I haven't posted anything for a while because of various reasons, however, I'm back.
I'm writing a book concerning the 'survival process'. The survival process involves a stimulus, our evolved survival mechanism, and an output that is designed to affect the initiating stimulus. It order to develop this theory I have had to integrate the theories of fight-or-flight, stress, and emotion, which, due to our fractured sciences, all look at the same thing but in limited ways and for different purposes which distorts their understanding of the original survival process. Integrating these theories and developing new theory then brings us back to it's core function - survival.
An understanding of our survival process is useful because it allows us to understand (a) our natural responses to a threat or challenge, and (b) all of the methods taught by the martial arts, self-defence, military close combat, and law enforcement methods because they are ALL interventions in the survival process.
What are you teaching and why?
Lets look Donn Draeger's martial arts dichotomy of self protection and self perfection.
The 'practical' approach to martial arts is to teach a person to protect themselves. Nature did not leave us unprotected and defenceless. I can prove that. I can prove it because we are here. If we were unprotected and defenceless, we would not be here. Nature provided us with an extraordinarily sophisticated defence system. What the martial arts are trying to do is to 'improve' on nature by teaching us learned defensive behaviours that are designed to improve on instinctive defensive behaviours.
Teaching tactics and techniques is an analytical approach to the defensive problem. A systems approach, a holistic approach, recognises that there is more to the survival process than behaviour. The behaviour has to be supported or not impeded by the emotion and physiological responses to a threat or challenge that an appraisal produces. What are the martial arts doing concerning the emotion and appraisal responses to a threat or challenge?
The martial arts moved beyond the mundane task of defending ourself to one of perfection ourselves. In this case, the defensive effectiveness of the tactics and techniques is of very little importance. But what does it mean to perfect ourselves through the study and training of the martial arts?
Many often speak of the battle, defeat, conquering, etc of the ego. It all sounds very grand, but what does it mean?
Nature originally provided most organisms with emotion, which in humans arises from the amygdala. Later, nature provided humans with intellect, which arises from the neocortex. Intellect/neocortex enabled humans to climb to the top of the food chain ... but at a price.
Neocortex ('Neo') and amygdala ('Amy') don't always get along. In fact, Neo often wants to control and subjugate Amy. 'Defeat one's own ego'- what that means is defeat one's emotions/defeat Amy. This is the very basis for religious doctrine. Don't give into your base desires, which is driven by Amy.
Don't flee when afraid. Don't strike out in anger.
How do you not give into your base desires? This is where Neo comes in. Neo is used to manage or control the older but more selfish Amy.
Self protection based martial arts need to manage or control emotions, mostly fear and anger. Fear does not support the fight behaviour that martial arts teach and anger may lead to uncontrolled fight behaviour. So, what is your martial art doing to manage or control Amy in order to ensure the tactics and techniques you learn are effective in a life-threatening situation?
Self perfection - control Amy. Defeat Amy. How is your marital arts training designed to defeat Amy?
There is so much to this subject. So much that I'm currently exploring in order to develop theory that will enable us to better understand what we are doing and just as importantly to improve what we are doing.
Buckle up. It's going to be an interesting journey.