Tuesday, May 29, 2007


Thanks for the comments on the last post. Everything happens in a time and a place- in a context in other words- and that drives the particulars.

Teaching for a private company instead of publicly wasn't a decision as much as an artifact of the context. This is the first time in fifteen years that I can expect to be on the same schedule for two years running. In the past I've taught noon and midnight classes (when I was on swing shift) and 0800 classes (when I worked nights). Shift change every year meant new students. How many people who can make a midnight class can also make an 0800 class the next year?

New students, especially when you lose the old ones just as they are showing great potential is frustrating. I got tired of teaching a regular class and for the last two years have just taught cops on duty time; seminars; and a small group of private students purely on a 'when we can get together' plan.

As it stands, I'll be on a ten-hour day shift for the next four years. Stable schedule! Yipee! And relatively normal hours! But one of the prices is that I won't commute into town on my days off. Family time is sacred right now. So, if I'm going to teach I need a space available around 1730 fairly close to work or between work and home. A couple of dojos have let me use their spaces in the past, but they all have classes going at those hours.

That was the context dilemma. I've been looking (not exhaustively) for a space. So have some of my old students. The place I found only allows people in who work for the Governmental section my agency is under. Hmmm- not many students and the good ones I already teach at in-service. They know where to find me.

The ideal place would be public, roomy, mats would be ideal but aren't strictly necessary. Some place that would carry the class on their insurance (it's worked in the dojos I've taught in previously). Cheap or free, since I usually either don't charge for class or charge a mat fee that goes directly to the person who owns the place. And not easily scared. It sounds stupid, but for some reason our training classes tend to scare spectators. No idea why, but one of the dojo owners used to make a point of telling prospective students who happened to see one of my classes, "Don't worry about that. He's not directly affiliated with us and you won't be doing any of that. Unless you really want to."

Irena came through. It's a good facility, nice people, and it serves my secret purpose- to experiment with training civilians and beginners.

There was an anonymous comment on the last entry:

"If you think you can turn a cross section of society into the martial expert that is Rory, you might be in for a big letdown. But I think you will have fun trying, and everyone in your classes will learn something they wouldn't learn anywhere else. "

Assuming that wasn't pure sarcasm, here's the deal:

I'm no expert. I'm a nearly crippled up middle aged man with some skill, some experience and some mean. But I'm consistently successful against people who are bigger, stronger, faster and/or more proficient than me. My theory, and what I want to do with this group, is not to teach them to move like me. I want to teach them how I think.

Most martial artists learn how to move, then they use this 'right way to move' and either attempt to understand violence through that filter or ignore it altogether. I want to set up violence as the world, the context. From my mind and their own experiences teach them how to think about it, how to plan, what to see, how that drives reaction... and then have them work on their own movement in that world.

Less forging a sword than growing a tree. Oooh- better analogy: Martial arts tries to create warriors. I want to re-introduce a predator to the wild. Not build, but awaken.


Kai Jones said...

Oh, man, my brain is spinning this idea like wild. Teaching people to be predators again...can you gentle them into it, or must you break them (their assumptions about the world) first?

Books to read, discussions to have, attacks to spring on them. How to look at the world this way, instead; walk with me and I'll show you.

Rid them of the attitude "that doesn't happen to people like me" when they don't even know they have it.

Anonymous said...

Very cool Rory. I had the same question as you Kai, so I'll just ditto it. :)


Matt Stone said...

This is exactly why I return to your training sessions each year at MU. I wish you were closer, because I think my Soldiers could really use a wake-up call from your perspective.

Thanks for MU. I hope to see you before next year...

The Moody Minstrel said...

So...how do I sign up for your class?

Rory said...

Kai- Gentle or break? Don't know yet. Is it something added or something taken away? Is it something you make yourself be or something you let yourself be?

Matt- You're in driving distance, when you aren't in Korea. Let me know what needs to happen.

Kevin, you're on the wrong continent. Next visit, maybe?