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Topic: Rambling Ruminations (Read 8967 times)
July 27, 2004, 08:05:41 PM »
During the upgrades of our site, we inadvertently misplaced Guro Crafty's
thought pieces known as "Rambling Ruminations". If you've been missing them or have never seen them go to
Cindy "Pretty Kitty" Denny.
Dog Brothers, Inc.
Reply #1 on:
July 28, 2004, 12:25:05 AM »
Note that there is a new one titled "He had his Art".
Cindy "Pretty Kitty" Denny.
Dog Brothers, Inc.
"...grappling happens. It just does." - Top Dog
Reply #2 on:
July 29, 2004, 12:13:19 PM »
an excellent rambling rumination on many levels (human, psychological, etc.) that tied in together.
RIP to the member of the extended Inosanto tribe
sincerest condolences to his family.
"A good stickgrappler has good stick skills, good grappling, and good stickgrappling and can keep track of all three simultaneously. This is a good trick and can be quite effective." - Marc "Crafty Dog" Denny
Counting Coup (from 2001)
Reply #3 on:
August 06, 2012, 06:13:26 PM »
An unfinished piece from 2001
COUNTING COUP by Crafty Dog (c) 2012 DBInc:
The cover story of the December issue of the Atlantic Monthly is a piece titled “On the Rez” by one Ian Frazier. In it, one paragraph reads:
"Back in the days when Lakota war parties still fought battles against other tribes and the Army, no deed of war was more honored that the act of counting coup. To "count coup" means to touch an armed enemy in full possession of his powers with a special stick called a coup stick, or with the hand. The touch is not a blow, and serves only to indicate how close to the enemy you came. As an act of bravery, counting coup was regarded as greater than killing an enemy in single combat, greater than taking a scalp or horses or any prize. Counting coup was regarded as an act of almost abstract courage, of pure playfulness taken to the most daring extreme. Very likely, to do it and survive brought an exhilaration to which nothing else could compare."
from “On the Rez” by Ian Frazier
The art of living the Tao can be thought of as the harmonization of complementary opposites. In the words of GM Leo Giron of the Larga Mano system of arnis/eskrima and a man who applied the art in the jungles of Luzon during WW2, “Peace is not the absence of conflict, it is the management of conflict.”
In a certain sense, martial arts are about the study of the ways of dealing with Aggression. With the Aggression of others, one can run away, one can defeat it, one can deflect it, one can dissolve it. What is martial arts but the development of the understandings and skills to effectuate these various responses? Certainly the tip of the iceberg is the skill of defeating the aggression of others, but the rest is there too, often hidden as it may be in the learnings of dealing with those with whom one trains as part of the process of learning to defeat the aggression of others. Impelled by the depth of one’s intent and impeccability on the path to fighting truth, each one must learn to deal with others on their version of the same path and the tensions that inevitably arise.
I believe that Aggression is an instinct, which by definition means that it will discharge. In the absence of the “eliciting stimuli” which trigger it in Nature, it will accumulate in the body until the mind “creates” a situation with something which can be used as an eliciting stimuli—which as has been said previously, is quite analagous to the sex drive, in the absence of sex, accumulating in the body until mind creates a dream which becomes the “eliciting stimuli” to discharge. i.e. a wet dream.
Aggression, as the term is used here, is NOT synonymous with violence, or even with cranky behaviors. It is all interactions in which one must step aside for another. This can be who gets to use the land, your group or mine; who is higher status whom with in the group, which competitor for reproduction is backed off, etc.
The next step in the idea is that if Aggression is an instinct, then to study it makes as much sense as studying BJJ or FMA.
In the realm of science the two areas that I have been reading in are evolutionary biology, which in its earliest form was known as Darwinism, and evolutionary psychology, which I would define as the insights to be gleaned from an understanding what a naturally realized human is evolved to be. The point here is a fairly subtle one; that human culture evolves more rapidly than its genetic code, or, for that matter, the natural world from whence it sprang. Thus, there are inherent underlying tensions between man’s true nature and the modern environment in which he finds himself and part of the path to psychological, emotional and spiritual health lies in understanding how he was meant to be in Nature.
Using the analytic structure of the Austrian ethnolgist and Noble laureate Konrad Lorenz, we can say that there are three types of Aggression: territorial, hierarchical, and reproductive and that the purpose of territorial aggression is to spread a hunting species out over territory as part of the overall dynamics of an eco-system, of Nature, which is sometimes also known as the Garden of Eden.
Before the apple of worldly knowledge came to these shores, the tribes of hunter-gatherer humans living here now known as American Indians or Native Americans, were a part of a stable, healthy eco-system. As such, there were continuous territorial disputes, sometimes brutal, but there were no campaigns to eliminate neighboring tribes such as those that have been a significant and growing feature of humanity in this century, rather merely to defend territory from which to live.
In such a world boundaries were continuously being tested and skirmishes, rather than pitched battles, a fact of life. One would see and know one’s enemies from previous skirmishes. To kill was to get real up close and personal. Weapons were made from what nature supplied: for example, a tomahawk, which is nothing more than a rock chipped into an axe head and tied into a stick.
The quote above speaks of counting coup’s effect upon the one who does it. But what of the effect upon the recipient? Upon his comrades? Interesting questions and worthy of reflection.
In the second form of Aggression, hierarchical, the loser usually is not significantly damaged. This is because hierarchy is a feature of all social groups, and in evolutionary terms, a group exists because of the survival benefit it yields on the whole to its members. Thus, it would be evolutionarily unsound for hierarchical aggression, which by definition is inevitable, to have behaviors which left the social unit in question weakened.
In counting coup the counter sees the counted as a man, as well as an enemy. And triggered within the man “counted” then, unless he is a cur, is the cluster of instinctual behaviors of the loser of a hierarchical fight. In my mind, the point here is that counting coup becomes a magical moment in which territorial aggression is converted into hierarchical.
My research into counting coup is incomplete and thus the preceidng must be of a preliminary nature.
The Live Hand
Reply #4 on:
September 07, 2012, 12:36:49 AM »
Something I wrote in 2006:
The Live Hand
by Guro Crafty (c) DBI 2006
This matter of the live hand is one of interest to me. This is how we organize the thinking in Dog Brothers Martial Arts. Naturally, it is A way, not THE way.
For me it began with noticing that Top Dog frequently based his initial impressions of someone's movement in great part upon the quality of the movement of their live hand. For example, his first comment upon seeing some footage of GM Tatang Ilustrisimo doing single sword that PG Edgar had given me was "Great left hand!"
At the time I thought it odd, but gradually came to understand this as a matter of the whole body working as an integrated whole.
Top Dog relentlessly commented on my dangling live hand. I took to calling it the "limp" hand so as to provoke myself into doing something about it
Over time I came to see three common types of weakness with regard to the live hand.
a) the limp hand
b) the "Errol Flynn"-- flapping about behind the fighter as if he were some deranged version of Errol Flynn in a sword fight in a pirate movie
c) the "frozen hand"-- locked into position somewhere, often on the chest, with that whole quadrant of the body being shut down.
As a teacher, my particular bias is to install things correctly from the very beginning-- my sense of how people learn is that it can be very difficult to change first habits. For example, my son's pre-kindergarten teacher sat facing her students when she taught them to write and thoughtfully drew her letters so that the lines would appear to them as drawn top to bottom, left to right. Of course to accomplish this for herself she was drawing the lines bottom to top and right to left. My son cleverly saw this and learned to write exactly as she did: BOTTOM to TOP and RIGHT to LEFT. Arrrgghh. Naturally his handwriting was terrible.
Arrrgghh. The struggles we have gone through to get this out of his system have been considerable. Arrrgghh.
Because of the strong emphasis on bilateralism in DBMA (quite a subject in its own right) we seek to get two birds with one stone by teaching/learning single stick motions on the complementary side first (e.g. a righty would learn the motions with his left hand first). Apart from the benefits in bilateralism from this approach in getting the complementary hand able to move well when called upon to act in the dominant function, it also makes for the practitioner used to using well that quadrant of his body when the stick is moved to the naturally dominant side (a transposition which occurs easily and quickly when moving from complementary to dominant side, but not vice versa). In other words, even though only the dominant hand is holding a weapon, the primary modality is that the live hand moves just as much.
It is only at this point (i.e. the achievement of an integrated live hand) that long and short motions are trained in their own right. (As conceived in the theory of DBMA, single stick is a subcategory of long and short-- the live hand being the short.) As some of the previous posts have pointed out in this thread, important issues must be solved in order to not slash or
stab oneself. For the moment I limit myself to pointing out that, for
example, a worthy ice pick stab requires the complementary hand to act well in the dominant function-- in a manner very similar to throwing a ball and this teaching/learning methodology is designed to install just such a skill.
This is not the only way to go about it. Guro Inosanto, whose first three areas are single stick/sword/etc, double, and Long and short, has commented more than once that for Manong John LaCoste that L&S was the first area, double the second, and single the third area and has said that if he had it to do over again he would do it as Manong LaCoste did.
I've never heard him explain why, but my guess is that when we learn single first, the disparity between the dominant and complementary hand tends to be increased, but if we learn L&S first, the complementary hand is fully integrated with the dominant from the beginning.
The Adventure continues,
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