Friday, April 29, 2011

Two More Thoughts

High-level playing for me isn't a thing of words or sight. What I remember tends to be tactile and not stored in the word-part of my brain either, so forgive me if details are wrong.

Two more insights playing with Maija: Her instructor had moved completely away from forms and patterned drills. They trained by mixing it up with range and rhythm and weapon and intensity. It is really close to what I am trying to do in making the one-step the basic drill. Most efficient movement in any given instant. Fight to the goal. Constant adaptation. As it speeds up, the one-step blends flawlessly with jujutsu randori, but that's another thing.

The effect it had on Maija were pretty obvious on one level: she didn't need any idea of what I did or how I fought or moved to be able to play. She could adapt to almost anything I threw at her and if it took a second, that was okay, too. But possibly the most profound thing, the thing that took a couple of days to bubble up to consciousness was Maija's attitude towards fear.

I'm not going to say she didn't feel any. I have no idea what she felt. But almost every high-level practitioner I've played with had a little hesitation, a little ego, a little worry in them. It showed in how they moved and revealed quickly how to hurt them. No emotional hesitation from Maija. Damn few glitches, and almost all of those were just unfamiliarity.

By playing in chaos from the very beginning, she was expecting it. She may have been feeling fear but if so it was the kind of, "Well, what do you expect? Of course I'm afraid" that doesn't affect performance. Fear, insecurity was just a data point. The teaching method had shifted it to the 'irrelevant data' list.
The second thought is comparatively minor: Maija'd asked something about taking some one down to control. So I shifted mindsets and did it: pass, control elbows, sweep to handcuffing position.

Maija asked, quite reasonably, "Wouldn't that also make it easier to kill?" It took me a second to understand the question, but it opened up a huge can of worms that might be important for martial artists.

Control and injure are two totally different mindsets for two totally different situations. Yes, if I can take you down and get you in a submission, I can stab you easily. But if I can take you down and control you, there is no need to stab. It's no longer justified or necessary. If I can disarm you and then stab you with your own knife, it may be elegant martial arts, but it is also homicide.

Unless I am sure I can take the person down without injury, I don't use that mindset. It's dangerous and I will likely be hurt. Conversely, if I am sure, going into predator mode is unethical and what I would do would be unjustified and likely illegal.

Different things and this is one to watch: if your training or your personality presents these two situations as equivalents with similar skills and priorities it is profoundly out of touch with reality. If I ever make the big list of "Signs that all my training is really only indulging in a fantasy" this would be high on the list:

Does not distinguish between life-threatening and non-life-threatening situations.


Anonymous said...


you have mentioned the name 'Maija'. Are you refering to the 'Maija Soderholm'?

AleŇ° J.

Rory said...

Yeah. I hope she's not shy.

Unknown said...

Reality check: this is a post on "facts of life" 101--right ?

I like this Maija and doubt she is shy.

laptop battery said...

Is a great blog, keep it.

Maija said...

One less step on 'The Google' is all it is for anyone with any research ability ...
But yes, my name is Maija and I like to play with swords :-)

Kasey said...

That sounds like the start of an AA meeting :)

My name is Kasey and I like to play with swords too

Maija said...

.... and as we know, sword fighting is good for you ...
""The exercising of weapons putteth away aches, griefs, and diseases, it increaseth strength and sharpeneth the wits, it giveth a perfect judgment, it expelleth melancholy, choleric, and evil conceits, it keepeth a man in breath, in perfect healthe, and long life." – George Silver (1599)