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;








Posted in Uncategorized on June 24, 2011 by His Dark Side

“Wing Chun and f*ckin coffee! Living the dream. Keep it real bruv.”

England Boi 

Posted in Uncategorized on June 24, 2011 by His Dark Side

Yes. I squatted 310lbs. Sure, they weren’t deep squats, but I’m impressed that I managed to lift the bloody bar, let alone bend my bloody legs. This was followed by skipping and sprints.

This evening a training partner came over and we worked luk sau and some Non-Classical Gung Fu rotations. I also did Chum Kiu (Opera Wing Chun version a few times) and the Mook Yan Jong (Wooden Dummy) form once.


Membranes Part Two

Posted in Uncategorized on June 23, 2011 by ctkwingchun

“And the membrane.  I wanted to tell him about that membrane around someone’s eyes and nose and mouth, how you have to smash through it which means you have to smash through your own first, your own compassion for another, your own humanity.”

-Townie excerpt, pg. 171

Posted in Uncategorized on June 23, 2011 by His Dark Side

1/2 an hour to kill. Got my f*ckin black coffee with an extra espresso shot. Sitting watching The Mystery of Chessboxing (Kung Fu Classic) on my laptop.

It was a conscious decision not to train yesterday. The feelings of soreness reminded me that an extra day of rest would result in new found vitality today. I’m hoping the big f*ckin cup of coffee helps to kick start my engine.


Posted in Uncategorized on June 23, 2011 by ctkwingchun

“It was like punching Steve Lynch in the face, how you have to move through two barriers to do something like that, one inside you and one around him, as if everyone’s body is surrounded by an invisible membrane you have to puncture to get to them.  This was different from sex, where if you both want it, the membranes fall away, but with violence you had to break that membrane yourself, and once you learned how to do that, it was easier to keep doing it.”

-Townie excerpt, pg. 135

Broken String

Posted in Uncategorized on June 23, 2011 by ctkwingchun

Peace, CTK

Shaolin State of Mind

Posted in Uncategorized on June 22, 2011 by His Dark Side

I sat on my grass after having trained. The sun was still shining despite the evening hour. I’d worked rotations, heavy bag and the Siu Nim Tao a few times, along with the Tai Chi 24 form. Laying back, my eyes followed an eagle soaring above. A feeling of immense joy welled up in me.

The last few days have been wonderful. I’ve trained Gung Fu everyday and have once again reinforced the notion that Gung Fu is not so much in ‘doing’, but more rather, in ‘being’. Even when not punching and kicking, I’m still carrying a Shaolin outlook on life of contentment and compassion.


Posted in Uncategorized on June 22, 2011 by ctkwingchun

Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the face. – Mike Tyson

Posted in Uncategorized on June 22, 2011 by His Dark Side

Posted in Uncategorized on June 21, 2011 by His Dark Side

Cells have bathed in light. Feel renewed. Heavy weights planned. Sprints intended. Late night will be Gung Fu. Alone.

Lessons Learned

Posted in Uncategorized on June 21, 2011 by ctkwingchun

Too much data after the fight.  Thank goodness for family and good friends to help me try and quantify it all.  I’ve spent the last 48 hours talking to people I love and people I trust to figure out how I feel and what all happened.  Here are some of my thoughts (and some thoughts of others that resonate with me):

  • I wasn’t prepared for that amount of violence.  I went out to box.  He went out to finish me.
  • I didn’t have an internal gauge to reference to when my nose got cracked.  How was I?  How much damage occurred?  What would the healing time be?  Could I keep going?
  • I felt a lack of support from my peers.  The doctor started me on a downward spiral commenting that, “Well…it’s your health if you want to continue.”  I have a family…a career…oh my…oh dear…
  • I felt a lack of support from my corner.  I even fed them a line, “I think I should circle to the outside in order to stay away from his power hand.  What do you think?”  I was left with blank stares.  I was in survival mode.  I wanted some suggestions – someone to tell me that my nose would heal in a week and I needed to do such and such.  I got nothing.
  • I was too relaxed.  I was not in a state where I was ready to reciprocate the amount of violence I received.  I am now left wondering if I can reach such a state.
  • Losing might have been easier to take than quitting.
Peace, CTK

Posted in Uncategorized on June 20, 2011 by His Dark Side

Sometimes, trying to find training partners is like trying to squeeze blood out of a stone. As a result today’s training will likely be a solitary affair. I’ll dust off my Wooden Dummy which hasn’t been used in a couple of years, and will do some free flowing drills on it, just to regain my structure. Gung Fu is not coming back to me, because it never truly left.

If anyone needs me at about 6pm, I’ll be skipping, working the heavy bag and practising my Gung Fu.

I’ve had so much f*ckin coffee today.

The Next Step

Posted in Uncategorized on June 20, 2011 by ctkwingchun

(Thanks Diatadoc)

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