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Friday, June 22, 2012

Pieces of a Story

Rory likes to say that we all have stories we tell ourselves. Martial arts are a part of that story. In some ways, martial arts are their own stories. They are stories about how fights happen. Almost fables, really. "This is the story of the right hook and the block that didn't work." Aesop would be proud.

Some stories are simple. Some are intricate. But every story is composed of parts. Characters, plots, settings. All the stuff you learn about in English class.

Take out a piece, and the story doesn't make sense any more. I once heard Michael Stackpole say that his greatest nightmare was to be trapped in an airport where the bookstore was filled with nothing but books that were part two of a trilogy.

Sometimes when people say that a story doesn't make sense, it's because they didn't read the whole story. Or they didn't understand something about it. I've heard a lot of people try to poke holes in the  Lord of the Rings. Usually, the holes aren't holes; the person just missed part of the story.

Sometimes, though, the story just doesn't make sense. You can read the whole thing, beginning to end, and understand every part of it...but it just doesn't work. The character's actions aren't sensible. The plot takes a left-hand turn for no apparent reason. Tim Burton's Planet of the Apes comes to mind for some reason.

When you see a small part of a martial art, whether it's a technique, movement, or drill, it's like reading only part of a story. It may or may not make sense, but it helps to read the story first.

(Wim and Maija have been having an interesting discussion on Maija's post "Cheat", which provoked this line of thought. Go read it.)


Steven M. Johnson said...

Saw your comment regarding Rory Miller's book, "Facing Violence, Preparing for the Unexpected."

I saw your reference to SPEAR and instantly knew you were a Blauer fan. I checked out your profile and found your blog. Now I've got you bookmarked and reading old posts.

It's good to find kindred spirits.

Steven M. Johnson said...

Saw your comment on Amazon regarding Rory Miller's "Facing Violence, Preparing for the Unexpected."

When I saw your SPEAR reference, I knew you were a Blauer fan as am I.

Another individual I like for self defense is Kelly McCann - aka Jim Grover. You might check out his materials as well.

Great blog. I've got it bookmarked.

Maija said...

The great thing about the internet is that it has allowed us to have conversations like this across the world .... the bad thing is that now I need to come up with a plan on how to be able to play with you all in person :-D

Jake said...


Thanks for the great feedback. I'm glad you're enjoying the blog; look forward to hearing your thoughts and ideas.

I've not seen McCann/Grover's stuff (beyond some preview vids)...I hear good things, but just haven't checked it out yet. On my (rather long) list.


That's the truth. If I could get everyone I'd love to train with in one place, we'd have a blast...