Archive for June, 2011

Rory Miller Seminar Review – June 2011

Posted in Uncategorized with tags on June 29, 2011 by ctkwingchun

Please note: Any bastardization of Rory’s approach to self-defense is completely my own fault. Herein lies my review:

Rory Miller (right)

At the end of June, I attended a two-day seminar with Rory Miller of Chiron Training.  Graciously hosted by an Uechi-Ryu Karate club, the seminar focused on what Self-Defense was legally and ethically with many interesting drills thrown into the mix.

Day One

The first day was basically ‘theory day.’  27 people were in attendance and it was a great atmosphere.  Rory shared with us his list of seven things he believes makes up self-defense:

  1. Legal and ethics
  2. Violence dynamics
  3. Avoidance/Evasion/De-Escalation
  4. Operant Conditioning
  5. The Freeze (OODA Loop)
  6. The Fight
  7. The Aftermath (Medical/Legal/Social)

We went into great detail for every topic but the topic I found most interesting was about The Freeze.  Everybody freezes.  Everybody gets that “this isn’t happening” moment and, to our detriment, not everybody gets out of it.

The Fight is also an interesting topic for the sole reason that typical martial arts training starts here – instead of way up there at #1.

Lastly, in regards to the list, Rory gave us a ‘Kata’ for The Aftermath:

  • Get to a safe place
  • Check for injury
  • Call the police

We took a break from the lecturing portion and learned a drill called One-Step.  For years, us martial artists have been training to miss (stopping before hitting our training partner), hitting chests instead of other targets and/or wrapping our hands in pillows (not that there’s anything wrong with that as you all know I love my boxing).

But what if we could train those eye pokes, joint locks and pressure points safely within the real context?  One-Step is what I would consider a flow-drill to answer this question.  Moving at the pace of a snail, partners take turns with their movements and all attacks/defenses are allowed.  This standing chess game eventually develops a flow and becomes quite informative and fun.  One-Step was the basis for most drills over the course of the weekend.

Back to the white board.  Rory took us through his (self-described) big legal talk.  He covered different levels of force and explained that if Intent and/or Means changes, we are required to scale force.  He also taught us the difference and purpose behind criminal and civil court and recommended how we should play things out to police officers and jury.

More play.  We took the One-Step further and developed it into a way to read a person while blindfolded.  His website warned that he was ‘partial to blindfolded infighting.’  This was a lot of fun, considering the amount of touch-response is required within the Wing Chun system.

We ended the day with a final talk about how Maslow’s hierarchy of needs pertains to violence.  Rory made a strong point: If someone is concerned with the bottom level of the pyramid (survival), is talking to them about their ‘inner child’ (esteem/belongingness) really going to help?

Day Two

I finally got a chance to corner Rory and tell him who I was, “I’m that guy you wrote an article for on the Dark Wing Chun blog.”

Day two was almost all about the drills and it was a blast.  There were significantly less amount of people who were there for day two but it was a more intimate group.

After we warmed up with the One-Step drill, we got into standup, groundwork, pressure points and jointlocks.  It would seem that we covered a lot of material, but it really wasn’t the case.  If was just a different way of organizing all the pieces.  For example, Rory told us that there’s a martial arts system that has 300 wrist lock names.  But, he assured, there was only eight ways to do it based on the fact that the leverage comes from two actions: bend and twist.

Day two was also scenario day.  Rory, with help with the seminar organizers, created about seven different scenarios that played out like car-jackings, shootings, and customer-service incidents.  We each had to do our part critiquing each other by inquiring about the behaviour we each displayed during our role-play.  Our actions needed to be smart – tactically and legally.

The day ended with what Rory calls Plastic Mind Exercises.  I was very curious to find out what these were because I had read about them on his blog.  These exercises, for me, looked a lot like the way some NLP practitioners approach a problem: change the image in your mind and you change the way your body moves and the way you deal with a situation.  This isn’t to downplay what Rory did for us in any way – just a way for me to compare it to something.

Out of all the Plastic Mind Exercises, the one that works the best for him worked the best for me: My opponent is a tool and works for me.  Everything my opponent does, even when they hit me, opens up gifts.

I feel very lucky to have had Rory come out to the East Coast.  I really enjoyed my time with him and the Karate crew who were also a bunch of really great guys.  I didn’t feel out of place at all.

Some people had some negative things to say about how they didn’t like certain drills or positions, but in my mind they were stuck with their blinders on and weren’t seeing the bigger picture: Rory was giving us options and re-organizing information in our brains a little better.

Time well spent.

Favourite quotes from the weekend:

“First you read your opponent, eventually you start to write them.” (Rory told me this was his version of Maija’s version of Sonny’s version!)

“Everything my opponent does is a gift.”

“At the end of this seminar, if I’ve done right, you will have not learned any new material – but a different way of looking at it.”

Peace, CTK

Depravity and Violence

Posted in Uncategorized on June 29, 2011 by His Dark Side

If the guy wants to attack you, he will. There will be little to no build up, few, if any ‘tells’. In fact, chances are you won’t even know you’ve been stuck with a screwdriver until you look down at the hole in your shirt as the white cotton starts to blot the blood. We live in a cruel world and its not the actual interaction with an assailant that one should seek to avoid, because by this stage its too late. Instead, what we need to watch out for are the subtle signals that the environment emits. It is these that we should learn to decipher and decode. For instance its the man appearing in the periphery of our vision that we should watch, the one who is trying too hard to blend in, the one trying too hard to look inconspicuous.

These are the types of lessons I learnt living in the harsh, depraved streets of London, England.

A month ago, I happened to be sitting in a Denny’s greasy spoon on the Las Vegas strip. It was late evening and I was sat, tucked into a booth listening to the young man positioned directly in the booth behind. He was animated, raising his voice as he shouted into his mobile telephone. He was uttering threats, saying how ‘tonight’ he was ‘prepared to go to jail’ and that someone was ‘going to get hurt’. The patrons of the restaurant were growing increasingly uncomfortable, fearing that the young man’s agitation would spill out from his telephone and into the restaurant. The young man couldn’t see my face as I tucked into my eggs and coffee. You see, I knew that his posturing was nothing more than ‘puffery’; the ramblings of an ego that had gone unchecked and that he was not serious enough to commit to the crimes he was suggesting. In short, it appeared obvious that there would be no follow through on the threats. It was the telephone equivalent of puffing out ones chest; mere posturing. And, I knew that his bullshit threats would amount to nothing.

You see, violence seldom happens invited. There is no fanfare that signals the impending explosion of sound and fury. Violence is an unwelcome guest, armed with a knife and chain that bursts through the door leading into our lives. It is the person that sneaks up from behind, pulling our hair with such incredible force that our imbalance sends us reeling, teeth first, into the pavement.

I finished my eggs, paid and left, unchanged from the man I had been when I first sat down to order. As I walked, I appeared calm, absorbing as much information about the terrain, the people, the buildings, distances, clothes, eye colour, litter, traffic, ambient temperature as I possibly could. I took special notice of the people who appeared to be trying too hard to appear inconspicuous. I returned safely, to my hotel room.

Thank you London, for your lessons.

Black and Yellow

Posted in Uncategorized on June 28, 2011 by ctkwingchun

Something Different

Posted in Uncategorized on June 28, 2011 by ctkwingchun

Something coming over a me.  A feeling.

Something different but familiar.  Something I longed for that possibly could be right at my heart.  A calm.  A presence within.

For so many years I have been restless.  Looking for that something that those silly books say is right where I left it.

For the first time in my life I feel at peace.  I am aware that it may not last but I will bathe in my own contentment.  I no longer feel I need to prove anything to anyone.

Perhaps I don’t even need to prove anything to myself anymore…

Peace, CTK

Crippled Avengers

Posted in Uncategorized on June 28, 2011 by His Dark Side

I thought my energy levels would dip after the first two training sessions in the afternoon, but a few hours break were all I needed to be ready to go from Zero to 100mph this evening.

Mostly partnered Gung Fu drills throughout the day but with a quick gym session in between.

Lots of punches.

Lots of sticking hands/Chi Sao.

And a ludicrous amount of f*ckin coffee.

This is possibly the sickest Kung Fu film I’ve seen (***for anyone interested the entire HD dubbed version of this film is on youtube!!!);

Meat and Nuts for Breakfast

Posted in Uncategorized on June 27, 2011 by ctkwingchun

“Scientists at the University of Missouri conducted a study on overweight teen girls who regularly skip breakfast. The teens were divided into three groups for this study: One group continued to skip breakfast, the second group switched to a typical milk-and-cereal breakfast, and the third group was given a high-protein breakfast. In this case, a high-protein breakfast meant yogurt and protein-enriched waffles with syrup – okay, so it’s not exactly the meat and nuts breakfast, but the findings are still important.

The results were important for two reasons. The first is that they corroborated previous studies by showing that the higher-protein breakfast improved both appetite control and overall satiety: The teens were less likely to consume excess calories and sugary snacks between meals and made better food choices throughout the afternoon and evening.”

The Dark Side of Kung Fu

Posted in Uncategorized on June 26, 2011 by His Dark Side

Kung Fu, Demonic Possession, Exorcisms;








%d bloggers like this: