Thursday, November 24, 2005

Writing Down the Bones

Mac wants a group of us to meet Saturday to put the finish on the next series of DT courses. His challenge is to create something that a beginner or expert can profit from; that works off their natural motion and fighting styles instead of trying to clone the instructors; that will give concrete results even for the ones who will only train once or twice a year; that is expandable and adaptable.

We can do it. We will do this. We have been doing this long enough, comparing the purified mechanics and mathematical strategies of the dojo and the ring with the sweat and smell and chaos of Reception and the road. We know where the middle ground is. We know what is important. Between us, we have a good handle on what is real.

The hardest part is that we can see multiple ways to do it- we don't have time for repetetive technique and experimentation but we could teach a principles based course- "Here is how and why people fall down... now go try it." Or a perception based course, "Feel your lines of stability and weakness as well as his and move from your stability to his weakness... feel it." We could do a pure stress innoculation course, "When the blindfold comes off deal with what you see, whether it is a lost child or an attacking rottweiler." We could mix them.

The hardest part will be writing it down. We know that in real life any training is a matter of percentage points, not answers. No one comes out of any course guaranteed to prevail. But our bosses want clean cut learning objectives: "At the completion of this course, the student will be able to demonstrate the inside wristlock, outside wrist lock..." When what we want is for the student to have the skill and confidence to snatch anything that's available, to recognize the opportunity for a wrist lock by feel, apply it and if it fails switch to something else.

That's what fighting really is, isn't it? Recognizing what you can do, doing it and doing something else if it doesn't work. It's a pretty good plan for most of life.

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