Violence Dynamics seminar is winding down here in Minnesota. Hitting the road again in a few hours. Good and bad. The debrief on this one will be informative, to say the least.
Kasey got a whole day to teach yesterday—eight hours of strangles, chokes and neck cranks. Cool to be in a jurisdiction that doesn’t automatically assume that any force to the neck is deadly force. He’s a good teacher. Good movement, good relevance, good communication. And, most valuable to me, he gets me thinking… (right this second, as Marc teaches, Kasey is condensing the violence classifications from “Facing Violence” into a few sentences for the one person who wasn’t here for the whole week.)
But, as always, the blog is about me. And ideas. And thoughts. Kasey triggered a cascade yesterday. The thought process goes like this:
Kasey says, “I’m a judo guy, and you can do this technique like a judo guy or an aikido guy or even a kung-fu guy. It will all look a little different but it will still work.”
And that triggers the idea of a plastic mind exercise where you work a single technique, but in the mindsets of different martial arts. Just to feel and explore the flavor. Each repetition or series will feel and work slightly differently.
Hence- Plastic Mind Drill X: “Do it Like a (name martial art here)”
Earlier in the day, and playing with the officers Thursday, I was doing light sparring with one or both hands in pockets or with my coffee cup. Believe it or not, I don’t do this because I’m an arrogant prick or to show off. I do it for me. It forces me to think differently. It forces me to be more efficient. With your hands in your pockets you must learn to glide strikes with your elbows and shoulders and it really improves your tai sabaki. It also brings it to the next level where the glides unbalance as well and, with practice, gives you a taste of using some subtle anatomical weapons with momentum.
And so, a name to put on something we’ve been doing forever: “Subtle Disadvantage Drills”
“Do it Like X”
A few more:
Osaekomi (I tend to use more Japanese after hanging with Kasey. The shared judo background makes for a nice shorthand.) Osaekomi is pinning. Pinning and escaping from pinning and preventing pinning are great skill building for one of the hallmark combative skills: Moving a body.
But, one of the key differences between a good grappler and a mediocre grappler (and I will argue, in a real fight, the difference between most people and someone who is really good) is the ability to relax. To simply relax. When I did a regular JJ class, we would usually end with rolling, and I would roll with all of the students in sequence until they were too tired to continue. Not a big deal. lots of judo, BJJ and a few JJ guys do this.
The reason we can exhaust a class isn’t because of conditioning or some magic skill. The better you are, the more relaxed you are, the less sugar and oxygen you burn the longer you can last. And that efficiency in energy conservation, IMO translates into efficiency in technique application.
So what about doing grappling drills and every so often shift the focus from skill building to relaxation practice? Meditating from the pin.
(I also noticed that a lot of people don’t get the idea of throwing their legs and using the dead weight to pull their own bodies through a turn. Hard to describe, but useful. Don’t have a specific drill for it though…)
Acting practice. We try to make the approaches and set-ups as real as possible. We want the students to recognize a predatory approach. Especially how predators try to act like non-predators. Conversely, in some situations (especially sexual violence with a medium or long build-up phase) the intended victim is going to have to make an approach and then execute a plan…and is likely to fail if she cannot disguise her intentions. Practicing acting with any build-up just makes sense. On multiple levels. “It doesn’t take a good actor to spot a bad actor.”
Elbow chisao- done this more often as a demo than a drill, but why not? Play with the basic sensitivity of sticky hands and work in the leverage and momentum skills of working the back of the elbow.
Lots of themes, here, and this is just thinking out loud. Relax. See opportunities. Integrate everything. Transition from your slow thinking mind to your faster, older brain. Training is not conditioning and what happens when you can improvise under pressure seems to be a different effect.