Monday, February 22, 2010

Seminar Last Saturday

Serendipity, and good friends. Finding out the seminar was sold-out and possibly over-booked was like a splash of cold water. Turning people away violated all my Irish hospitality genes, yet doing serious brawling, even at the low level necessary when you don’t know everyone’s background can get really dangerous when crowded…

Kris came through. Like a hero. One of his students manages a club. Phone calls were made. E-mails sent. And Saturday morning we got busy in a nightclub with two bars and chicken wire separating the sections. It felt more than appropriate.

If you were there, you know if you liked it or not. The feedback at the end was good. The lawyer said I didn’t mess up anything. The karate instructor with 30+ years of teaching said he was stealing some drills. Bobbe said I wasn’t nearly the asshole he was expecting (paraphrased, very paraphrased)… I was happy and tired and my voice was shot.

But… but… and this is a very good bad thing-- there was so much more to cover. K had wanted me to at least mention the little weapon awareness drills that I do at home. We talked only briefly about some of the Principles*. Discussed the legalities of self-defense but ran out of time before the nuances, like factors and circumstances or even levels of threat and force. Mentioned Permission briefly but didn’t touch on Awareness or Initiative as training paradigms. Never got to power generation at all, much less the short range power I love (and we even had the taped-up telephone books).

The only thing that came up about groundfighting was tossing a brick to those who wound up there anyway. Realized that to really do justice to avoidance/evasion/de-escalation would take a day all by itself.

It’s all good. The stuff we missed seems important, but the stuff we covered was important as well. There wasn’t a lot of dead time. Even the water breaks were times to watch videos or listen to lectures (seven stages, legalities, types of attacks, stuff like that).

It was organic as well. I knew where I had to start and had a few things that were on a checklist, but for the rest, without knowing it, the class supplied the clues. Timing in a real fight came up because a few were unconsciously working sparring and not assault. Not only is the difference important, but sparring timing in a drill is actually a form of compliance, and it allows things to work that don’t. Range and negative space came up because of the people who were attacking arms without attacking structure. The talk on stacking damage doesn’t come up very often, but it did here. That’s a sign that there were some pretty skilled practitioners.

There’s more. So much more to play with and learn. Core fighting. Power chains. Negative space. Agreements. There is always more.

But, highest compliment of all, the students got permission to (safely) play with environmental fighting. Water bottles aren’t just impact weapons, they can penetrate as well. Some chairs are too heavy to lift and use as weapons but can be angled into a threat. The bungee cord blocking off the bar back isn’t quite long enough to strangle someone on the ground. That was all stuff that they showed me, thinks that the attendees discovered by playing.

It was a very good day.

*Principles in the sense of my big list of what makes other things work.


Master Plan said...

Pretty excellent time I have to say. Nice to see the OC stuff, sad to miss power generation, never get enough of that. ;-)

Thanks again, I hope it was a worthwhile group of students for you.

Also? Running martial arts types in to bars and walls and chairs was a lot more fun than it seemed like it should have been. ;-)

Jonathan said...

I really enjoyed the seminar and I got a lot out of it, I hope you do another in the area soon! I'll be reading your book.

Rob said...

The combination of real-world experience and serious thought about conflict was an inspiration. Many eyes were opened on Saturday.

I've never been to a better seminar, bar none. And I, like everyone else there, left both overloaded with information and craving more.

Can't do better than that. Here's hoping we see you back in Seattle before too long.

jks9199 said...

Now I'm jealous! Unfortunately... traveling across the country isn't in my game plan anytime soon... and my local academy's budget for outside instructors is pretty much gone, or I'd be pushing to bring you in.

Bobbe Edmonds said...

Thanks, Rory, I can see it now: Bobbe Edmonds - Condemned to Death by 40 Black Belts. I worked SO HARD on that delivery, but I guess it came out as "Hey! You aren't the asshole I thought you would be!!"


What Rob said - This seminar was amazing, and there was something for everyone. Sorry I had to bail on you halfway through, at least my hooligans managed to keep up!

It's rare - Maybe 1 in 10 - that I would recommend a seminar with full confidence. Looking over my blog, you can see this. It's easy for a warrior to "turn it on", I'm not really impressed by that.

One who can turn it OFF as well? You capably embody the martial arts covered-fist salute that means "I will temper my emotions". I walked out with several points that enhanced my outlook on real-world training scenarios, and would have gladly paid extra for a two-day deal. For that matter, I would have gladly paid double what you were charging for ONE day.

I would easily rank Rory Miller in the top 5 instructors to train with, period. Miss this opportunity to train with him, and you are missing a necessary chunk of what your art (no matter WHAT art it is) needs.

Rory has been there - Done that.

And he's willing to share it with you.

Viro said...

Does your new book cover the concept of Permission for non-LEOs?

jks9199 said...

I'm going out on a limb, and gonna try to address Permission. Rory -- please correct any mistakes, or say I'm full of it! As I get it -- Permission as a concept applies to everyone. In fact, it goes beyond self-defense issues, really, as I think about it (more in a second). Permission is just that: Permission to do whatever it takes to defend yourself or survive, even if that means fighting dirty or simply running away.

I was recently discussing a video of a Boston officer who struggled with an arrestee for several minutes before he finally got him choked out elsewhere. First caveat: I'm not sitting here to second guess him -- but to learn from his encounter. What irritated me about it was he kept struggling with submissions and chokes, and never stepped back, and escalated to other tools. I think this was a "permission problem"; the bad guy was unarmed, so the cop didn't feel he could escalate. He didn't have Permission to do so. Rory's got a page long statement about Permission in his book that I think can be pretty well summed up as "You have permission to survive and to do what it takes to survive."

I had a student give another example of misunderstanding permission in a sport context a few years ago. He entered an open karate tournament, and lost his first fight because he didn't realize he was allowed to kick! Escalate it to the real deal, and you see the issue. "You don't kick a man in the nuts!" "You can't run away from danger." And more... All these "rules" keep people from defending themselves.

I mentioned that it applies to more than just defense -- and this is generally more a LE issue. I've seen officers who were unwilling to take an action or stop a car unless they had explicit, incontrovertible grounds. Which often meant waiting too long or waiting until the suspect was already fighting... Why? Because "they weren't allowed to..." intervene earlier. Not so; often a quick word or lower-level force option done at the right moment prevents doing more when it's late... But too many times, officers feel they don't have Permission to act sooner.