Friday, April 7, 2017

Thresholds and Tells

Written this twice. Deleted it both times. This is number 3. Mostly because I couldn’t make the words work. They wouldn’t work because I was trying to work the words through too many filters. Controlling, managing for context and trying to keep it general. Can’t.

I think the context will/does generalize but I can’t figure out how to get to it without the personal example.

So here we go.

Training in new material, material and skills I find personally significantly relevant makes me hungry. Not hungry like it’s lunch time. Hungry for more. More play time, more discovery, exploration. Hungry for boundary testing and for application. Can I do X? Am I ________ enough to use this at-speed?

With a weapon – how many targets (on a body) can I contact, contact efficiently and effectively and in how short a time frame? Where are the flaws? What made me more/less vulnerable?

It’s fun. But that’s the wrong word. It’s not inaccurate as words go, it’s just remarkably insufficient.

Still filtering to a degree. The details, where I smiled the most, where I come more alive in training I’m pretty sure I can’t explain and at the end of it, that’s not the point anyway.

Last weekend I got to train at the hungry level. And along the way, I encounter the various verbal/nonverbal feedback from people I train with and it is brining me back to the conversation about thresholds.

You know the concept of a Tell? The telegraphed motion of a physical action or the subtle twitch subconsciously managing emotional discomfort when you are bluffing?

Thresholds have Tells on the training mat. What we think we are comfortable with, what we say we are comfortable with on the violence spectrum is what we expect we will train by on the mat. Here's the thing though, if what you THINK you are comfortable with lives in stark contrast to what you are actually comfortable with...there will be a tell.

I know some of my own Tells, not all of them I’m sure. I learn more about them when I train with people who are new to me. I know that under certain circumstances when I smile, other people get remarkably uncomfortable. Knowing this, I can choose when I let this Tell express itself (with whom and under what circumstances).

I wonder, how many martial artists and self-defense practitioners are noticing their threshold tells? How many are consciously aware that when they say “we’re all over here just having a good time and Sam (or Susie) is just trying to gut everyone” – that this is a threshold tell? In that moment, laughing and joking along with their tribe, they are leaking information this makes me uncomfortable, I don’t like that level of violence.

If you learn your Threshold Tells, then you will also know what information you give away and maybe that’s not a big deal on the mat, but it will be in the violence gets real.

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