Thursday, January 19, 2012


Good times with Mac, Maija and Edwin. Lots of thoughts, some insights. Found some of my own inclinations. For the first time I noticed that with training blades I target pretty much anywhere available but with sharps I immediately focused on the face. Interesting. Not sure what it implies.

One of the thoughts-- three ways of learning.

You can be taught. That's brains-downward stuff. It can give new information and polish skills and sometimes even cause a paradigm shift. It's not necessarily the best way to train, but it might be the safest and it is really the only one where a teacher has a necessary role.

I also don't see this kind of teaching doing deep work. You can't really teach adrenaline, you have to feel it. I have never seen a teaching that could change character, that could make someone brave. Or cool under fire. Or kind.

I see that kind of stuff in modeling. Someone who spends time with people with certain qualities-- like bravery, but it works for negative stuff to-- tend to grow those qualities. That's one of the reasons why it is critical to spend time with the highest quality people who will tolerate your presence. You will become more like your peer group over time.

I think this is one of the power of cultures. Not tribal or national... my dad was a Korea-era vet. Hunting camp was an annual ritual that included him and his buddies from the army sitting around the campfire and telling stories. I think a lot of growing up in many cultures is guided by stories around a campfire. You can learn the skills of hunting, but you model the attitudes.

Stories, modeling, bonding... this is where the novice gets a heads-up about what to expect. learns about fear and freezing, whether that is called 'choking' or 'buck fever'. Learns that good strong men are not oblivious to what they have seen and what they have done. It's huge, both in preparing someone to walk into the ugly and also, by telling the stories and preparing the next generation, it is an advanced way to process experience.

The third way is through intense experience. Some of this can be done in training. Sometimes I think learning doesn't really, really happen in intense experience. Not cognitive learning, anyway. By the time you can handle the adrenaline (and this is where the cognitive, intense connections are made) it doesn't really count as intense experience anymore. Maybe.

Intensity conditions deep, however. And it tests like nothing else. I don't think you can really find out about your core in a classroom. But that's probably bullshit. You just learn different things in a classroom (like how patient am I) than you learn on a cliff or entering a cell.

It can also shift paradigms. When the teaching has been aimed at intense experience, real intense experience can point out huge holes, raise doubt or confirm details. Validate or invalidate what has been taught.

And there's an interesting aside there: When people have invested identity into the learning process and identify with an instructor, how many of them avoid experience for fear of invalidation?

Three ways that I see for this, then: Teaching, modeling and experience. Each excels at giving different things. I don't think you can skip one and really get to a useful level of skill. Maybe.

So, practical application-- do you have teachers, mentors and an avenue for gaining experience?

CCA (and domestic bragging) announcement:

My lovely wife, writing under the name Tammy Owen has published an e-book detailing our move to the country. Names have been changed, but otherwise...

"House of Goats" on Amazon for Kindle
"House of Goats" on Smashwords


saree said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Charles James said...

This is, for me, a wonderful expression of thoughts, thanks!

Kai Jones said...

That's one of the reasons why it is critical to spend time with the highest quality people who will tolerate your presence. You will become more like your peer group over time.

As a person of quality, don't I have an obligation to spend time with people who need to learn from me? How does one negotiate this boundary between giving and getting?

Steve Perry said...

Tell Your Better Half I am looking forward to reading her book, just downloaded it from

Steve Perry said...

Great book. I will say so elsewhere.

Josh K. said...

Down loaded and reading.

Katherine said... en reading your blog for a while now and want to begin learning the fighting skills, the heart of it. I'm in durham, nc. Can you recommend someone that teaches in this area? Thanks for your blog. For all you do. Kate katemturner(at)gmail(dot)com

Josh K. said...

Katherine -

Picking a martial arts instructor/dojo/style is like dating, and you just asked him to set you up on a totaly blind date. He never met you, I'm assuming. And, he might know someone that he respects, but their style might not work for you and your goals for wanting to learn martial arts/self-defense.

You, unfortunately, are going to have to go on some first dates. I would google martial arts/ self defence classes for your area. Then goole thier styles/ course descriptions. Then go and ask to sit and watch a few class (Dojos). Then take the free introductory class( they usualy offer one at dojos and for siminars it's pay if it feels like something worth while).

You do that, and I feel you will find something that works for you.

Take care and good luck on your journey,

Josh K. said...

Kia -

Be a beacon. Be an example. Those that you come in contact with, that are ready, will except or not what you are offering freely.

If there's a specific group you can seek them out or advertise, saying this is what I offer.

Because ultimately they are going to need to seek out quality individuals for themselves.