Tuesday, August 16, 2016

working backwards

This is sort of an AAR from our Infighting weekend. Sort of because it's focusing only on one thing and the training weekend has half a dozen different trails that can be after-actioned.

Working backwards -

Teaching/training the physical skills of self-defense feels like a forward progression - learning new things is forward action. And working the body, the physical - this is the most base aspect of being human. Working forward, learning new skills, at some levels is also about working backward, rewinding the progression of domestication and rewinding the tape on how you become who and what you are (at the moment). A student - who is also an instructor - remarked that putting the blindfold on to run a training drill made him more primal.  When we dig in to our bodies we dig in deep to who/what we are and a lot of that lives below the domestication.

It can go deeper too. At the risk of sounding esoteric, who and what we are gets carried in the marks and scars held in bone and tissue. In the world of Mindbody medicine, we say there is a type of memory held in the body. It's easier to use that language than get into how the various processes we think are utilized for storing and retrieving memory so we use shorthand - body memory.

This isn't like what people call muscle memory (which isn't really), it's more about a pathway to stored experience tied to movement and position.

You know how you can smell something and instantly remember a clear and distinct event or feeling from the past? The body works the same way.

The more chaos that gets introduced into physical training the more raw it becomes and the more likely the student will stumble across little -or big- revelations. The more the body gets moved, the more that movement is not scripted or controlled, the more problems and meat puzzles that have to be solved, the more likely the training experience will anchor down into something profound.

Don't think profound means earth-shattering or life changing. It can mean that it just doesn't always. Example? Something small like "oh hey - on the ground my focus is on hurting the other person instead of getting to a better position" or "when I have the blindfold on I am more primal" and then...this is the cool part...get curious. Each discovery means something. What it means has a significant impact on the student/practitioner's understanding of how they show up inside physical chaos and maybe a bread crumb trail back to the why.

If the student touches something primal, what does that mean for him? Is it a cool thing? Is it unnerving? Is it cool because it's fun to get primal or cool because getting primal creates permission to hurt people for fun? If the student discovers the ground fight is about causing injury to the other person instead of protecting herself from injury or death, then what? Getting curious creates discovery.

Remember we teach or train ultimately because we love this stuff. Really, that's what it should be about. Love it enough to be curious and let being curious make life better.

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