Monday, March 26, 2007

Training Towards

Been away for a week. It was a good week of training, working with some superb athletes and instructors. There will be a lot of fodder for future writing, many things to think about.

Many of the best things happened outside of training. I was free for two evenings to meet with an old friend on one night and some people I only knew from on line on the other. The training itself was weird- it was very, very good but at the same time came from a world completely alien to the one I live in. It was like trying to learn how to run a submarine better from jet pilots. The dinners and talking helped put things in perspective.

One of the big problems in self-defense or combatives training is trying to define what we are training for. Different situations require different mindsets and different tactics. If you look at it too small (what do we do for a punch? A jab? A hook? Left? Right? Uppercut?...) it's overwhelming. There are more scenarios and more possible responses than your brain can hold, much less sift through and act on. If you look at it too big, on too grand a scale (the interaction of dynamic energies in this encounter...) you tend to get your ass kicked because damage is always very particular and specific.

In the end you need something very quick and reasonably universal. You need to learn all the little slices of particulars and then digest and forget them. Maybe you need to forget training, too. At least the idea of training for.

Wrapping our heads around this while eating canoli in Santa Clara, Joe Graziano, a Uechika and retired agent, laid it out: a new way to look at the whole training thing. He didn't think about training to any particular task or for any particular thing. He just trained to be better. To be better day by day, incrementally. Always moving slightly closer to a perfection he will can never achieve. Just better.

Better at what? Let that thought go. A little smarter today, a little more aware tomorrow, a little more insightful or flexible or strong down the road...

Because fighting is very, very complex- but so are you. Your complexity is a match for the problem's complexity. Since you can't know and collect exactly what you'll need, just get better. At everything. Not training to a standard or for a problem, training to be. Training towards perfection, a little at a time.

Thanks, Joe.

1 comment:

Mark said...

I've been facing this recently as well.

After spending a lot of years training in 'grade delineated' martial arts; mostly concerning myself with effectiveness as a fighter but also, to a degree, concerned with achieving the belts and the 'stuff' that goes with them and having that as a goal; to now have spent the last 2 years in a martial art that doesn't have grades has made me examine just why the f*uk I put myself though it all! :)

The best answer I've come up with is the same as your friend's: I train to improve myself. Yes; to be a more complete/effective/etc fighter as well, but also to become a better (more complete/effective/etc) person through the discipline and self discovery attached to the process of training, the better fighter part is a kind of by-product, a very important and relevant one though as I also feel that training in a martial art that is missing the martial is missing the point and may not have the same effect.

It's a kind of paradox in that I hope to never have to use the training that has consumed so much of my time and money in acquiring it. But if I had never done it, I wouldn't be the same person I am. Sometimes the journey is more important than reaching the destination maybe...

"On doit exiger de moi que je cherche la vérité, mais non que je la trouve"
One may expect me to search for perfection, but not that I achieve it.
-Denis Didero


sorry if this is long. your post just hit a nerve :)