Friday, January 15, 2010

Obvious Epiphany

Another super-obvious training epiphany.

One of the key concepts in survival fighting is to always fight to the goal. You do not do the same things to escape that you do to neutralize a threat. You do not defend yourself the same way that you defend someone else. Sometimes drawing attention is a more achievable goal than prevailing in the moment… and other times you don’t want attention. Goals (and parameters) dictate strategy, which dictate tactics, which dictate technique.

So one of the basic training items is to change the goal. Groundfighting? Person A wins by submission, but person B wins if he gets to his feet. Fighting out of a corner can be practiced primarily to get skill at fighting in restricted space or the goal can be changed to get time and space to run.

The minor epiphany is that in self-defense training, the goal change only applies to one person. Noticed this the other day practicing response- bad guy (BG) attacks, good guy (GG) takes him out as normal. When GG was supposed to fight to the door, the student playing the BG subtly changed attacks to prevent escape.

You see things in training that profoundly affect real life.

BGs, in real life, are going to do what they are going to do. They have their own goals, strategies and tactics. The victim’s defensive strategies are both unknown and largely the BG doesn’t care. His tactics have been honed and he is used to the victim being too frozen to respond at all.

So it becomes an interplay of known and unknown strategies. That’s just a cool insight, another way to look at conflict.

For training, however, it becomes critical to ensure that the uke, the student playing the BG, is performing his role as a BG, with his agenda, as if completely unaware of what tori (GG) intends. That keeps some of the training artifacts from creeping in.


Anonymous said...

Can't you, sometimes, actually set the practice up so that the parties only know *their* winning condition, but not the other person's? Give them to the participants by a third party, without the other hearing, say.

Rory said...

Anon- Of course. the thing that struck me was that i had assumed that everyone understood that when they were playing BG they were to be in a bad guy mindset. I know better, but I'd forgotten that most students are in the student mindset, playing what they think the game is by what they think the instructor's rules are.

The lesson for myself is to be explicit.

The insight, phrased another way, is that in an assault, the participants are playing to win by their own definition. In cooperative endeavors (from drill training to sparring to tournament fighting to lethal dueling) winning is half the battle and preventing the other side from winning is the other half. It's an entirely different strategic animal.

Wayne said...

Being a good BG is a very important concept, and often neglected in training.

Ann T. said...

Dear Rory,
Going by my feeble attempts to be the GG dominating my street, I have to say this makes Total Sense. Every interaction I had, I knew what my principles were--unless, of course, I was completely blindsided, as in one car-jacking.

But I never knew what the heck would come of it. I always knew that was the great unknown.

I think the training could be expanded so that in a room, the GG doesn't even know whether he's dealing with a BG or not.

Ann T.

Anonymous said...

It sounds like the "permission" thing again, Rory. You always need to remember to give all your students permission to play the "role" you assign them.

Ann T. said...

Dear Rory,
hey, off topic--I was recently given a Best Blog Award, which gave me the power to confer same. You're a winnah!

The banner prepared I must say doesn't fit the theme of your blog, (see recent post or my blog footer) however, you have the power to use it (or not) and confer kudos elsewhere.

Mostly it's a Thank You for many thought-provoking posts.

Ann T.

Rory said...

Thanks, Anne, that's an honor. I, of course, have no idea how to post it, but I can keep the honor in my heart.

Ann T. said...

Dear Rory,
you right-click on the banner and save it, then stick in your sidebar with a gadget.

Or you can just keep it in your heart.

Ann T.

Unknown said...

If I understand you correctly, I've seen that often in training as well. For example even when doing basic drills, the attackers will unconsciously modify the scenario because they already know what the defender will try to do.

Say you try a drill against a grab and punch attack, where the attacker pulls the defender with one hand while punching with the other, and the defense calls for angling into short range while covering up the attack and countering, instead of trying to fight against the pull and remaining into the attacker's range. What will often happen is that the attackers, knowing that the other guy will try to move in, will change everything by trying to stay outside by stiff arming and pushing instead, and trying to swat with an extended arm that is already out of range. They may even start moving backwards while supposedly attacking, to prevent the other guy from closing in.

Or in a drill where the defender will try to jam a kick by closing the distance, the attackers start to hop backwards just before they kick because they know what is gonna happen, which of course would make no sense in a real situation since jumping back before initiating a kick will have them kicking thin air instead of their opponent.

As you say it's quite difficult sometimes for everyone to stay into the part and not make it into an artificial game.

Thanks for your very interesting articles, Rory :)