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 Post subject: Abiding Place
PostPosted: Sun Jun 08, 2014 5:16 pm 
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To speak in terms of your own martial art, when you first notice the sword that is moving to strike you, if you think of meeting that sword just as it is, your mind will stop at the sword in just that position, your own movements will be undone, and you will be cut down by your opponent, This is what stopping means.

Although you see the sword that moves to strike you, if your mind is not detained by it and you meet the rhythm of the advancing sword; if you do not think of striking your opponent and no thoughts or judgments remain; if the instant you see the swinging sword your mind is not the least bit detained and you move straight in and wrench the sword away from him; the sword that was going to cut you down will become your own, and, contrarily, will be the sword that cuts down your opponent.
-Takuan Soho 1600's


I read this and have to wonder how this applies to my own art. Does my mind fix on making the block when attacked or should I always fix on moving past the block and onto the attack? How does this translate to my own training? Should I back up as taught in kumite or always strive forward or off center to land my own strike? Can training methods teach us to stop in an "abiding place" as Takuan calls it; and lose an opportunity at survival.

F.

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 Post subject: Re: Abiding Place
PostPosted: Sun Jun 08, 2014 9:58 pm 
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I read this and have to wonder how this applies to my own art. Does my mind fix on making the block when attacked or should I always fix on moving past the block and onto the attack? How does this translate to my own training? Should I back up as taught in kumite or always strive forward or off center to land my own strike? Can training methods teach us to stop in an "abiding place" as Takuan calls it; and lose an opportunity at survival.


1. There are different ways to look at it when we think in terms of what we could face on the street in relation to habitual acts of physical violence, and more important the type and nature of the opposition, i.e., who is attacking you and with what?

This is the 'standard' against which we should measure our training skills in my opinion.

2. You need to quickly [ subconsciously] assess the threat [what are you really up against] and decide what the likely survival technique/concept is:

the 'Irimi' to short stop the attack as you block…not the standard 'block then strike' which has a lesser chance of success.

Here, the most overlooked factor by many students, is: what guarantees are there that landing your own strike will stop the fight head on? You really think you will stop anybody with your strikes?

We only need to go to a shopping mall and look around…where we will see some 'industrial size' individuals built like tanks.

Do we really have the type of stopping power to short stop one of those guys head on, or are we now in a worst situation where the maddened 'gorilla' tears you apart?


3. Think of a road rage incident where some 275 pounds maniac, steps out of his pick up truck and rockets towards you swinging a baseball bat.

Do we really want to stand in front of him and block a deadly swing of the bat either sideway to the side of your heads or down to break your legs?

4. I don't think 'backing up' I think and teach the practice of 'tenshin' movements_ angling diagonally forward_ sideways 90 degrees_ and diagonally back 45 degrees.

This would place the defender out of 'contesting' the opponent's strength, weight, momentum and the weapon_

And find the defender in a position of advantage re_ striking from a blind spot and or 'getting out of Dodge' _

5. I also teach the 'Short stop' as a viable option as assessed.

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 Post subject: Re: Abiding Place
PostPosted: Mon Jun 09, 2014 4:59 am 
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the violence is the collision , the meeting of force , most can only see this point and we pretty much all start there .

however as you progress you should be able to see all the time/space around that point , and the opportunity that presents itself there.

fixating on meeting force will limit you forever at colliding , once you can meet you can progress to joining , merging , helping and leading.

taking the angles intercepting lines, taking all the time around that one moment of time, and dont be on the x (dont charge or stay the point of collision) , not blocking and striking in turn but shifting intercepting and entering.

position cover and entry .

does it mean the other will never happen .. no but is it better to ingrain and develop , I think so . Sometimes we are simply no better than training to be victims with all this blocking stuff , stop their attack and plant yourself on the tracks is not a strategy of survival. Why do we practice letting people attack us instead of counter ambushing?


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 Post subject: Re: Abiding Place
PostPosted: Mon Jun 09, 2014 11:53 am 
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Thanks Marcus.

What you write should be posted in capital letters on every dojo wall.

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 Post subject: Re: Abiding Place
PostPosted: Mon Jun 09, 2014 2:12 pm 
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Marcus wrote
Quote:
the violence is the collision , the meeting of force , most can only see this point and we pretty much all start there .

however as you progress you should be able to see all the time/space around that point , and the opportunity that presents itself there.

fixating on meeting force will limit you forever at colliding , once you can meet you can progress to joining , merging , helping and leading.

taking the angles intercepting lines, taking all the time around that one moment of time, and dont be on the x (dont charge or stay the point of collision) , not blocking and striking in turn but shifting intercepting and entering.

position cover and entry .

does it mean the other will never happen .. no but is it better to ingrain and develop , I think so . Sometimes we are simply no better than training to be victims with all this blocking stuff , stop their attack and plant yourself on the tracks is not a strategy of survival. Why do we practice letting people attack us instead of counter ambushing?

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 Post subject: Re: Abiding Place
PostPosted: Fri Jun 13, 2014 4:47 am 
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Thanks Van , you obviously get this because you teach it.

I wish there was a way to articulate this better as it is easy to sound like rhetoric , when in fact it is so literal .

Freds Question was excellent as was his quote , its just an excellent question and leads to our mind and our conciousness , now these are to heady for most who just want to kick and punch , but for the serious instructor , how do we train people to see this question in there drilling ? to expereince options over rote ?

To not abide in one moment , is to abide in the moment , not the idea of the moment .

ok literal is sometimes profound , and simple is often complicated.


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 Post subject: Re: Abiding Place
PostPosted: Fri Jun 13, 2014 3:06 pm 
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Hi Marcus,

Thanks. I still believe that we can all benefit from reviewing _ again and again_ what happens when we should come under attack in any shape or form, armed or empty handed.

The attacker is focused on you and begins the attack [or action] and he is fixated on you while experiencing pretty much blinding tunnel vision and adrenaline dump.

By putting the Uechi Tenshin moves to work, you will have moved from your 'X' and from his incoming line of force...but more so ...you will have moved out of the attacker tunnel vision and adrenaline power charge_ placing yourself in a more advantageous position to deliver a stopping strike, or to flee, if that's the better option.

However in many cases, as you know _being a full contact fighter, it might be a better strategy to move into the attack if the target and timing opportunity is there, but also very important, if you can really rely on your 'technique' to short stop the opponent.

If not...you will be landing in the lion's jaws.

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 Post subject: Re: Abiding Place
PostPosted: Fri Jun 13, 2014 8:54 pm 
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You nailed it, It really its using there commitment against them, you know where there going , now you just have to work around when there going.

I think many struggle with the concept of going forward and short stopping because of the timing, there looking at the attack and colliding, when its all about pre contact ques.

If you have distance you have time, if he's predictable you have time, if he's committed you have positional time, but in all these cases you have to use the time immediately, and not wait for the action.


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 Post subject: Re: Abiding Place
PostPosted: Fri Jun 13, 2014 9:45 pm 
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I agree Marcus...

I have always been of the opinion, and this has caused the famous forum wars in the past, that we martial arts students can fall prey to very dangerous assumptions as we train.

Assumptions of some kind need to be there, of course, but they need to arise out of an informed platform beyond some 'ultimate' style.

This is our greatest difficulty to overcome. The 'assumption disease' as Rory Miller outlines so well.

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 Post subject: Re: Abiding Place
PostPosted: Fri Jun 13, 2014 11:07 pm 
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Agreed Van, I'm big on trusting and training you're instincts , if you know somethings wrong you need to act, so many of the martial art training storys we train are they do this so we do this......

Well of course sometimes need to be specific, but in everyday life if you've dismissed your instincts and your waiting for the specific, you've diminished your opportunity.

if your looking for a fight you'll find one, if your looking for escape you won't find it looking to deal with violence, are you looking for opportunity? , and if so opportunity for what?.

When we change our focus we expand our timing, our options , it does not mean we won't arrive at the sword but we have the chance to manipulate and control to our advantage.

This is true in the strategic as well as the physical engagement sense.

The violence should be natural, so we can focus on everything else, when it arrives were already there.

Of course it's what works for the individual , and I dont claim to be some sort of ninja of doom , but the reality in my sense is no one really is and trying to be bigger badder and faster I'll take smarter every time.

and thats physically smarter in a fighting sense , position , cover and entry .


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 Post subject: Re: Abiding Place
PostPosted: Sat Jun 14, 2014 6:09 am 
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In this quote Takuan is talking about the condition of your mind. to think block, strike, move in or move out, this is the path of being cut down. Shoshin Nagamine had a quote "karate ni sen te nashi" there is no first strike in karate. from the Okinawan perspective moraly there should always be a defense before an offense. this is the post war doctrine of Japan that Nagamine speaks of. this is not Takuan's way. there are different "sen" or timings. the highest level being "sen no sen". from the observers view point one could not tell who was the attacker and who was the defender. like the claping of your hands, which hand hit the other?
Karate ni sen te nashi, no first attack... rather a clap where one man stands and the other falls. this is not the realm of sport where there is a flow and exchange this is true combat where guns and knives take a life. in Takuan's quote he is refering to the sword. one cut can kill much like a well aimed gun. at the critical moment does your mind lock up causing your body to respond poorly or not at all or does your training teach you to shut off the mind and allow the body to move freely disconected from the electrical over load in the frontal cortex. blocking or not blocking is not the question but rather do you respond with a Zen mind, the mind without thought as if your body reponded before asking your permission. this is taking OODA and going around it. finding the nural pathways that do not involve the frontal cortex.
Sorry to be letting my inner lotus eater out but since we are talking about Takuan it couldnt be helped.. :)


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 Post subject: Re: Abiding Place
PostPosted: Sat Jun 14, 2014 7:00 am 
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It is definately a level of conciousness

:D Look for the punch get hit by the kick ....... :lol:

I think we could debate the ooda and wether it's possible to cycle it without concious decision making :) , I kind of think that it's purpose is to keep the mind flowing an to not get stuck , a military flow state.I think the big thing most miss with OODA is how active it is , you have to cycle it , you cant stick on any point , but instinct and training can take from observation to action IMHO if the orientation and decisions have been ingrained.

Quote:
Shoshin Nagamine had a quote "karate ni sen te nashi" there is no first strike in karate. from the Okinawan perspective moraly there should always be a defense before an offense.


So much to answer for ...... interpreted as a physical directive it is really poor advice , as a strategy not so much ..... I propose your first job is to establish there unreasonableness. Morality is important and even the law :angel: , but not enough to throw away strategy , it's possible to co-exist. Sometimes the first strike is simply not physical, the reasonable man .......

maybe I'm a sophist .... but I'm right so who cares :lol: :lol: :evilbat:


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 Post subject: Re: Abiding Place
PostPosted: Sat Jun 14, 2014 3:47 pm 
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Takuan's quote is a very common narative in the Zen teachings. be it meditation, flower arranging, shodo, kyudo or swordsmanship. they all describe this state of being where the mind is devoid of the normal thought process. as everyday people we belive the way we percieve the world is reality. in fact reality is reality not the conditioned sensory of our minds. when i think, i think with an internal dialog going on in my head. this is my reality. i cannot think without the conversation in my head and yet a deaf person who has no concept of sound much less language has no problem thinking thru complex thoughts. as human beings we have a frontal cortex and this separates us from other creatures but when we use the frontal cortex in a reaction or self defense situation it slows reaction time down and sometimes causes non-action.

"if you do not think of striking your opponent and no thoughts or judgments remain"

this is that state of mind. i like to think of it as clearing all the traffic and opening up the highways so that the motorcade of nuro-signals will not get stuck in a traffic jam.
i often use the hands claping anology to describe the difference between sport and combat. in sport my left hand hit the right THEN the right hand hits the left. there is a back and forth in action but in combat there is only one clap/ clash and if the leathal blow is not delivered there is a withdrawal and then another clash and another. an expansion and contraction repeated over and over if needed. if you look for it you can see this expansion and contraction in uechi kata.

as we train we engage our frontal cortex in rational thought. many people think in terms of blocking, striking and counter striking. this often leads the the dreaded comment " if you do this... ill do this.." no, no you wont do that, you just think you will because in you imagination you can pertend that that is what you would do. to which the usual reply is "well if you tried to grab and punch me i would do this fancy counter grab and duck under your other hand then turn and spin and hit you here, then hit you there, then i would use my foot to trip you and you would be dead" my instinctive reaction would be to punch him in the face just to shut him up, but usually i dont. :) but such is the evil of the frontal cortex. as advanced martial artists we know to stay away from this type of thinking but it can be very subtle and difficult to root out entirely. it can creep into our training without knowing it, thus the assumption problem.

notice Takuan said to not think of STRIKING your opponent. he did not say blocking or evading, he worded this for a reason but Fred only posted the one quote. you would have to read the entire writting to put it into context and then have an understanding of the Zen narative to see the significance. it is understood that you cannot win the fight without striking. so why would he advise to stand there in front of your opponent facing the danger with an empty mind? no thought of striking, no thought of blocking or moving, no thought of winning or losing.


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 Post subject: Re: Abiding Place
PostPosted: Sun Jun 15, 2014 1:12 am 
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It's not what you do, but how you do it.


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 Post subject: Re: Abiding Place
PostPosted: Sun Jun 15, 2014 3:26 am 
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For sure, if you’re in the wrong place at the wrong time, self-protection training and maybe even owning a gun isn’t going to make a damn bit of difference.

As these high profile stories overtake the news, they also over shadow every-minute-of-every-day real violence — muggings, home invasions, sexual assaults, rapes, murder, kidnappings… whether at gunpoint, knife at your throat, or a swinging pipe at your head.

The news doesn’t cover the hundreds of crimes against people that happen every day and these are the ones that hold a much higher risk for you and your family.

The everyday common criminal thug, usually high on drugs, needs a constant flow of cash. The sociopath needs the “thrill” of whatever turns him on.

And, then you think about the college campus and bar scene, where date rape and sexual assault has reached a rate that even has the White House speaking out.
Here are some recent stats on crime.

The Every Day numbers:

• One burglary every 10 Seconds

• One home invasion every 10.5 Seconds

• One Aggravated Assault every 20.5 seconds

• One Robbery every 1.5 minutes

• One Forcible Rape every 2 minutes (60% of all rapes occur during home invasions)

• One Murder every 35.4 minutes

• 1 out of every 6 American women has been the victim of an attempted or completed rape in her lifetime

• Every 9 seconds a woman in the US is assaulted or beaten.
Larkin

But the BS of no first strike is more interesting.

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