Rory was in town this weekend, and I got to host him for a couple of seminars. Saturday was a compressed version of Ambushes and Thugs, which I've done in one form or another, but Rory was compressing stuff here. The second was a beta test of a workshop called Structure and Void.
I like being part of experiments. I also like watching good teachers teach, even if it's stuff I already know. It makes me think a lot. The stuff I got from Structure and Void is going to take a while to process. This is basically a brain dump to get some ideas out on "paper".
1. This weekend really highlighted for me the fact that there are skills I need/want to work on that I don't (or can't) teach to my students, and that is okay. There's a very clear separation between what I need and what my students need. Sometimes there's overlap, but I think that's going to be shifting more and more. I need to be very conscious of that.
2. I really want to be able to apply the Structure and Void material to how I teach. Some of it is hard. Parts of the structuring that makes sense for bare knuckle fighting doesn't make sense with gloves on. That means I have to adapt it, change it, or ignore it for parts of Muay Thai. Other pieces fit fine there.
For the PDR/SPEAR, the concepts integrate better, but not perfectly. Or maybe they do. Trying to layer one set of concepts into a concept based system is going to be hell on my brain.
3. Rory has said this before, but it stuck in my brain harder this time. The people who really need these skills are the people who are least likely to seek them out. The ones who do seek them out (mostly young, athletic men) are the ones least likely to need them.
4. The post seminar conversation lead to some interesting insights in differences about how men and women seem to be taught to think about physical activity. One is the obvious stuff (men generally have more experience roughhousing than women do). Some of it is less obvious. I'm working off a small sample size here, but I get the impression that women tend to want to know how to do something right before they try to do it, whereas men are more likely to go "I have no idea how to do this, but I'll try it". That may or may not be right (and yes, I am totally generalizing here), but if I'm right, it might lead to some useful teaching ideas.
5. Something Rory said about teaching martial arts like racquetball got me wondering if it would be possible to create a gym/martial arts training center with a completely different philosophy and structure from the dominant model. One where there are no scheduled classes, no specific training times. You show up when you want to, you work on the things you want to work on. There's spaces for grappling, striking, self-defense, or whatever else you want. There are coaches available to help you out, if you need it. If you want specific instruction, you arrange for lessons. If you want a partner, you seek one out. Hell, maybe there's a bunch of strength and conditioning equipment in there, because, hey it's a total fantasy right now, so why not?
Could it work? I don't really know. There's some clear barriers to the concept. The only model I can think of that works remotely like this is the old school boxing gym, and those aren't exactly moneymakers.
6. Getting people to let their partners take turns on the one-step appears to be a challenge. I had a couple of partners who would keep moving if I stopped to think (as I tend to do, in the one-step).
More stuff as it comes up.