such things."We have professionals with the proper equipment right here in town," she said, "Why would you even consider doing such a thing yourself?""Because if we didn't have access to professionals, I'd have to do it myself and it's only practice if you don't need to."
Here's the deal with self-defense in a mostly civilized world and it's the same deal as trying to keep soldiers sharp in periods of extended peace, or keeping survival skills up when you are warm and comfortable... anything that you want to improve, you know must adapt, and yet you will not have a chance to test. Like home surgery.
I can tell you how to build a fusion generator, or how to fix a car, or how to amputate a leg, or how to defend yourself from rabid ferrets. But if neither of us have actually done it, we have no way to know if the instructions are effective or utter fantasy. And if I have done it for real and you haven't, we can have confidence that the instructions will work and absolutely no idea if they will work for you or if you can pull them off when you need to.
1) a high risk endeavor
2) with a very limited amount of actual knowledge (unethical to design proper academic experiments on fear and danger; statistically insignificant number of accurately reported incidents; witnesses under stress are notoriously unreliable)
3) that will never be personally tested by most students or instructors (and even fewer will have enough real encounters to get past the adrenaline effects and see accurately)
4) that people on a very deep almost Freudian level tend to tie their personalities around (how many people self-identify as 'warriors' who have never put their lives on the line, much less under orders?)
Reasons 1 and 4 are the drives. People want to know. They want to know they are good. They want to know they are safe. They want to know they have it. Reason 3 is why that desire will never be satisfied. #2 is the reason there will never be a certain answer.
When people have this big a need that can't be satisfied except at extreme personal risk, they seek outside validation. Lineage. Or pseudoscience. Or scientific studies that if you squint a little look like they might validate what you want to believe.
They want to swim in the deep water, but they need some kind of reassurance. They hold onto the side of the pool.
This may be the longest stretch of not writing on the blog since it started. Mea culpa. That doesn't mean I haven't been writing. Eleven lessons and counting on a class that starts today (one more day to sign up) on Real Villains for a writer's group.
The class will be a challenge. Like in a lot of fringe areas of life, the 'common wisdom' is ridiculously wrong; what most people 'know' are politically-driven platitudes; and these incredibly un- or ill-informed beliefs are passionately defended. There's some information that would rock their world that I can't directly share because of confidentiality issues and NDAs... but they will get a close look. Hope they're ready.
The basic distinction between infatuation and love is that with infatuation, you have to explain that every pimple is really a beauty mark and in love, you can see the blemishes without your feelings changing. Those infatuated must actively stay blind, because they fear what they will feel if they see the truth.
You see this in martial arts, of course. I've seen an instructor with a scripted knife defense that would have cut his own throat with a real blade...and their students blindly repeating the technique. Seen an instructor explain that falling over by flinching was inevitable and physics, though he could only make it work on his own students. Seen people who were toyed with convincing themselves they won. Watched countless martial artists deny their personal experience and accept a ridiculous truth... "Attacks always come from two long steps away" "No one can hit hard enough to hurt you at close range" "Anyone who uses a knife will become tool dependent and forget that they can use their other hand and feet so it's okay to tie up all your weapons on one of his"...and so on.
My circle of friends are probably not the people you'd invite over for tea and crumpets. Some are what R calls, "Our kind of broken." I like them, that's why they're my friends. But I like them knowing full well who and what they are. Not all are bad asses, and not all the ones who think they are really are. Some have knowledge that far outpaces their understanding or skill. All are trustworthy, if you know their parameters.
And some of them don't like each other. "How can you put up with...?"
It's easy. None of my friends are perfect, and so I can love them anyway, flaws and all.
But I hit a wall on this, sometimes, in training. What do you do with good skills that come from horseshit? Most of the time it's not a problem-- generally, if you find an art with 2000 years of history that was invented from pure imagination in the last half century, the art tends to not be all that useful anyway. It's easy to walk away.
But what about effective arts taught by frauds? Or what if it is the second or third generation away from the fraud who conned them and the present generation of instructors don't even know it's a fraud?
And (ran into this recently and am still puzzling over it) a group breaks away from their founder because of integrity issues but continues to teach not just the effective technique but also the bullshit philosophy of the founder?
Example-- most of the "Zen" I have seen written about in the US isn't just about the heretical offshoot of the heretical offshoot of Buddhism, but the misinformed, 1970's hippy idealized imaginings of what zen was supposed to be. If someone wrapped effective stuff in this imaginary trappings...
The INTJ part of me doesn't care. As long as the parts I need work, the fairy tales people tell themselves don't matter to me. But part of me cares, for two reasons. One is that too many people swallow the fantasy with the substance. Two- if someone can study X for a lifetime and somehow avoid noticing that everything around it is based on historical lies, how can I trust them on the base issues either?
Knowing full well who and what they are, I can usually take the useful and leave the useless. But it bothers me.
MORE FUNNY OBSERVATIONS OF THE CRAZY WORLD OF MARTIAL ARTS
I WANT MY MONEY BACK ON THE DIT DA JOW
THAT YOU SOLD ME...I'm on my third jar, I still can't break a durn brick,
plus, it just tastes funny. ___________________________________________________
IT'S ALWAYS MORE EFFECTIVE... When the energy healer,
the one who claims she can cure all maladies,
wears her glasses.___________________________________________________
WHEN I WAS A KID MY GI JOE HAD KUNG FU GRIP! If I would have had kung fu grip when I was a kid,
I'm not sure GI Joe is what I would've been playing with. ___________________________________________________
THE CAT STANCE... Bad guys fear it! ___________________________________________________
A FLYING HEAD BUTT!
This has got to be one of the weirdest, most impractical techniques that I've ever seen...
I stand corrected...
This is not going to end well, is it?
YOU DO NOT WANT TO MESS WITH THIS GUY...
...He knows that one crazy kick,
plus he's wearing a totally rad headband!
QUIT CALLING IT A SKIRT, YOU IDIOT
...it's a warrior outfit. Laugh it up, funny man...I'll kill you last.
"YOUR NUNCHUCK TWIRLING SKILLS ARE AS IMPRESSIVE AS THEY ARE INTIMIDATING"
Said no bad guy, ever. ___________________________________________________ DEAR DANA WHITE, I think I'm ready for the UFC now.___________________________________________________ WHEN I GET DOWN FROM HERE, I am so gonna kick your ass.___________________________________________________
WHEN I PUT THIS BALL DOWN, I am so gonna kick your ass.___________________________________________________
THEY LAUGHED...THEY ALL LAUGHED WHENI TOLD THEM I KNEW INTERNAL GUNG FU... Who's laughing now?
I gotta admit it...there for a minute you almost had me. You just about got me to believe that you had something new, some breakthrough way of fighting.
I was almost persuaded.
You had all of those fancy videos with that dramatic music and those colorful titles. It was all so professionally done and so beautifully filmed, that there, for just a second, I actually thought it was fresh and creative and unique.
And what you named it, not like anything I'd heard before. Some words from a foreign language I wasn't familiar with. That threw me off, made me think that what you had was different, novel, and unconventional.
Neoteric, they call it, contemporary and newfangled and original!
But, it's none of those things. It's just somebody using his hands, elbows, knees, and feet to cause blunt trauma. You're just moving around and punching like a boxer, and kicking like a kickboxer, stuff I've seen a million times. It's simply grabs, and in-fighting, and throws, and trips and tackles, and reaps and other take-downs from wrestling or judo. When you get to the ground you're just doing catch wrestling or BJJ.
You think because you've been to the martial arts buffet line and picked and chosen a plate-full of specific techniques and blended them together that you've got something no one else has.
Well, guess what. There's only so many things you can do in a fight. And lots and lots and lots of people before you have put all that stuff in a cocktail shaker and come up with a slightly different flavor. World War I trainers did it, and so did the guys in WWII, like Sykes and Fairbairn and even Jack Dempsey. The modern military still does it. I'm guessing that all effective warriors throughout history learned and adapted in the trial-and-error laboratory of combat.
Bruce did it...and I'm talking about that other Bruce...Bruce Tegner. And of course Bruce Lee made it famous with JKD.
Oh sure, somebody talented and athletic, with a lot of natural ability and plenty of money to travel the world and pay for private classes, and the luxury of time to practice for hours and hours, could come along and add a little pizzazz, some fancy flourish or stylistic, exquisite, convoluted, showy trick.
But making it work in a real fight, in the real world, with real consequences? I doubt it.
A few geniuses have come along before you and done the same thing. In modern times I'd have to put the Gracies in that category because they came up with a methodology and an overarching strategy. But I'd also put Remy Presas in that group, and I'm sure I'd add Jigoro Kano, and Hock Hochheim. From history I'd include whoever came up with Muay Thai, an effective art if ever there was one. Boxers have been practicing the 'sweet science,' conducting 3-minute long experiments for a long, long time and have essentially developed one of the most foundational and effective fighting styles known to man. And wrestlers, from the dawn of time, to the guys who traveled around in the take-on-all-comers guys in the early part of the 20th century or in the more modern Vale Tudo, have helped their art evolve into the most widespread combat discipline known to man.
Sticks and knives and guns knife change things, but you're not the first person to have noticed that. Fencers and duelists, Spartans and Samurai and European knights, Roger's Rangers and modern Rangers, SAS, and navy frogmen, all knew some tricks about weapon retention, disarms, and footwork, and body positioning. They knew about de-fanging the snake long before you gave it a name. They knew about range, and how to add power and speed. They even knew what to do if the weapon was lost, or if the action took place before the weapon was drawn or after it had fallen. What to do to take out a sentry, or in silent small group combat behind enemy lines, or when engaging in brutal and barbaric mano de mano combat using entrenching tools like soldiers and marines did in the Korean War, and vicious trench fighting in WWI, and like they did in the American Civil War, and a hundred forgotten battles on land and sea, in thick jungles and mountaintops and burning deserts.
Modern law enforcement and the military are developing new lethal and less-than-lethal technologies all the time and figuring out how to adapt the clumsy skills of the average soldier or police officer in order to maximize these new tools--new drills, or adaptations of already existing drills, new tactics from lessons learned on the battlefield or mean streets. Not necessarily earth-shattering or mind-blowing, but practical, rational and common sense once you have time to step back from the action and think about it.
MMA fighters, arguably the fittest, fiercest athletes on the planet, are the masters and finding the best, most effective techniques and merging those skills with intense, lung burning, muscle building conditioning. Executive protection specialists and security operators take it a step further, free from the rules of the ring.
Don't sit there and pretend you've got something clever and inventive and ingenious.
Who am I, you ask, and what gives ME the right to critique what you do? I'm nobody. A guy with no organization, no following and no secret agenda. I'm no bad-ass warrior, I'm an armchair critic, a Monday-morning quarterback. I'm more Consumer Reports and Ralph Nader.
Hey, I appreciate your hard work. I like what you've done to bottle the essence of your art and market it to make it seem distinct from all the other noise out there. I know what you're doing and why you're doing it. I know why you feel you've got to slam your competition. I get it. I've been where you've been, back in my younger days.
You're talented and charismatic. You're a good teacher, seem to be a strong communicator. Excellent stuff.
But don't act like what you've got is like nothing we've seen before. We've seen it, we recognize it.
Just do it with passion, and make sure it's high quality. (Mark Hatmaker comes to mind right about now as somebody who does it right, a persuasive instructor who brings a fresh perspective to a once-tired formula!)
Go ahead. Try to be creative. Do your best to move the art forward. Think outside the proverbial box, and try to box outside the think.
Just don't repackage and re-gift last year's presents and pretend they're new.
That's all I ask.
Fresh off a road trip Rory takes our hands and heads down the road of violence. What do criminals think of themselves, how to they differentiate between what they do and what outlaws do. Does everybody think the world is collapsing? Distorted history – or back filling to fit your agenda. How writers look at villains. A little Eric Hoffer (and you really should look him up, here is a link to: The True Believer: Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements.) And how you can satisfy the criminal, their needs and what kind of goodies you have that make you a delightful target. And by the way – no easy answers…
Environmental awareness is a crucial attribute in self protection.
The majority of self protection lies in the assessment, avoidance, deterrence, and de-escalation of aggression and situations where conflict is likely, but regrettably this is not always possible.
Training your physical skills against habitual acts of violence increases your understanding and recognition of their telegraphs, an attribute that can increase the likelihood of reacting in time to a physical attack. Scenario training can increase your comfort in dealing with verbal aggression and increase your ability to identify the behavioural precursors to a physical attack.
Unfortunately we can often miss these indicators due to our focus on trying to resolve the situation peacefully. Our brains can become overloaded by the tasks of watching the person in front of us, trying to hear what he/she is saying, trying to think about whether to talk or hit or run, wondering what our friends will do, or what our partner or children will do, working out what to say and watching other people etc… This means that despite our knowledge of the telegraphs – we often miss them.
In this video students and instructors from a range of different styles get caught off guard and hit by role playing aggressors. I hope the footage proves useful to you in your own training.
'Icy hot,' 'deafening silence,' 'only choice,' 'true lies,' 'pretty ugly,' 'jumbo shrimp,' and 'good grief' are all examples of the rhetorical term 'oxymoron' in which two contradictory words appear side by side.
I would add to that one more--'creation science.'
Just outside of Cincinnati is the Creationist Museum, located in Petersburg, Kentucky which is dedicated to the concept of creation science. Here's how they describe their museum:
"Prepare to Believe:
The state-of-the-art 70,000 square foot museum brings the pages of the Bible to life, casting its characters and animals in dynamic form and placing them in familiar settings. Adam and Eve live in the Garden of Eden. Children play and dinosaurs roam near Eden’s Rivers. The serpent coils cunningly in the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil."
This museum, along with its parent organization Answers in Genesis, are dedicated to teaching people the following amazing 'facts':
- The Earth is young, only a few thousand years old
- It was created in six, literal, 24-hour days.
- Humans and dinosaurs co-existed--in fact, located in the museum is a dinosaur replica with a saddle that's just perfect for a photo op.
- The Garden of Eden was a real place.
- Adam and Eve were the first people, and they lived thousands of years ago.
- Before 'original sin' entered the world via Adam and Eve's disobedience, all dinosaurs, even the mighty T Rex, were vegetarians.
- The world quickly became populated via the inbreeding of the offspring of Adam and Eve.
- Some of these people had sex with giant fallen angels and even had offspring!
- A global flood actually happened about 4,500 years ago.
- Noah, already 500 years old, received a message from his deity, and he began to build a giant ark.
- Noah and his family gathered together and brought all of the world's creatures aboard the ark, including kangaroos and marsupials which we now see in Australia, Panda bears who now live in China, Arctic Polar bears and Antarctic penguins, desert camels, Indian and African elephants, slow moving snails, American bison, spiders and insects including unique species from the rain forests of South America and Africa, huge birds like ostriches and emus as well as little bitty ones like hummingbirds and finches, big rhinos and hippos and giraffes as well as teeny microscopic life forms, ugly little parasites and big beautiful jungle cats, exotic rain forest plants and trees and giant redwoods, and even dinosaurs...yes, dinosaurs.
- So, over 1 million types of invertebrates, 70 thousand types of fungi, 60 thousand types of vertebrates, and almost 300 thousand types of plants were brought on board before the door was closed and the rains began.
- The rain lasted over 150 days, and covered the entire earth for a depth of 5 miles, so even Mt Everest was covered.
- They believe that they can explain where all that water came from before the flood and where all that water went after the waters subsided.
- The global flood was the cause for such things as the Grand Canyon, (which was formed quite rapidly and not over eons), and the geophysical splitting of the continents.
- After the flood Noah's family, all 8 people, got busy and repopulated the entire earth.
- Dragons walked the earth at one time, and valiant dragon-slayers went toe to toe with these creatures.
- Dragons might have been dinosaurs and vice-versa.
- The Tower of Babel was a real event, and it accounts for the diversity we now see in humans throughout the world. It also explains why we don't all the speak the same language.
- Forget science, the Bible is the "true history book of the universe."
- The so-called "science" that is accepted throughout the world and in leading universities is just plain wrong.
- Astrophysicists are simply wrong when they claim that there are galaxies billions and trillions of light years away.
- The science behind radio carbon dating is flawed.
- Fossilization occurs quickly, no need to think in terms of millions and millions of years.
- James Ussher, whose calculations in the 17th century showed that Day 1 of creation occurred on October 23, 4004 BC, was accurate, logical and reasonable.
- Darwin, and his elegant theory of natural selection, was just plain wrong...after all "evolution is JUST a theory."
- Creationism, or at least intelligent design (ID) should be on equal footing with science-based explanations about life on earth.
- Public schools should be required to teach both.
- All of the evidence for billions and billions of years, the distance of stars, the orbits of comets, the adaptations and changes in species who appear to be related, modern convergence of geology, biology, physics and chemistry, is wrong even though the great majority of scientists agree.
- Man was created in the image of God...he is not a primate, he is not an animal, and instead he is the star and culmination of creation.
- Life on earth was most definitely NOT some random event.
- They provide 14 reasons why we should conclude that the earth is young: http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/2005/06/01/evidence-for-young-world
Those who accept the views of 'creation science' must use a strange, twisted pretzel logic to arrive at their beliefs. They build straw men to represent 'science' and 'theories' and then they try to attack those views often with a 'science' that can be dismantled by middle school students.
They start with a presupposition, rummage through and find 'facts' which seemingly support their assumptions, and ignore the true science which has been in place for generations and which continues to build and marginalize pseudoscience and fringe 'science.'
"It is written in scripture" they tell you, and thus they believe. And they believe because it is written.
This circular logic doesn't fly in the modern laboratory, worldwide field expeditions, and world class universities.
'Creation science' does not meet the rigors of modern science. 'Creation science' is an oxymoron.
“I learned very early the difference between knowing the name of something and knowing something.”
― Richard P. Feynman
"The more limited one's understanding of science, the more that scientists resemble masters of the occult, and the more that paranormal phenomenon seem likely to reflect undiscovered scientific truths."
"No, no, baby, I can't tell you why..."
In Sam Cooke's classic hit "Wonderful World," he sang "Don't know much about history, don't know much biology. Don't know much about a science book, don't know much about the french I took." People, in general, don't know that much about physics. With its symbols, its strange words and its long, complex equations it can be a daunting subject.
Famed American theoretical physicist and Caltech teacher, Richard Feynman, taught a course in physics for students who did not plan on becoming scientists. His book "Six Easy Pieces" is a masterpiece that uses plain, everyday language to describe the seeming mysteries and wonder of the subject that so intrigued him. He would speak with wonder and excitement about what takes place in the hidden world of the very very small parts of the atom and the very very large parts of the galaxy.
Most people don't take the time to study modern physics, and, as a result, too many people still think along the lines of someone living in the 17- or 1800s when it comes to explaining what takes place in the physical world. We may hear the terms quantum, density matrix, Black Holes, Schrödinger equation, E = mc2, or Higgs boson and think we have an idea, but usually we're wrong.
Because of this lapse in knowledge, we often fall for words which sound all "science-y" and for explanations that use lofty terminology.
My martial arts acquaintances who practice no-touch knockouts, pressure-point fighting, Reiki healing, and other 'energy work' are among the worst culprits in using vague, scientific-sounding language to disguise fraud, suggestion, and what used to be called Mesmerism.
In case you haven't heard of Mesmer, you've probably at least heard the term "mesmerizing." As author Wendy Kaminer explains it:
"In the 1700s, Franz Anton Mesmer drew upon nascent understandings of electricity to explain the alleged therapeutic power of animal magnetism. Mesmer, a physician, claimed that a universal force, or fluid, coursed through our bodies and the atmosphere. He posited that illness resulted from fluid imbalances or obstacles to its flow, and preached that exposure to magnets could correct the flow and restore the patient's vital balance. In some cases, it seemed, a healer could effectively harness the vital force within his own body and effect a cure: Mesmer purported to heal people simply by pointing his finger at them, often inducing convulsions, which gradually subsided as the patients apparently recovered."
One of the first science-based skeptical investigations took a hard look at Mesmerism back in the day, with none other than Ben Franklin in attendance. What did they determine? They debunked the whole thing, showing that it was simply the Placebo effect in action: People would first believe, and THEN they would receive what felt like a wave of power, a force of healing.
Here's how Mark Twain described it:
"No one doubts--certainly not I--that the mind exercisesa powerful influence over the body. From the beginning oftime, the sorcerer, the interpreter of dreams, the fortune-teller, the charlatan, the quack, the wild medicine-man, the educated physician, the mesmerist, and the hypnotisthave made use of the client's imagination to help them in
their work. They have all recognized the potency and avail-ability of that force. Physicians cure many patients with abread pill; they know that where the disease is only a fancy,the patient's confidence in the doctor will make the breadpill effective."
What most people don't realize is that scientists actually know to a very precise detail what goes on at the microscopic level. With super colliders, or particle accelerators, which use electromagnetic fields to fire off charged particles at near the speed of light, they can detect and measure the smallest parts of the universe.
Unlike New Age healers and 'energy workers,' scientists know exactly to which they speak when they use terminology such as 'energy' or 'quantum' or 'mass.' It is not some nebulous term, but in fact is very specific.
It comes down to this: Scientists are able to explain what goes on at the molecular, and even at the sub-atomic level.
I like to use the mnemonic "SP.A.M." to help me remember that molecules are made up of atoms, and atoms are made up of smaller particles. Whenever I ask someone what takes place at the molecular level, I am trying to determine if they know what they are talking about, or if they are merely throwing around terminology to make it seem that they have a clue.
I bet you'll never guess what usually takes place.
The following, while not an actual conversation, is a compilation of real conversations I have had with real people about using chi/qi/ki, healing, faith, pressure point fighting, no-touch knockouts, Reiki, Therapeutic Touch, and other unique 'energy work.' I will use their words as accurately as possible, and when there are more than one word to describe the phenomenon or action, I will place those words within a parenthesis.
Note: I am not making any of this up.
Ron Goin: Hello, and thanks for taking the time to speak with me.
Energy Worker: You're welcome. I'm eager to share.
RG: Before we begin discussing the specifics, can you demonstrate what it is that you do?
EW: Sure, I will get (a volunteer/one of my students/disciples/seminar attendees) to come up here. First I'm going to do some (deep breathing/preparatory movement exercises) to invigorate the (chi/qi/ki/energy).
RG: Is that sort of like stoking a fire?
RG: So, where does this energy come from? And if I may ask, why do you need to stoke it or awaken it?
EW: It's (ever-present throughout the universe/it is natural and in all things, both animate and inanimate/it flows within all living creatures). Although it's there all the time, it's like (flipping on a light switch/turning on the kettle/shaking up a carbonated beverage/heating a snack in the microwave). You need to activate it.
RG: Will it work if it's not activated?
EW: Of course it will. But it flows in me and around me, and sometimes it's me who needs to get activated (chuckle/smile/dead serious look). Okay, I'm ready. I will (touch 3 points on this person's body...here, here, and...here, and when I do he will go unconscious as if he had been knocked out/I will move my hands near him, and when I do he will go unconscious/I will wave my hands near him, and when I do he will feel relaxed and pain-free/I will move my hands near him and detect where he has energy blockages, and I will then be able to remove that blockage and reinvigorate the flow of his chi/ki/qi/energy).
Note: It is here that the person will often (use soft, New Age music/defused lighting/a gong/chanting/close his/her eyes). I then witness some seemingly miraculous things. People (drop to the floor/go into convulsions/slip into unconsciousness requiring resuscitation/go limp as if they are a piece of spaghetti in boiling water, getting al dente).
RG: So, what just happened?
EW: I (healed this person/I helped this person relax/I knocked this person out/I felt/manipulated his/her chi/qi/ki/energy).
RG: How did you do it?
EW: Honestly? I (don't know/I can't explain it/I don't have time to explain it to someone who hasn't taken my course/I refuse to explain it to outsiders/I refuse to try to use 'scientific'/'medical' terminology because that field is corrupt/biased/unimaginative).
RG: If you don't know how it works, or if you are unwilling to explain it, then how could someone come along and validate what you do. It could just be hocus pocus, or hypnosis or suggestion.
EW: The proof is in the pudding...let's just ask our volunteer to describe the sensation.
Note: It is at this point that the (very relaxed/stunned/woozy/terribly excited) volunteer describes what he/she felt/experienced. It was like (being electrocuted, but in a pleasant way/it was like drifting down into a relaxing whirlpool/it was like invisible hands kneading me/it was as if some magic force was moving upon me).
RG: But, in science, it must be objective, replicable, otherwise it's something other than science. It has to be able to be validated. It needs to meet the definition of falsifiable...if you can't theoretically prove it false, or test it, then it's not a real event. It simply takes place in one's mind.
EW: It happens at the quantum level. Haven't you heard that all energy is matter and all matter is energy? Einstein proved that. It happens at the quantum level/it's a vibrational phenomenon).
RG: Do you what those words even mean? You can't just use fancy words in ways they were never intended to try and prove what it is you do.
EW: The (mind is powerful/imagination is real/world of science is flawed/medical philosophy of the West is too hung up on the physical/power of the universe is too much for humans to grasp). When you turn on your (television set/computer) you don't know how it works, you just set back and enjoy it. I (can't explain how it works/don't have time to explain it/am unable to explain it to someone who won't accept it).
RG: Could you do what you did to that volunteer to anyone? Could you do it to one of my students or to me or to some random stranger?
EW: It's not like a machine. I can't turn it on just like that. If you (bring in negative energy/lack faith/resist the energy) it may not work.
RG: Okay, you can't explain it. You can't make it work on just anyone. In fact, it may not work every single time on everyone. But you still believe it's valid?
EW: Not all medicines work, not all treatments work. Even modern Western medicine will vouch for that.
RG: But in double-blind testing, the medicine or treatment must be proven to be more effective than just chance, and there are statistical measures to validate their claims. It's not a flip of the coin or a roll of the dice.
EW: (shakes head/looks down at the floor/face palms/shows disgust) You just don't get it, do you?
RG: Nope. I don't. I don't get it at all.
Note: This is when they will quote some (scripture/New Age author/prophet/fictional movie character.
Kris pitches a quick one at Marc right at the top of the show — workplace violence. Marc zigs when you thing he is going to zag on the back story of workplace violence. The reasons why the numbers for violence look the way they do, what constitutes real violence – contrary to what the scientists of the world have to say about that. And no easy answers as to where we are going to be in ten years as the lines of perceived violence and real violence are blurred by statistics, incomplete numbers, and non-realistic agendas.
"Natural selection didn't design us to believe only true things, so we're susceptible to certain kinds of falsehood."Robert Wright
Please, my friend, sit down. We need to talk. Here, take a shot of brandy...you'll need it once we're through. There are things that you need to know, that we ALL need to face up to. It's about time the truth came out. What I'm about to tell you may be shocking and upsetting. You will probably hate me when it's over, but I feel obligated to tell you nonetheless. Here's a box of Kleenex, don't be embarrassed if you get emotional. No one's judging.
Okay, I don't know how to say it other than to just come right out and say it.
First of all some soft ball, slow pitch facts: 1. There is no Santa Claus. 2. No Easter Bunny. 3. Not even a Tooth Fairy. Maybe you knew these things already. If so, then we're off to a good start. If not, I'm sorry to be the one who had to break it to you. Childhood beliefs are precious, and they shatter so easily. It was easy to believe our parents. They were so full of parental love for us, and that's why pretty presents would magically just show up in the middle of the night. They weren't trying to trick you...they did it because they wanted special occasions to feel magical and special for you, to give you some fond memories of your childhood. They did it out of love, and you'll probably do it for your own kids some day.
You doing okay?
Okay, on to the tougher items...here's a tough one for you. Ghosts do not exist. Sure, there are tons of TV shows where 'hunters' or 'busters' use night vision lenses and mysterious technology to try to capture evidence of their existence. They'll use a 'medium' or a 'psychic' to try and communicate, and they usually 'pick up' on the presence of evil or suffering or pain. Sometimes they'll feel a drop in temperature or see movement or feel a feathery tickle on the back of their neck. But guess what? They're making it all up. They're pulling your leg. In some cases the people are just fantasizing or have a rich imagination. They're the harmless ones. Others are frauds trying to trick and manipulate people. They get some financial gain out it. Get this...you CAN'T be an 'expert' on a something that doesn't exist. There is no evidence. What they try to pass as evidence doesn't hold up in any rational, critical thinking, scientific analysis. We might think we hear something or see something in the dark, but guess what? We are 'programmed' to see and hear things...we wouldn't have survived as a species if we couldn't be hypervigilant for the growling tiger or the hungry hyenas, even seeing one where one didn't exist. It was safer to get a false positive, and act as if one was out there in the dark, ready to pounce.
Same goes for Bigfoot. He's been seen in practically every state of the USA, and in several countries all around the world. But there's no solid, scientific evidence. Just hearsay or anecdotes. Often it's just some joker trying to play a trick on somebody else, dressing up in a suit, trying to sell a 'corpse' on the internet or something like that. Again, it's usually just some fraudster trying to raise some quick cash or have a laugh at our expense.
You doing okay? You need a break?
Okay, I'm glad you're hanging in there. Next up? No mermaids. I know that 'documentary' looked real, but it was all a big ratings gimmick. The people in the video aren't who they say they are, and the whole theory has been debunked by marine biologists.
We could lump in some other things right about now: Loch Ness? Nope. Dinosaurs living in the jungle? Uh uh. Atlantis? Nah. Let 'em go, my friend, just let 'em go.
Here's where we start getting touchy, and you might start to get irritated. Please, bear with me.
People who claim to have telekinetic powers are lying to you. It's a farce not a force. Star Wars ain't real. They can't move something with their mind, not without the intervention of some modern technology. They can't read your mind, tell your future, and tell you about ancient lives you once lived. They can't remotely view some faraway place or object just by closing their eyes and using the power of their mind. If they say they can, steer clear. They just might be insane.
They can't hurt you with their mind either or make predictions about the future. Shamans throughout prehistory, and in remote villages even today, manipulate villagers pretending to become possessed by gods or spirits or animals. Some modern 'prophets' or 'fortune tellers' will try these same old, tired tricks, with a few making a kazillion bucks along the way with books and DVDs and seminars and TV shows. They may sincerely believe they are really doing it, going into a trance or going on a vision quest, or 'channeling' some master from another galaxy or another dimension. But they can't do it. They can guess, and odds are every now and then they'll get a hit. They'll predict a catastrophic natural event...an earthquake, or tsunami, or typhoon, or volcano. But they usually become more specific AFTER the event is over. Before it occurs they'll be vague, with lofty, coded language, subject to much interpretation. They won't tell us anything specific, helpful, like how to live in peace or how to cure cancer or find or create potable drinking water.
They most certainly cannot communicate with the dead. They can't see the dead, talk to the dead, or hear what the dead are desperately trying to say. They're lying to you, probably trying to get a 'love offering' or 'donation' from you.
And finally, there is no chi, ki, qi, or whatever you want to call it. There is no force beyond what physics can detect. Oh sure, there my be physical forces not yet detected or not yet fully explained with mathematical precision or absolute certainty. What takes place at the very smallest part of the universe, deep inside the atom, is different from the forces at work in the vast, expanding universe. There may even be other universes, with ours being one of merely billions. The same physical principles at work in our own universe may be slightly different, and operate differently, in those other universes. They are probably all connected somehow, and it may be that in our lifetimes someone will come up with an elegant formula, a theory of everything.
But non physicists can't just come along and use scientific terminology to try to rationalize their B.S. Quantum this or 'energy' that is just babble, just made up jargon they use to confuse you. They follow the old mantra, "If you can't dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with B.S."
When someone claims they can move you or hurt you or make you go unconscious with a light touch, a series of touches at certain strategic parts of your body, or even with no touch at all, or when they claim that they can feel your aura, detect the presence of disease or injury and even heal your ailments, or that they can remove or cast out demons or evil spirits within you or clear some 'blockage' that interrupts the flow of life force within you, they are lying to you. They are merely using the power of suggestion, an ancient phenomenon.
We are the products of an unimaginably long evolution. Our brains are simply not 'designed' to filter out all of the B.S. that comes slogging through. In fact our brains haven't yet caught up to the 21st century...they are still way back on the African savannah, not really even ready for modern times, modern problems and modern technology.
A charismatic, intense person can come along like Starbuck, Burt Lancaster's character in The Rainmaker, and sell us something we desperately need, a pipe dream like in The Iceman Cometh...maybe it's rain during a drought, a copper bracelet to help with arthritis, or a special magical lightning rod like in Ray Bradbury's classic Something Wicked This Way Comes. Maybe they try and sell us something we really don't want like the real estate in Glengarry Glen Ross. Perhaps they'll try to convince us to believe in a bad cause, or even make us think they have some power over our minds, spirits or bodies. But they don't. In fact, we don't even have a 'spirit.'
We may wake up and wonder why we gave that guy money we didn't have, or we'll wonder how we got roped into some crazy deal or social obligation. But we're easily tricked, easily duped. We have to learn and to train our brains to filter the B.S., detect the baloney, to say NO and mean it when someone lies to us or tries to convince us that the Gremlin is a Cadillac, that the Pinto is a Lincoln and that Angels protect us as we sleep.
We have to be a little more like the folks from Missouri, believing it only when we see it, or accepting it only when the evidence is solid and confirmed.
I hope we're still friends. I hope I haven't offended you, but to quote from Dan Hill's hit song, that over-the-top pop favorite, an earworm if ever there was one, "Sometimes When We Touch", "I'd rather hurt you honestly than mislead you with a lie."
Lawrence opens the show with a few tips for those of you that think that you have a martial arts book in you. What you might want to consider regarding content and the two questions that he says that you need to be able to answer before you start such a project. In the middle of the show, both Lawrence and Kris talk about how smooth is fast (and teaching slow makes the difference). Deacon Jones! and how one man changed the NFL with a simple karate technique. Do you want to know The Kimo rules of life? A Hawaiian Rules of life that Kris stumbled across on the web – and thought was pretty good, so a special share. And Numkucking!
"From my place at the front of the room I have complete responsibility to speak clearly and with fearless honesty. I accept full responsibility for communicating with my students and for seeing to it that the message does get through.
But that 100% responsibility on my shoulders does not lighten the student's responsibility at all.
The student has a responsibility to actively participate in the learning process, which can include making the instructor explain unclear ideas, or challenging questionable concepts, or asking how to integrate apparent contradictions. No matter how dedicated the instructor, in the long run, self-education is the only kind of education there is..."
Here's the way I see it. I will assume 100% responsibility. If I am the teacher it is 100% my responsibility to be understood. And if I am the student, it is 100% my responsibility to understand. These percentages and the concepts of teaching and learning, the relationship of teacher to student are not exact realities. A huge amount of every interaction you have with other people is being created in your head. Humans don't deal, almost ever, with objective reality. We ascribe meanings from our own histories, and interpretations from our own internal connections to everything we hear and everything we see.
You can and do control this process. A fairly large amount of it you can control mindfully, consciously. And some you can only influence. Can I learn anything perfectly, 100%? Of course not. And are there teachers that can affect how much I learn? Absolutely. So is shouldering 100% responsibility even possible?
But here's the thing. If I delegate responsibility, if I say I'll meet the teacher halfway, I now become dependent. If the teacher only gives 25% I will fail. I will be waiting at the halfway point and he will be waiting at the quarter point and we will never meet. If I commit to making the journey all the way, with or without the teacher, I will get there. I will get there very fast with a good teacher and slow with a shitty teacher, but I will get there.
And there is both what Kai would call 'agency' in this and power. Agency is your autonomy. As described above, anything you delegate, any responsibility you shirk creates a dependency. It removes choices from your hands. If you don't procure your own food, you don't get to decide what to eat. If you can't procure your own food, you have given up 100% of your agency and other people get to decide whether you eat.
It's a mental trick, assuming 100% responsibility, but there is power in it. Agency is control is power is choices. Like the concept of "100% responsibility" there is no absolute power. You cannot prevent bad things from happening and most aspects of your life are influenced profoundly by other people you cannot control... but that makes it more, not less important to assume control. The less power you have the more you need to use it wisely, the more foolish and dangerous it is to give some away.
One last note, for the self-defense world. I occasionally hear that "Women should not be taught to be cautious, men should be taught not to rape." I agree with the last part. But the entire thing is phrased as a false sort, as if there are only two options. Moreover, the first part of the statement... for someone to not be taught anything is to assume you have the right to remove or deny someone power. Never let anyone take your power, no matter how well-meaning they might be.