Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Demystifying Violence

"You always fear what you don't understand"

Humans give weight to words.  Sometimes that weight prohibits understanding.

Violence is one of those words.  For many violence has an "evil" connotation.

This was highlighted not all that long ago in a discussion among instructors.  One instructor took great strides to make a distinction between "violence" that bad guys use and "force" that professionals use.   Wrapping the justified application of violence in flowery language, romanticizing it.

100% disagree

The discussion of violence today is not all that different than talking about sex in the 50's
Aunt Susan is pregnant...We don't talk about that.
Clearly sex is happening.  It is a natural biological behavior.  We are here today because it happened.

But we don't talk about it.  Because we don't talk about it we don't understand it. always fear what you don't understand.

Make love

A rose by any other name would smell as sweet

If the word violence makes you feel icky.  So icky that you can't use the word.  How are you going to be able to use actual violence.

If you vilify violence (violence is something only bad guys use)  You are building glitches into yourself and the people you train.

Violence is a tool.  Its application can be just, or evil.
If you make it something it is not, if you make it evil in and of itself, then you take that tool away from the just.

You always fear what you don't understand.

How do you make violence less fearful?
You develop an understanding of how evil people use violence.

How do criminals use violence?

Questions are free...Answers cost.

Bruce Wayne traveled the world and became a criminal to understand how criminals use violence.

You don’t need to travel the world

You don’t to need to actually commit crimes

You do need to put yourself in the shoes of a criminal.

The best way I have seen to do this is through Rory Miller's Logic Of Violence presentation.
You can attend live, by clicking HERE

To supplement that experience you can buy this video...

... by clicking HERE

Developing defenses against criminals (people that use violence for evil) makes no sense if you don't understand how criminals attack.

Batman said, “Criminals are a cowardly, superstitious lot.”

A predator will use tactics he has developed to get what he wants from you in the safest surest manor.  This is in no way a “fair fight”.

The predator will take every advantage using speed, surprise and ferocity to prevent you from responding in any way that could be effective in stopping him.

Ritual and rhythm - The hind brain is concerned with survival.  What ever you are doing hasn’t gotten you killed yet  - keep doing it. Modus Operandi (MO)

This is also exactly the way the professionals use "force"

Criminals are human just like the rest of us.
When you come up with your own answers to questions criminals face you begin to see the logic behind their actions.

When their actions make sense they are far less fearful.

Violence is a tool.  Its application can be just, or evil.
Don't let words limit your survival responses.  Be a friend to the wolf, and find the light within the darkness.

The Japanese have a phrase for this as well
Satsujinken - Katsujinken
Life taking sword - Life giving sword
The sword that kills is the sword that gives life

Satsujinken is the "Murdering Sword" which takes the lives of the weak, propagates evil, and eventually destroys one's humanity

Katsujinken is literally the "Life-giving Sword" and embodies all that is righteous: protecting the weak, destroying evil, and cultivating one's own spirit. 

Katsujinken does not mean the absence of killing but "to kill only in the last instance, to eradicate evil and protect the weak". 

It is just a sword, how it is used is entirely up to you.  However, if we allow the narrative to label all swords as evil there will be no sword that gives live. 

Train hard, train smart, be safe...use violence judiciously when necessary, don't let public narrative limit your response

Sunday, March 4, 2018

When the going gets tough

In any physical confrontation there are four factors:

  • You 
  • The Threat
  • Luck
  • The Environment
Personal protection training can be boiled down to improving and mitigating these factors to increase your probability for success.

Looking at the YOU factor, there is an entire industry built around personal improvement.  No particular need for another voice in that field.
However, the Violence Dynamics Team consistently receives questions on mental preparation.

How can I become mentally tough?  How can I prepare for the mental stress of interpersonal violence.

These questions along with some challenges I am facing, got me thinking...

What do you do when things suck?

Things are going to suck from time to time.  That is just life.  However, as the Rabbi in the above video suggested I feel things are supposed to suck.  The suck has a purpose.  The Universe is telling you things need to change.

That suck sensation is instinct.  The Lobster needs to expand.  It is a natural stimulus to change.  
How does one become mentally tough?  Embrace the suck.  The Japanese have a term for this Shugyo 

To ignore the suck, to become comfortable with circumstances that are not right is settling, stagnation.

Stagnation is just a slower form of death.  Which reminds me of my favorite Wolverine quote.

“The key isn’t winning — or losing, it’s making the attempt. I may never be what I ought to be, want to be — but how will I know unless I try?

Sure, it’s scary, but what’s the alternative? Stagnation – A safer, more terrible form of death. Not of the body, but of the spirit.

An animal knows what it is, and accepts it. A man may know what he is — but he questions. He dreams. He strives. Changes. Grows.”

Inspirational memes have their place, but they don't get things done.
How does one become mentally tough? What does one do when things suck?
Stimulus - The Suck Sensation
"A man may know what he is — but he questions."  - Why does this suck?
What can be done to improve this?
  • Develop a plan
  • Work the plan
  • Assess the plan - is this working?
    • If yes continue
    • If no adapt
      • Develop an improved plan
      • Repeat as necessary 

How does one embrace the suck?  How can the suck, suck less?

Stress management:
  • Exercise
    • Not only will this help burn off negative emotions, it will increase positive feelings with the release of endorphins, and you receive all the positive benefits that working out provides

  • Train
    • My new number one new student demographic at the Dojo has become people with high stress life styles that walk in the door because they have an interest in personal protection, but stay because of they grow to love the stress relieving effects of choking folks.

If I didn't have that outlet I'd be lost
  • Eat & Sleep
    • Make sure you body has everything it needs to repair damage and grow.  To be the best version of you while you are facing a challenge.

  • Celebrate small victories.
    • You've made a plan to change.  That plan has steps.  It's a long road.  Allow yourself to be human, celebrate the successful completion of those steps.

    • Don't start down the slippery slope.  When things suck it can be easy to justify drinking, smoking, snorting, eating that negative stimulus away.  Numb the pain.  Like the Rabbi said if the Lobster popped a Percocet every time it felt discomfort, the suck, it would never grow.  Celebrate success, don't try to kill the suck with chemicals.  Its still going to suck the next day.

  • Count your blessings
    • Embrace and cherish the things that don't suck

Without these guys and their mom I'd be lost.

Not everything can be improved.  If the suck sensation continues and no improvements can be made to change that, I believe that is a signal to find a different area to succeed in.

Everyone has gifts and talents.  If a fish has to climb a tree, there is very limited probability for success.  That is going to suck for that fish.  If the fish has a vested interest it can work hard to develop the mechanisms that would allow it to climb a tree, and would be better off for having gone through that process.  However, that fish might just  be better off finding where swimming is needed to succeed and being a super star!

Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson wanted to play basketball.  He got hurt, that sucked.  When he was in physical therapy he discovered that he was very strong and had a natural aptitude for strength sports.

Last week he won the title of the world's strongest man

No one knows the name of a mediocre basket ball player from Iceland.
Everyone knows "The Mountain"

Train hard, train smart, be safe...embrace the suck until its done