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09/07/2012: "Before the blog..."


This blog grew out of the postings we originally had on the "tips and tidbits" page on the dojo website. We realized, however, that we wanted to be able to post longer items of interest as well. The original "tips and tidbits" postings can be found after the jump, and include fun stuff from dojo, as well as self-defense and safety tips. The most recent entries are at the top.

TIDBIT

There's a time and a place for everything... In 2011, one of our students went to a local haunted house. One of the "haunters" was there to separate members of the group, and "threatened" the student with a knife held out. The student's (internal) response? "Ooh, I know what I can... no, I can't. This isn't a real threat." The haunter then switched to an overhand knife "attack" - to which the student responded with an upward X block (while thinking "this isn't the right defense!"). He "survived" unscathed - as did the "attacker" - and we gave him some options to deal with the latter attack in the confines of the narrow hallway in which he had found himself.

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TIDBIT

Perception is an interesting - and useful - thing. In the adult class, we train with red guns - mock handguns which have the same size and weight as the real ones. We recently also began training with a toy handgun - about the size of your palm and bright orange - which fires small projectiles. Seeing the students' reactions to this until they assimilated it into their knowledge was interesting. For one student, it didn't initally register as a gun - but a knife.

There are stories about officers training suspect control, and making a gun with their hand, because they didn't have mock ones. How you train is how you will react under pressure - and they pointed their fingers at suspects rather than drawing their sidearms. The suspects, however, "saw" a gun and reacted appropriately. (That department did start training with mock guns when they discovered the officers were using their fingers on the street.)

If you can't tell what it is and it's being pointed at you, assume the worst. If it turns out it's not a gun, you won't get shot. If it turns out it is, and you've reacted appropriately... ditto.

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TIDBIT

When a blind individual can work with a profoundly hard-of-hearing individual, and can explain to the latter how to do techniques properly and how to correct problems, it is an object demonstration of why jujitsu is a good fit for many different types of people.

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TIDBIT

Watching people - both kids and adults - develop as they train is neat. Yes, you can teach a four-year-old traditional jujitsu and how to fall and roll properly, it just needs to be broken down a bit more than for an older student. The Legos you're given go from being individual blocks to crude cars to racecars, monster trucks, cranes, space shuttles, and on from there. For the first months, you're given those Legos, and come to know what you can do with them, and how to make them work for you as an individual. During that time, you're often trying to keep your head above water because of the deluge of new information and the need to assimilate it. After the base is laid, we can expand on it, and you're also able to begin to swim better and look around you to take in the sights.

And as you advance, you're not only developing skills, but your powers of observation, and you begin to see what else is possible. A lock was applied to you when you were first training, and at that time you may simply have stopped, believing you were controlled. Now that you've been training longer - and it starts happening as you progress at green (white, yellow, green are our first belts) - you'll find that you see openings that you earlier could not. It's wonderful to see the light bulb go on, be it for a particular technique or situation, or something the student has been having trouble with.

And it just gets better from there on.

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TIP

DO NOT hit the deck if you're where bullets are flying, because they tend to skim the ground once they've hit it. Better to get hit in the foot or lower leg than in a part of your body where major damage can occur.

On a related note, ALWAYS treat a firearm - even the mock ones we use in training - as if it were loaded. There are periodically stories of people thinking firearms are unloaded and shooting others with them (sometimes because they thought they'd be "funny" and scare the other person). It doesn't matter if you and five other people just cleared it: IT'S LOADED.

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TIDBIT

Caught!

During the kids' class, between things to do, deciding where to go next, the instructor went "hmm..." and looked around a bit.

"I know what you're going to do next!" said the six-year-old young lady.

"You do? What?" said the instructor.

Said the girl: "You're going to do the parts of the mat!". (The names for the different sides of the mat are called out, the students run to whichever one was called, do whatever the instructor says (e.g. jumping jacks) when they get there, and have to remember it the next time they go to that side.)

Instructor: ("shocked") Yes, I was - you're a mind reader!

Student: You look like that every time you do it!

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TIDBIT

One of the things we train is against someone sticking you up (at the window) while you're in your car. From time to time, we'll also go out to somebody's vehicle, to see where the roof, doorsill, B pillar etc. are in relation to the driver. After seeing this for the first time, one student said he'd practiced it at every stop light on the way home. Another student, after we'd been out to his car and he discovered he couldn't move very well because he drove with the seat somewhat reclined, later said he'd changed that.

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TIP

It is better to avoid than to run; better to run than to de-escalate; better to de-escalate than to fight; better to fight than to die. The very essence of self-defense is a thin list of things that might get you out alive when you are already screwed. - Rory Miller, Meditations on Violence

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TIP

Your brain is your single biggest weapon. (GEB)

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TIDBIT

Happiness is when the six-year-old who's been training for about two months and who has been taught the concept of "levels of response" tells you a schoolmate grabbed her wrists on the playground, she did a release move she had learned in class - and ran.