Steve posted on his blog and I got contacted, blah, blah, blah... Steve and I thought it would be good to use it as a jumping off point for some thoughts. The italic stuff will be mine, the regular text is Steve's original post.
Right off, this isn't a debate or an argument. Like any two people, Steve and I see things differently. We also guess about what the other sees, feels or means. There is a lot of potential for learning in the gap between what the guy outside and the guy inside the skin see.
A bit more on the violence thing. Most of you here will assume that when I post such things about the reality guys, I am talking about Rory Miller and Mac and the other hardcore dudes like that.
You're right. I am. But it's not meant to be derogatory when I offer it.
And I know this. Steve understands and respects differences in perspective. I don't think he could write convincingly if he didn't
A couple thoughts to clarify things ...
I like Rory, and I believe what he teaches is valid and valuable. I've reviewed all his books, given them raves.
This is mutual...except for the valid and valuable, since Steve writes fiction after all... (joke).
I also believe that what he teaches is mostly geared for, and aimed at, people who are apt to find themselves in scuffles regularly. It's from and for people whodeliberately put themselves in harm's way. Soldiers, cops, bouncers, folks who go forward knowing things are about to get active.
No. Not at all. And this is a huge disconnect. The hard-core operators know this stuff. According to e-mails, what they really get from my work is 1) a feeling that someone else 'gets it'. Even within the operator world, it can get pretty isolated. You can be a qualified operator and never be activated. You can be activated and never see trouble...and some people, through luck or inclination or whatever see a lot, and it makes them think. there's comfort when you find other people are thinking the same things.
2) I seem to put things into words that they know on a gut level, and that's comforting too and
3) The words make it easier to teach to rookies.
But pretty much by definition, if I blow someone's mind, they weren't an operator.
As Rory has been all those things and has not-walked-but-run into the room as the shit hit the fan, I might be excused for thinking that's where he likes to play. I think he gets bored if somebody is not shooting at him -- and barely missing.
He has specialized knowledge, worth diamonds to people who need it. As he points out, he does violence for money.
That's a long way from where most of us live. It colors one's world.
Absolutely. I'm not sure if this is the place to express it, but there is no way to get the cumulative experience of violence while living a peaceful life. It does color my world. But the people who won't experience it more than once or twice in their lives will never get the underlying factors, will never even get the adrenaline under control enough to see what happens in so few encounters. Someone who has had sex a hundred times just understands it better than someone who has only had sex once. And way better than someone who has only fantasized about it. It doesn't mean that the lessons can only be understood by gigolos and hookers.
We want him on the wall. We need him on the wall. But on one level, I get the sense that he mostly wants to swap stuff with the other guys on the wall. (You might can add serious martial artists to the teaching pool, in that they are willing to pug in practice, and thus aren't completely against the idea of thumping or sticking somebody, should the need arise. People who could never hurt a fellow human being even in defense of their own lives don't seem to be good candidates for reality fighting.)
Absolutely true... for me. Because I get my learning from other guys who have been there. I really can't learn anything useful from someone who has only imagined my world. So, absolutely, I prefer to spend time with operators. Experienced martial artists, not so much. This may be my perspective but many of the 'experienced' are so choked with delusion that it is almost detrimental to talk to them. Back to the sex analogy, collecting belts or collecting porn aren't that much difference. Thirty years of memorizing centerfolds still isn't having sex. (man, I am going to get so many hits for this post off of perverts doing google searches). There are some exceptions, pure martial artists who can improve my body mechanics, but they are damn few.
When he's talking to guys like me, chair-sitters old enough to be his father, or people who hike a long detour to avoid the mean streets, he has to dial it down. We need to know about it, to be sure. We might need some of it someday, and it'll be worth diamonds if we do. But "might" and "surely will" are two different horses.
This is another disconnect, cause when things go bad it gets binary very fast. If you have basic common sense, you probably won't need it, but if you do (home invasion, workplace shooting, Bonding GMD) you will need it all, and probably at a level greater than I do. For me it is a surely. For civilians, it is a possibly... but if the civilian needs it the stakes and the obstacles will both be astronomical. There is no middle ground here.
Big attitude change from "this might happen" to "whenthis happens 'cause it's gonna."
And that creates an incentive to train smarter, (or, if you want to look at it this way) allows civilians to train stupid and it won't matter a lick...until it kills one or two.
Here's where I keep coming down to it: I can't tell you what it's like to be a soldier, cop, or bouncer, because I've never been one.
I think it's hard for Rory to tell you what it's like to be a civilian, because he's never been one.
Sounds cool, but nope. One of the neat things about our society is that there are no castes. Every cop has been a citizen. Every soldier has at least been a high school student. I was the shy science nerd. Mac was the hippie studying library science at Maharishi Mahesh University. We all, at one point, had our first fights. My training was world-class...and I was largely unprepared. What I do with my teaching, is to try to let people in on the stuff that I didn't get from martial training. The holes that left me unprepared. It is a huge list.
So my classes aren't mostly composed of cops and soldiers. There are a few and I think it has more to do with camaraderie than anything. But the majority are what you call serious martial artists who are just coming to terms with the fact that they know almost nothing about violence. They have spent decades honing a tool to be used if they are ever faced with violence, and they don't know what an assault looks like, or how to see one coming or what the opponents and attacks they will have to defend against even look like. How do criminals get you alone? How is a knife really used? How does a predator find out where to set up his ambush? What's the fastest way to tell a dominance game from a predatory interview? How do criminals get you to lower your guard? What does it feel like to kill or cripple another human? Why do so many people freeze and what can you do? What does adrenaline really do and how do you compensate for it?
So many questions and most people go their whole martial career and never ask them. That's what I do. Cops know this stuff.