Friday, September 09, 2005

Matrix, Violence and an Invitation

I use a matrix concept in the martial arts. Basically there are many, many kinds of conflict- war to dominance games to sudden assault to surviving sudden assault to restraining criminals or mental patients without harm... When you stretch it beyond violence to MA you can add fitness, sport and 'personal growth'. These are the elements at the top of the matrix.

Each is composed of separate elements that can be widely varied: how much time to prepare? What is the goal? Who is the likely opponent? What is the optimum mindset? What are your resources? These things, ad infinitum, make up the other axis of the matrix.

I teach, maybe preach(?) that it is imperative to understand the difference and when you are training for one you are not training for the others. When a civilian leaves a conflict, it's good self-defense. When a soldier leaves, it's desertion. When a bigger, tougher opponenent slams you to the ground and starts to strangle you and you shoot him, that's self-defense... unless it's in sparring, in which case it is murder.

These things simply aren't the same and don't require the same mindset or tactics... and yet almost every martial artist I know feels that their art covers the whole matrix.

Yesterday, I googled myself and found one of my articles being discussed on a martial arts website that I had never heard of. I was aware of their style, one of my friends studies under their head instructor and speaks very highly of him. It seemed like a good group: intelligent, friendly and incisive. They were asking each other about points that needed clarification so I decided to drop in and explain.

The article was about predator assaults- ambushes. Most people have never experienced one and their guesses and intuition on the subject tend to be farther off than they are willing to believe. The people on the board remained nice, but it reminded me of herd animals clustering together. They were very careful to compare my writing with their doctrine and to point out that it was mostly in line with their teaching, if only dealing with the 'lower aspects'. What struck me most is that again and again they tried to point out limitations and flaws in any training that wasn't theirs and completely denied that my biggest filter was experience.

I was invited to train with the local group. I'll show up, though if I wanted to train this system I'd train with Scott who already has both recognition from their instructor and my deepest respect. But they do seem serious and sincere and intelligent people who like to brawl are my favorite.

However the invitation included the line"Bring an open mind because while many things about XXXXXX will be familiar, there's enough difference that you won't notice if you see it only through your previous MA filters"

Big red flag. And they don't realize that previous martial arts aren't my filter- experience is.

No comments: