Monday, January 28, 2008


It seems that sometimes when much is going on, there is less time to write about it. As far as the need to write, to get stuff out of my system, I never feel that when in the midst of things. It is after, when the stupid little monkey mind starts whining for meaning and connection that sometimes the need to write wells up.

How big a risk are you willing to take? How big of stakes and for what? Ever notice that the stakes you gamble for (whether money in cards, your life climbing or security with a career change) are never the reasons you take the risk (the rush for the true gambler, the moment of purity for the climber, to get something new or get away from something old in the career change). So separate the stakes from the reason- people usually get into fights because of ego not survival... and strangely, in self defense, things sometimes fail because self image beats survival: people who know what they need to do can't, because they aren't that kind of person. Rationally, sitting in your comfortable den, you know that should never happen, but it does. Quite frequently. Even to people who don't believe it could happen.

Discretionary time- one of the big differences between an amateur and a professional in any Emergency Services job, is the ability to recognize when action is unnecessary. The classic is EMTs: rookies run to the scene, veterans look for the fallen power lines. Generally, if you aren't taking damage, you think. If you are taking damage, you move. The ability to recognize when you have discretionary time is a powerful skill. Working with a true pro, he sometimes seem to slow everything down by pure force of will, but it's not that- he or she just recognizes when you can slow down and takes full advantage of the time. (Thanks to Gordon Graham for the concept many years ago. I don't think he planned on anybody in his audience using it in the middle of a fight, but it works.)

Speaking of famous people and people who should be: Mauricio Machuco in Montreal. Amazing man, experienced fighter. Everything you could want in a brother or when you need backup right now. He's working on applying the dynamics of Steven Covey's "Seven Habits of Highly Successful People" to survival fighting. Eerie, sometimes, how universal 'effective' can be.

Always watch for failure. When you see some one fail and can see the mistake, especially if it is obvious and the stakes are high... Forget it. I'm mincing words here, trying to be nice and non-specific. Let's try it again: When somebody screws up and dies and the reason is obvious (he should have fired; he should have searched better; he should have practiced the draw while sitting in the car; he should have expected...) there's a damn good chance it was obvious to him, too. There's a damn good chance that he was just as well or better trained than you. Just as smart or smarter... on and on. You have to be aware that shit in the moment is not like watching it on video. It does something, many things, to your brain. Be ready for that, as ready as you can.

We built a big snow man, almost seven feet tall and had a snowball fight and let the dogs run in the goat pasture. Across the gully, the trees were covered in snow and shrouded by light mist. The kids are out sledding now.

1 comment:

Kai Jones said...

Don't dismiss another's failure as inapplicable to you, that is.

The fire alarm at my office this week was a good example. It was not a drill--we always get notice of those. Feeling the panic and urgency, but struggling to do the things I had chosen and rehearsed (like put on my backpack bugout bag, and taking the stairs carefully so as not to fall) was good practice.