Tuesday, June 22, 2010


The thing I like about playing with good people is that you don't need to dummy it down. Some situations suck and if you pretty them up too much, or try to 'program your students for success' when they hit the suckage in real life, they are screwed. Screwed, screwed, screwed.

With good people, you can work the bad scenarios and fail and brainstorm and fail and brainstorm and eventually come up with some things that work. That kind of honest play can save your life. The candy-coated bullshit just makes you feel better, right up until you choke on it and die.

Kasey is good people and has surrounded himself with good people. Marc is extremely questionable people and has spent his entire life around questionable people... which is a perfect environment for acquiring and testing skills. I, of course, have always been an angel: kind, sweet, gentle and innocent...

The particular form of a bad day we were playing with and against was the close range knife assassination. The threat would approach, weapon out of sight, and seize with the free hand (arm, neck, collar, head, hair) while simultaneously giving a bunch of sewing-machine style thrusts to the bladder, kidneys or whatever he thought would be most satisfying. ("How many lethal blows does it take?" "How many to be lethal? Or how many to get the emotions out of your system?' "Good point.")

Coming from different backgrounds (martially: judo/jujutsu; aikido; and indonesian/kung fu. Otherwise: Jail officer/CERT, road officer/SWAT and criminal) our basic idea of what would and had kept us alive turned out to be pretty similar. It became a matter of drilling and nuances. How would a criminal vary his technique? What were the indicators of an assault?

(When you are working variations it is incredibly important and difficult to stay realistic. I think one of the reasons martial arts systems become so complicated is a form of inbreeding: You counter technique A with B, so they start working on a way around B and come up with C, which makes one vulnerable for D but E prevents that and... all of which predicates on a bad guy being trained in your system, countering based on your system and attacking with your system in the first place. The 'what if' chain usually breaks on one of the first two links. Not recognizing this, systems inbreed to inefficient complexity. But it works in-house.)

There's a variation of the knife assassination that has bothered me- the sucker thrust from the handshake. It's actually easier to deal with than the close range grip: there's more time and you have a mutual grip with the hand that is trying to immobilize you. But that's the thing. Intellectually, I know that the right thing to do is to use the handshake grip to control his thrust ( a core-fighting strategy, manipulating his shoulders/hips/spine through his hand to control his other hand). But I was pretty sure that the instinct to focus on the immediate threat would take over, and would be ineffective.

I wasn't prepared when Kasey pulled it. I was distracted, watching other people play. No effort, I pulled the handshake grip in front of the knife and the tip tapped his forearm. Then I was behind him.

The second time, the weapon wound up tied up in the elbow of the handshake hand.

Not something I'd actively trained for in years, but something I'd thought about. My instincts had changed over time and I'm trusting more subtle (still efficient, just not as obvious) techniques. More importantly, my body/hindbrain appears to be taking over just fine and learning in new ways. Not bad.

1 comment:

shugyosha said...

Hmm... I think many people would agree that Marc is a "questionable" character, but they might be having a tiny bit of a mismatch with your interpretation of it... ;)

About you... I haven't met you IRL yet but, you know, you might actually _be_ innocent. Or the best approximation an adult can make.

Question: does predatorial assassination involve much in the way of emotions?

Question 2: Strategy & tactics against grab'n'sew?

Take care.