Sunday, July 18, 2010

How have you paid for your training?

Over the years, I've attended many clinics and seminars and tournaments, and who knows how many hours of training... One thing I've seen happen often is the gaggle of people who haven't seen each other in many weeks or even years catching up. It's great to see people you've missed, and to hear how they've been doing... Other people are stretching out, loosening up, and getting themselves ready to train.

But I've noticed something else happen, too. A couple of people are usually running around, grabbing brooms to sweep the floor, or setting up the sign-in table, carrying in the training gear, and generally doing all the stuff that makes training possible. At the end, while everyone else is swapping training tales or saying their good-byes, those same folks are running around, putting stuff away, pulling up the tape that marked the sparring rings, and otherwise cleaning up.

I've heard many senior members of the ABA talk about how they'd show up expecting to train with Dr. Gyi. And he'd start by handing them a paint brush or pointing to the lawn mower. Or just start by unloading a trailer and setting up the camp. Manley & Davis in Dynamics of Bando write about how training camps with Dr. Gyi would begin with cutting the grass in the field where they'd train, and cutting down the trees they'd use for training. Why'd the training begin like that? Why'd their training start with chores? Was it some sort of Karate Kid-like training through chores? No. It was paying for the training time.

There's a huge amount of work that goes into preparing a clinic or seminar and running it. (Or the time that a teacher spends on his own housework is time he could use training or teaching...) There's even more work that goes into running a tournament. But it goes a lot quicker and lot easier with more hands.

There's also a lot of truth when we say that people don't value something they're given for free. Or that comes too easily...

So, ask yourself: How have you paid for your training? Are you going to be one of the people watching someone else set up... or are you going to get out there and help so that everyone can get down to training sooner?

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

How to be a superhero...

Rory Miller's blog yesterday is worth reading, so much so that I'm stealing it entirely:

That's Amazing!

in some places, I swear, having a triple-digit IQ qualifies as a super power...which got me thinking. About this list:

(send no money now, 90 day free trial on all super powers! Change your life at no risk to you!)
  • Paying Attention to What You are Doing: this power makes you a force to be reckoned with, a model of efficiency. Something, especially on the highways and byway of our world, unique and effective.
  • Finishing the Hard Stuff First: Normal humans stand staring with jaws open as you walk away from a job well done while they are still twiddling their thumbs, making coffee and getting ready. You work out, as they get ready to think about working out.
  • Really Listening: For most people, a conversation is just a shallow attempt at getting their own ego stroked by people just as self-centered. With this super power you can gather information, learn things, make friends and be considered wise, intelligent and caring.
  • Get Off Your Ass and Do Stuff: We have superpowers to get stuff done, right? But even with superpowers, we actually have to get off our asses and do things. Act. This superpower not only allows you to get stuff done, the purpose of all superpowers, but by doing stuff you Learn things. You Get experienced. This superpower, over time gives you other superpowers! How is that fair?
  • Being Nice to People: A subtle superpower that allows you to make friends, alleviate suffering and even be proud of yourself.
  • Say What You Mean: one of the most dangerous superpowers, this two-edged sword can make any group you work with more efficient, but may make normals uncomfortable. It's complementary power, Mean What You Say, has surprising force.
Superpowers within the reach of everyone. Try one today!

Really, people. Right there. Give it a try. They're free.


And, one more thing Rory has said:

Here's the deal:
  • Get off your ass and do stuff
  • Challenge your own assumptions
  • Have fun
You've spent your whole life trying to be a good person. You're also a perfectly good animal.
Go play.
There's a link to Rory's blog off to the side there. Not the worst place to spend some time...

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Suggested reading, take 1.

Training involves more than the physical. Sure, we need to spend time practicing our skills, and strengthening and stretching our bodies -- but we also have to exercise and work our mind, too. In no particular order, here are a few books I recommend taking some time with.

Meditations on Violence, Rory Miller.
Rory's walked the walk, and he talks the talk. He retired from working as a corrections officer, where he quite honestly dealt with more criminals day in and day out than most cops do. He also spent some time in a hot, sandy place, as a teacher. It's sometimes unsettling, but definitely worth the read. And re-read. (Oh, and he's got another book soon to come out, titled Facing Violence: Preparing for the Unexpected.)

On Killing, David Grossman.
David Grossman is a retired US Army colonel and psychologist. He's currently a public speaker, focusing on the psychological effects of violence, especially of killing and being exposed to life & death conflicts. His work is based on lots of interviews and discussions with people who've been there... and he openly admits he hasn't. I don't agree totally with everything he says -- but he's got a lot of good points. And, especially for the military and law enforcement, if you get a chance to attend his Bulletproof Mind presentation... go for it. (I suspect the cd/audiotape version is much the same... but I don't think all of his dynamic presence will come through.)

Training at the Speed of Life, Ken Murray.
THE guide to scenario based training for law enforcement and the military. And scenario based training is one of the best ways to prepare yourself for real violence.

Karate-do:My Way of Life, Gichin Funakoshi.
The autobiography of the "founder" of modern karate. Funakoshi is credited with introducing karate to Japan from Okinawa, and shaped lots of how karate and many other martial arts are trained today. There are some good insights for any martial artist in learning about his training and his life.

Unfinished Murder: The capture of a serial rapist, James Neff.
Very interesting insight into the story of a real-life serial rapist in the Cleveland, Ohio area. The author got to spend a lot of time with Ronnie Shelton, and it gives a really powerful insight into what goes into the making of a serial rapist -- especially since it's probably not much more than luck that he never became a serial killer.

For Bando students... Dynamics of Bando by Joe Manley and Lloyd Davis is essential reading. The insights into these giants of our system and their training is invaluable.