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Tuesday, January 30, 2007

"MY LESSONS WITH THE MASTERS..." Ari Kandel's personal training blog. #7

Guided Chaos, Chicago Style...
Hey all, in this post, I'll take a brief break from the lesson recaps to discuss my Chicago trip, visiting family there. Great time all around.

While there, I set aside time to meet with Ken Freeman, the Guided Chaos training group leader and organizer there, and his training partner Chris. They had recently hosted Lt. Col. Al for an intensive day of training, and had trained with him once before previously. Aside from those contacts with Al, they had trained with each other and spent lots of time practicing the Guided Chaos solo exercises.

I must say that I am EXTREMELY impressed and almost embarrassed by the progress that these dedicated individuals (and others like Bob Miller in Oregon) make in the art despite little to no hands-on access to Guided Chaos instructors. I'm impressed because they've truly begun to internalize the principles and make Guided Chaos work for them just from reading the book, watching the videos, E-mailing with instructors and experimenting and practicing on their own. Of course there are certain elements or "refinements" that may be missing because they have no one to really challenge them on a regular basis, but these folks soak up every tidbit of information like a sponge and use it to improve themselves as much as possible.

My embarrassment stems from the fact that while these guys have worked so hard to squeeze every last bit of improvement from the resources available to them, viewing even a single day of access to a Guided Chaos master as a dream come true, I and others in NY take for granted how lucky we are to be able to train all the time with the masters. If we (and I certainly include myself in this "we") worked even HALF as hard as these out-of-state folks work to do what the master instructors tell us and absorb the teachings they give us every day, our progress in the art would be astronomical.

Ken's and Chris' development is a testament to the effectiveness of the Guided Chaos exercises laid out in the book "Attack Proof". For most of 2006, they've had little opportunity to practice Contact Flow (they practiced together more in 2005). However, they've kept up with the solo exercises, and it shows! Ken's balance while doing "Polishing the Sphere," for example, is phenomenal. And he can certainly apply it. He told me about how pleasantly surprised he was recently when a trained fighter "tried him out." Ken said, "I saw no trained technique," because Ken, using the Guided Chaos principles, was able to easily cut off anything the guy tried to do. That's how it's done!

Besides working with Ken and Chris, I also got to work with five acquaintances of theirs who are preparing to graduate from the police academy. Some of these guys already had a little exposure to Guided Chaos (video, book, a token beating from Al during his last visit to Chicago), but hadn't begun to train yet. We went over some concepts relevant to police work:

--Real-world gun retention
--Reactionary gap/sphere of influence
--Lethal-force and low-force close combat tactics related to the interview
--Fright reaction
--Dropping applied to striking, controlling a suspect's balance and escaping ambushes

After some demonstrations of the Guided Chaos exercises, we all did contact flow. Everyone got into it very quickly, amazed at how easily anything they tried was neutralized by Ken, Chris and me using the Guided Chaos principles. These guys will be the core of the Chicago training group, and they're off to a great start.

I HIGHLY recommend that anyone in or near Chicago contact Ken about training. He and his group are great guys to train with.

Stay tuned for the next post: "Experiences with Matt Kovsky."

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