Thursday, March 11, 2010


The seminar in Chehalis had an entirely different feel. Instead of a wide mix of different unarmed styles, the students were for the most part gun people with jujutsu backgrounds. It was a lot like being home.

Because of that, we were able to get to some stuff that I had to skip in Seattle-- blindfolded infighting, conceptual groundwork and power generation. Even a very short, sketchy class on how to design scenarios. On the other hand, they didn't get to see the ugly movies. It's always a balancing act.
It was a pleasure. Everyone moved well, a few moved extremely well. No one was afraid of contact. No one was completely blindsided by how bad bad could be.

I also found some things in my teaching I need to work on. Part of it is the seminar format, but the job is to work in the format, so I can't let it be my excuse. The first is the big emotional glitches. If someone is reluctant to hurt a person, it's hard to deal with in a few hours. With a long-term student relationship you can build up the trust so that they unload. That's harder to do in a seminar. It's also really strange in a way, that you have to get someone to trust you so that they can unload to hurt you. You have to convince them that you can take it, which, functionally, is the same as convincing them that it doesn't work, before they can apply force...

It makes my head spin. There are ways to evoke something visceral, but they are dangerous. Especially with a class composed of gun guys.

The second hard part is teaching people to relax, let go, and trust. It comes out with almost everybody when talking about the drop-step. Most martial artists have spent their careers treating balance as something sacred, something you never voluntarily forsake.

Once you get adept at it though, this falling on purpose, it is an un-telegraphed speed and power multiplier with very few equals. You just have to be willing to fall. And even people who enjoy being thrown aren't eager to fall. Maybe it's the loss of control.

Like many things, though, it can be incredibly effective if done on purpose and disastrous if done accidentally.

Afterwards, good talk with (dare I say?) a new friend. Plus a little knife sparring, which always makes me happy. No, nothing like real life (knife fighting is crazy-stupid-- there's killing and running, not fighting in the smart/sane world) but fun as an election year Saturday night in hell.

Good learning, good connections.


  1. Well, I would dare to say it. I had a great time, and so did the two hooligans who were present.

    Clearly, we need to set aside more time. Hope I didn't exceed my talking quota - My Scotch is noticeably less, but you can in no way be held responsible for that.

    Can't wait for the next time!!!

  2. Good seminar & I learned a lot. Thanks for that. ~ Kathy