Have you ever done something in your life for a very long time, but still have that nagging feeling that’s there’s more or you’re missing something. Then one day you do or hear something that just clicks in the brain, and suddenly, it all comes together in harmony. Then, you look back and say, how simple? How could I have not seen it from that perspective?
Last week was the world’s largest blade show, an annual event, in which Bram Frank and I do together every year. He always stays at our home, we talk and we train! We talk and we train some more. This year was different. It was as if, a different energy had entered the room. It wasn’t on the training floor that it finally happened; it was during a talk late, the night before he left. We were talking about entry points, and how Sinawali and Redondo came together. What really brought it all together was a discussion on perspective and space. Maybe he explained it differently, maybe I finally heard it, or maybe it took that much time to perceive it. I don’t know. What I do know, is suddenly, everything clicked. It was an epic achievement for me. I just really wanted to say, thank you to Bram. He has been actively studying martial arts, for over 49 years. His talent and passion for the art and his knowledge and persistence in development of his modular system and knives has saved many lives. It is used through-out the world, in law enforcement, federal agencies and military, as well as, civilians. It would take more than a small book, to list all of his accomplishments and credits.
One would think that, after so long of studying and training in the same subject/art, you would know it all. All I know is that, I don’t know. I do know for certain that continuous training and teaching is a must. It has been Bram, always telling me to teach is to learn. The knowledge is always there for the taking. I asked him, “Bram, how do you know what to teach?” You have no curriculum, etc.? He smiled, and softly said, “Teach what you feel like teaching. Teach what you know.”
Self defense, whether for yourself or your family, needs to be a priority in your life, as much as, golf, working out or any other hobby in our lives. After all, isn’t taken care of our family, our children and ourselves our top priority?
It seems as though every time, I post something about self defense and edged tool training, I will always get the occasional email or post about, why do I train so much? Or, why would I train in weapons? Best one, is why do I train at all, because I live in a fairy tale world? 🙂 That’s pretty easy for me to answer. It has happened to me, I’ve been there, done that. What I can tell you is and I’ve said it before, is that, if you train intensively, like your life depends on it, whether shooting, edged tools, self defense, etc., “If you learn intensively, how to be the bad guy, you will understand, how to defeat and defend yourself against the bad guy.”
The best part of Bram Frank’s modular training system is, it is one of the best self defense training classes you can possible receive. Its common sense self defense with a tool. It trains you to survive a close attack by using edged or blunt tools. If you think of the body as a pulley system, like a machine with cables, it will help here. CSSD teaches you to use biomechanical cutting to shut down that pulley system, not maim it: Thus keeping you out of jail. Bram has told me many times, “people say, I’d rather be tried by 12 than carried by 6, but I don’t won’t to be tried in court. I want to come home…to my family.” When you cut and maim a person, a jury is likely not going to see it, as self defense even though it could be. That’s where perspective comes in. How do I train bad guy, good guy drills. Whenever a strike comes at you at any part of your body that is considered a kill zone, that’s a bad guy strike, you counter that with a good guy strike, at the limbs; shutting down the limb that holds the tool. It’s disarming in a literal sense. Once that is done, there are options. There is so much to learn about the human body and how it reacts. This is just a minute, but important part of modular training. Understanding perspective is a critical part of modular. Thank you again Bram and all the CSSD instructors worldwide, for believing in Bram, CSSD and the system, for taking time out of your lives to teach others and sharing the knowledge. Thank you.
SHOOTING IN THE NOW
Lets talk about training in more of a meditative state. Is there such a thing, as firearm drills in the now. Well, we try to live our lives in the now, why not train in the now. And don’t get me wrong, realistic training is my favorite. But, there is always room for improvement and change.
My drills this month have been very different and I have to say, quite effective. The progress is really showing, in more ways than one.
As most of you that shoot, know and will practice the Par Drill and basic speed draw and of course different reload drills. At the range, you have a lot of loud noisy around you and this helps you not to think about what you are doing and eliminating the stress and tension in the body as you practice. Same as with any practice sport, you will crank up the music and it takes away for thinking about the task at hand.
What we don’t realize is that just like golf or anything else, repetition is extremely important, but at the same time, practicing incorrectly can cause really bad habits that are hard to break. A good friend of mine and expert firearms instructor, Ken Nelson, as well as, owner of one of the top firearm schools in the nation, Tactical Performance Center
has preached this many times. As a new shooter even up to advanced levels, we know the importance of the fundamentals. If we are just constantly moving through the motions, are we really achieving excellence? Even breaking down the basic draw into 4 to 6 reference points you don’t fully achieve the awareness of the movements.
We need to understand how an exercise or drill like this helps us become more aware. Becoming aware we start to uncover the layers of mis information. We uncover these layers by paying attention to subtleties. So, not only breaking this drill into 4 steps, but holding each step for a few minutes will make us aware of what our bodies are actually doing at that moment in time. At that moment, is the now.
I want to really emphasized the importance of how we process stress and, how it effects our body. Understanding stress is the universal law of energy: energy flows along the path of least resistance, as we all know, yet tend to forget, all to often. We know that energy moves toward what is easiest. So why not align ourselves in what we do.
Most of us tend to motivate toward what is easiest for achieving the end result. It focuses on the comfort that we will experience when we achieve that end result. It’s focused on fast, to get to the end fast; and loud, to create distractions for the mind so we don’t experience as much stress doing it. But when doing this, you don’t find the minute things that can take you from good to perfection.
If you ever watch a video of yourself at a match or any stressful situation. You will notice how our body will tense up and contract. I know I’ve looked back, and can see my shoulders rise and elbows lock.
What we need to do Is notice the subtlety of our breath. Is it deep, continuous, and regular? Under stress it will become shallow and irregular. Then we notice subtle tension in our muscles. Are we holding any unneeded tension? We notice our posture. Is it contracting, arms getting stiff, shoulders rising or dropping, elbows locking? Our legs, knees, etc., so we make subtle adjustments to hold the pose correctly.
The muscles will contract again when we’re stressed or from just the stress of tension holding the pose. The breath will become more shallow, muscles will tense, and our posture will slowly change. These are layers covering up our awareness. All of our attention is needed to notice subtle contractions so we can redirect our attention to proper breathing, relaxing, and body posture. Once we can achieve this, everything else comes natural and the flow returns.
A few of the things I have been doing is first, speed drills broken down into 4 points. Take each four steps and hold that pose for 2 minutes, taking breaks of course between each one. Make sure you set up a video camera. I use Coaches Eye. It allows me to store each video, edit and re-play in slow motion to see every body movement. I want to see what happens to my body as I hold each of these poses. What tenses up first, is my body in the correct position, legs, feet, knees, shoulders, grip, arms, etc. feel your body, in the now. Breath, and really feel the now of each muscle. What do you feel?
I have been doing this everyday now for about the last 30 days, filming every session and I am amazed at the improvement not only physically, but mentally.
I hope you will give this a try over the next month. I would love to hear your feedback and as always stay safe and carry on. I’ve been doing meditation and yoga for over 20 years, but doing it with SIRT, brought it to a whole new level.