Intensity – Rory Miller

Someone sent me a link to a video. I don’t want to hurt people’s feelings, so I won’t share it. It purports to be an examination of fantasy versus reality in knife defense. In the video, fantasy is slow and easy, reality is hard and vicious.

Which I agree with. “Harder, faster, closer and more of a surprise” to quote myself.

But… of all the attacks on the video the only one that has ever happened to me is one of the ones listed as ‘fantasy’. It was a pair of scissors, not a knife, but otherwise, the fantasy attack happened just like that and what worked was not the same but related to the fantasy defense.

Humans mistake intensity for truth. Fast, hard and sweaty automatically feels more real than slow and safe. It’s for damn good reasons, since most of ours and our ancestors’ most important survival lessons happened up close, unexpected and fast. And there is value in it, at least to me, since I find those seconds make me feel more alive than the hours spent on the reports afterwards.

But doing a fantasy harder makes it more intense. It doesn’t make it less of a fantasy.

Don’t get smug if you practice low key and think that I’ve validated your methods. Different levels of intensity are entirely different experiences and if you haven’t experienced fast, hard and chaotic training there are worlds of things that you are completely unprepared for.

If you are practicing fantasy without intensity you have the double-whammy of training improperly for something that doesn’t exist in the first place. At least the guys in the video, though they may not have spent a lot of time studying how bad guys use knives, are training to be ready for intensity. That’s half the battle, give or take.

To an extent. I am worried that if the fantasy is too bad, the solutions completely inapplicable to the real world, intense training will ingrain the bad stuff harder than casual training. I know that bad scenario training can ruin otherwise good people, either by teaching them that everything is a shoot scenario or, the other side, conditioning them to believe that everything they do is wrong and so the best thing is to be passive (trained helplessness).

Leave a Reply