No styles, no systems, no rituals, no lineages, no masters, no labels, no belts, no katas, no uniforms, no dogmas;

Only the process of self actualization & personal expression of truth through functional combative movement and fitness.

On a purely physical level, we share how to individually and collectively use all of our natural tools as well as extended ones, offensively and defensively in a strategic and tactical manner and in all ranges of combat.

We're put through functional physical fitness training where we learn to push ourselves through our own perceived limitations. We also have much to offer on nutrition, health and optimum performance.

On a more cerebral level we learn about the psychology of violence, fear, stress & confrontation management skills, deescalation strategies and holistic survival tactics.

As the mind navigates the body; by challenging personal self defense dogmas and individual & core belief systems, personal growth and evolution occurs.

On a human level, we learn about the ripple effect and the moral, legal, and ethical consequences of our chosen actions while self examining our darkest emotions. We are encouraged to question everything, to learn to think for ourselves, to be more accountable and research everything we learn and to be open and responsive to life without judgment.

On a personal level, the training can make you face and slay your own demons.

Everything shared here is highly encouraged to be individually researched, to “absorb what is useful, add what is specifically of your own and disregard the rest.”

Sunday, January 23, 2011

The How To's of Scenario Replications PART 3

The conclusion to the 3 part article:

Through experience and years of researching violence and how fights begin and evolve, we have created a step-by-step process (formula) that allows you to experience the emotional and behavioral elements as well as the physical variables of a real assault.

Step 1: Create the scenario: If possible, always refer to a situation that has really occurred to someone where (sadly and unfortunately) the individual was victimized or potentially victimized.  This can be either through personal experience, news, word of mouth, research etc.  The premise of the attack should be congruous to the replication and in tuned with the scenario and the individual participating. The scenario itself must coincide with the student’s (participant’s) lifestyle (I.e. don’t create a bar scene/scenario for an individual that doesn’t frequent such establishments).  Lifestyle familiarity for each individual is critical here.

Establish the time of day, the environment, the frame of mind, the reason behind the attack, the presence of other parties etc.  The scenario must unfold based on the circumstances surrounding it, as each variable will affect the outcome and response.

Step 2: Establish a time, place, environment and state of mind.  Always connect the physical attack to a realistic pre-contact build up so that your brain mentally blueprints and connects the pre-contact cues and indicators in order to decrease reaction time. In a real fight, it is much more important to move ‘earlier’ than it is to move ‘faster’.  The speed in which the mind makes the connection to act or react is much more important than the speed of any physically performed technique. Not to say that physical/technical speed isn’t a definite pro, but it is not as important as perception speed.

Step 3: React, don’t act. It is imperative that you do not ‘act’ out a scenario, this is not a performance; but rather the participants must listen to and react to the stimulus presented both on an emotional and behavioral level.  This is as critical for the attacker as much as it is for the defender.  Do not pre-plan the dialogue, create the scene and let your emotional intuitiveness guide you.  Listen to what is being said and reply (as the good guy) tactically and (as the bad guy) emotionally and behaviorally.  This means that if the good guy is pissing you off with his words because he is either insulting or challenging or what not, then the reaction should be connected to the emotional charge of the words spoken and not acted out. No one should really know the outcome beforehand, it should unfold based on the ‘defender’s’ training guidelines (guided chaos) and tactical implementations.

Step 4: Replicate the ‘unknown’ frame of mind. What does this mean? Essentially, maintain the honest quality and integrity of the ‘bad guy’.  Don’t try to make your partner look good or bad, just be in the moment and address the issues as they unfold.  Forget that you know that your partner is trying to defuse and defend him/herself, forget that you know why he/she is in a Passive Stance, forget that you know it is a scenario and just be a proper ‘bad guy’. For example: You approach your partner and are playing the role of a mugger, you manage to get your knife to his carotid artery and ask him to drop his belongings on the floor.  Your partner gets his hands up slowly and congruously in a passive stance and you say “Put your hands down!”
For the most part, the Passive Stance is a common and natural reaction which victims adopt without any knowledge of study of self defense.  It is a universal sign of negotiation, submissiveness and cooperation and very normal to be adopted when confronted.  No predator will give it a second look as it communicates frailty, abandonment and negotiation.

It is non aggressive, passive in nature and completely non telegraphic if accompanied by congruous dialogue and behavior so demanding that your partner drops his hands when in a passive stance, is incongruous and is usually ego based due to the knowledge of the participants use of this stance and strategy. 

Bottom line, don’t try and screw your partner up with incongruous responses and don’t make it easier for your partner either.  Put yourself in the frame of mind of the attacker and react to the situation, words, behavior etc.

Step 5: The defender’s communicative guidelines – Through experience, research and constant drilling and experimenting, we have found that there are generally 4 things you do not want to do when defusing a potentially violent confrontation,  note we said ‘generally’ and not ‘always’ or ‘never’ but most definitely more often than not:

  1. Do not challenge your attacker. Example: “Yeah, what are you gonna do about it?!” – These types of replies will more often than not challenge the male ego and cause an adverse effect. Inevitably, challenging your attacker will cause them to accept the challenge as no one wants to lose face.  The fight will escalate very quickly from this point. 

  2. Do not threaten your attacker. Example:Touch me and I’ll kill you” or “Don’t come any closer or else!” or "STOP: Back Off!!!"– For the most part, these types of threats will usually cause the attacker to become more aggressive.  Rarely will the attacker back off when challenged or threatened this way as once again, the male ego is under attack and for the most part, the single major cause of fights is due to ego and insecurity and the need to prove ones self so attacking the very cause and source of the situation will only escalate it.

  3. Do not command your attacker. Example: “Relax” or “Calm down, I don’t want any trouble” – the term relax suggests your opponent is out of control and is inflammatory.  Telling someone to calm down and you don’t want any trouble may sound like you are defusing because it isn’t aggressive or insulting but the underlining issue here is that you are telling your opponent what to do.  Once again, this is a no-no when it comes to ego, never command your attacker, you’ll end up with a reply like “Don’t fuckin’ tell me to relax!” or “I am calm mother-fucker and you got trouble!”

  4. Do not insinuate your attacker is wrong. Example: “I wasn’t looking at your girlfriend” or “I don’t have any problem” – once again, wrong answers.  If your attacker accused you directly or indirectly of staring at his girlfriend, telling him you weren’t is insinuating he and/or she is wrong or lying.  You may instead want to reply with something like “Hey man, I had no idea you guys were together bro, sorry, she’s very attractive and you’re a lucky guy”, will usually calm the situation down as you admitted to looking but apologized with a valid excuse and a compliment to both.  Behaviorally speaking, a reply similar or as such will not challenge the male ego or trigger an aggressive response.
These 4 things will much more often than not escalate the situation to a physical level that neither you nor your attacker can control any more.  This is why it is critical to listen and respond based on the emotional triggers the words create in the moment.  Not to say that asserting yourself isn’t sometimes a tactical response that may work in certain cases but more often than not, taking an aggressive or assertive approach will escalate the situation.  This needs to be felt out in the moment.

In terms of pre-emptive striking, it is always more favorable to ‘load the dice’ in your favor prior to striking.  Always remember that force must parallel danger, do not do in a scenario what you would not do in reality.

Whatever you do, do not memorize key phrases.  You don't want to have contrived replies, the last thing you want to do is 'act'. The situation will dictate the response based on the 4 rules/concepts. Spontaneous improvisation moment to moment based on the unfolding of the events is critical in order not to come across as 'fake', 'bluffing' or acting. The most common mistake martial artists often make is to try to fit the situation/predicament to their strategies rather than finding an appropriate strategy to the situation/predicament. We have a saying at our school that goes "Do what needs to be done when it is called upon".

Step 6Do not undermine the startle to flinch response (Inspired by Tony Blauer's SPEAR concept).  The primary physical portion of the assault is critical to your understanding of what works when and why.  During this step of the scenario, providing you (the defender) haven’t gone pre-emptive, the exploration of the instinctive protective reflexive response is paramount to minimize the time frame between the startle to flinch response and your retaliatory arsenal. 

That’s the bridge between maximizing perception time and minimizing reaction time.  There are far too many outside stimulus distractions that will prevent you from focusing solely on the danger at hand (your opponent/attacker) such as bystanders, your friends, your opponent’s friends, obscure or misinterpreted body language, auditory distortions, visual cues, etc.  Taking your eyes off your opponent for even a fraction of a second can and will often result in a ‘sucker punch’ or attack you just didn’t see coming.  If you maintain postural integrity (the Passive Stance) then you will maximize in protection of your centerline as well as your startle to flinch mechanism.

There has been much confusion regarding the startle to flinch mechanism. One cannot modify a flinch or choose when or how to flinch.  The startle to flinch mechanism is an autonomic one that is not cognitively controlled
A flinch is an involuntary reflexive response to a sudden and unexpected stimulus which involves flexion of most skeletal muscles and a variety of visceral reactions - so neither you nor I can dictate its trigger; only a stimulus that is introduced too quickly will trigger it. The startle response or flinch occurs in two phases: an initial surprise response and then a more affected tightening. It is sustaining this latter part of the response that results in so much chronic tension. Studies found that they could somewhat control the effect of the second part once the flinch occurs, but not the first. The flinch response is just buried too deeply in the instinctive machinery of the nervous system to be affected.

So the key is in minimizing the time frame between the flinch and the counter attack. If we attempt to perform a 'technical' response or ideal technique it leaves too much room for mistakes due to variable error. There aren't really any ideal or 'works every time' techniques, the situation will dictate the response based on behavior, emotional inertia, natural postures in the moment, mind set, etc.
Step 7: No consent, alive fighting.  The next step is to work the physical portion of the scenario from beginning to end using Senshido’s 5 Principles of Physical Retaliation and the Shredder™ as an offensive base.  Both participants should be in some protective gear (A plexi-glass head gear, groin cup/protector) in order to experience real energy, resistance and contact so that you understand the most important aspects of no consent training in order to acid test your skills and determine what works, what doesn’t and the most practical approaches.

Hope you enjoyed this 3 part article.


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