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Friday, November 30, 2012

Kernels of Truth

From a discussion with Neil after my last post, and then some.

One of the biggest problems in one of these videos is that there is a kernel of truth to it. Human beings are generally less stable if they're standing on one leg. That's...not wrong. But moving from what is a more or less fundamental truth into the ideas that this instructor espouses is just nonsense. It requires multiple leaps of logic...

Actually, logic is the problem. (Rory writes about this in Meditations on Violence.)

The entire counter, the entire sequence is based on a sequence of "logical" constructs that have no basis in any kind of empirical training. There seems to be this idea in certain martial arts circles that you can just think your way through defending yourself without actually putting in any mat time.

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It's basically this (from the brilliant Our Valued Customers), but applied to fighting.

Yeah, all your have to do is "X".

But can you do it? Have you ever tried? Have you ever tried against someone who was actually trying to make you LOSE? There's a huge difference between what you can get away with against a student who respects and fears you, and a determined attacker.

I remember reading something from Jerry Wetzel years ago where he said that every time he wanted to test something, he got one of his brothers to be his attacker...because he knew his brother would jump at the chance to really kick his ass. Not quite the same as the real thing, but it's not a bad start.

The problem with logic is that kernel of truth...that if you go back far enough in the logic chain, you'll find something that's correct.

It's one of the things that occasionally worries me when I hear people talk about (including myself) the idea of "principles."

I like principles. They're important. I teach a principle-based system (the PDR).


At some point, those principles and their application has to actually be put into practice. You have to see if the idea that you're espousing actually works, or if it's all just smoke and mirrors. Everything can work on paper...what happens on the mat? In the ring? How many times?

A kernel of truth in a pack of lies isn't worth very much.

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