Serendipity, and good friends. Finding out the seminar was sold-out and possibly over-booked was like a splash of cold water. Turning people away violated all my Irish hospitality genes, yet doing serious brawling, even at the low level necessary when you don’t know everyone’s background can get really dangerous when crowded…
Kris came through. Like a hero. One of his students manages a club. Phone calls were made. E-mails sent. And Saturday morning we got busy in a nightclub with two bars and chicken wire separating the sections. It felt more than appropriate.
If you were there, you know if you liked it or not. The feedback at the end was good. The lawyer said I didn’t mess up anything. The karate instructor with 30+ years of teaching said he was stealing some drills. Bobbe said I wasn’t nearly the asshole he was expecting (paraphrased, very paraphrased)… I was happy and tired and my voice was shot.
But… but… and this is a very good bad thing-- there was so much more to cover. K had wanted me to at least mention the little weapon awareness drills that I do at home. We talked only briefly about some of the Principles*. Discussed the legalities of self-defense but ran out of time before the nuances, like factors and circumstances or even levels of threat and force. Mentioned Permission briefly but didn’t touch on Awareness or Initiative as training paradigms. Never got to power generation at all, much less the short range power I love (and we even had the taped-up telephone books).
The only thing that came up about groundfighting was tossing a brick to those who wound up there anyway. Realized that to really do justice to avoidance/evasion/de-escalation would take a day all by itself.
It’s all good. The stuff we missed seems important, but the stuff we covered was important as well. There wasn’t a lot of dead time. Even the water breaks were times to watch videos or listen to lectures (seven stages, legalities, types of attacks, stuff like that).
It was organic as well. I knew where I had to start and had a few things that were on a checklist, but for the rest, without knowing it, the class supplied the clues. Timing in a real fight came up because a few were unconsciously working sparring and not assault. Not only is the difference important, but sparring timing in a drill is actually a form of compliance, and it allows things to work that don’t. Range and negative space came up because of the people who were attacking arms without attacking structure. The talk on stacking damage doesn’t come up very often, but it did here. That’s a sign that there were some pretty skilled practitioners.
There’s more. So much more to play with and learn. Core fighting. Power chains. Negative space. Agreements. There is always more.
But, highest compliment of all, the students got permission to (safely) play with environmental fighting. Water bottles aren’t just impact weapons, they can penetrate as well. Some chairs are too heavy to lift and use as weapons but can be angled into a threat. The bungee cord blocking off the bar back isn’t quite long enough to strangle someone on the ground. That was all stuff that they showed me, thinks that the attendees discovered by playing.
It was a very good day.
*Principles in the sense of my big list of what makes other things work.