Friday, October 24, 2014

Expanding Lists

Normally, my default is to simplify. To cut stuff out. By definition, efficiency means less wasted motion. The best athlete in any field moves less than the second best to accomplish the same thing. It's just as true mentally as it is physically. Thinking efficiently is a matter of dismissing the unimportant. When you truly understand a concept, you get more done, faster, and more accurately, with less work and time. So I'm reluctant to add to lists, especially good lists, but it came up during the MNVD training.

The Golden Move +1
My standard for any combative motion, for a long time, has been the Golden Move:
Every single motion should:

  1. Injure the threat
  2. Protect yourself
  3. Improve your position
  4. Worsen the threat's position
That's every single motion. Because it is easier to teach, many martial artists learned to strike (injure the threat) or unbalance (worsen the threat's position); learned to block or evade (protect yourself); and learned footwork (better your position, sometimes worsen the threat's)-- but almost all learned them as three separate things.

So you get the stereotypical martial artist who blocks a punch, steps to the correct angle and fires his counterpunch. Taking three moves. Which generally only works in demos where the partner (not a threat) stands still after the block. Offense, defense and motion were never supposed to be separated in the students head or, gods forbid, in the motion of a person who desperately needs efficiency. But it is easier to teach and easier to evaluate than integrated motion.

So, the Gold standard is one move with four effects (and good jujutsu gets more than that with multiple types of damage).

Blindfolded training adds one:
     5.  Gathers information
Touch is faster than sight. It is almost impossible to make a decisive motion without a 'tell' in the shift in your body weight. So touch is faster, harder to fool and, if you get good at reading precursor motion, gives you a half-beat of precognition

The second list-- Jeff's Rules
Anything you teach must:
  1. Have a tactical use. As he put it, there's no reason to learn to fast holstering because taking your weapon out of the fight first is not useful. Holstering without looking is useful, because it allows you to watch for threats.
  2. Must work under an adrenaline dump. If you can't do it scared, you can't do it when you need it.
  3. Must work moving. If you have to have a solid base to hit or shoot, for combative persons you can't hit or shoot. Fights are dynamic, they happen moving.
  4. Must work when you can't see. I may have added this one, but Jeff was big on indexing, doing everything by touch. If you have to look at your holster or fumble and look for your magazines, you're taking your eyes out of the fight.
The addition, and it doesn't fit quite right. Jeff's rules are about what to teach, and this is operational. But it fits the theme, in my mind:
   5. Never do anything alone if you have a choice. Teams are a force multiplier like no other. Everything changes, for the better, with a team. How do you clear a building alone? Fast and quiet and with a fuckton of luck. Much easier and safer with a team. Weapon retention alone is a nasty struggle at ultimate stakes. With a team you hang on for the second or two it takes your partner to solve the problem.

The third list was recent: Escape, Control, Disable. It's a way to organize everything you teach, a way to decide what is relevant and what isn't. Strategies, mindset and appropriate techniques are very different for these three different fields.

I want to add a fourth, at Marc's suggestion. Fighting. Just for you to think about on your own. And it will be a big rabbit hole for some of you. Fighting in this context is any form of contest-- Monkey Dance or voluntary Bar Brawl; competition of any type at any level. When you practice what you practice, is it for escape? To cuff? To disable? Or is it just to prove you are better at the skills of the struggle.

Be honest. This is for posterity.


Unknown said...


Unknown said...

I want to be certain I understand. The three columns are the three organizational topics. Above the horizontal line are principles and below the line are building blocks appropriate for the topic. Am I basically correct?

Is the fourth item in the Escape list "Stance Interference?"

What did you mean by each of the symbols (arrow, x, <>, o, 1/2, 1/3)?

Unknown said...

In the spirit of reducing lists... Why separate out your position vs. the threat's position in the golden move? It seems like position is a relative quantity that could be combined.

For example, bending forward at the waist leaves your back and neck exposed to attack and makes you vulnerable to unbalancing/throwing - bad position... unless you're leaning your weight onto the threat's elbow in a straight arm bar.

Josh Kruschke said...


First, as a student if you change teach to learn you also have a good tool for students to know what to focus on learning as to not waist their time. Of defining their goals.

[An aside: If our goals are… then our training should cover… ? "What is good training?" takes the focus of student teacher dynamics and focuses in the information and principles.]

Second, number 5 of Jeff 's Rules is if you change the wording to: "1. Anything you teach must: Have a tactical purpose." you find the underlying principle is the same and #5 falls under and is a strategy within rule #1.

If you are going into the dark places bring a friend, ideally someone you have trained with and know you can work well together with.

But what is Self-Defense but first trying to stay out of stupid or unideal situations. Failing that recovering from them. What should we focus our training on? Are we more or less likely to be preyed upon in groups or when we are alone?

Remember the post on numbers falls under something to consider when deciding on what to teach or learn.


Josh Kruschke said...


Exchange tactical for strategic and strategy for tactic.

Louie Earle said...

I've been studying the OODA loop for a little while now. I like your list and think its very accurate, but I'm playing with my own personal list I have (tentatively) added another point:

-Be unexpected.

This may not always be possible. But if your golden move is a move that the other guy has never seen before or never expected (gets into the realm of set-ups and baiting, which may not always be there), then not only does the golden move help you immediately, it causes confusion and freezes in your opponent so their next move is already behind the eight ball.

Just thinking out loud here.