Saturday, February 20, 2016

Finding the edge

My first cop gig was in a small town up north.  I remember the regional SWAT team up there had a T-shirt that read  - If you aren't on the edge you are taking up too much space.

Rory Miller often says the first 2 things a new SWAT team does is make a patch, and make a T- shirt :)
That tends to check out.

That phrase -  If you aren't on the edge you are taking up too much space, has stuck with me all these years.

Which brings me to today's topic - Finding the edge

Pun intended and shameless plug for SOMICO Knives

Finding the edge can have multiple meanings:
The boundary line / boarder
An advantage

The boundary line / boarder

Finding the edge of working / training hard enough, with a restive opponent to achieve the positive results only that type of training can provide.

There are somethings that can only be learned this way.  Somethings about yourself you can only come to know this way.

My oldest daughter has been reading the Harry Potter series.  As soon as she is done with a book we watch the movie.  Recently we just watched "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire"

Without going into a movie / book review, Harry finds himself competing in the prestigious Tri- Wizard Cup.

While we were watching this my oldest asked me, "Can you imagine what it must be like waiting while one by one your friends leave, then it is your turn to face a dragon, alone."

I told her I didn't I didn't need to imagine it, I wrestled.  I know exactly what that is like.

In Harry Potter a dragon was used as a metaphor for overcoming your fear.  Being able to perform under pressure.

There are somethings that can only be learned this way.  Somethings about yourself you can only come to know by "facing a dragon"

Later this week an article exploded on the Internet.

Royce Gracie believes competitive jiu-jitsu doesn't help with self defense

Clutch the pearls!!! How dare the master say such a thing!

It is actually a pretty decent interview.  However, almost like a religious or political debate the article triggered a lot of monkey brain responses which blocked out good information from differing perspectives.

Competitive Jujitsu doesn't help with self defense?
Competitive Jujitsu that has evolved to game unique rule sets does not improve performance in anything out side those rule sets.

Boot scooting, guard pulling, "donkey" guard, stalling for time.  These are things that are likely to get you killed

Gaming the rules (I hope this video works it is from Face book, I could not find it on YouTube)

Competitive Jujitsu doesn't help with self defense?
Yes it does:
Any competition, regardless of the rule set, in which you stand alone against a restive opponent intent on defeating you, helps prepare you for self defense.

I would go so far as to say that someone with no self defense training, but sport competition experience against someone who may be willing to hurt them in order to win has as good if not better chance at surviving a physically violent interpersonal conflict than someone that has excellent self defense training but has never been tested.

Clutch the pearls!!! How dare Kasey say such a thing!

"If your sword is too short, add to its length by taking one step forward"- anonymous
Put up or shut up

If you can't muster the courage to engage in a sport competition you know when and where and how (the rules) is going to take place, how in the hell are you going to muster the courage to counter an ambush attack?

I'm not talking about a typical monkey dance meet me after school / lets take this out side macho bullshit fight.  That is not self defense, that is mutually combative assault, and really just lame.

I'm talking about actual self defense.

The key is to find that edge.  The ideal ratio of resistance to potential injury.

If you are looking to compete, let me take a minute to drop a shameless plug for USA Combat Wrestling

USA Combat Wrestling offers a rule set that that allows you to gain the positive self defense aspects of competition without ingraining dangerous habits that would get you killed outside of competition.

Even more important than that, USA Combat Wrestling is run by, and filled with good people.

If you are not interested in competing, that is fine.  It does not change the fact that there are somethings that can only be learned this way.

So, restive drills, games and pressure tests have to be part of training to induce the "facing a dragon" learning.

We train to protect ourselves from being damaged by an enemy. Statically, if you train on a regular basis, there is a way higher probability of being damaged in training than by a criminal attack.

That is pretty dumb.

That can be mitigated (for the most part*) by slowly boiling the frog.  Gradually increasing the intensity of the drills.  Building a rapport with the crew you train with.  Until you can go hard at full speed and everyone goes home with all their parts working the same way they were before class started.

Again, just like competition the key is find the edge, that ideal ratio of resistance to potential injury.

Don't roll this way with people you don't know and have not developed trust with.
That is why I made a point to mention the good people at USA Combat Wrestling.

It wouldn't be February if I didn't share this picture from 2008 of my broken leg and dislocated ankle

If someone is willing to maim you using a technique that is illegal in the rule set you agreed to before hand to win a "friendly" roll at practice, they are not good people.

That is the wrong side of the resistance to potential injury ratio.  It is much harder to protect against a criminal attack from crutches.

If a school has an institutional culture  that results in this type of injury on a regular basis, that is not a positive environment to learn anything.

I steal this quote from Rory Miller a lot.
"First, you have to make an emotionally safe place to do physically dangerous things.  Then you have to make a physically safe place to do emotionally dangerous things."

If you aren't on the edge you are taking up too much space.
Find good people you trust.  Find the edge of the active resistance to potential injury ratio.  Bump up against it and push it further (safely, intelligently) every chance you get.
Then you will find an edge over everyone that has never had to "face a dragon".

Along those lines I will leave you with this.  My sophomore year of Wrestling was rough.  There is a phrase used in Judo, you win or you learn.  Let's just say that that year I learned a lot.  For Christmas that year my Dad typed this, had it framed and gave it to me.

 “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

― Theodore Roosevelt

Train hard, train smart, be safe.
Find the edge

P.S. Even when you find good people and develop a rapport and positive training environment, sometimes shit just happens.  Usually right after you give the speech about being smart and safe :)

You don't know the edge unless you push against it.  Sometimes it pushes back

1 comment:

  1. Everyone pretty much knows that I'm not a fan of tournaments BUT that is for all the focus being put on the wrong aspects. There is too much about ego building and status seeking. This blog talks about the proper benefits of competition (and good solid training). Thank you!