Train The Way You (Want To) Fight

Training the way you want to fight isn’t always so easy. . .but in a way, isn’t that supposed to be the point? That we train in order to potentially defend ourselves?

The tough reality is that what your muscles remember under duress – which is going to be what you have painstakingly programmed them to do in class, lessons, practice – is what matters.  If you train to hand the gun back to the perpetrator – even with mindfulness and the knowledge that you *shouldn’t* – it may happen in real life.  Terrifying it may be, I’ve actually heard of cases in which just that has occurred… Scary.

The other day in class, our Sensei decided to do a drill combining old school (as in centuries-old Ninpo) traditional movements with a modern-day scenario and vibe.  We had to disable our opponent with a distraction or strike, get away (using those traditional techniques), get to and behind cover, and then “draw” our weapon. The drill was one of the most fun I think I’ve ever done…but I was also so incredibly excited to have another opportunity to flesh out a possible, modern situation. No matter how old movements, or kata, or patterns may be, there are gems within them that can be adapted for, and applied to the times.

I don’t carry, for one thing…so I’m not likely to have a firearm at the ready.  But the idea was what was most important here, and learning to do all of those things – without the stress – was hugely valuable.  What makes it stick? Repetition!  Memory needs to be formed so that when we ARE stressed, we can still perform those functions. Just one day of that particular drill isn’t necessarily going to help me out if something really goes down.  But…the principles and techniques ARE ones we use every day…

We learn to strike, distract, disable…that’s number 1. 

We learn how to efficiently get away, and to not injure our bodies (or injure as little as possible!) as we attempt to do so.

We learn to asses for cover and get behind it if that’s what the situation requires (versus getting away.) 

In practicing those things, our muscles learn on such a level that we work on “autopilot” after a point.  And that’s what you want!

The difficulty in this particular environment is that we don’t have real firearms, and we aren’t truly hurting our “attacker.”  On a range, in a special type of training, an individual who DOES carry can certainly practice his or her ability to draw, aim, shoot, and make the weapon safe – frankly I think anyone in a job in which carrying a pistol is required SHOULD be doing that anyway! 

For us at the dojo, we are working on handling whatever is coming at us as quickly and smartly as possible – but again, there are some strikes we simply cannot do.  In Ninpo, strikes can be highly unorthodox and nasty – breaking fingers, ripping ears, gouging eyes…it goes on.  It’s tough knowing we aren’t going 100% in this case, but we can’t exactly…  So we have to keep in mind that in real life, were our safety on the line, we can’t play the but-he’s-a-nice-“uke” (opponent / attacker) game. It’s a challenge, honestly – how do we bridge the gap, then?  I’m not sure you really CAN because none of us are out to break another classmate’s limb!

This is – for me – where the repetition comes in.  Learning to master even basic movement can take a lifetime, forget years! But in the daily (or as many days as can be managed!) practice helps solidify as many of the effective ways in which to handle a particular threat.  There are – keep in mind – an infinite number of movements available to us, and if we could study every Art and master it in a lifetime, we’d be golden.  Not the reality, sad to say!  Learning to even do a handful of “go-to”s is great – learn to do them properly, to do them well, and to do them with all shapes and sizes (some techniques are really tough with a HUGE partner!)  If you want a real challenge, do them blindfolded.

It’s a very “wax on, wax off” concept – the drills help our bodies to do these things as involuntarily as possible so, should the need arise, we actually CAN do something about it. We don’t always have the luxury of training exactly how we fight – this isn’t the Colosseum, after all – but we *can* do everything in our power to focus, to drill, and to get our muscles so familiar with the movements that they will come to our aid when we need them most.

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A Girl Can Have Goals

So the moment I saw Sarah Connor in Terminator 2, around age 13 or so…that was that.  I thought “holy smokes, I want to be that badass!”  There is something amazing to me about a woman who can truly hold her own – I never really enjoyed the “damsel in distress” idea because I felt like I wanted to rely on MYSELF – even as a little girl I loved the idea of being “strong” all around.

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I was always in the mindframe – definitely more tomboy than not, and in love all things dark and otherworldly…  My favorite haunt at museums (aside from the Ancient Egyptian wing!) was the Armory…and then there’s that thing about Martial Arts…so…I guess this isn’t a stretch!

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As for firearms, I’m not nearly as proficient as I’d like to be, but I’m working on it.  My hunnie was a competitive shooter so I am incredibly thankful for the advice, guidance, and teaching – it is definitely something you have to get used to.  I have a highly acute auditory system so I have to double up on ear protection – even then, I STILL flinch!  But…I’ll get there!  If nothing else, understanding the mechanics of a firearm in a crazy world is very much a skill that can save a Life (maybe even your own.)  I don’t take the responsibility or act lightly. 

I do wonder why there are so many people wearing tactical gear at the range though – I’m not sure it is wholly required for sales and handing out lanes…  But then…I kind of want this outfit so maybe I shouldn’t be talking??
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I feel like we can say so much about ourselves in pictures… Lofty goals, I realize, but it won’t keep me from dreaming! 😉  I’m definitely on the tougher chick spectrum (as opposed to the girlie), but I don’t think that’s a bad thing.  I think strong women are flat-out phenomenal, and I’m honored if I can even be a fraction as awesome as many I know and respect….even those in art or film!

More Art that I love…

More from Martial Arts.

And me in a vast nutshell!

Best V-Day Ever

Let me be clear – I don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day, and haven’t since I was a little girl making Valentines for my classmates! Why?  I personally disapprove of the notion that other people (let’s be frank, our significant others!) are pressured with an obligation to “do something nice” for us on this specific day of the year.  

To me, the beauty of love is that you appreciate one another EVERY day – it doesn’t matter whether you show your gratitude with a little note or card, doing something to make your husband / wife / boyfriend’s etc day a little bit easier, or just saying “I love and appreciate you.”  The point is that you don’t NEED a designated day to show you care, nor to spoil or shower your lover with affection and appreciation.  

Now that said, if you do celebrate, more power to you and your other half!  There is certainly nothing wrong with enjoying it if you do!

Sunday happened to be a perfect day, though – spending time with my man is always a great day anyway, but we got to indulge in an activity he is incredibly gifted with / passionate about, and one I am eager to learn and also enjoy – target shooting.  

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I LOVE that he has passions and I want always to encourage that he takes time out to enjoy whatever those activities are – supporting each other in what brings personal joy is so important.  I view being able to do that activity WITH him as a gift...and I wouldn’t have wanted to do anything else that day.  ❤

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There is so much about it that I enjoyed, and so much about him that I cherish…  

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I am harder on myself than anyone else I’ve ever met in my Life and as a result, I can ruin a perfectly good time (for me and everyone else!) by holding myself to some absurdly high standard…yes, even as a neophyte (which means, it is okay NOT to be perfect, hello!!!)  He is tremendously patient with me, supportive and encouraging – and honestly, that makes all the difference.  

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I have had the habit historically of overthinking and getting in my own way – taking a deep breath, letting go of unreasonable anxiety, and appreciating (not to forget accepting) the instruction helps me stay grounded and in a “fun” mindset.  

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The whole point is that activities, especially together, are supposed to be fun – an opportunity to learn is a blessing anyway you take it, and when you are learning alongside your best friend?  Really doesn’t get better.  So even though I wasn’t totally aware that it was the 14th (and I wasn’t!), it was a memorable day filled with love and my best friend – I couldn’t have asked for more. ❤