Been away for a week. It was a good week of training, working with some superb athletes and instructors. There will be a lot of fodder for future writing, many things to think about.
Many of the best things happened outside of training. I was free for two evenings to meet with an old friend on one night and some people I only knew from on line on the other. The training itself was weird- it was very, very good but at the same time came from a world completely alien to the one I live in. It was like trying to learn how to run a submarine better from jet pilots. The dinners and talking helped put things in perspective.
One of the big problems in self-defense or combatives training is trying to define what we are training for. Different situations require different mindsets and different tactics. If you look at it too small (what do we do for a punch? A jab? A hook? Left? Right? Uppercut?...) it's overwhelming. There are more scenarios and more possible responses than your brain can hold, much less sift through and act on. If you look at it too big, on too grand a scale (the interaction of dynamic energies in this encounter...) you tend to get your ass kicked because damage is always very particular and specific.
In the end you need something very quick and reasonably universal. You need to learn all the little slices of particulars and then digest and forget them. Maybe you need to forget training, too. At least the idea of training for.
Wrapping our heads around this while eating canoli in Santa Clara, Joe Graziano, a Uechika and retired agent, laid it out: a new way to look at the whole training thing. He didn't think about training to any particular task or for any particular thing. He just trained to be better. To be better day by day, incrementally. Always moving slightly closer to a perfection he will can never achieve. Just better.
Better at what? Let that thought go. A little smarter today, a little more aware tomorrow, a little more insightful or flexible or strong down the road...
Because fighting is very, very complex- but so are you. Your complexity is a match for the problem's complexity. Since you can't know and collect exactly what you'll need, just get better. At everything. Not training to a standard or for a problem, training to be. Training towards perfection, a little at a time.