Part of this is about engaging the correct part of the brain…and paying respect to the parts that will be engaged despite your desires.
One of the biggest lies in self-defense training is “You will fight the way you train.” No, you won’t. Not the first time. You will try and there might be some resemblance but likely (assuming you don’t just stand there, frozen) you will have a pretty severe dump of hormones. Adrenaline and stuff like that.
That means you will lose most of your peripheral vision, seeing a small patch in front of you with useless clarity and completely unaware of people (or fists or boots or blades) approaching you from the sides or below.
You will likely lose part of your hearing. The idea of not being deafened and shocked by gunfire in an enclosed room sounds pretty cool. Not being able to hear your partner say, “Behind you!” or the first responding officer yelling, “Drop the weapon!” is much less cool.
The blood pools to your internal organs, one reason among many that you will lose sensitivity as well as coordination.
Thoughts may be crystal-clear and completely irrelevant. Illogical, obsessed with irrelevant details and almost always stubbornly stupid.
So you fight the way you trained except with a body that is suddenly partially blind, partially deaf, insensitive, clumsy and stupid. Other than that… yeah. You fight the way you train.
Provided, of course, that you trained for fights as they happen, but that’s another post for another day.
The most powerful ego strokes after the Oakland event came from private e-mails, talking about some changes in the writer’s regular training. Finding and exploiting weaknesses without thinking about it. Getting to better positions subconsciously because it felt right. Flowing not just between different levels of technique but different levels of intensity and connection.
We know that the hypercritical inner voice is suicide in a fight. How much of your personal training caters to that voice?
We know that our programmed social responses are only appropriate for certain levels of conflict…and in almost every instance those levels can be avoided. How often do we practice jettisoning that conditioning? Do we specifically train in when it is appropriate to do so?
We know that submission, like fighting, is a habit. How can we choose to believe that surrendering our own insights and autonomy to someone whose only real qualification is a darker strip of cloth will not condition us to submit to a threat with a gun?
We know all this…
How does a cat play with a mouse? How does a leopard kill for food? How do we slaughter and hunt and why is that so different from fighting? Why do so many have to work themselves up to lay hands on another person (and when you run in to someone who doesn’t need to work himself up, you become a toy, because you get caught in social conditioning that he has jettisoned.)
What are the mindsets that work? How can we access them, get comfortable there?
Just a taste made some profound changes in some people. Qualitatively leaps in people who already had serious skills.