Friday, 16 March 2012

A lesson from the past...

I was thinking the other day about the importance of feedback and listening to it if nothing more. 

Sometimes feedback can be crap and sometimes it's legitimate and can help your programs. Sometimes we get tunnel vision on something and an outside eye can bring new light. A good program is always developing and adapting. Being humble and dropping the ego will help a lot too. This led to a lot of other things to think about as well. It got me thinking about incident years ago that I want to recount with you.

Several years ago I was the Special Projects Director for the International Combatives Self Defense Association. I worked with the board and mainly the Director of Operations. I was teaching at a conference in Chicago, I can't remember if it was Tinley Park or Oak Forest (yeah I'm having a senior moment). A lot of the board and State reps were there as well, a lot of them heavy hitters in their field. Hell we even had guys from Spain there. 

My friend, Fernan Vargas, who was the Director of Operations told me to hang around at lunch as there was this guy that wanted to test to be an instructor with the organization, he had this system he wanted to demonstrate. I'd actually met the guy the night before and he was really cocky but he seemed like he knew what he was talking about. We all sat down at lunch and watched him do his thing. He was so sure of himself he basically phoned it in and thought we would be dazzled.

When it came to the interview portion he found out otherwise. His program was basically someone attacks and you move in penetrating then cause injury. A lot of it depended on pressure points which he referred to as an electrical knockout. He was VERY arrogant and dismissive and disrespectful during the interview. He actually thought his ideas were innovative.

First of all, when asked to explain an electric knockout, it was obvious he didn't really know what he was talking about it. For those that don't completely understand a pressure point is where at least two nerves intersect in the body and striking them sends the stimulus to the brain along more than one nerve channel, hence it's more painful. How they are hit affects the outcome, it has to be a specific way. Some have to be at a certain time of day and if on drugs, some people never feel them and some never feel them regardless or only in certain areas. In other words a successful outcome is marginal at best and it takes a lot of training to pull it off therefore it isn't a good fit for combatives.

Second of all it was one of those systems that are overly simplistic. You move  and do something to a guy and he reacts in a specific way, the way that he's told to react to your attack so it works every time. Ummm. No…….
Different people react differently to different stimuli. You have to be able to adapt, this is why overly simplistic courses don't work. Just because you kicked a guy in the nuts doesn't mean he's always going to bend forward. I've seen people fall backwards. I've seen people fall down. I've even seen some become even more pissed off and fight harder. This guy saw a video of a silly system then went and trained in it and thought he could be an instructor and we were just a bunch of goobers. You need experience to do this - you need to know how to put together an adaptive system and to do that you need research.

Even experience, though you need to have it, isn't enough because you can't experience something for someone else. So this guy got brutalized by us and if he wasn't so arrogant I’d have felt bad about it. This guy wrote something later, acting as if we didn't get it. Oh we got it! Then he GOT it! 

My point is this guy's system will never improve it will always suck. He was too arrogant to think he could actually be wrong about something. If you’re training under someone and they don't listen to you, my advice is to get the hell out of there because if their system isn't outdated then it will be shortly. You've got to listen to your people and drop the ego or pay the price for it.

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