Good talk on blocks

Sensei Canna offers insight into the real world of self defense!

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Re: Good talk on blocks

Postby Van Canna » Tue Nov 14, 2017 8:30 pm

We all have biases-- biases in the way that we perceive, process, think, plan... You probably know some of your physical habits (when you cross your arms, is the right or the left on the outside? Are you left or right eye dominant? Which shoe goes on first?) but not all of them. You probably know even fewer of your mental habits. And even fewer of your perceptual habits (hint-- I bet if you examine the last several big meetings of strangers the handful of people you remember will have certain things in common.)

The bullshit never goes away. Humans know surprisingly little. We have a lot of stuff in our heads, but the things we know to a certainty is a very small subset. And many of those are useful, but incorrect.

The sun doesn't actually rise in the East, the sun is stationary and the earth spins...and that's not true either, because the sun isn't stationary, nor is the galaxy.

I'm never certain how much bullshit has crept in. I can't be. If I only taught the things I'm 100% scientifically certain of, all of my knowledge could be summed up with "1+1=2 as long as you limit it to inanimate objects; and things with a higher number on the Mohs scale will scratch things with a lower number."
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Re: Good talk on blocks

Postby Van Canna » Tue Nov 14, 2017 8:40 pm

Structure, momentum, balance and gravity. Four key principles and they all interact.

Life is a constant battle with gravity. Gravity is a force, and sometimes the enemy, and almost always a tool. If you need to resist gravity, resist it with bone, not muscle.

That's one of the essential applications of structure. Muscle gets tired. Bone doesn't. I use structure for unbalancing and immobilizations and takedowns and... Vic used it for lifting, carrying, catching, traversing, climbing. Just that I saw. In two days.

Exploiting momentum is one of the key principles, especially when you are outmatched in size and strength. I tend to use it to make people miss and hurt themselves and fall down, but also to increase my own power. "Motion defeats strength" to quote Jimerfield sensei. Vic used it to keep motion going with less effort, to extend a jump and to slow one down and in a climbing thing--
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Re: Good talk on blocks

Postby Van Canna » Tue Nov 14, 2017 8:42 pm

Gravity is a tool. The iconic application is the drop-step. Done properly it is a speed, power and range multiplier that doesn't telegraph. It's one of the first things I teach. Turned out to be one of the first things Vic taught as well, but as a way to effortlessly and quickly fall into a run. Or a sprint, depending on how much you commit. And a way to control your speed, without working to move your legs faster or thinking about lengthening your stride.

Still playing with thoughts from the class. Will be for awhile. Probably talk about teaching methodology next.
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Re: Good talk on blocks

Postby Van Canna » Tue Nov 14, 2017 8:47 pm

Have to unpack the language here, and talk about a couple of categories and some background concepts.

Creepers are low-level sexual predators. The kind that harass and pressure women, but always with deniability. Rarely ever cross the line into something legally actionable, or something that could legally justify physical self-defense.

They stand too close, shake hands too long, try to increase the physical intimacy of a relationship (e.g. pressuring a good-bye hug from someone they just met.) It hides in the normal social interaction. Rather, they disguise it in the normal social interaction.

Many are willing to apologize, to explain away, or even call in allies to make their targets feel like maybe it is all imaginary, there is no problem… Some are sophisticated enough to cultivate an image of “social awkwardness” that gets other people defending their actions: “Mel’s always like that.

It’s not a gender thing he does the same weird stuff around me and the other guys.” Perfect camouflage.

Most women who have been in any kind of office environment recognize the problem and know the type. But also, many excuse or explain away their own instincts.
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Re: Good talk on blocks

Postby Van Canna » Tue Nov 14, 2017 8:50 pm

Violence groupies are all over. If you’ve been in any kind of force instruction role for any length of time, you’ve seen them. These are the guys that follow you around, begging for stories about ugly fights and death and violence.

It’s not a healthy fascination, it’s pure fantasy fodder. Some of them even get fuller lips or lick their lips when they ask. Lips are erectile tissue, BTW, and swell when you get excited in certain ways. The lips are your face’s dick.
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Re: Good talk on blocks

Postby Van Canna » Tue Nov 14, 2017 8:51 pm

So, back to creepers and violence groupies. You can’t accidentally stand too close or ask inappropriate questions. Those are volitional acts. But you can either be (e.g. raised in a culture with different rules on proxemics) or pretend to be oblivious that your choices are inappropriate. Watching the pattern, it may be unconscious, but the actions were one and all, deliberate.
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Re: Good talk on blocks

Postby Van Canna » Wed Nov 15, 2017 10:47 pm

Unarmed.

With the exceptions of corrections, hospital security, and secure mental facilities, almost no profession goes hands-on unarmed. Because it is stupid. If you know things are going to go bad, you get a weapon. And friends. And intel. And surprise. Crime, by the way, is another profession that uses weapons. And this goes back to the dueling/sparring paradigm.

To get good at unarmed dueling is to develop skill at a very bad strategy, a strategy which has the sole purpose of stroking your ego. Don't quit playing. I love to play. But don't make it something it's not.

If someone was trying to kill someone you loved would you tap them on the shoulder and step back so that they could face you at the appropriate distance? Or would you hit them in the back of the neck with the best tool you could find? Your choice, but one choice is stupid and that choice is the one you have likely practiced most.
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Re: Good talk on blocks

Postby Van Canna » Wed Nov 15, 2017 10:48 pm

Bad metrics.
How do you measure if something works? The military has a "Lessons Learned" program. My team, and Search and Rescue and even the Reception crew when I was sergeant there used After-Action Debriefing protocols. This will get you better continuously-- provided you have actions to debrief. Without those actions, it is much harder. I wonder what percentage of students of an SD instructor are attacked on average, how often... but I feel the numbers are too low.
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Re: Good talk on blocks

Postby Van Canna » Wed Nov 15, 2017 10:50 pm

The Safety/Effectiveness scale.
Fighting, especially recovery from ambush, is a very dangerous thing. One of the biggest challenges is training people to fight without injuring them.

Straight up, if neither you nor your opponent are scared or need medical attention, it's not a fight. It has nothing to do with fighting. Trying to approximate the skills without the injuries is a very fine line.

Weapons arts have the advantage in that they can make the weapons safe. Much harder to do with throws and neck twists. MA tend to make the techniques safe...and more safe the higher speed the training. And so the safety artifacts ingrain right along with the techniques.
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Re: Good talk on blocks

Postby Van Canna » Thu Nov 16, 2017 6:57 am

INITIATIVE as a system comes from Jeff, a deputy US Marshall. You do what needs to be done without hesitation. It doesn't matter if it is not what you planned or things aren't going well. In each instant, something needs to be done and you do it.

At the technique level, this is acting decisively and without hesitation or telegraph regardless of the technique used.

At the tactical level it is explosive entry.

At the strategic level it is "shock & awe".

At the meta level it is deciding what is worth fighting, dying or killing for long before the subject comes up and acting decisively when the line is crossed.
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Re: Good talk on blocks

Postby Van Canna » Thu Nov 16, 2017 7:00 am

The third leg of this tripod is PERMISSION. I've written about it before. You must let yourself act. There is an old article, I believe from the Utne reader about "what happens when violence calls and politeness answers'" in which the author describes her rape and at each stage that she could have acted did not because it 'would be rude'.

She wanted to slam her door in the stranger's face, but that would be rude... and he pushed past her into the apartment. Permission is powerful and huge, especially in combination with the other two systems. I'm still working on how pervasive a power, a crutch and a blindfold it can be. Probably will be for life.

Initiative and awareness in combination allow the predator dynamic.

They allow the explosive counter-attack that can save a victim from a hopeless situation.

Together, they allow for devastating and explosive applications of skill that push the very edge of what is possible.
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Re: Good talk on blocks

Postby Van Canna » Thu Nov 16, 2017 7:02 am

Permission and awareness go beyond that. I've already written about the agreements and subconscious human dynamics that affect violent behavior. The awareness of which are artificial and permission to break them combine to access a nearly superhuman ability.

It is not that you can suddenly do what humans can't, it's that you can do what humans choose to believe they can't do. Serious, skilled combative martial artists have said that small joint locks can't be used in a real fight, but I've done it, even one-handed on threats who outweighed me by a bunch.

You will be told that if you go up unarmed against a threat with a knife, you will be cut, yet I stand at five without a scratch.
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Re: Good talk on blocks

Postby Van Canna » Thu Nov 16, 2017 7:04 am

Permission and initiative combine to produce a force of nature. This is inhuman and hard to describe. You do what needs to be done without regard for whether it is possible, because 9/10ths of your "impossibilities" are imaginary.

Strange that a 110 pound girl believes that she can't hurt a 200 pound man, but an eight-pound cat (especially if you dump a bucket of water on it) can and it will do so without hesitation.

A small woman can punch hard enough to break ribs and it is far less a matter of 'know-how' than it is of deciding to injure and then letting herself do it.

This, really, is what has allowed me to go up against PCP freaks- in the end, the critical difference between me and them is that they have completely lost their allegiance to regular human suppositions about what is and isn't true, is and isn't possible.

They lose theirs through chemicals and sometimes I can give mine up and even the playing field.
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Re: Good talk on blocks

Postby Van Canna » Thu Nov 16, 2017 7:07 am

None of this is new, in a way. I've done each piece of this at times- I've just never seen it before. Never looked at the negative space of my actions.

I very rarely talk about the "twilight zone" of violence, the incredibly weird things that happen, some seemingly impossible.

One of those stories is about the time I saw a threat start to punch at my partner. Everything went in slow motion. I took two long steps, shoved my partner out of the way and caught the fist in mid-air.

By conventional wisdom, this was impossible. Action beats reaction, and I didn't start to move until after the threat had started the punch.

In addition, you can't take two long steps and push someone out of the way in the time it takes someone to throw a short left hook.

But that one time I did.

That experience has always been in the twilight zone- how the hell did that happen? How strange is that.

Looking at it from this perspective, it was just permission and initiative and the question becomes "Why don't I do that all the time?"
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Re: Good talk on blocks

Postby Van Canna » Thu Nov 16, 2017 7:13 am

Breathing

Breathing is like walking- everyone does it and very few people do it well. It's also one of those subjects where people focus on the minutia to the exclusion of the purpose. The purpose is to get oxygen into your system and carbon dioxide out... and often the expulsion of carbon dioxide is the most important.


It's good to have air in your lungs and let it out when taking a hit to the body.

Some people contend that breathing is the only thing that is both autonomic and voluntary, the only automatic thing that we can consciously control. That's partially true, but it's also been shown that you can control most of the others- heart beat, skin temperature, etc. if you can accurately and easily monitor them. It just takes practice.

Concentrating on breathing out in short, sharp gasps isn't just for lamaze- you can use it to stave off other automatic reactions, too.

Sound travels in air, and breathing requires air. Breath and sound are commingled on many levels. Kiai isn't always audible and people make a big deal about the "spirit shout" but ki means breath just as much as it does 'spirit' and in both senses is cognate with prana and pneuma. Breathing people still have their spirit inside them.

Long, slow breaths in through the mouth, out through the nose help lower the heart rate and ease pain.

The connection of breath and spirit ties breathing to meditation. In through the nose for so many seconds, hold without strain for so many seconds, exhale for so many seconds, hold with empty lungs for so many seconds. As thoughts intrude you acknowledge them and let them go until the world is a cycle of inhale, hold, exhale and hold. Then you get beyond even that.

A short, sharp breath with a sharp, short consonant-rich bark is very useful for triggering explosive speed.

Old style hypnotists would survey their audiences and then change the pattern of their own breathing. After a few minutes they would note which of the potential subjects had subconsciously mimicked the new breathing pattern. These would be the test subjects.

If you are in the middle of a fight and you can smell, you're breathing right and you are triggering your own predator mindset
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