Friday, January 09, 2009

Other Basics

This is some bedrock stuff- not 'what I think' but 'how I think'.  IME, most of it is pretty common in people in high risk professions even when they don't have the words to articulate it. Possibly some of my disconnects (I feel strategy is fundamental, others belief it takes a background in physical skills to grasp) come from this bedrock.  So here goes, an incomplete and fuzzy list since sight is the hardest thing to see-

1) Goals-backward. This is taught specifically to most emergency leadership. Drop me off on a desert island and I won't start by going through my pockets to see what I have. I'll list what I need first (shelter-water-fire-food), then check resources to match needs, then gather or create resources to fill the rest. I am also one of those kids who found story problems much easier than the same problem presented as a formula and always found mazes easier to work backwards.  Fighting with a clear idea of the goal- to escape, to prevail, to restrain to... is both more efficient and less likely to escalate to something excessive. 

2) The Art of Advantage.  A practiced sense for vulnerabilities- in balance, position, targeting, but also emotional and logical. Been doing this for so long that I am not sure if it is a 'taught' thing or simply a 'permission' thing. But it takes some deep restraint. To even play with this and not destroy your life you have to understand deeply that defeating someone else is not the same as winning. Knowing how to hurt without knowing when and who is dancing on the edge of evil.

3) Reframing. The ability to look not just at different answers but at different possible meanings for the question. An aspect is to know what the real question is.  

4) Context. This is a hard one under stress because your SSR triggers both a visual and mental tunnel vision (that's also why true environmental fighting usually takes experience as well as practice). But sometimes, often (and this is more true with a predator who has moderated his own SSR than with a kid in the Monkey Dance) you can affect what the fight is about. Change the perception of the value of the goal (Ever listen to "The Winner" by Bobby Bare?). Change the perception of risk (Kris' "You guys should probably know the front desk has already called the cops.")

5) Connected thinking. Everybody does this but not everybody does it very well. Everything you do affects other things. Almost everything is connected. The more deeply and subtly you see, the more you can affect things in relatively distant space or time and with relatively little obvious action. One place where I take this is looking at the source of information and then looking at their motives. With practice, if you are objective, you can predict the drift of bias.*

6) Continuity. What you are dealing with in this moment began long ago and will have effects, intended and unintended, long into the future.  The past is for research, the far future for prediction and an attempt to mold, only the present and the near future for planning and action. This works two ways. First, avoid getting caught up in a past you can't fix. How a particular criminal became a violent criminal is an academic matter. I might use it in the future to help another kid not become a predator, but when someone is trying to stomp your head against the curb that is so NOT the time to try to figure out if it was due to potty training or not getting breast-fed. The other side: how you deal with the immediate problem will affect future problems that can arise. Treating symptoms is rarely the same as treating causes.

7)Simplifying the problem. The ability to take all this and cut it down in an instant to an immediate problem with an immediate solution.

I need to emphasize here- almost every good operator thinks like this, but they don't think about it.  It appears complex, maybe, and in words and explanations, it probably is.  Just like no one thinks about the rules of grammar when they are actually speaking in a native language, no operator is consciously extracting a web of past and future. 'This came from here and is going there.' You just see it because it is the way you have learned to see. When you make an error, you re-evaluate and move on. If they have practiced, and this is rarer, they can articulate how they knew 'x' was about to happen, but not all of them can.

* Predictive power is the only way to evaluate your skill in a lot of this.  If you are wrong consistently wrong you have misjudged their bias and must look at your own.


Stephen Grey said...

Hey, this is unrelated.

Do you have any idea what the private-sector market for in-country translators of pashtun might be like?

Rory said...

Should be high demand, very lucrative; especially if the person is eligible for a high-level security clearance. (Do a google, but use pashto instead of pashtun).

Anonymous said...

Hey Rory, here's a randomass question. What do you think of crossfit? Is it a good conditioning program for combat?

Master Plan said...

Was thinking..."goal backwards"...don't most martial arts do this backwards? Goals forwards?

If I do karate, how do I respond to X type of attack?

Thinking, "I have these things I've learned and so I pick...", instead of "The result I want I'll do". Yes?

Seems like "principle" based systems even miss this.

Disrupt structure\balance...what can I use to do that.

Instead of, I do X move to disrupt structure?

Ugh. Words. Not. Working. Goodly. Today.

Hell, you've probably posted about it already, no need to reinvent the wheel. Just seems like an overlooked aspect of that in many systems. Trying to apply what you have (toolbox) to a theoretical, instead of figuring out what you want and then seeing which tools might work for that purpose. Because...most styles, or training paradigms, that *I* have seen (still an idiot, so this is hardly categorical) work from what they've got to what they want, not having a system independent goal, to which the system can be applied.

Again, I think you've already said this, and I think I'm explaining it terribly. was a thought.

Rory said...

Awwwww, look. They're so cute when they're asleep and all trying to think and stuff...

Yeah, Jonas, but the term for the model "My skill does this how do I use it?" Is Resources-Forward planning. In the micro to bridge the gaps I have them play with both ends of the 'effects and actions' paradigm. I think that's in the book.

Anonymous- No experience with crossfit, so I can't answer. In light of the Goals-Backward stuff though, that does bring up an interesting question- what would be the ideal fitness/conditioning for combat. Hmmmm. Something to think about.

Molly said...

Another random comment -
Congrats on your book ratings at Amazon. Kami keeps us posted, since you are too modest. Love you! and very, very proud.

Master Plan said...

Yes, that was terrible on my part. Resources-forward indeed. What I meant to get at was that it seems to replace goals almost entirely.

There is no goal. Only resources and the drive is to acquire more and more resources rather than refine what you've got for goal accomplishment.

That's what I meant.

In terms of basics. "Do this because I said so"

A friend of mine went to a Kung Fu school once, as did some other friends, they had a spear form, lots of standing on one leg.
"Why do you do that?", he asks.

"Oh, we just do this a lot in our school", comes the reply.

The Serak langkah are used for angling and position. Right. So...what are the angling and position for?

In Tai Chi we try to move everything as a piece. Why? Oh, to generate internal power. Yes, but...why?

Things like that. The resources replace the goals.

I don't think that's anymore helpful or insightful than yesterday, but it's at least clearer. ;-)

Stephen Grey said...

"Oh, we just do this a lot in our school", comes the reply."

I think a lot of the bizarrely impractical stuff in many trad. martial art schools is vestigial spear fighting, or at any rate makes far more sense if you look at it in the context of training soldiers for medieval battlefield combat.