Thursday, March 3, 2011
The super deadly, green beret commando ninja samurai spartan apache viking fighting system.
I've been reading a bunch of interesting stuff on the explosion of the highly commercialized, 'fear no human' type of crash course being offered. Secret military systems, previously hidden from the public, that sort of thing. Sue at My Journey to Black Belt got me examining this big business a bit more closely. I've read some interesting posts over at the No Nonsense Self Defense site, and recently at the Practical Budo blog. The Chiron blog also talks about some of these issues. I've agreed with a fair amount of their material.
Here are some of the things I've been thinking about or have come away with from those sources.
1. Many (I suspect most) 'systems' out there offered in this manner are irresponsible. They do nothing to address the legal ramifications of your actions, what is justifiable and when.
2. They are mainly based on pure aggression, on repeated, feral-like attacks. Avoidance, control, escape, these things barely get a mention. Too often they are labelled as 'defense' when there is nothing of the sort to be found. I once went to a knife defense seminar. It was interesting, and the instructor was very talented, but what I learned was how to fillet another person and deliver multiple fatal stabs and slashes. Puncturing lungs, slicing arteries, cutting tendons, that sort of thing. Not much defending there. If it had been billed as a knife fighting seminar or how to end an encounter with a knife, that would be different. The title was misleading.
3. The military type courses, if legitimate, are designed to incapacitate or kill another person. They are designed for combat. What the average person is taking these courses for, I have no idea. For those that aren't legitimate, they're mainly just mechanisms to separate a fool from his/her money. Ground fighting should be addressed, but more and more these military systems are BJJ based, not necessarily the most realistic or effective approach for military application. Most military systems do not advocate deliberately going to the ground. Your adversary may be put there on purpose, but it's not the preferred range for fighting.
4. It's not possible to pick up a system in a few days. If the teacher is any good, the safe bet is that they've been involved in the martial arts for years, maybe decades. If these crash courses could really teach you to be the deadliest warrior in two days, I doubt the instructors would need more than a few weeks to become the 'masters', a month tops...
5. There's an interesting thing that happens when people are worked hard. Many of these courses exercise the crap out of the attendees. This physical challenge and group success (or group suffer) somehow makes the mind connect the exertion to the material. The act of working really hard somehow adds legitimacy to the material. If the course was tough, it must have been the real deal. This is often not the case.
"It's easier to instill confidence than competence" (Rory Miller) - I love that!
6. Whoever is teaching better know what they're doing. If you decide to spend your money, research the instructor. Have they walked the walk? Theories are great, putting them into practice is another story altogether. A legitimate instructor won't mind the inquires. Movements must have reasons and provide an advantage to you. If an instructor has no understanding of the material or the physics of the matter, be wary. For each action, there is a reaction. Make sure they know what they are.
7. Quick fixes are tempting. Sometimes I even find myself wondering if there might be something out there that I don't know about. Bottom line is that there is no substitute for dedicated study.
It's easy to get swept up in a flashy add campaign, promising unrealistic results. You can't become a martial artist overnight. You can, however, learn to hurt people relatively quickly. When you are free from any moral, ethical or legal constraints, it's easy.
Most people, I suspect, do not enter into training solely for this purpose. Most of us aspire to more. If life was full of black and white life or death situations, perhaps these crash courses would be just the right thing. The real world is not so simple, and we need to learn a variety of strategies to deal with a whole spectrum of conflict and violence.
I'm not saying don't take one of these courses, and I'm not saying some aren't the real deal. Just make sure the contents of the package match the bill of sale.
These are just some of my thoughts, and some thoughts of others that I happen to agree with.