Monday, June 06, 2011

Fighters All the Way Down...

It's a reference to 'turtles all the way down'.

The first Logic of Violence seminar went well, I think. The feedback has been positive. Turns out ten hours is too short, but that can be tweaked with, to an extent.

Fighting systems come about because when someone is good at fighting, it behooves the other members of his tribe (whether that is a family or a cohort) to imitate and learn. So, in an ideal world, experienced fighters taught other fighters to fights. Whoever the founder was, whether of a classical sword system or a modern low-light handgunning system, he was good at what he did and started teaching other people. Other fighters. Soldiers, cops and civilians can all learn from each other, but their needs aren't the same. So it's not just that fighters tended to teach other fighters but that they taught the same tribe or kind. Soldiers teach soldiers. Cops teach cops. There's some cross-over, but when a civilian learns from a tactical operator, sometimes they feel like they are finally getting the real stuff.

Kasey did a post a while ago about how nonsensical it was to teach or learn building-clearing as a civilian. It is real stuff, and specialized, and something an entry team needs...but not a skill a civilian will have either the resources to perform properly or any legal reason to do.

So when you look at the history of an art, it's a line of fighter/instructors all the way back to the mists of time. (Okay, in the modern era, fighters or wannabes, but you get the idea.)

Anyone see anything missing here? At least in the self-defense context?

Martial and combative training has changed vastly over the last hundred years. It's been slow because the traditions run so deep, IMO, but there has been change. Modern teaching methodology introduced by Kano rocked the world. Sports physiology. The advent of MMA gave some people a good hard shock that what they thought they were doing was not what they were doing. There is more information available and more cross-over from different areas than ever before (I'm still absorbing the applicable combat lessons from a damn book on acting).

Logic of Violence just takes another, very obvious discipline and uses it to look at most self-defense training.

Here's the basics of the class. It might take ConCom or a quick read of "Facing Violence" to make sure we are using the same language, but if you have a little experience with criminals, you can keep up.
  • We go over the different types of violence. Heavy emphasis on motivation, since trying to prove you're tough (monkey dancing) has nothing in common with feeding a drug habit (resource predator.)
  • A little on the triune brain theory, because it comes up in social violence habits and certain predator's tactics.
  • Quick examination of violence-prone places.
Then, for each type of violence, from the predator's point of view:
  • Goals: specifically what the predator wants
  • Parameters: what the predator doesn't want: To get caught, to get hurt...
  • Victim profile. What will we look for to get what we want?
  • Where to look: what will be the hunting ground?
  • Behaviors: Given the above, what will we look for that says a victim is ripe?
  • Access: How will we get close enough to accomplish our goals with the privacy to act?
  • Control: What will we do, specifically, to get what we want?
  • Attack: If it needs to go physical, keeping in mind the victim profile and that every aspect of the set-up is under your control, how will you attack?
Then we went out and banged the attack patterns the crew came up with. There was some back sliding into martial thinking, some squaring off.
"I was trying to take out a big guy from the front?"
"Why? Get this straight, 120 pound meth-heads need drugs too. This isn't about if you can take him out but about how. You choose when, you choose where. Need a weapon? That's up to you too."

In the process, it becomes clear why assaults are so rare (there have to be hundreds of incidents of car burglary or 'aggressive panhandling' for every committed assault) but also why they are so effective.

Once we've run the list and banged from the threat's point of view, we keep the list on the board and run through it from the potential victim's perspective. What needs to happen to bypass the situation at each level or step?

Prevention is good. Understanding the time line is powerful, but experienced self-defense teachers were at a loss on the attacks. Fighters teaching fighters how to deal with fighters is one thing. Fighters all the way down. But fighters (most self-defense and martial instructors are fighters on some level) teaching victims (the whole victim profile: young, drunk, insecure woman? Or out-of-town businessman, drunk and out of shape trying to unlock his rental car? Or...) how to deal with predators (people who use distraction and ambush and overwhelming force to not just injure but to overwhelm the OOODA loop)... that's a challenge.

Yet, it's obvious. For all of violence being the soul of chaos, there is a logic to it. And applying the tools of disaster planning makes sense. Fighters (soldiers, cops, bouncers) get into fights. The types of violence a fighter will be exposed to are limited and predictable.

Victims get victimized, and that can be a wider range of behavior. High consequences. Fighters teaching self-defence could stand to take a look at it from the yes of both a victim and a predator.


Otto said...

I missed Kasey's post regarding civilians and building-clearing techniques, but since you mention it, I'll comment on it here instead.

I know standard doctrine for surviving a home intruder/invasion scenario (loosely) is:

1. Call the cops
2. Find a weapon/firearm
3. Find a place to hunker down (hopefully a safe/panic room)
4. Wait for the cops to get there
5. Engage the intruder if they find you first

Which I suppose works if you live alone, or live Little-House-On-The-Prairie style ("G'night Jon-boy") where all your loved ones sleep in the same room, and/or if you sleep in your panic room.

But for the rest of us who have kids who sleep downstairs or don't sleep in our panic rooms, we're going to have to move through our homes to collect our loved ones and then get to a safe place.

Therefore, it seems like learning stealthy, smart movement and knowing how to assess threats on a room-by-room basis would be very useful skills to learn, regardless of profession. I would definitely have a "legal" reason to use at least some of these techniques.

Will I be tossing flash-bangs and shouting "Clear Right!" to my wife while my son uses thermals to scan for hostiles? Probably not... (but you never know!)

I do know that knowledge is power, and that skills equip your mind and body to overcome adversity. And you'd want to use your limited time and/or money to learn the most applicable skills possible. So definitely I won't be taking any DPSST-certified building clearing classes any time soon.

But a class on the basics of safely going room to room in a hostile situation? Sign me up...

Anonymous said...

just finished my first read throught of facing violence. good stuff, just like the blog.

wondering if you could go into a bit more detail on the spinal clearing (p. 143). i'm not getting the description. how do i work the foot twisting up into the spine?


Rory said...

Sorry I'm late getting to this. If there was an unknown threat in my house and I'm in my office, immediately at the door there is a door on a buttonhook angle to my left; a large open space partially obscured by a wall to the front left; a set of stairs immediately in front of the door and a bathroom to the right. Four immediate threat areas. I would need a minimum of three trained guns to back me for the first step of clearing the downstairs. Without those resources, it can't be done properly or safely no matter how much training one has. that's the thing. Giving people training for a skill that they don't have the resources to do the way they were trained is like teaching them to use IVs or do a field tubation knowing they will never have the equipment...with the additional problem that doing it incorrectly endangers not only the original vicim but the would-be rescuer.

Anonymous said...

guess thats a no.


Rory said...

Not a 'no' Peter but I'm teaching four classes and I'm exhausted and I'm aware that the description in Facing Violence was kind of my best shot, since I was trying to answer the people who asked what I meant in Meditations. Any chance our paths will cross and I can just show you?

Meron said...

Out of curiosity, what's the acting book that you're referring to? And what lessons?

There is a lot of stuff in acting pedagogy about being "in the moment" and reliving each performance as if it's the first one. Some of the concepts cross over with kata as well.

Anonymous said...


oh well, now i feel like a pissy little b*tch. i don't get out much, so not much chance of crossing paths let alone arms.

good luck and don't overextend too much.


think the book is "Impro: Improvisation and the Theatre" here's a relevant blog post


Anonymous said...


what im trying to understand is if the spine is being turned/twisted L/R like a dog shaking itself dry, or waved/whipped from cocyx to crown like an inch worm. (horizontal vs. vertical)(hips working in tandem vs. opposition)

i know that it can be really difficult to language these things, even with direct contact and physical modelling.

hope that makes my question clearer.



Rory said...

It does. Horizontal plane (l-R twist), ideally one vertebrae at a time (but that's rarely how it really happens) starting low to high and sometimes/mostly without the shoulders moving.

Anonymous said...


wringing the towel out, ok.

good stuff. that makes sense.

thanks for the response.

keep up the good fight.