Thursday, January 15, 2009

You Learn Stuff When You Write

Sorry about the long break. I've been doing quite a bit of writing, just not here. A handful of people have asked me to look at their ideas, which always turns into a dialogue that teaches me a lot.  

Two other things though 1) A friend (Marc MacYoung) mentioned that he was working on a problem, a big problem in self-defense: the freeze. What is it? Why does it happen? When doesn't it happen? To whom? Are there different kinds? What can you do about it in training? What can you do about it in the moment?

In a lot of ways, Marc and I think a lot alike. Too much alike, IMO, to usefully collaborate most times. In this case, I had been looking at the question from a higher magnification than he had.  That little twist, one of us (Marc) looking at the social dynamics surrounding the freeze and the other (me) looking at the different freezes I had experienced or debriefed other on... a lot of connections came together.  Can't guarantee that we've broken the back of the puzzle but it looks more solid and far more useful than anything I've seen on the subject.

2) I started writing something for the blog that I've been thinking about for a very long time.  The deeper I wrote (with some insight from an entirely unrelated off-line discussion with Asher Bey) the more I became aware that the problem wasn't what I thought it was. Well, it is, but not in all cases. There are two entirely different ways to get to a very bad place, except one of the paths isn't bad. Except when it is.  Cryptic, I know, but I have a little more to write and then a lot more to organize and cut before I can post it here.

I'm also toying with yet another writing project. It would be fun. Useful to the right people, and would piss off the people who think they should get it, which I am immature enough to find very funny.


Anonymous said...

I would be very interested to hear you and Marc's thoughts so far on the freeze. I have a fairly effective drill I do in class about every 6 months or so to illustrate getting locked in the orient/decide part of the loop. Folks are always blown away when they see it actually happen, and even more blown away when they are the chosen one that it happens to.


Stephen Grey said...

My guess is that a freeze is caused partly by some vestigial part of the fight-or-flight reaction and partly by a cognitive lockup caused by too many inputs happening at once in an unfamiliar situation. Too many inputs, too many choices, none of choices particularly good.

I used to be an avid player of RTS (realtime strategy) games, and I noticed that brainfreeze was a large factor there, both in myself and in my opponents.

Once I noticed that it was a problem, the solution I came up with was to collect all of my forces and attack.

In hand to hand conflict, a similar default position might be to go into a heavily rehearsed assault pattern or blasting set AS SOON as you recognize that you're frozen. Thus the freeze itself becomes a trigger for explosive attack.

I suspect that there are worse solutions than that one.

Anonymous said...

I wonder, given that many situations which trigger a freeze are made worse by escalating to violence-are there times where it is useful? It seems odd that it would be so common and wired if it was without benefit. Sometimes NOT fighting is the answer-most of the times I have nearly come to blows as an adult I was glad that it did not come to that...

Not to mention, the legal implications if you explosively attack when no attack can really be justified?

Master Plan said...

Anon: Depends on the context of the freeze.

If you're freezing *under attack*\*in response to assault* that's one thing.

Given that folks can "freeze" in so many different ways and situations obviously blinding going off in ALL freeze situations is probably not a good idea, but, in the limited context of freezing in response to physical assault....