Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Training, and a Review of Meditations on Violence

Strength training and kata with J followed by a game of Get Up. The game is pretty simple. One person face down on a mat the other person on top of them in any position they want. The idea is that the person on the bottom is in a very compromised position. The goal of the person face down is to get to their feet and escape. The goal of the person on top is to keep the other person from making it to their feet. Pretty simple. It's a drill for body mechanics and escape and not a fighting drill. At it's simplest form, the person on top uses their dead weight and just holds on forcing the other to manipulate them to escape. You can also ramp it up with actual fighting techniques that the person also has to deal with, but the main goal is always escape. It should go without saying that the person on the bottom is allowed to use controlled strikes and techniques to get free, but they shouldn't try and move to the mount or take the person's back for a rear-naked choke. They should fight toward the goal.

J is better at striking than escaping, and I'm better at escaping than striking. She bends my fingers back, gouges, hits sensitive places, but sometimes does this when she doesn't have to. I forget to strike when I can and focus on squirming out of stuff. Probably a bad thing. If the other person is more focused on trying to breath from a spear hand to the neck than he'll probably be less focused on trying to keep a hold of me.

Meditations on Violence by Rory Miller

Holy shit.

I love books like this because they increase my known unknowns. The stuff that you know you don't know. Unlike unknown unknowns, which are the things you don't know you don't know. Those are the things most likely to kill you. Like eating poisonous plants, or picking up deadly creatures, or believing that your knife defense skills work.

Unlike Facing Violence by Mr. Miller that I'm currently reading, it's not an instruction manual, or a road map. It's got a lot of the same information, but not all of the stories. Meditations is all the wet gooey icky shit best expressed through narrative.

"Gather around children, and I'll tell you the story of the first time I saw a man get his spine broken."
 (Not a quote from the book)

In a nutshell, like the sentence on the front of the book, it's about the difference between martial arts and violence. Martial arts for the most part is the fantasy that we play at, violence is what actually happens or the stuff that has happened. He explains the differences, the similarities and what we might do about it. Or as he puts it, the difference between a unicorn and a rhino.

I don't want to get into a lot of the nitty gritty details of the book, because I'm trying to convince you to read it. Just go read it. I bought it for less than $7.00 on my Kindle from Amazon. It's also on Smashwords I believe.

I will say that if this book doesn't scare the shit out of you, and make you think deeply about your training, your goals and your moral and ethical lines than you're either an idiot, or you've seen some really fucked up shit.