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Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Rory Miller Interview, and the Challenge of Self-Defense

Rory did an interview with a local news station. It was a good interview, and worth watching. Rory offers some pretty solid information.

What really struck me as fascinating about the interview, however, was the clash between the interviewers expectation of what Rory was teaching, and what Rory was actually trying to communicate.

This is huge, because what you're looking at is the dichotomy between what poeple perceive as important for self-defense, and what actually matters for self-defense.

I suspect that the interviewer expected to get something more like this segement


I'd rather not get into an analysis of that video--make your own judgements.

My point is rather that, in the minds of so many people, that is what self-defense is about. Learning "some moves". The assumption is that self-defense is a physical problem with a physical solution.

But as Rory points out in this interview, the physical conflict is rarely the problem. Psychology plays an overwhelmingly large role in self-defense; even if you strip out things like awareness skills, verbal tools, and other "pre-contact" skills, the fight is still more about mindset than about technical knowledge. 

At the most recent PDR Cert and Combatives Camp, Tony Blauer reminded us several times of something he wrote years ago, which holds true to this day

There are more people who successfully defend themselves, every day, who have no martial arts training, than there ever WILL BE trained martial artists who get attacked and successfully defend themselves.

This is the challenge that we face as responsible self-defense instructors; to get people to understand that self-defense is not about axe hands and finger jabs, but about will, indignation, and determination. That giving yourself permission to fight is a thousand times more important and effective than any fighting technique.

I'm not sure how to change the perception or the culture. Maybe Rory's interview is a start.


Neil Bednar said...

Good Lord. I couldn't even finish watching that video. Rory communicated more in 10 seconds than those guys did in five minutes. The expectation that you can learn "a move" that is going to help you seems to be built into us through Hollywood or something I guess.

Jake said...

The video was intended to serve as a contrast :-).

They had much better outfits than Rory though--just sayin'.

I actually don't blame the search for "the move" on Hollywood, at least, not entirely. I think it's probably part of a larger thought process...

New post soon, I think.