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Sunday, September 09, 2007

"MY LESSONS WITH THE MASTERS..." Ari Kandel's personal training blog. #30


My apologies for not posting in a while. Things have been really busy (mostly good-busy), and I've been working on another project you may see on news stands before the end of the year. . . .

But for now, some thoughts from a recent private lesson with Tim and a great class with John:

Tim explained that the strike itself that hit me wasn't the issue. The issue was all the little changes that happened in both our bodies that eventually culminated in that strike getting through. Tim may have started to move to say five different things, all of which were eliminated by subconscious changes in my body. However . . . did I feel all of those??? Those tiny changes are what I have to feel.

To improve your sensitivity, really feel the details in "normal" situations, e.g. holding your wife's hand.

From Tim's perspective, I'm really just placing him in good positions to hit me every time I move.

Tim's advice: work with women! They force you to be subtle and to feel their subtlety. After you work with women, men feel very obvious and heavy in their movement. (Compare this advice with recent discussions on the Guided Chaos forum.)

Tim demonstrated the same movements done "heavy" and then done "light." The "heavy" movements I could deal with and evade (barely) because of the excessive contact and motion. The "light" movement I could do NOTHING about. The tap to move my arm simply moved it just enough, and everything else slammed in with no excess contact or motion.

John taught a great class recently.

He explained that most who excel quickly in Guided Chaos are those with especially creative and artistic minds--generally, right-brain-oriented individuals. Those who tend to intuit the big picture rather than logically build up the details will pick up Guided Chaos the quickest. Besides citing examples of sucessful right-brain vs. left-brain thinking from his own experience, John also pointed out that Einstein initially "felt" relativity (intuition), as opposed to discovering it through a mathematical process (logical reasoning).

John then had us do an exercise to stimulate our creativity and intuitive learning, regardless of how creative and "outside the box" our thinking may normally be. We did Contact Flow with an eye towards maximum creativity and variety in our movement, regardless of our conscious perception of its effectiveness. John implored us to, while doing this drill, experiment with extremes of elevation and stepping, even turning completely around while flowing and moving as if to touch the training partner's leg and head simultaneously with each hand. He described it as doing "Polishing the Sphere" and "Washing the Body" as crazily as possible, but with another person. We moved through extremely strange positions, often discovering interesting opportunities along the way (e.g. massive multidirectional hits and neck breaks) while subconsciously learning to work from ANY position we could possibly find ourselves in amidst the chaos of real violence. Getting the most out of this drill requires that both training partners agree not to hit too hard and to pull shots to sensitive areas, as both partners WILL get hit during this drill, regardless of skill level. However, the benefits are immense, as the drill really challenges your looseness, balance, sensitivity and freedom of motion, even before you consider the more esoteric benefits (intuitive perception and action) that are the primary focus of the exercise. Whatever your range of motion based on your physical limitations, training like this will allow your subconscious to identify far more opportunities amidst the chaos of violence than you could otherwise perceive.

Watching John do this drill, I noticed that his hyper-balance and hyper-looseness enabled him to "insert" extremely effective, fully body-connected strikes and kicks amidst the chaotic flow of the exercise. While other people's bodies got carried along by the large, crazy and creative movements, John had complete control over his body through every inch of every movement even while "letting go" and allowing crazy things to happen spontaneously. Very interesting phenomenon!

John demonstrated how such drilling applies directly to combative skill. You focus all the intuitively driven, completely free motion towards immediately destroying the enemy in any way available. He demonstrated various brutal methods from Native American and Greek combat arts, how they can be applied via the Guided Chaos principles, and finally how "pure" Guided Chaos can easily prevent them from being used against you. Scary stuff!

An image John used recently to explain the reality of lethal violence resonated with me because of a funny coincidence. John was trying to relate to us the magnitude of the speed, power and sheer violence an otherwise average person is capable of in the midst of a fully adrenalized murderous rage. John then said in passing that we should imagine dealing with "28 Weeks Later" violence when considering how bad it can get.

Coincidentally, I caught some of that movie ("28 Weeks Later") on TV immediately after John mentioned it. It's the more violent sequel to the movie "28 Days Later". It's about a bioengineered virus called "Rage," that infects people instantly upon contact and turns the infected into seething, fully adrenalized killers who can do nothing except visit brutal violence against uninfected people. (The infected also periodically projectile vomit blood and look pretty scary.) The speed, power, brutality and pure rage exhibited by the infected (who are, remember, still fully human) give a good impression of what a violent psychopath, fueled by adrenaline and/or stimulants and completely oblivious to his/her own well-being, is capable of. The reactions of the normal people when they are attacked by the infected are also fairly representative of how most normal people really react when faced with such violence. They freeze up with terror, ineffectually try to push the attackers away, and generally succumb to the sheer violence of the attack. The violence of the infected is a good image to have for keeping in perspective what we're training to deal with . . . and unleash.

So, go rent that movie! And stay tuned, both here and at the news stand. . . .