When reading what Rory writes, and when honestly thinking about it, we come to the realization that as practitioners we don't have any real exposure to violence other than in abstract. This is hard for us to accept after years of training, tournament fighting, and even after some half ass scuffles with half ass opponents.
Be honest with yourself, and this does not mean that what we do in a dojo is useless, real violence is ugly and brutal. Keep going back to that black belt tournament champion who died a screaming death in the dark stair well when set upon by the Jamaican gangbanger who almost cur his head off.
We all, more or less, have a tendency to think of martial arts and fighting as being more or less synonymous. And we all believe that what we work on in the dojo creates attributes that will guarantee success no matter what we end up facing in the street.
But be careful, as Rory points out in so many of his writings, because most martial artists don't fight and their training isn't directly based on what happens in a fight.
To make up for the lack of fighting, martial arts typically focus on displays of fake combat that illustrate the combative moves that have been passed down through history.
They may have non-contact or light contact fighting, but this only tests your ability to touch the other person with the techniques you have been taught--not your ability to hurt them for real much less take a beating yourself.
Rory points out that the mechanics of an assault, as our decapitated black belt found out in a moment of utter chaos and horror, are entirely different than the mechanics of a duel or sparring match.
As teachers we must be careful of what we 'brainwash' a typical student with.
What real experience do we offer with ugly violence, the kind a student might be up against[like the one who spent two weeks in the hospital believing his 'sanchin could not be violated' while taking a beating from multiple assailants ] on the street?
Rory talks about experience:
Experience in the dojo_is experience in the dojo_
Experience in a ring, is Experience in a ring_
But have nothing to teach to a person who is being dragged to a second crime scene.
He talks about hard conditioning as being mostly a myth because you cannot condition the face, you can't make the belly impervious to blades.
What do we sell the students and the self that the 'martial mistakes' we make on the floor are not really mistakes?
What do we tell ourselves to pretend that they aren't really mistakes? What is the narrative that allows you to something you know is wrong? And how do you justify passing it on to your students?
An interesting read.