Sunday, May 31, 2015

Men and Women, Big and Little

Interesting to note that two of the people debating in the comments continued separately on their blogs. 
Men and women are different. A lot of that is biological, a lot of that is social conditioning. And a lot is psychology created in the interaction of biology and social expectations. It doesn’t serve anybody to pretend it is not true. It also doesn’t serve anybody to pretend that it means very much.
Different just means that, given the same problem, you will have different tools to solve it. Viva diversit√©. But if the problem must be solved, you will find a way. That’s what humans do, we adapt.
Do men and women have different fighter/warrior/killer instincts? Sort of. Maybe. My experience actually says no. Sort of. One of the questions I ask in some seminars is how many of the participants have ever had to fight a women for real. Few hands go up and they are almost always street cops or bouncers. Then I ask if they ever want to repeat the experience, and they go a little pale and shake their heads. It seems that it takes a lot more to get a woman to cross the line into physical force, but when she does, she has no internalized rules.
So that’s two differences, I guess. Generally, women are more reluctant to fight than men. And when they do, men tend to focus on the abstract, bullshit social construct of “winning” and women are just there to hurt you. That’s what makes them so dangerous that experienced people pale a little at the memory… but grin when they remember the college kid who took a stance and bragged he was a black belt.
But not that much of a difference, because (and this may be my generation whining about “kids these days”) even most men will not engage under even extreme provocation. The biggest coward I ever worked with was a male, former marine, over six feet tall. And the most fearless was a 5’2” single mom.
Are women more reluctant to engage? Sure. If you take any group that, on average, has less muscle density and is smaller, being eager to engage would not be a sign of intelligence. Smart people avoid damage, and hands-on conflict always has the risk of damage. And any conflict with someone who is likely to lose with words and likely to win with fists has inherent risks. So, yeah, just like a small country or the smallest boy in the red neck school a woman (on average) will avoid confrontation. Not because of her gender but because of her intelligence. And it doesn’t take above average intelligence, either.
And when you are the smallest in a conflict, there are three ways to win that I know of. Technical superiority is the trained option. If you are superb, you can give up a lot in the weight, strength and age departments. But you have to be really good and, more importantly, you have to be really good at exactly the kind of fight that you’re in.
The second is ferocity. Or crazy. Everyone has little internal lines they won’t cross. Even when death is in the air, almost everyone holds back to some extent. There is always a balance between trying to win and trying not to lose and those are incompatible strategies and incompatible worldviews. It’s not always the answer, but if you are willing to go all-in and the threat is not, the threat has a tendency to leave. I think that is why things like nose strikes and groin strikes have been so successful for Leonnie’s WSD students and so dismally unsuccessful in jail fights. The disparity between what the threat expected and what they got became the signal to disengage.
The third is clarity. And clarity doesn’t hurt ferocity and is integral to technical skill. All fighting, anything with an athletic component, is all about efficiency. Efficiency is removing any unnecessary motion whatsoever. Clarity is the mental equivalent. It is knowing yourself-- what you are willing to do and not; why you are fighting and that it is worth all it will cost. It is knowing your goal and your strategy. Not some vague “I want to win this fight” but “Get to the door.”
And it’s not a hyperfocus on a single goal. It is clarity also to recognize when the first choice is no longer an option. That allows you to switch. Effective adaptability is predicated on clarity.


Anonymous said...

Meh. If it gets women to your seminars, fine, but their egos are far too swollen as it is, and the most important thing you left out is the most obvious:

Men do not naturally want to fight women. They want to love them and protect them. So obvious and yet a cultural blindspot that is invincible these days.

Women want to be badasses and yet at the same time will demand men step in to protect them, or go easy on them, and there will come a point, sooner rather than later, that women will have finally tapdanced on men's final nerve ending, and a man's natural protective instinct will be disrespected out of existence, and then what?

A man will give a woman a fight the same as he gives it to a man. And then we will see how fearless these pint sized single mothers are. And they will say, wait, I want the old ways back, I don't like this equality. But it will be too late, and they will realize that the fearlessness came from never having to face the consequences of their actions, and that reality testing is not so much fun after all.

Tiff said...

A bold comment for someone who is too cowardly to show their true identity...

Maija said...

@ Anonymous

Surely you don't need weak people around you to feel respected do you?

In all honesty, I don't think that women learning how to protect themselves against potential tweaker rapists by getting some physical skills, casts any aspersions on your manhood. And I certainly don't think that it's a fair trade for women to accept the inevitability of submitting to rape and attack just because you want to be confident that you have worth. This is not a zero sum equation. If you can protect yourself and others, why can't I do the same?

Women and men are not competing for dominance here. All good people should be fighting side by side against those that would prey upon the weak and do evil things.

Anonymous said...

For any person who thinks that women and girls can't fight or defend themselves, I have just two words: Ronda Rousey. For those who do not know, Ronda Rousey is a woman who is an undefeated champion in the UFC, and an Olympic medalist in judo. I purchased her autobiographical book earlier today at a bookstore. Her book, "My Fight/Your Fight", hit bookstores in mid-May, 2015. In my opinion, Ronda Rousey could probably physically kick the crap out of 95% of the men on this planet. The other 5%, she'd be smart enough to spot, and deal with those men with a different strategy.
Azar Hassan

Anonymous said...

Hmm, this is nice, I'm stealing a few quotes from it :)
I kinda want to split technical superiority into "doing better things" and "doing things better".
Doing better things: Higher percentage, more appropriate actions. Ear slap instead of trying to knock someone out with a punch. Grabbing the windpipe when clinched instead of trying to out-wrestle the guy.
Doing things better: Good enough structure & power generation that the knock out punch can work. Being able to out-wrestle someone bigger & stronger because you move better.
Doing things better requires a lot of physical skill. Doing better things, not necessarily, but probably requires the clarity you mentioned. Just a thought.

I find Ronda Rousey is not a great example, precisely because she is that good (extreme outlier) and because the type of fighting she does is against equals for dominance. Very much a different game. Still impressive as hell though.

Josh Kruschke said...

"Effective adaptability is predicated on clarity."

Clarity.... Hmmm....

Unknown said...

I was the small kid. Got pushed around a ton. Then one day, after years, I got pushed, and something broke or clicked. I just didn't care, all that mattered was hurting the person pushing me around.

Took two of those, and after that no one bothered me any more. Still didn't like me, most of them, but they didn't try and push me around any more.

That switch is something I could access any time I wanted in my 20s, but I seem to have lost instant access as I got older. Pity.