Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The art of fighting with out fighting

I had the honor of reading an early copy of Rory Miller’s book “7” (I think it has a different title now).  Fantastic book, which really got me thinking about how martial art is taught.  I want you all to buy the book when it comes out and I don’t want to give anything away or step on Rory’s intellectual property.  But as the name of the book indicates there are seven basic principles to dealing with violence.  As I see it most training programs (mine included) focus almost solely on one and pays only lip service to the other six.  Again not to give anything away, lets use an often quoted verse from “Meditations on violence” to make my point.

“It is better to avoid than run, better to run than deescalate, better to deescalate than fight, better to fight than die”

Good programs spend a lot of time on fighting and not dying.  But what about the rest?  I have quoted that line above 100’s of times but I have never had my students practice avoiding, running, or de-escalation.  It goes something like this:

“It is better to avoid than run, better to run than deescalate, better to deescalate than fight, better to fight than die…O.K. so when you get into a fight you do this, that, the other  - Hiyaa JUDO CHOP!!!!”

If we tell our students to Avoid, run, deescalate, but never practice avoiding, running, or de-escalation and we teach them they shouldn’t get into fights but spend a ton of time teaching them how to fight are we really giving them permission to run?  Are we conditioning them to see fighting as the only option?  People will always believe actions over words.  The way I see it, that is like talking to your daughter about abstinence, then handing her a condom and some KY.  “Have fun on your date be home by 10, I love you honey.”

Well that is about to change.  I am developing a series of 3 seminars using “7” as a text book.  The goal is not only to have a better understanding of the seven concepts academically, but to actually practice those concepts tactically to supplement regular Dojo training.  While not a prerequisite for training at my Dojo, knowledge of the material will be on all kyu / dan tests making it mandatory.  Although geared for my students I will make these seminars open to anyone who wants to attend.

I have included two you tube videos for illustrative and entertainment purposes.  The first, Bruce Lee is a true pacifist.  He chose not to fight in order to spare the other dude’s life (when two tigers fight one dies…the other is injured).  The second, Johnny is forced into pacificism because if not he would get his ass kicked.  In the web, whom does God favor more the spider or the fly?  Who really needs to master the art of fighting with out fighting?  Bruce Lee or Johnny?  We all need to master that art but I would postulate that it is even more critical for beginning  / inexperienced students.  The art of fighting with out fighting will allow them to live long enough to avoid violence because they want to not necessarily because they have to

1 comment:

  1. Kasey-
    The more I do this, the more it seems that scenario training is THE way to prove the power of leaving, running and talking-- and peer juries are critical to getting students to use their martial skills in tandem with their judgment.

    But it takes good role-players. really good ones who aren't afraid to lose and are willing to let the students succeed even if success doesn't look like they expected.