Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Best Laid Plans

This post is not what I'd planned for today.

I'd planned a funny April Fool's joke post, but circumstances proved that it wasn't going to be funny, and it might even be cruel.

So I pulled it.

I've been scrambling for an idea for today in its place, and honestly, every idea I came up with was either a cheap shot, completely unbelievable (none of you would have bought for a second that I've become the new Texas leader for Yellow Bamboo), or required way too much work to do in the time I have in order to make it work (I won't tip that one, because I may use it in the future).

No April Fool's post this year, sorry (and last year's post was so uber lame too... yikes that's bad).

I know, I'm so totally disappointed too.

Today is a great example of things not always working out the way we plan.

We martial artists are planners in our training.  We write "scripts" of how a violent conflict or a fight is supposed to go:

He does (x), I do (y), and then he does (z)...

We do this script-writing by necessity, in order to isolate techniques and responses.  Over time, we build combinations, and then, for many of us, we go to resistance training with sparring to test what we do, or other sorts of drills that are chaotic in nature so we learn how to spot and cope with a variety of incoming attacks and counter-attacks.

As I mentioned when I wrote about new students (here and here), people don't always follow the scripts we write in our heads.  I'm an Arnis player - I'm not going to respond to violent conflict the way a boxer or a BJJ player or a Wing Chun player would, much less an untrained person.

This is why we just have to cross train, even if it's just going to seminars outside of our own personal wheelhouse, if we are serious about self defense.  This is one good reason to work with the new students, to get a feel for what untrained people do.  We need to work with people who don't know - and won't follow - our scripts.

Paraphrasing Helmuth von Moltke: "No battle plan ever survives contact with the enemy."    In our training, we have to learn to be flexible, to fight the person in front of you, not the one in your head.

This is the deeper true meaning of this famous skit from "In Living Color" with Jim Carrey:


Click here if you can't see the video.

The students "weren't attacking the right way"!  It all went awry, because the so-called "master" couldn't work outside of the plan he had in his head.

Just as my plan today for this blog was sent awry at the last minute by an unforeseen circumstance, so can our own plans for surviving or winning a fight. 

How do you train to cope with the unexpected or when your plans go haywire?  I'd love to know!