Basil Kemble came through with the venue like a champ and turned out to be a very cool young man. A lot of history and insight in a relatively low number of years. He'll be one to watch in the future.
This trip has been a journey on a lot of levels. New friends. New places. Finding commonalities with instructors who I really admire. Finding some new ways to put things into words, thought and action. This-- learning and exploring-- is what life should be, at least for me.
Some of it is a blur. In a sleep deprived haze on a train I wrote almost three pages of notes on the first two weeks. I could write as much on the last two days as well. Almost as much, anyway. Far too much for a single post..and as usual, I forgot to even take my camera out of the bag for the seminar today.
As always, so much we didn't get to...but so much that we did. I think a lot of people got a taste of the things I rate as important: how violence breaks down; that efficiency is the point of training; that they can measure their own efficiency; a little bit of what is in this world...
But no one got more than a taste. The big question, the one I will never have an answer to, is what will they do with the taste? I saw a few learn something, be impressed by the increase (in power or efficiency or tactical use) of a thing, and then go right back to moving just as they had done before. Most adapted, but some didn't and that always comes down to the teacher. How do I reach him? How do I explain to her?
I can argue that the student has responsibility for what they learn, I tell them to take that responsibility and own it... but when I am the teacher the responsibility is on me. Not because this is true, but because it is the only part of the equation I can control...
But what will they do with their taste? Hopefully research and learn more. Question. Healthy doubt. Move for effect instead of approval. Never separate judgment from application: "Just because this will work, does that mean it is the smart thing to do?" Will they keep the precious distinction between knowing how to fight and knowing when to fight?
Jack Hoban was a treat. It was a privilege to join his class in New Jersey. I loved what he said about filling space and seeing space; that technique was the absolute least important aspect of fighting-- many things.
But he taught something that blew me away. Ethics is integral to combat. It's a big section of the next book since if you train without regard for your personal internal beliefs, you will freeze. Force law and policy is the study of the ethics of violence.
A few times in my life in a major fight, I've focused energy as a care taker, tried not to hurt the threat, tried to talk him down in the midst of a struggle. Give him a face saving way to end things without injury. In the middle of a fight it has always felt extremely high-risk. I don't like the bad guy to have time to think. But it has worked very well. For me.
It never occurred to me to try to teach it. Too high-risk, and when it worked I was never really sure why. Jack Hoban teaches it. That in the midst of a fight, you can do what is best for both of you. I thought, for a jail-guard thug, I was relatively compassionate. I'm not even in the ballpark of what Jack is doing.
Cool. New levels. New paths. New mountains.