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Monday, August 27, 2012

Game over

The topic of sport training vs. “predator” (practical application) training seems to be a hot topic as of late. I can honestly speak on this topic from personal experience.
I have a sport background. My first training was geared toward tournament. Sparring, randori… it was awesome!!!  I loved it, I swore by it.  I had such a blast training this way. It gave me an amazing physical fitness. I felt good, I looked good. I became good enough to win my tournaments. I was feeling invincible…Wonder Woman… move aside. It is a great ego booster. All and all I thought I was the shit.

But I got older and I soon came to the realization that what I needed to focus on was more the self-defense aspect of things. After all I was never going to have a career in sport; at this point it was feeding my ego more than anything else. So I decided to apply what I already knew to practical self-defense. If you can kick butt in the arena, why should you not be able to kick butt on the street right? Same thing, different location.  This was my first mistake.

My first wakeup call came after I met Kasey. When paired up with him I always ended up getting my butt handed to me on a platter. Not even close to be a fair fight. What??? Was Wonder Woman slipping off? I soon realized that if I had been a man in his weight class (and having his skill set), I might have had a fighting chance using what I knew, but I was not. I also realized that the predators (criminals) looking to attack me would most likely look more like him than they look like the female opponents I was used to fighting. Hmmm…. Shift in paradigm. Losing in the arena is one thing, losing in real life, out of the street, is not acceptable to me. I value my life.

So instead of retreating in my safe little world of weight classes and same gender partner, I decided to seek out why I could not beat him at this game. I paired up with anyone and everyone bigger and stronger than myself, specifically males. Kasey was a great help. I became better at learning much more efficient techniques. I focused on better body mechanics and less flashy moves. This definitely improved my skills.

In theory, I could now take Kasey down.  But I had one more obstacle in my path. I was still tied in the sport mentality. I was still trying to have a fair fight with him. I don’t care how good I am… that is never going to happen. Any male opponent will be pound for pound stronger than myself. So unless I was going to be attacked by a 7 year old crippled kid, I needed to switch gears…. again.

The switch for me happened with the help of Kasey (again…. I am seeing a pattern here).   I had to change from sport mentality to a “predator” mentality to make up for the discrepancy in size, weight, strength, age, surprise, speed, ferocity.  The first 4 things, there is nothing I can do to change them. But in the last 3 lies a way to even the odds.  First I had to learn (through some amazing teachers: Marc MacYoung, Rory Miller and Kasey Keckeisen) what violence was really about.  You can’t prepare yourself for something when you have no idea what you are preparing yourself for looks like. Hollywood does a very poor job at describing the reality of violence. I have not lived this life so I needed the help of people who understood what real violence is.  This knowledge alone will spare me getting trapped in most violent encounters I may come across.

The violent predicaments I (as a female) am most likely to face are coming from predators using asocial violence. You don’t see very many women (well not my age anyway) at the bar, starting a fight with other people over who’s the best, who looked at who the wrong way. Yeah I know it happens but on a far lesser scale than it happens with males.
The majority of what today’s men call violence is really social dominance rituals 
Social violence in nature is the violence used within a species.  This violence is very different from violence used against other species.  The dominance games of bears pushing and mouthing is very different from how they hunt prey.  Social violence includes ritualized jockeying for territory or status, acts to prove group solidarity, and violence to enforce the rules of the group. Most all animals have ritualized combat between males of the same species to establish dominance.  Rams butt heads, Bears wrestle, and Deer fence with their antlers.  Humans fist fight and wrestle.  Human dominance game (monkey dance) will follow a few distinct steps you have all seen before

·         Hard, aggressive stare
·         Verbal challenge – “What are you Looking at”
·         An approach, with signs of adrenalization  - gross motor actions arms swinging, chest bobbing skin flushing
·         Squaring off (hey diddle diddle right up the middle) and contact chest bump – push / shove
·         Repeat as necessary until…
·         Big Looping over hand punch (almost always right handed hey maker)

Thousands of generations of man have been conditioned to play this game.  It is very easy to get sucked into and very hard to walk away from.

It may be hard to walk away from but, this is the majority of violence most men will see.  It is also the most unnecessary and the easiest to avoid.
 No matter who said what, who made contact first or who threw the first punch with all the opportunities for preclusion (leaving) there is no self defense here. 

Serious injuries are rare in the monkey dance and usually occur by accident a broken fist or someone slipped and hit their head.  The ritual combat of social violence is genetically designed NOT to be life threatening.  Elk “fight” for mates head on antler to antler (damage unlikely). Elk drive off predators by goring their antlers into the sides of the predator puncturing organs (potentially fatal).
If you had a green screen and could remove the bar background and super impose a UFC style cage social violence would look a lot like a sport art competition.

Sport arts are great at social violence.   The ritual combat of social violence is genetically designed NOT to be life threatening. Although a crime, sport arts are great for teenage “meet me after school” , and 20 something bar fights.

This is not so for most women, like I said previously. Not counting domestic violence, which is an entirely different topic all together, most violence encountered by women will be coming from predators. Predators are more like hunters. Hunters chase things/people/animals from another specie.

Until men understand what it’s like to be over powered, intimidated and bullied by much stronger, scarier opponents than them, they can’t tell me how to react to it. They can’t tell me not to be scared.
But one man (Kasey) told me instead to think like them. What???? You want me to become a predator? “No I want you to think like one”.  Thinking like a predator will not turn me into one anymore than standing in a garage will turn me into a car.  And what better way to learn to defend myself against a predator is there than to know how predators think, and then head them off at the pass. Predators do not want to fight fair; they don’t really want to fight at all. They just want to win, enjoy their “prize”. They want to stack the odds in their favors so it guarantees them the win. They want to dominate the entire time so they can get their “payday”. This is their job and they will be damn good at it. I need to tip the scale in my favor.

 But if I start this from a sport point of view, I am already, at least, one step behind him. The sport point of view is part compassion, part destroying your opponent with some dose of fairness. And all of you who rolled their eyes just now and thought “BS… I show no compassion”… that thought itself is BS. If you had zero compassion, every one of your partners/ opponents would be maimed or killed. You’d run out of them really rapidly. And you would also most likely be a sociopath.
So I need to start in that frame of mind. This is the part of my previous training that was damaging to me. When stressed out I go back to my old sport training, my conditioning. In the back of my mind is “the fair fight” rule. Even if it’s not conscious, it’s there. I need to forge new, stronger neurological pathways. Because when I get in that predator frame of mind, I can destroy my opponent. Surprise, speed, ferocity is now in my court, and if used correctly it will give me the advantage to either win or buy enough time to skedaddle to safety.  
Defense against a predator attack has nothing to do with ego and trophy winning. The only trophy I seek is my safety and well-being.

And again, sport training is fantastic!!! Just decide what you are training for and don’t delude yourself into thinking that because you can win a street fight , since you are so bad ass, that you will prevail against a predator attack.  This goes especially for women training this way. They can get the false illusion that they are Wonder Woman. You are not!!!!
Be smart, stay safe!

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