The VPPG itself, the Violence Prone Play Group, is for good people (defined as people I like who have skill and who volunteer) to get together and play. Partially just to bang with people that have a similar idea of what good play-brawling is, but more important is that we experiment and ask questions: what works two on one in a corner? How do you fight multiple people if you can't see? What are your options when you aren't tall enough to reach the reset buttons? How do you get a concept through to students who get hijacked by instinct and don't realize it?
That kind of stuff.
I get the lion's share of attention on much of that. I'm hitting some walls head on, running into resistance in what I teach and how. It intrigues some of the other group, amuses some...I get a lot of help there, some of it beyond what I can understand on any given day, but it is deep, heartfelt and I am grateful.
While it is still fresh in my head, some of the insights (maybe truths, maybe just insights into my thought processes):
- Martial arts is a technical skill, but applying martial arts, fighting or self-defense, is primarily an emotional skill.
- We don't have good paradigms for teaching emotion. A little bit on discipline and emotional control, but almost nothing on slipping the leash while maintaining control.
- The emotional aspect hits every other piece- you might see it coming, but whether you accept what you see is less cognitive than emotional. So is whether you will act...almost everyone who has ever frozen knew, intellectually, what to do. To engage in the fight as an animal. How you will deal with the aftermath. All emotional.
- We slip into the thought process that emotional skills can be taught like physical skills. You can teach martial arts the way you can teach algebra. I don't think that's true for fighting. The difference is qualitative.
- The only time-tested method is war stories + personal experience + de-brief. Not sure if that is practical if, as is likely, there will be little or no personal experience to debrief.
- It is my belief that women have a much deeper understanding of sudden violence than men. They can empathize with the profound suck, and it tends to freeze women for different reasons and in different ways than men.
- Men freeze because they have this ridiculous fantasy that rarely survives first contact.
- And so (the math may not work on this) I tend to use the same experiences and the same stories to get opposite effects in men and women. Women I want to grasp that if the horror only prevents the victim from acting, there will always be a victim. I want them to find a go button, attain permission, and slip the leash. For men I want them to step out of the bullshit fantasy and look at the real, messy and expensive (in so many ways) problem that they daydream about.
- Would it be possible to do a class/seminar just on the emotional aspects, just on the glitches? Or do I only have questions at this point?