The best way I can think of to describe Rory is like a friendly wolf.
And rolling around with him on the mat is like grappling with a boa constrictor.
Lots of new little things learned tonight at the Rory Miller play-date, the last day of his weekend long seminar. Again, I am reminded of the seriousness of what we are playing with, but also the extreme fun factor. Grappling is hecka fun man! I have little clue on what to do when I am rolling around but something about trying not to let yourself get choked or locked out is seriously fun for me. Invigorating. Adrenalizing. I was all grins after.
What makes Rory a good…great teacher for me is that he allows you to learn for yourself. He sets up the format, the exercises, etc. in order to give context, but he doesn’t hold the “right” answers, nor does he pretend to; merely solutions that he’s had personal experience coming up with and that have worked for him. He is very much a facilitator in the way that some people only pretend to be. Rory is the native guide and we are the intrepid explorers (his words).
Three great things to note here that I learned tonight (not necessarily new, but a great reminder from the last time I took his weekend seminar):
Everything about self-defense has to do with violating social taboos. Hitting someone, being rude to them when they cross your personal boundary, potentially hurting their body or their feelings or both, etc. All those things are what my mother told me NOT to do. It’s what we teach our kids not to do, at home and in the classroom. Ingrain it in them. Condition it by way of punishment, expulsions, detention. So yeah while Chojun Miyagi sensei’s maxim, “Do not strike others, do not get struck” still stands, there are those people out there who aren’t interested in being civil. Who aren’t interested in being considerate, kind, well-meaning, well-intentioned, polite, sensitive, etc. A Predator doesn’t care how nice your mother raised you to be. They think like a hunter. You are their prey. You are sub-human to them. Can you hit them? Hard? Full force? In order to incapacitate them? Stop them from assaulting you?
Social experiment: walk up to a complete stranger and say “you’re stupid and ugly”, then walk off. Rory said, if you can do that, he’s not worried about you being able to defend yourself in a surviving violence situation. What he’s saying is, if you can practice being able to veer off the social script, then you have a better chance of not getting caught up in a Predator’s trap (the “interview”). Like the above point about violating social taboos, a lot of this is psychological more than it is having some kind of elite physical fighting skill. As Rory also said before, “there is more skill in talking someone down than there is in fighting”. What if that was the norm for MA training? What if your Sensei sent you out on assignment to do just that? What if MA class was half like psychological lecture/discussion and then half training? Then of course, why do I have to have a Sensei tell me to do something? Why can’t I think and learn for myself? Better yet, what if MA training was like 1/3 acting class, 1/3 con-comm, 1/3 physical training? That acting part is really the one that gives me the greatest anxiety. But I act like I was never a kid once, acting out all kinds of silly characters. I’m learning that self-defense also means how quickly you can transmogrify into someone completely unlike your everyday (fake) self. How often do we practice that in the dojo? It seems like the only acting going on is old men wishing they were 25 again.
I don’t want you guys fighting, I want you hunting. Like I said above, Rory is a wolf. He’s a friendly wolf, but he’s a wolf. Nice, well-meaning people who’ve never gotten into a fight in their life can learn something from a wolf. But I think too, it’s really just about simply acknowledging that we all have this Predator capacity within ourselves. We just act like we don’t have an amygdala. That to me is really the gist behind Kisshu Fushin (鬼手佛心 – Demon’s hand, Saint’s heart).
Thank you Rory.