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Saturday, September 11, 2010

A Weird F-in' Thing

Tony Blauer once told me that one of the principles that he discovered while developing the SPEAR System (I forget which one, exactly), initially started out as just "a weird f-in' thing." He knew it was happening, and knew it worked, but couldn't explain it. Whatever it is, now he's got verbiage for it, and can explain it. But the phrase stuck with me.

Working out with James this past week, I had my own "weird f-n' thing". I still haven't exactly sussed out what was happening there, though I have a few ideas.

The set-up: James and I have been working on a Ballistic Micro-Fight based on an assault that we reviewed and used at the PDR Groundfighting Course I attended back in 2008. You can actually see some video of the assault, and the drills we were doing based on it, in this video.




James and I were working on Emotional Climate Training (ECT) for the entire assault. ECT (for those of you who haven't attended a PDR course) is a slow motion drill we use to analyze an attack from a physical, emotional, and psychological framework. That's the super-short summary, anyway. In this particular moment, I was the good guy, which meant I was standing there letting James put me through a slow motion grab, pull down, and a couple of stomps, just like the bad guy in the video.

At some point during the drill, I noticed that I was micro-flinching a second or so before I actually saw James's hand. At first I thought I was imagining it, but at some point, I decided to let it run, and actually flinched and started to turn towards the attack. For the life of me, I was totally unable to figure out WHAT was triggering the flinch. I mentioned it to James, and we experimented a couple of times, but couldnt' quite make sense of it.

Basically, it seems like there are three explanations.

1. After repeated exposure, I was anticipating the timing of the attack and flinch early. That seemed like a reasonable possibility, but even after James and I moved (and thus, broke the rhythm we had established in the drill), I was still having the micro-flinch.

2. There was some kind of pre-contact cue that I was picking up on subconsciously, but couldn't identity. James suggested that I might have been seeing him the mirror, but even when we moved so that we were away from the mirrors, I was still moving. Maybe it was an auditory cue.

3. Similar to number one, but less about anticipating the attack, and more about being at a heightened state of readiness, so that when James was doing something, I was already jumping. I guess a combination of one and two, really.

Anyway...I'm not quite sure what, if any, implications this has. Mostly, it was just a strange moment. I think I might work some more with dealing with an assault from behind for a bit. Weird stuff.

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