VioDy West

Rory Miller's Blog - Thu, 2016-03-24 16:24
VioDy West in Oakland is coming up in three weeks, and Keelin, the coordinator, ordered me to write about it. So here goes--

Long ago, somewhere in the mists of time, Kasey Keckeisen, a SWAT leader, sniper and training coordinator thought it would be really cool to have a couple of his favorite SD writers come out to his neck of the woods and play. One was Marc MacYoung. The other was me. Kasey was an experienced officer and a lifetime martial artist, so he wasn't just a host, he was a third instructor.

It was the seminar where we unveiled the first public ConCom class. Civilians got to train with the local SWAT in environmental fighting. It became an annual thing. It's also why I am no longer allowed to name things. (Come on, if you are doing a workshop on Violence Dynamics, you'd call it the VD Clinic too, right?) Over the years, people who originally came as students have stepped up to teach sections-- Randy King taught counter assault and Dillon Beyer* taught power generation last year in Minnesota, and Querencia Fitness did classes on functional strength and training despite age and injuries.

This all happened in Minnesota...

Last year, Keelin suggested a Bay Area version. I assumed (my mistake) Kasey and Marc wouldn't be available. Kasey is a full time officer with limited vacation time, Marc had a host of other concerns. So I floated the idea to two of my favorite people, Terry Trahan and Kathy Jackson. They were in. Then miracles happened and Marc and Kasey could make it as well. So this is what we have:
A six-day seminar covering physical skills including: leverage, power, targeting, fighting by touch, using the environment, ground survival...
Practical skills like ConCom and people watching in the field...
And a few lectures, like threat assessment and legal articulation...
And even a range day, led by Kathy Jackson

Five instructors, and maybe some guests. I know of people flying in from Sweden (Toby!) The UK (Anna!) and Cypress (Dan!) There will be separate OG classes by request... (If you know what OGs are in this context and you are one, contact me for special pricing.)

And the sixth day-- people watching. Small groups. You get to see how a sniper sees architecture and space, how a former criminal sizes up marks, some other stuff I won't go into here.

Keelin has set up a website with more details and sign-ups.
This will be fun.

* Look at the VioDy NextGen on that link.

"In the Real World..."

Rory Miller's Blog - Thu, 2016-03-17 13:04
Thought for the day.
In the martial arts and self-defense, you hear a lot of crap about what will and won't work in the "real world." Everything is as real as it is, and no more. All things are what they are, and all only extrapolate so far. Written about all that before.

So everything happens in the real world, whether it's on the mat, in  a cage, around a poker table, over a chessboard, or in a mass holding cell. None of this is happening in the virtual world. (Yes, I know, you can play video versions of all of these, quit being cute and pay attention.)

Here's the thought. Instead of defining what the "real" world is, look at all the things we say aren't the real world and you notice that they all have the same things in common. When someone says, "that's not the real world," what they mean is a place or endeavor where:

  1. You know the rules and 
  2. The rules are the way the game is really played
Monopoly or chess-- everyone plays by the same rules and if you cheat you forfeit. But college grad goes into business, goes into his first negotiation and gets played--College grad: "That wasn't fair! He lied!"Boss: "Welcome to the real world."
This is a subconscious distinction for people. If it's predictable, it's not the real world. If it's predictable, it doesn't count. And of course it all does count, but only so far. I'm not arguing for the truth of this, mind you, just pleased to have found the words for a nearly universal unconscious distinction. 
This does have some implications.
Even in games with rules, things are never predictable, but the rules are there to limit the unpredictability. In a match, no matter the sport, you can't be sure what your opponent will do, but you can be pretty sure of what he won't do. The boxer won't kick, the the judoka won't punch you in the face, the fencer won't pull a gun.
We teach children through games with rules and the children are punished for cheating. Because we want them to grow up and not be cheaters. We want to condition them to believe that cheating is punished, because your brain equates punished with "doesn't work." This allows them to get along with other adults. This keeps people from screwing each other over. It also makes them patsies when someone else understands that the rules are artificial.
Yes. Artificial. Rules are not real, they are magical spells used to control the behavior of others. And like magic, rules only work on believers.
Because we start kids on rules and social conditioning so young, they all go into the real world carrying around a personal list of largely unconscious personal rules. Rules that control and limit their options, artificial restraints on behavior that can be used against them by anyone who doesn't share the same internal rules.
The fifth implication. The real world is the place where, often, cheating isn't punished, but rewarded. This is the elephant in the room. Cheating works. In the real world.
Unless someone better makes it not work.

Hello world!

Kris Wilder's Martial Secrets - Wed, 2016-03-16 02:59

WordPress へようこそ。これは最初の投稿です。編集もしくは削除してブログを始めてください !


Ron Goin's Blog - Sat, 2016-03-12 18:16
LET IT GO"It's so hard to say goodbye to yesterday."Boyz II Men
For a very brief moment in the late Sixties I toyed around with the idea that Atlantis was a real, historic place, and that it was the source of wisdom, knowledge, and unbelievable technological marvels. The inspiration (or the blame) for this interest was the hit song "Atlantis" by Donovan. 

The song starts off with a long, spoken word segment in which Donovan talks about the god-like beings who populated the island of Atlantis, and who, just before the island was destroyed by natural disasters, went out to "all corners of the Earth."

It was fun using my imagination, trying to see in my mind's eye what Atlantis looked like and what marvelous inventions they had discovered. But, here's the thing, I was a young teenager, just goofing around. I did not seriously believe that Donovan's song was based on factual evidence. I knew that it was all make believe. 

Unfortunately, not everyone has come to this realization.

Take David Hatcher Childress for example. Childress, a "maverick archeologist" who fancies himself a "real life Indiana Jones" wrote the following about Atlantis:

"In the book A Dweller On Two Planets, first dictated in 1884 by Phylos the Thibetan to a young Californian named Frederick Spencer Oliver, as well as in a 1940 sequel, An Earth Dweller Returns, there is mention of such inventions and devices as air conditioners to overcome deadly and noxious vapors; airless cylinder lamps, tubes of crystal illuminated by the night side forces; electric rifles, guns employing electricity as a propulsive force (rail-guns are similar, and a very new invention); mono-rail transportation; water generators, an instrument for condensing water from the atmosphere; and the Vailx, an aerial ship governed by forces of levitation and repulsion."

He's not alone. Lots of people believe that wise men from ancient times were way ahead of us in technology and enlightenment. Or maybe they weren't wise "men" after all. Perhaps they were aliens. 

That's essentially what Raelianism teaches. This movement, philosophy, religion (take your pick) teaches that life on our planet was created long ago by extraterrestrial scientists, or "Elohim." Great men of the past and prophets such as Jesus or Buddha were Elohim.

And don't forget Erich von Daniken, he of the bestselling book Chariots of the Gods, which "proved" that ancient astronauts had visited earth and influenced culture and technology.

There is a general belief--among many people who should know better--that we here in the present are merely rediscovering what our much wiser ancestors had already discovered. These marvelous ancestors were smarter, wiser, and nobler than we are now. They lived in peace and in harmony with nature. They communicated telepathically and had figured out how to rid themselves of war. They were healthy, and they lived long, enriched lives in comfort and splendor. They were sophisticated when it came to advanced mathematics and science, and they may have harnessed unique energy sources beyond our current ability to understand.

Sadly, they were all wiped out. Floods, earthquakes, disease, what have you, erased all but the most vague clues and hints. Seems they couldn't predict the future or figure out how to survive catastrophes.

Looking back to the past for clues on how to face the future is not all bad. We could all learn a thing or two about survival from ancestors who faced down hungry saber tooth tigers and hunted powerful mastodons with primitive weapons.

But the people of the past didn't have all the answers. They managed to perilously cling to life against man and beast, but they didn't know diddly squat about germs and hygiene. If they were severely hurt in battle or mauled taking down game they most likely didn't live very long afterwards. Dirty water and infection probably killed off a good number of the members of any given tribe.

Doesn't matter. There are plenty of people who believed that our early ancestors had a much better diet than we do now, and that they were fitter and healthier and didn't have to bother with weight lifting, gym memberships and treadmills. There is some element of truth to this. When they left the cave each morning to head off to work they weren't sure if they'd make it back home safely or end up as an item on the buffet table.

But we have benefits they couldn't even begin to imagine. We have the knowledge of science and modern medicine to help us navigate through the dangers of modern life. We know how to observe, gather evidence, and use experimentation to figure out problems. We don't have to keep looking to the past to try to figure out how to handle the future.

And that brings us to my point. Shakespeare, in The Tempest, Act 2, scene 1, writes:

     (And by that destiny) to perform an act
     Whereof what's past is prologue; what to come,
     In yours and my discharge.

When most people read this they focus on the three words "past is prologue." They think that the past foretells the future and that if you really want to know what's what or what's next you need to look back on what's already happened.

I disagree. I like what enote says in explaining this scene, "What's already happened merely sets the scene for the really important stuff, which is the stuff our greatness will be made on."(*)

Those people who think that the so-called paleo diet is the way to go are misled. Sure, eating less processed foods may be beneficial. And who could argue with a diet that emphasizes eating more greens? But trying to eat like a paleolithic human misses the fact that a lot of evolution has occurred in the interim, not only to the plants and animals we like to eat but also to our own bodies.

Or to those martial artists who are always trying to figure out what the great men of the past knew about fighting, I want to (and I can't believe I'm actually saying this) tell them what Queen Elsa sang in the movie "Frozen": "Let it go, let it go! Turn away and slam the's time to see what I can do, to test the limits and break through."

So, forget antiquated, outdated training methods. LET IT GO!

First up, KATA, those pre-arranged sequences of complicated, symbolic and even "secret" moves assembled by famous karateka of the past, or those elaborate 'flow drills' used by a lot of modern 'combatives' instructors? 

Let it go. Let your training come alive, and add improvisation. Think in terms of loosely organized action sequences that have built in flexibility and adaptability. I have nothing against patterned responses. They help the practitioner to develop muscle memory. But a little goes a long way. If you must practice patterns, at least make sure you don't practice unrealistic moves that'll get you killed. By the way? They kinda sorta look silly.

ONE-STEP SPARRING, where the attacker throws a punch and then freezes while the defender goes to town with elaborate responses? 

Let it go. Introduce reality into your training. Embrace resistance, chaos, and unpredictability. Attackers don't stand still. You won't be able to execute flawless movements in the heat of battle. There are too many unknowns. Wake up and drink the coffee.

BREAKING, where the practitioner takes approximately fifteen minutes to set up punch or a kick with people who hold a piece or a stack of pieces of wood, or carefully arranges a group of bricks or blocks of ice, so that he or she can demonstrate precision and power? 

Let it go. We're no longer impressed. It'll be unlikely that you can call your shots in a real fight. Look, William Tell, you probably won't have an opportunity to hit a stationary target.

HOLLYWOOD FIGHT SEQUENCES, which are elaborately planned and choreographed, action-filled movements? 

Let it go. Okay, keep them in the movies. They're lots of fun, and, when they're good, the move the story line along and help develop the characters. But trying to do them as part of a demo team at the mall is kinda like false advertising. No one fights like that. Fighting is not a paint-by-numbers, 1-2-3, A-B-C sequence. It's dirty. It's violent. It definitely ain't pretty. If you want to be in the spotlight, join the cast at the dinner theater.

FUNNY SELF-DEFENSE SKITS, which are seen more and more at strip-mall dojos, in which people use props and costumes and silly scenarios to demonstrate, say, a granny defending herself against a gang of thugs?

Let it go. Please. It's embarrassing. And, worse, it's not cute, and it's not even funny.


Let it go. It makes no sense to be moving around and throwing punches and kicks and then stopping the action so that some judges can interpret the force and accuracy of the fighters trajectory and determine if the technique would have (if it was allowed to make contact) injured or even killed the opponent. It's often subjective, interrupts the flow of the action, and bears no resemblance to real fighting. I hope I have made my point.


Let it go. This was so 70s, and like that other fad of the 70s, DISCO, it needs to be swept under the rug and erased from our collective memories. Wanna twirl something? Get a baton and join a marching band.


Let it go. There's scant evidence they ever existed. Even if they did they didn't know magic. They couldn't control minds or disappear in a cloak of invisibility. Want to become a warrior and own the night? Join the Army Rangers!


Let it go. Like the ninja, there isn't much evidence to prove they were real. There is no denying that the guys who dress up and put on shows at tourist attractions are talented as hell. Fit, acrobatic, and amazing. But, it's not real fighting. They bend arrows with their neck muscles. They try to drill holes in their skulls. This probably rarely happens in a real fight.


Let it go. I know lots of guys who like to call themselves warriors. They carry lots of knives, like to teach weapon disarms, and go around in public with guns on their hips. They seem to love violence, and are always itching for a fight. Like to brag about their altercations. Have long stories about brushes with the law, or barfights with bikers, or being "elite." But, here's the thing--I always wonder why they don't enlist. Heck, the Marines are probably still looking for a few good men. Raise your hand, say the oath, and make Sam your Uncle.


Let it go. I have long said ix-nay on the i-chay. I have railed against the charlatans who con people out of their hard-earned money, promising to teach magical, mystical, mysterious techniques to render an attacker unconscious. They have been debunked, but the do not care. They always find some gullible person who wants to believe in 'the force' to fight real or imagined enemies. They show how to use a kiai to stop an attacker dead in his tracks. Or they reveal a secret set of techniques (known to ancient Egyptians or the people of Atlantis) that can cripple a bad guy with little or no force. They are experts at packaging up and selling exquisite bullshit.


Let it go. They believe the world is coming to an end. They believe in natural or man-made catastrophes that will wipe out modern civilization. They may believe in a Biblical Apocalypse or a Zombie plague. They hoard supplies and stockpile weapons. They plan for bugging out when the shit hits the fan. And mostly they're just plain nuts. Don't get me wrong. Preparation makes sense. Having a plan is a sensible idea. Tornadoes, earthquakes, and tsunamis are real worries. An asteroid or comet strike on the earth is feasible. The explosion of a super volcano, like the one under Yellowstone, is not so much an IF as a WHEN. But some of these people WANT it to happen, yearn for the days when they will be among the living, eking it out, battling the neighbors. Avoid them, well, like the plague.


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