Saturday, October 13, 2007


Long talk today with Mac, sipping coffee in the autumn sun and talking and thinking. It's always a priveledge- his insight and experience are vast, but that's only a part of it. He looks at problems in different ways, ties them in with different phenomenon than other people might. Talking about an old subject with Mac is new. Talking about a new subject is extraordinary.

He wanted to explore the idea of creating a martial art specifically for and by law enforcement officers. It won't work. Every black belt with a badge has done it or tried to do it to some extent. Too much territory is staked, and it's not really that new anyway, and the very idea triggers scepticism... That said, there are some unique aspects to what we have been teaching our officers over the last years. Not new things, necessarily, but new ways to teach them and new ways to think about fighting, survival, and defensive tactics.

So we thought and talked today about what was critical, what was core, what is unique about our approach and how it could be presented.

The pages of notes I brought were soon over-written. Concepts. Advantages. Lesson plan design. Thoughts on teaching. Thoughts on ranking. Mac focused on core principles, one step deeper than I usually think, trying to get the concept of structure put into words. Structure, if you don't do it, is a way of moving (easiest seen in striking), where the bone and tendon, not the muscle, does the work. Start from structure. Utilizing yours. Disrupting the threat's. The handful of principles that apply universally, and only then moving on to technique... not individual technique, but intuitive classes of technique. You can learn over three hundred named wrist locks, but in the end, there are only three ways to do it, which can be combined into 3x3x3 and compounded... everything else is window dressing. (Or eight ways, if you want the simple version). People literally spend years on locks, but every real thing there is to know can be taught in an hour or less. Same with takedowns. Entries. Striking takes a little longer because there are so many ways to generate power and some compound and some contradict.

It might work. Not as a system or a style. That would be impossible to make unique and would run into ego problems. But we have proven a new way of looking at, thinking and teaching: one that works very well in the chaos of combat (and not just for us, relative rookies have used it with success). It might work.

Agencies are beauracracies- they can't help it. They are like organisms. I wonder sometimes if our agency realizes just how far out we are on the cutting edge of effective teaching, or what they did when they let a small group with probably a hundred years of martial arts training, a thousand+ actual encounters between them and some very unorthodox, practical ways of gaugung success and set them free to design.

What we've done is awesome (modesty check, but I've seen the standard and we are so far beyond that ball park that you can't see it). What we will do has the potential to change verything.

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