Uechi-Ryu.com

Discussion Area
It is currently Thu Apr 24, 2014 1:44 pm

All times are UTC




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 50 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1, 2, 3, 4  Next
Author Message
PostPosted: Sun Apr 30, 2000 1:48 am 
Offline

Joined: Mon Nov 08, 1999 6:01 am
Posts: 1070
Actually there is an easy answer, Canna-Sensei.

It's the same answer as to the question "How do you get to Carnegie Hall?

Practice.

Suzette's system is not one that is applied like a cookbook recipe; it takes practice in learning the attacks, the modes, the defenses, etc. Tony Blauer's Chu Fen Do cannot be learned merely by listening to his audio tape, reading his workbook, and not mixing it up to get the muscullar, neural, emotional, adrenalized feel of the totality of combat (though God knows I try Image).

I can empathize with the shugyo of your Torture Chamber, but it's not the same as having experienced it.

The answers are easy. It's putting them into practice that's not.

Sigh. More training....

student


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Sun Apr 30, 2000 6:20 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Thu Mar 11, 1999 6:01 am
Posts: 29739
Yes, practice! That is partially true as I pointed out in the example of the police.

But most of us will never get the chance to practice, or to get the right practice, enough to get “ inoculated “ at the same rate that the policeman does!

And for many, no amount of practice will ever work because of underlying genetic or abusive turmoil! Take a look at “hot heads” for example, or people who live by a different code of honor!



------------------
Van Canna


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Sun Apr 30, 2000 7:32 am 
Offline

Joined: Fri Apr 14, 2000 6:01 am
Posts: 31
Location: Studio City, CA
Oh Student , what would you know of practise?
Image

Good to know you're alive and well, even though you haven't e-mailed. You never write , you---oops, ok, just the after effects of reading "How To Be a Jewish Mother", which is almost as good as "How to Make Yourself Miserable" by the same author.

Which leads to a nice riff on to guilt and shame.

Dr. Elgin: In your four categories of 'verbal abusers' I could not figure out where one would place a browbeating bully who insults and rages in a fit worthy of Hitler when his intial gambit of sweet talking to get you to give him something for nothing has failed.

(by 'something' I include anything from sex, Czechoslovakia, the 35mm film camera, your investment potfolio, or the lawnmower)

Hmm... Perhaps the title of a new book: "When Con-Men Start to Shout"

It's the 'dark side of the force' in sales. Overpowering others until they collapse and sign on the dotted line...

My musings on the subject may be too long, suffice it at present to offer only one bit of advice: hang up the phone or walk away and DO NOT prolong the conversation for one millisecond.

"the Devil is a liar but sometimes he mixes truth with lies to confuse us"--The Exorcist, W.P. Blatty.

What is your system?

A question for Senseis Mattson and Van Canna: In your experience, and those of your students, have you encountered many street situations where the violence went from zero to sixty in seconds?

I ask because I suspect the "interview" to use sensei Blauer's terminology can proceed from "detect" to someone kissing concrete rater quickly. Is not a great deal of our training as MA'ers to maximize our reflexes?

Have we somehow lost the old Samurai/Zen concept of drawing the sword and cutting in one move?

Most interested in hearing your thoughts upon this matter.

Respectfully,

guppy Ringo.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Sun Apr 30, 2000 1:47 pm 
Offline

Joined: Mon Nov 08, 1999 6:01 am
Posts: 1070
One problem in the Forum venue is the limited amount of space and the differing amounts of knowledge of the subjects by the various participants.

I had read several of Suzette's books prior to her posting here and was impressed. I also have started studying Tony Blauer's methods by correspondence, workbook, video and audio tapes. Each of these teachers has far more to state upon her/his subject in the venue of his/her choice than is possible on a Forum situation.

Exampla gratia, a superficial reading of Tony Blauer's Detect, Defuse, Defend (and granted, that's all I posted originally) could impoly that those were exact steps to be tried in that order. But that flies in the face of another Blauer maxim: The scenario will dictate the response. Tony has always acknowledged that there may be times that one or more of the steps may be skipped. (But consider: if you've successfully stopped at Detect or Defuse... well, you've won, haven't you....)

And Suzette has never claimed that her system defends against physical violence! But it is a splendid tool for a far more prevelant threat (although not so immediately threatening and lethal as physical violence) in our society.

I started this thread because I saw an overlap between the systems in the Defuse range. My observation is that Suzette has been unfairly attacked more than once on this Forum for her system not having tools for physical attacks.

I believe this to be unfair as GAVSD was never intended to defend against that sort of attack. Might I suggest that posts concerning physical attacks or physical responses may be more appropriately posted on other Forums herein?

Ringo: Suzette's system is called GAVSD, the Gentle Art Of Verbal Self Defense. I believe I e-mailed you her Webpage for an introduction. I strongly suggest getting one of her books in order to have a background - The Gentle Art Of Verbal Self Defense or How To Disagree Without Being Disagreeable.

Sigh. More training....

student


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Sun Apr 30, 2000 2:56 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Thu Mar 11, 1999 6:01 am
Posts: 29739
"I believe this to be unfair as GAVSD was never intended to defend against that sort of attack. Might I suggest that posts concerning physical attacks or physical responses may be more appropriately posted on other Forums herein?"

Student-san, I think this is where the confusion is. When GEM-sensei and I talked about this forum, both of our understanding was this to be a tool to be added to our self-defense arsenal. After all, this is a martial arts site, and people look for “martial guidance”!
If this was not to be, then, with all due respect to Suzette, the “forum mission statement” should have been clarified at the onset. You cannot really blame readers to assume to the contrary. Perhaps it was and we are missing it, so it bears to be repeated.

Here is Tony Blauer: “My assumption - perhaps incorrect - was that this is a martial art forum and that this forum was about 'Verbal Self-defense' as it relates to total self-defense. If I am wrong, I apologize and will reserve my thoughts for the street oriented forums "

Case in point!

Student: "My observation is that Suzette has been unfairly attacked more than once on this Forum for her system not having tools for physical attacks"

I am not sure I would classify the Questioning as “attacks” on Suzette! I think she is providing a very valuable insight here for all concerned, but we must remember that we look at words here from a martial arts mindset!

Ringo says it all: “In your experience, and those of your students, have you encountered many street situations where the violence went from zero to sixty in seconds?"

And Tony Blauer seals it: "My message was simply that tools that work in 'consenting' arena are very different when there is no consent to negotiate/evaluate. When talks break down, parties can agree to disagree and/or resume negotiation with a mediator at another time...I've never heard of that happening during a violent confrontation"

And I do have the GAVSD book Of DR. Elgin, I have had it for ages, and it is one of my favorites, but I still have trouble living by its precepts due to my “high jacking” propensities under perceived insult. Cultural, I guess! Image


------------------
Van Canna

[This message has been edited by Van Canna (edited April 30, 2000).]


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Sun Apr 30, 2000 4:55 pm 
Offline

Joined: Mon Nov 08, 1999 6:01 am
Posts: 1070
Canna-Sensei:

To use a phrase that was highjacked by another into an attack/mocking phrase, we can agree to disagree.

That particular exchange, which has been deleted, I believe, came from one of our more prolific posters whose verbal skills in logic and sarcasm are great. Suzette refused to play by his rules that all disagreements must boil into rude argumentation, and he has not been seen in this Forum since.

I agree there has been some confusion. In my opinion, more of the responsibility for the confusion lies with those who have made assumptions and not checked them.

Suzette has a Website which gives a fairly good introduction into GAVSD. She is prolifically published.

How many lurkers/posters have actually visited the site or read one of her books?

Every martial art makes certain assumptions and its utility, if any, is within certain parameters. Continual criticism of a system for not having a defense against something it was never designed for, nor advertised as such, is either showing a lack of knowledge of the system's goals or creating a straw man to provide the crtic with self-glory in defeating a foe that does not exist.

As a senior yudansha in Uechi-Ryu you would be expected to know about physical conflict. It would be absurd for you to be held as an authority about cultural norms and insults among the Inuit or Laplanders because of your Uechi rank. For all I know, you may be an authority on such, but it would not fall in the purview of Uechi.

In my opinion, a critique of verbal techniques and verbal self-defense is valid in this Forum. But as it does not make any physical claims, nor does its moderator claim physical defense skills nor coaching ability, I repeat that in my opinion the physical side of self-defense is best addressed in other Forums.

Like yours, sir. Image


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Mon May 01, 2000 4:22 am 
Offline

Joined: Tue Feb 22, 2000 6:01 am
Posts: 391
Student,

I agree with you that we can't neccesarily expect Dr. Elgin to comment on the physical aspects of a confrontation(although, for all we know she may be well versed in this...)

However, use of one's voice/language should be part of our continuum, I beleive. I'm sure we have all known folks who could end a conflict with thier voice. (in my case - my mother, I swear she could stop a world war with her command presence!)

I submitt that we should not shy away from discussing the physical on this forum provided it is directly related in some way to the topic at hand. In my example, I was unsure of that line between the physical and vocal/mental? At one point I felt VERY scared, like something was sure to happen, I think at the time I had an urge to hit the guy(honestly I don't remember)..... Obviously in hindsite it would not have been appriate for me to strike out, as he never really physically attacked. However, was physical attack implied? Was it consistant with my experience of how physical attackers behave? Was it consistant with science's conclusions of how a physical attacker behaves? Is "verbal offense" related to physical defense? Probably, maybe, I think.. I don't know.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Mon May 01, 2000 5:01 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Thu Mar 11, 1999 6:01 am
Posts: 29739
Student-san,

Valid points but still confusion here!

You write:

"In my opinion, a critique of verbal techniques and verbal self-defense is valid in this Forum. But as it does not make any physical claims, nor does its moderator claim physical defense skills nor coaching ability, I repeat that in my opinion the physical side of self-defense is best addressed in other Forums."

As I said, Suzette’s work is invaluable, very helpful to develop strategic language patterns, and, no doubt, useful in the run of the mill confrontations. I will restate the fact that I do have one of her books and find it very useful!

But the “physical” side of self-defense is tied to a strong “emotional” component, and as you know, the physical attack begins with a heavy emotional blow to our psyche, of which, language is the primary weapon!

I wish to remind you, sir, that studies of attacks against women have confirmed that over 80% of the attackers used only verbal intimidation, including vulgarity, to scare the victims into submission, something that the martial arts do not prepare one for!

For this reason, lots of people, including myself, were looking subliminally at this forum hoping to also learn workable language techniques, which would bear up under the “chemical dump” to help in dealing with the extremes of “ Emotional attack” or “emotional shock” caused by cutting words that usually precede the “physical attack”, the much dreaded “interview”, if you will, designed to “take your heart” as a prelude to conquering your body.

I think these are legitimate questions, not offensive at all, in my opinion, which could be addressed without any need to resort to chiding, rude argumentation, and “continual criticism” of Suzette’s system. I am hoping that you are not reading such intent in my words, because if you do, then you would be totally wrong!

I also believe that Suzette fully expected, or certainly foresaw the likelihood of such exchanges in “dealing” with a martial arts group. I would welcome more input from Suzette on these points.

I think it is important to accept that as human beings, and martial artists, we carry on silent conversations with ourselves about our fears, and reach out for ways to awaken in others their own knowledge in order to benefit us.

Some times we do this rationally, sometimes we don’t, sometimes our torment is understood, sometimes __ misunderstood, sometimes we seem confused, and sometimes we appear very lucid in our grasp of some new “discovery”!

I think that is fair to say that on these pages in general [forums], we seem to be devoted to poking around in the outer reaches of ourselves for, mostly, elusive answers!

In my view the perfect way to argue a response is out of Empathy and caring with gentle nudging along the pathways of our mental labyrinth!


------------------
Van Canna

[This message has been edited by Van Canna (edited May 01, 2000).]


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Mon May 01, 2000 7:40 pm 
Offline
Site Admin
User avatar

Joined: Wed Sep 16, 1998 6:01 am
Posts: 5999
Location: Mount Dora, Florida
There were two areas I had in mind when inviting Dr. Elgins to participate in our Forums: (Which I believe were shared with Suzette)

1. The role language plays in the way participants interact on these Forums. Here, people can register using an anonymous name and without the threat of physical violence, wreak havoc with words. People get very upset; say things they probably never would say face to face with another person and certainly not in front of a large group. I was interested in learning why certain posts pushed my emotional buttons, when in fact; the words could not hurt me. I was also interested in learning how to respond to emotional posts (or flames).

2. I was also very interested in learning how we might fine-tune the words we use during the 'interview' portion of a fight, to possibly defuse the conflict. Obviously there are situations where a person is 'sucker' punched (or knifed, or shot) without an interview, but in most cases I would think that some kind of verbal interaction takes place before the actual physical fight. In my estimation, the martial art community does not spend enough (any) time working on this part of a conflict.

I would think that any time two emotional individuals were engaged in a heated conversation, the possibility of physical violence is possible. I don't think you can isolate VSD as a purely verbal art without considering the potential physical element.

If we become angered over Internet words, where a form of pure VSD can be practiced, think how much more difficult it will be to practice VSD when we are trying to talk our way out of a physical fight!

I for one, am both enjoying and learning from the threads on this Forum. Hopefully Suzette will consider renewing her option and become a permanent part of our family.


------------------
GEM


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Tue May 02, 2000 12:49 am 
Offline

Joined: Fri Apr 14, 2000 6:01 am
Posts: 31
Location: Studio City, CA
This is still interesting, though it is getting tangled. I wrote an e-mail to friend Student on this, let's see if we can backup a bit:

1. Original post by Student: "It's defuse I want to discuss here and get Dr. Elgin.s expertise" and most recently: "I started this thread because I saw an overlap between the systems(Suzette & Blauer)in the defuse stage."

Quite so, it's been a bit of a sidetrack because there's the question of "Does this(Dr. Elgin's work) apply to self defense AT ALL?"

Ok, here's my wish list:

1. I'd like to know from Suzette if her system can be used in the defuse stage.

2. I've just read GAVSD and more on GASVD over the weekend, neither seems applicable to a street confrontation by 'sadists' however:

a)Sensei Blauer posted that most fights ironically occur due to a breakdown in communication, I'd like to know more about this topic from sensei Blauer, it sounds quite interesting and no one's followed up on this.

b)In the catalog dection of her website Dr. Elgin offers a book "Language for Law Enforcement", I'd lke to know more about this, since it seems clearly more relevant to an MA forum than "GASVD at the workplace", and might answer question #1 into the bargain!

3. Sensei Van Canna in his 4/21 post brought up the problem that the defender's voice may "crack" under stress. In subsequent posts he brought up the isues of women being intimidted prior to attack by abusive language and other tricks used by predators during the "interview" phase to intimidate their victims into choking or freezing via 'woofing'.
Sure would like to know more about these points from Suzette, Sensei Blauer, et al.


In other words , could we get back to the 'martial' side of the forum or as Student posted originally, dealing(if possible!) with the defuse phase.

One last topic that I hope may prove interesting: verbal skills once the fight has already started.
IMHO most are over quickly and this is not an issue, but the ones which last enough time for 'dueling'--both sides squared off with space in between--can at times lead to "Jive-Jutsu" (Or is it Cyrano-Jutsu ?)

My thanks to all in advance,
Respectfully,
Ringo.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Sat May 06, 2000 4:50 pm 
Offline

Joined: Fri Jan 07, 2000 6:01 am
Posts: 69
Location: Huntsville, Arkansas, USA
(1)

George Mattison has posted a message saying that he asked me to moderate this forum for two primary reasons. The first was for direction toward improving verbal interaction among martial artists, so that it would be constructive rather than hostile or confrontational or trivial. I think this is a desirable goal for martial artists, and a goal for which he is to be congratulated. I've tried to respond by (a) demonstrating how it's done, (b) explaining what I was doing when asked or when it seemed necessary, and (c) encouraging others to follow my lead. So far, we've had no flaming on this forum; so far, we've worked through a variety of problems and issues without any flame wars developing and without the threads degenerating into drivel. Whether that means that I'm succeeding as a communications model here I can't say -- I've only been with you three months, and I have no idea how many or how few people have been participating. But so far, so good.

The second reason was for information about handling the "interview" part of confrontations. For me that means information about (a) defusing the confrontation while it's still verbal, so that it doesn't escalate to physical conflict; (b) doing so without sacrificing honor or principles; and (c) doing so without causing loss of face on either side of the confrontation. I am aware that many martial artists may not agree with me about that third part; this is because they disagree with me about the definition of the verb "win." I can only say that there is a venerable tradition in most of the physical martial arts to the effect that the greatest victory is to avoid a battle honorably.

I have tried to provide the necessary information; I've worked very hard at that. I am now convinced that the students who've said it can't be done adequately unless the people participating have taken the time to read one of my books (or attend a seminar, if that had been possible) are correct. That in no way lessens my obligation as a teacher to do the best I can, and I keep trying. I have learned a great deal from you in the process, and I thank you for that.

(2)

In some ways the situation reminds me constantly of my experience with medical seminars. Most of my seminars are for doctors; typically, the seminar includes three to seven hundred doctors (mostly male) from all over the country, who then go back to their medical sites with the information I present to them. It's not unusual for a doctor to attend my seminar several times. When I first began doing those seminars twenty years ago, half of every session had to be spent just convincing the doctors of three things: that verbal self-defense had relevance and value; that hostile language was toxic for everyone involved -- attacker, targeted victim, and bystanders; and that giving me their attention wasn't a waste of their time. Only after all that was out of the way could I move on to teach them verbal self-defense. The fact that I was a woman, and that I was not an MD, didn't help. MDs don't address Ph.Ds as "Doctor."

Gradually, over the years, that has changed; when I do medical seminars today I don't have to give much time to that process of persuasion. But it has taken twenty years.

The current situation is much like that one. I'm trying to function within a culture that is largely male, highly "macho," very aggressive, and focused on winning. The fact that I am a woman, and that I'm not certified in a physical martial art, doesn't help. Physical martial artists don't address verbal martial artists as "Sensei." There is a pervasive dubiousness on this forum about whether what I'm trying to teach has any relevance or value for physical martial artists. As a result, I have to spend much of the limited time I have available for the forum engaged in trying to counter that dubiousness. That holds me back; it leaves me very little time or space for actually teaching verbal self-defense. I am working under handicaps more severe than those I faced with the doctors, because body language is so critical to making English effective, and written language doesn't convey body language -- and because I don't have your attention for hours at a time as I do in seminars.

This situation, I hasten to say, is no one's fault but mine. It is my obligation as teacher to use my words -- even when I am restricted to written words -- with sufficient skill that I _do_ persuade you. So far, I haven't been able to do that, but I will continue to try.

(3)

Finally, there are the postings in which it is claimed that it's not _possible_ to remain detached in the sort of confrontations that are the major focus of these forums.....confrontations on the street (and elsewhere) in which escalation to physical conflict is entirely possible. The claim is that the emotions _will_ take over, that this is in some fashion hard-wired in human beings, and that nothing can be done about it. I respectfully disagree. That may be true for some individuals -- I doubt it, but I could be wrong; I am quite certain that it's not true for human beings in general. Insisting that it's true does constitute giving oneself permission not to even _try_ verbal self-defense, since it's self-defined in advance as useless in such situations.

My greatest challenge in teaching VSD is almost always convincing the person facing attacks to _try_, just once. Let's consider women who are battered by their spouses/partners, as an example. Their attitude toward what I tell them is overwhelmingly and unanimously "That would never work. Not with _my_ husband!" When I'm able to convince them to try, just once, I get phone calls and letters, usually very joyful phone calls and letters, saying that to their utter astonishment it _worked_. And once that happens, once they know that it's possible to defuse the attack without groveling or lying or doing anything dishonorable, they are never victims in precisely the same way again. Whether they choose to continue using VSD techniques is up to them, but at least they now know that they have a choice. The problem is getting them to make that first trial. (And needless to say, if the first trial goes badly, convincing them to try a second time is almost impossible; one failure is enough to convince them that they were right in their previous convictions. I'm always very sorry when that happens.)

I am also reminded of the law enforcement seminars that I've taught. I was shocked the first time an LE professional said to me, "Look, I don't care whether your VSD stuff works or not. I wouldn't _want_ it to work. You'd be taking all the FUN out of this job!" Where verbal confrontation is perceived as fun, there's no point in trying to teach verbal self-defense. I remind you once again, however, that far more LE pros die of heart attacks than of physical injuries. Constant exposure to hostility, even if it's verbal rather than physical, even if it's perceived as "fun," kills.

Suzette


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Sun May 07, 2000 6:32 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Thu Mar 11, 1999 6:01 am
Posts: 29739
Suzette writes:

"The claim is that the emotions _will_ take over, that this is in some fashion hard-wired in human beings, and that nothing can be done about it. I respectfully disagree"

The problem seems to be that people with lots of experience in street confrontations, like Peyton Quinn, and many others, report that it is very difficult to do the “talk” under the chemical cocktail! And “stand up” __”in your face” vulgar verbal aggression preparatory to physical assault can be extremely intimidating to most people causing them to choke, to say the least.

Peyton Quinn writes:

"people do choke up, but until they physically experience that, until they feel their knees shake, until they realize they can’t talk, it’s not real to them"

The dictionary defines emotion as “ any agitation or disturbance of the mind, any vehement and or excited mental state”

Under the perception of impending physical violence, the fight or flight response is immediately triggered bringing very definite chemical changes to the body ..

Various emotions follow, running the gamut from anxiety, concern, qualm, edginess, dread, and outright fright. [Goleman]

Blend in outrage, indignation, anger, and outright fury at your tormenter, and there you have the complete “emotions” picture raging through your system.

It appears that it is through this emotional maelstrom that we would have to make our verbal self-defense skills work! A process of the rational mind at best!

Goleman writes that the emotional mind is much quicker than the rational mind, springing into action , precluding the deliberate rational response of the thinking mind.

He continues: "In evolution this quickness most likely revolved around the most basic decision, what to pay attention to, and once vigilant while, say, confronting another animal, making split second decisions like, Do I eat this or does it eat me? Those organisms that had to pause too long to reflect on these answers were unlikely to have many progeny to pass on their slower acting genes"

There seems to be a certain “cognitive incapacitation” for the average person/martial artist who finds himself/herself suddenly face to face with a real threat to his well being, that makes very difficult to bring into play fine verbal skills and measured intonation, much the same way that fine physical motor skills are replaced by gross motor movements under the grip of fight or flight response.


At least this is the perception of lethal force instructors and reality based martial arts practitioners.


I believe that the GAVSD system is certainly useful in many aspects of our daily interactions, but where I nurture doubts is in its application to mind numbing street violence situations.

Perhaps Suzette could be more specific on how to bypass the “hard wired” emotional component of our make up! And, again, this is being said with all due respect, as I am sure we are missing something here that Suzette will be kind enough to point out!

------------------
Van Canna

[This message has been edited by Van Canna (edited May 07, 2000).]

[This message has been edited by Van Canna (edited May 07, 2000).]


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Thu May 11, 2000 4:11 pm 
Offline

Joined: Fri Jan 07, 2000 6:01 am
Posts: 69
Location: Huntsville, Arkansas, USA
I think that part of the problem here is that people participating in this thread haven't read my responses to very similar questions in previous threads. I have so tight a work schedule that I tend to resist writing the same thing over and over again; that's a lazy attitude in a teacher, and I apologize for it. One more time, therefore....

Van Canna is absolutely correct when he writes that "under the perception of impending physical violence, the fight or flight response is immediately triggered, bringing very definite chemical changes to the body"; he accurately reports Goleman's review of others' research on the emotional hijacking carried out by the amygdala, which is indeed hard-wired to bypass the more rational parts of the brain and move instantly to Red Alert. I agree with everything he has said in this regard. He then writes that "there seems to be a certain 'cognitive incapacitation' for the average person/martial artist who finds himself/herself suddenly face to face with a real threat to his well being, that makes it very difficult to bring into play fine verbal skills and measured intonation...." I am not well enough acquainted with the martial arts community to judge the accuracy of this statement; but Van Canna is, and no one else among you has come forward and disagreed -- I am entirely willing to accept it on that basis. If it's true, and I assume that it is, it's unfortunate.

There's a widespread belief that stress is inherently bad. That's false. Stress in itself is not what matters, but the individual's _response_ to stress. (a) When we're hit with a weather phenomenon that leaves us with no electricity, no heat (or no air conditioning), no running water or sanitary facilities, no telephone, no television, etc., we call that a "disaster" and we find it extremely stressful; we want to be "rescued" and resent it bitterly when no one comes to our aid. And yet (to the total amazement of my Laotian son-in-law) we will spend our own good money to do something we call "going camping" which carries with it an almost identical set of conditions. (b) If someone forced us to stand in ice water for an hour, and forced us to stand in that water while waving one arm back and forth over our head, we'd call it torture; we'd almost certainly come out of it in a terrible state. But we will cheerfully spend hour after hour doing exactly the same thing, provided it's called "trout fishing." (c) In one of the most famous experiments in this field, a company of soldiers was divided into three groups for a forced march over twenty kilometers of rough terrain carrying a heavy pack. Everything was done to make the three groups as identical as possible, to eliminate uncontrolled variables. Before the march, every soldier was given a thorough exam to determine physical condition; the exam was repeated at the end of the march. One group of soldiers was given regular information during the march about how far they'd gone, how much distance remained, and so on. One group was given no information of that kind at all. And one group was given false information -- told something like "You only have another four kilometers to go" when in fact there were still eight kilometers left in the march, and then told "Oh, we were wrong," and so on. Results: At the end of the march, the soldiers who had been given false information were in much worse condition than the other two groups, and those given accurate regular information -- feedback -- were in the best condition. There were no exceptions. Every soldier was in the same physical condition before the march; every soldier marched the same distance over the same route carrying the same weight; but at the end, their physical condition was determined not by the conditions of the march but by their reactions to those conditions.

There are overwhelming stresses against which human beings are truly almost defenseless -- engulfing fire, tornado-force winds, machine-gun bullets.....a list you'll all be aware of. Any normal human being, facing one of those, perceives immediate danger that triggers the flight or fight response (or the fetal response). But few of us die or even suffer injury from those stresses; most of us die or suffer injury (including mental/emotional injury) as a result of stresses against which we do have defenses and for which we have a certain amount of control over our responses.

The key is Van Canna's phrase "under the perception of impending physical violence," which I would modify to read "under the perception of impending physical violence that endangers you." If THAT is your perception, the amygdala -- the part of your brain that scans for peril and bypasses the rational parts -- will take over. That's hard-wired; it's a survival strategy necessary to maintaining life. The question is what, precisely, you are going to perceive as "impending physical violence that endangers you."

I've used in the past on this forum the example of a small child racing at you and pounding you with its fists. That's physical violence; when you see it coming, you perceive it as "impending." But because you know it poses no danger to you -- because you recognize the child as so small and frail by comparison to you -- you don't perceive it as violence that _endangers_ you. The amygdala doesn't "fire"; there's no chemical cocktail. What you do about the child's attack will vary from individual to individual, but you don't react to it as a danger, and there is no emotional hijacking.

The range of "impending violence" -- verbal, or physical, or both -- that you do perceive as something that endangers you will depend upon two things: your understanding of why the impending violence is happening, and your confidence in your own ability to deal with it.

What, in my opinion, is dangerous to martial artists (or anyone else) is the idea that just because there is impending violence you are therefore in danger. This is a license to return physical violence, to say "the fight is on," and to feed the violence loop. The decision to maintain that idea in one's set of convictions is a matter of personal choice.

People who enjoy the adrenalin rush, enjoy the physical combat, enjoy the drama and the "kick" that goes with such confrontations, will -- in my experience -- vigorously protect the concept, because it constitutes their permission to participate in the fray. That's normal; it's easy to understand. But with increased skill at physical combat -- or verbal combat -- there comes an increased responsibility, and one aspect of that is the obligation to give up the license to engage in combat just because it's fun. The greater the skill, the stronger that obligation. It's not honorable to refuse surrender that license. The temptation then is to say, "Hey, I was in real danger here! I had to defend myself! I HAD to fight!" Whether to resist that temptation or not is also a matter of personal choice. Only the ignorant have no choice.

[I am of course not talking about combat at tournaments; that's true sport, on a mutual voluntary basis, and is quite a different matter.]

Suzette


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Thu May 18, 2000 3:41 pm 
Offline

Joined: Fri Jan 07, 2000 6:01 am
Posts: 69
Location: Huntsville, Arkansas, USA
I've been re-reading the posts on this thread, and am somewhat at a loss at the moment. I'm beginning to wonder if perhaps I am like a person out on the football field trying to function with a tennis racket and unaware that that's not how the game is played. Before I say anything more I want to try to set something straight.

My understanding from reading the classical martial arts literature is that the traditional goals are twofold: first, that it is always better for the martial artist _not_ to fight, provided that the fight can be avoided honorably; and second, that it is the martial artist's obligation to maintain in himself or herself a state of readiness for combat such that -- if a fight literally cannot be avoided -- the martial arts skills will be ready for immediate use. My understanding of the literature is that the purpose of constant practice, and the purpose of tournaments and demonstrations, is to accomplish that second goal. As I understand it, you must always be ready to fight, but the highest victory is to avoid fighting without sacrificing honor.

Perhaps this is no longer what martial artists learn. Or perhaps I have totally misunderstood. Certainly there are plenty of people participating in these forums who have the knowledge to correct me if that is so, and I would be grateful for the correction.

If in fact fighting (other than in tournaments and demonstrations) is perceived in martial arts today as desirable, so that never fighting is looked upon as a surprising innovation, then I am going at this all wrong. In that case, presumably martial artists would want to know how to use language to provoke fights, to intimidate people, to humiliate them, and to drive them away in defeat. If that is so, nothing could be simpler. Just take the Gentle Art of Verbal Self-Defense system and do it in reverse. Don't listen. Don't pay attention. Always leap to conclusions instead of hearing people out. Always take the bait when attacked verbally. Always feed hostility loops. Use Blaming and Placating -- both verbally and in your body language -- whenever possible, avoiding the non-hostile modes. Never speak the other person's language. Always use metaphors that clash. Always assume that everyone's motives are dishonorable unless proven otherwise. Violate all language traffic rules -- interrupt people, change the subject without warning, monopolize all the conversational space, concentrate on topics that infuriate and disgust others, never take turns. And so on. You'll find superb models for learning to do this on the trash talk shows, although I would hope that martial artists could carry out the stances and moves with a bit more elegance than the people who appear on those shows.

With all due respect, I think I need some clarification here.If I should have asked for it sooner, my apologies.

Your mystified moderator,

Suzette

PS: I need to let you know that I'll be on the road much of next week (May 24th through 30th, roughly) and will be without Internet access during that time, which means I won't be able to post.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Thu May 18, 2000 6:37 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Fri Apr 30, 1999 6:01 am
Posts: 1185
Location: Newton, MA
Suzette,

I think that you have quite accurately summed up the goal of good martial arts training. The goal of training is to avoid the fight if at all possible. And if not, to do what is necessary to preserve our own safety.

Most martial artists, however, are not used to training the verbal toolbox. As a result, there's a bit of confusion and mystification over what it is that you do/teach. It's not an obvious physical tool, which is what most martial arts training tends to focus on.

I don't believe anyone on these forums is interested in seeking violence, trash talking, or otherwise encouraging fights. Such people are usually bumped fairly quickly.

Hope that helps.

Jake




------------------
Defeat is worse than death. You have to live with defeat - Seal Team Slogan


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 50 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1, 2, 3, 4  Next

All times are UTC


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Group