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Neil Cook
Neil Cook's picture
Should security work be the final test

Hi all,

Many more martial artist are training in reality based systems or tailoring their arts for it. The biggest setback i can see is that however hard you try, recreating a real senario is difficult. Unlike Judo where you can go to a competition to  confirm if something works or not. I am not saying that people should get into fights on purpose (Choki Motobu fans) however. Of course training with people who have been there before can give understanding, but  "there's no substitute for experience" If you went to learn to play the piano and the teacher could teach you to read music but has never touched the keys, you'd think that a little odd

So should there be some sort of work based qualification? Would this also test the mental side of things? how would we do under real pressure?

I am aware that security work isn't self defence. In security you are paid to deal with situations that you would have walked away from, but it makes you deal with confrontation, gets experience with the emotions and feelings associated.

Looking forward to your thoughts on this.

Neil

shoshinkanuk
shoshinkanuk's picture

Personally I think 1st hand experience is important,

but it depends on the students, for instance I don't teach special forces, the police or even supermarket security people. I guess I would have something to offer security people, but not alot - I don't have direct extensive experience of their enviroment.

In reality I have soem experience of working doors (not alot), some experience of fighing in the street (a reasonable ammount), some self defence experience and a very small ammount of weapons experience (knife, bottle, stick) I understand it's limitations.

In truth none of my students expect more than I can offer, I don't tell tales and work a classical martial art, they seem very happy and some of them have used elements of what we do and it has worked for them.

I think if someone is stepping up to teach specific enviroment based trianing,t hen they really should have at least some experience of that enviroment, it just seems wrong not to.

lcpljones_dontpanic
lcpljones_dontpanic's picture

Hi Fellas

great idea for a thread this.

i appreciate where you're coming from Neil when you say  "there's no substitute for experience" but i do beleive that it is possible to learn from vicarious experience provided the teacher is honest and up front about their background, qualifications, experience and ability.

i dont think practical real life experience should necessarily be requisite for attaining a grade as this could encourage people to get mixed up in situations that are either beyond their abilities or worst case scenario (and one which i have come across) they actually go looking for trouble.

on that ocassion i visited a MMA club and was waiting around while the guys were getting changed and ready to train only to overhear two of them bragging about how they had been to a night club at the weekend and had intentionally gone around the club barging into people and behaving like idiots just so it would kick off. the worst part was that the instructor was present and heard all this and said nothing. needless to say i made my excuses and left not wishing to be associated with such morons.

you are correct when you highlight that working within security, policing or the military is not about self defence, these occupations and roles involve confrontation and violence in wholly diferent perspective. with regards to dealing with the emotional aspects of confrontation and violence then full contact combat based sports are a better bet for most i beleive as these will expose you to the pre-fight nerves, in-fight adrenaline dumps etc while being practised under safety rules to minimise serious injury or worse.

i've had a broad range of experience throughout my career of dealing with violence and confrontation, having to defend myself, others and property from attack and although i have enjoyed my career to date i would not suggest that anyone take on a job just to gain experince of these things. to work in the security, police or military is really something you should choose to do for the right reason or out of necessity to earn a living and not out of some insecure macho wishful thinking or delusional aspiration.

teaching realistic scenario based training is something that can be acheived without working in the security, police or military through extensive research and development. Peter Consterdine's Combat Coach Programme includes a taught element which covers the design and development of scenario based training i beleive. if Peter includes that sort of thing in his program without stipulating that the candidate must have some prior real world experience then i think it goes some way to corroborating and giving credence to the view that one does not need to work in a security based role.

the above is only my humble opinion and you know what they say about opinions and something else we all have smiley

 

    

JWT
JWT's picture

Neil Cook wrote:
"I am aware that security work isn't self defence. In security you are paid to deal with situations that you would have walked away from, but it makes you deal with confrontation, gets experience with the emotions and feelings associated."

I think you've hit the nail on the head though here Neil.  Police work and security work are not self defence, even if you end up having to defend yourself as part of them.  The context of the work places a wholly different psychological  aspect on the situation, and that is quite a game changer (as often is the need to follow particular protocols in terms of physical actions until you are really having to defend yourself) as is the 'team' element of such work.  I'll accept that those trades overlap in various skills areas with good self defence training, but I think the differences are significant and I don't feel that they contribute such a great deal to the instructing/learning process that they should be mandatory.

I agree with you that it is difficult to create a "real scenario".  It's not impossible though to create scenarios that put students under appropriate physical and mental duress.  The value of scenario training with respect to Police forces in the USA is discussed by Asken in Warrior Mindset, and the findings from studies there showed that Police Officers not only believed that the training had helped them, their subsequent real life performance showed it had.  Similarly the Hostage Negotiators found the scenario training as stressful as the real events!  Murray's Training at the speed of life is a good guide for people designing such training. Both books listed on my books page (self protection and training methodology sections):

http://www.practicalkarate.co.uk/books.html

Creating a real scenario requires an understanding of human behaviour, an understanding of what you are trying to replicate (either from first hand experience, written accounts or from cctv), clear safety protocols (and staffing), appropriate goals (for participants), appropriate PPE, appropriate insurance etc... However it can be done and it is very valuable for students.

Should instructors have 'experience"? Tricky one.  Should people have mucked up so badly that they've ended up in fights in order to teach you how to avoid them?  That's one way of phrasing it.  I'm very wary of people who set themselves up as 'self defence' coaches who boast they've had lots of real fights - it suggests that they won't be very good about teaching deterrence, avoidance and conflict management.  However - it is possible to end up in an inescapable situation and have to fight - I'm not implying that all those with real self defence experience are trouble seekers.  I'm coming at this from the perspective of someone who's had a few real fights, avoided many more, has worked a bit of security, and has a 'professional' (ie I'm recognised by the SIA as a qualified conflict management trainer)  security qualification.  I don't think it's necessary to have had real personal experience.  I think it is necessary to have seen real violence, i think it is necessary for your conflict management and self defence skills to have been pressure tested full contact in simulations, but I don't think it's necessary for people to have had a real fight themselves - that would potentially bar highly skilled 'walkers and talkers' (because they've always avoided trouble) with great tested physical skills and good coaching skills from being instructors.  Madness. smiley

Harald
Harald's picture

I very much sympathize with what Mr. Don´t panic has posted.

It should be a different model if you are involved (by profession) in doing your duty as an officer. Very much respect if this work is done in an appropriate way! 

Since a street fight might become very dangerous and you should never underestimate your opponent(s),  the only rule I know I is  that you have to fight until your opponent(s) is(are) not able to raise from the ground.

Best wishes,

Harold

Iain Abernethy
Iain Abernethy's picture

Harold wrote:
I know only the rule that you have to fight until your opponent(s) is (are) not able to raise from the ground.

Or you could escape. I think one of the dangers when martial artists teach self-protection is a “fighting” mentality remains. What I mean is that they see the situation as being “fought to the finish” and having a definitive winner and a loser. However, what we really want is not to “fight to victory”, but to “fight to not fight” or “fight to escape”.

Fighting until the enemy is completely disabled and unable to get up is more likely to put you on the wrong side of the law i.e. “Yes officer, he was dazed and confused, and I could have ran away, but I wanted to keep hitting him until he could no longer move”.

It’s also tactically the wrong thing to do as it’s extremely difficult to totally KO multiple enemies (as they do in the films). We stand a far better chance is we think of escaping not staying and fighting.

From a self-protection perspective, if we have no option but to fight then that’s what we do … but we also need acknowledge that our awareness was sorely lacking if we ended up in a situation with many enemies and no means of escape.

Of course a person employed in the security field can’t be running as the first option every single time, but I feel that has been well covered above. All I’ll add is that they will have the knowledge, training, equipment and, most importantly, back up to be better placed to resolve a situation as opposed to escape it. The civilian needs to be trained to avoid and escape, as opposed to “win” or resolve.

All the best,

Iain

Gavin Mulholland
Gavin Mulholland's picture

A few years ago, when we were a smaller organisation we had it that all new black belts had to spend at least 6 months working on doors.

It was a good system and ensured that all the black belts had direct experience but ultimately became too unweildy as we grew.

I still like the idea but no longer believe it is necessary and have seen very good instructors who have not worked in that environment at all

Iain Abernethy
Iain Abernethy's picture

Gavin Mulholland wrote:
I still like the idea but no longer believe it is necessary and have seen very good instructors who have not worked in that environment at all

I guess one key point here is that those without direct experience are guided by those that have such experience. Realistic training therefore ensures the right skills are developed because the dojo experience is totally inline with reality. This can again be passed on and a successful chain of instruction develops. Not wanting to put words in your mouth, but is what you see happening within your group? It makes perfect sense to me that that would be the case. Good training should, after all, develop the skills and abilities needed.

On the other side of things, the problem we sometimes see is when those without experience of reality – whether first or second hand – invent violence in their own minds or twist it to reflect how they are already training i.e. instead of ensuring training matches reality, they change “reality” to match training. However, if reality is fully understood – whether through first hand or effectively and accurately simulated experiences – and training is conducted in accordance with that understanding then it’s hard to see how you can go wrong.

All the best,

Iain

Gavin Mulholland
Gavin Mulholland's picture

Yes. I would agree with that. Many of those early Black Belts are still around and so the dojo does have a good body of experience to pass on. I guess the same could be said of the Cage experience. I have found it extremely useful and without doubt the benefits of it have gone way beyond just those guys fighting and through the whole dojo to people who would (quite rightly) never dream of fighting in a cage.

I think the issue is one of proximity to 'real' experience and while I am confident that I can pass these skills on, what about the next generation, or the one after that, or after that?

Perhaps this is where the argument for not changing anything at all comes from? If you accept that things do need to be revised and updated from time to time (or at least recalibrated), who is qualified to make those changes and does 'real' experience have an impact on this? 

Iain Abernethy
Iain Abernethy's picture

Gavin Mulholland wrote:
Perhaps this is where the argument for not changing anything at all comes from? If you accept that things do need to be revised and updated from time to time (or at least recalibrated), who is qualified to make those changes and does 'real' experience have an impact on this?

Thanks for that Gavin. Much appreciated.

The argument for not changing things would be valid so long as the violence being experienced also does not change. With the passing of time and the resulting changes in technology and culture, we need change in order to remain relevant. While the basics of human conflict are “hard wired” into our biology and are unlikely to change in the next few millennia; cultural and technological changes need to be factored in.

The recent discussion on defences from Seiza (kneeling position) would be a good example of cultural shift; as a westerner it is not relevant to me but methods from a seated position or while exiting or entering a car would be. I also place less emphasis on firearms than I would if I were to live in the USA.

I think we need an ongoing process of “assessing violence” whereby those giving the training should be looking at trends and assessing the nature of conflict on an ongoing basis. Not necessarily always through personal experience, but through information gathering. The armed forces, police forces, etc are always updating what they do based on the information they have as to what is the biggest threat and the most likely scenarios they will face.

It aways needs to be based on “real experience” though, whether that is personal real experience, or the real experience of others. So long as people are basing what they do on what is known to be real and current I can see no problems.

The thing that always amazes and disappoints me is when those with no real experience believe they know better than those that have such experience. We see this a lot when people are so invested in a particular training paradigm that they willingly ignore all the data that tells them that that paradigm is flawed.

My answer to the question, “Who is qualified to make those changes and does 'real' experience have an impact on this?” would be that those who are capable of ensuring the changes make the system better able to address reality are qualified.

As an example, if an old highly skilled practitioner was made aware of a changes to the nature of violence (due to changes in culture, technology or context) I’d like to think they would be able to suggest solutions – based on all prior experience, knowledge and a solid understanding of the current issues – that those directly experiencing that violence would agree / confirm were effective. I don’t feel it’s necessary for the “old master” to experience that violence themselves for us to view their solution as valid.

Likewise if a person with a relatively low rank, but with lots of experience of violence, was to suggest improvements I don’t think they should be ignored because there have not reached a certain rank. It’s whoever can do the job that should be listened to.

The bottom line is the real problem is when we stop seeking or deny the data.

Interesting question and I look forward to hearing what others have to say!

All the best,

Iain

Gavin Mulholland
Gavin Mulholland's picture

Iain Abernethy wrote:
It aways needs to be based on “real experience” though, whether that is personal real experience, or the real experience of others.

I think this gets to the heart of it for me. I had never fully articulated my thoughts on this before but this makes it clear (for me) that as long as students are getting training based on real experience, everything is good.

I agree with the changes in culture/technology but also feel that just time alone will warp things the further away we get from the one who had the real experience in the first place.

BRITON55
BRITON55's picture

Hi all Steve here...interesting question who is qualified to change techniques and who is'nt....I think from a personal perspective it matters little me ...who am I to judge the attempt...it only matters that I am willing to accept the changes or not. We can announce,display and register changes to all aspects of life...the worry for those who do... is will anyone pick up on them and find them useful enough or legable for use.

As for the question about practical experience in dealing with violent episodes and the rellevance of martial training is again about context. Having had a wide range of experience in violent episodes due to my life style and employment behaviours, from my personal point of view I find the ones who ask the question of validity of training and right training are those who have been blessed with never been in conflict situations. " If its not broke; why fix it". When the time comes and I hope it never does you will or will not deal with it to the best your tool kit will allow and ... COURAGE .. HEART ... DESIRE .. FEAR ..INTELLIGENCE .. will allow. Just enjoy training in all aspects of whatever art you choose and dont fall into the INSURANCE SALES trap of cover every aspect in case of a claim...you will find small print that does not cover that claim.

Pyung Ahn "Peace and Harmony"

Yours in Budo

Steve cool

Stan Meador
Stan Meador's picture

Gavin Mulholland wrote:

Perhaps this is where the argument for not changing anything at all comes from? If you accept that things do need to be revised and updated from time to time (or at least recalibrated), who is qualified to make those changes and does 'real' experience have an impact on this? 

I gather you're talking about changes, or lack thereof, within an established system or style. Usually, only the "head of style" can make official, wide-sweeping changes. Now, where he gets the information based upon which he makes the changes may be another story.

It is not uncommon in some styles of kung fu for the system inheritor to create a new form for inclusion in the system, based upon his own experiences and preferences in fighting. This is not unlike what happened with the kata Chinto. The new information was recorded because it was useful at that time.

There is currently a kung fu master in the USA who is creating new forms for his system. They are very true to form, but take into consideration the fact that training spaces are smaller than they used to be and the repetition in the form is not as necessary if you have repetition in other training. There are "open-minded" masters of kung fu who are embracing his changes because they can see that he is staying true to form.

When I arrived in Brazil and began looking for a Shotokan club with which to train but I decided not to train with them. Why? They were altering some of the moves in the Heian kata adapting them to their understanding of competition sparring. I do not know at what level those alterations were approved. I do know this, they did not work well with my own understanding of the Heian kata nor with my priorities for training. So, now, I'm training in Choy Lay Fut and enjoying it.

Now, if you are speaking about changing things on a personal level for your own usage, that is another matter. However, this should be done carefully and preferabbly with the help of and feedback from others who know as much or more than you. You should also know that such changes are not likely to gain the favor of those who preserve systems.

Ultimately, if you're training for self protection you do need to adapt what you do to where you are and the realities of danger around you.

Stan

Iain Abernethy
Iain Abernethy's picture

Gavin Mulholland wrote:
I agree with the changes in culture/technology but also feel that just time alone will warp things the further away we get from the one who had the real experience in the first place.

That’s a valid point and I think we can see plenty of evidence of that in some quarters of the martial arts world today where once effective systems have warped in to ineffective ones due to subsequent generations “taking their eye off the ball”.

I guess this begs the question of how we prevent this? How can we inextricably build checking against reality into the system? We have the option of insisting all teachers work in security, taking us back to the original question, but the consensus seems to be that that is impractical. So how do we best build data gathering about violence into the system so things can’t go astray in a few generations?

Thoughts anyone?

All the best,

Iain

shoshinkanuk
shoshinkanuk's picture

Im softening to the idea that Instructors, trained by those instructors that have had real life violent exposure can pass on the ability to cope with violence, ala self protection.

However, i don't think they will do so as effectivly, I can't see how that can be different.

Also does the message dilute as generations of instructors learn - ie

1. instructor 1 has significant exposure to violence, and teaches- 2. instructor 2 has no life exposure to violence, and teaches - 3. instructor 3, has no life exposure to violence, and learn't form an instructor who has no life exposure to violence

etc etc.

I think it does, and theres no way round it.

BUT, and im big on this one- I dont train supermen, as im not a superman. However I do train people to look after themselves to a certain level, appropiate to my exposure to violence and my martial skills and experience. I do not proclaim we are great or the best at anything...................................people make their own mind up about that.

It would seem many instructors, in many arts, in many ways simply do - my word how many masters and devestating arts there are out there! LOL

Harald
Harald's picture

Just a short reply. I agree with Iain that not to fight is the best choice if you have it. My point refered to scenarios where you fight someone who can absorb some punches. The fight finishes not until you are sure you can´t be attacked anymore.

If t wenty people want to kill you it is better to use nike uke and runaway. One has to use one´s brains!

But t should security work finally test? The applicabliity of lethal technices hopefully not!

Behave ;-)

Harald

Iain Abernethy
Iain Abernethy's picture

Harald wrote:
I agree with Iain that not to fight is the best choice if you have it …. The fight finishes not until you are sure you can’t be attacked anymore.

Harald wrote:
If twenty people want to kill you it is better to use nike uke and runaway. One has to use one’s brains!

Hi Harald,

I view things differently in that it is not the number of enemies that will determine whether I run or not. The best way to finish a “fight” is not be in that fight. People can end fights that way even if the other person is a far better fighter.

If I can run, I will run; regardless of the nature and number of the enemy. Escaping is always “Plan A” and not a “Plan B” if we think we can’t outfight the enemy. Escaping is the best way to be “sure you can’t be attacked anymore”.

One thing that is often overlooked is that whether you can escape or not is not just dumb luck. Your initial awareness in helping to ensure your are far less likely to caught in such a bad position will have a huge bearing on things. As will your actual ability to escape. That’s a skill that can be trained and developed.

The key then is to include awareness and escape skills in training … and for such skills to be given greater emphasis than fighting skills (when training self-protection).

Marital artists sometimes have a habit of assuming whether you can escape is something arbitrary over which we have no control. In reality we need the opportunity and the ability: The opportunity is partially in our control through good awareness training, and the ability is totally down to us and how we train. If both of the above fail then we have to fight. However, for many martial artist “fighting” is all they do and hence they default to fighting when escaping would be better and they assume that the opportunity and ability to escape is a “luck thing” as opposed to a “training thing”.

Of course, for security work, escaping in the first instance is not the way to go because you are being employed to deal with situations as opposed to escape them. As has been mentioned a lot here recently, context is always the key.

All the best,

Iain

Stan Meador
Stan Meador's picture

When I trained aikijutsu we constantly drilled this where avoidance was concerned:

1. Don't be where trouble is likely to occur.

2. Escape from violence if you can.

3. If you can't simply escape from violence, try to talk your way out of it.

4. If you can't escape it and can't talk your way out of it, fight to win.

One aspect of thrying to talk your way out of violence is that if you can't and have to fight, any witnesses who later comment to the police will include that you tried to avoid the violence.

Awareness and avoidance are very important skills to train.

However, in thinking about contexts, we should also train for scenarios where we cannot escape and must fight. One scenario is "You're out with your family and get attacked by multiple attackers, how do you protect your spouse and children?"

Complete self-protection training will cover many situations and sometimes "self" include loved-ones or innocents.

Stan

Harald
Harald's picture

Dear Iain,

just to answer, I subscribe to what you have said. .In Mabuni Kenei´s book  (´Empty hand´. I guess), you find a chapter titled ´Not to lose means to win´ and two subchapters ´a winning without fighting´and ´winning by escaping´) .(Historicial examples wrt this aspect are described in this book).

My perspecticve is  influened by my sensei/partner in my youth. His ´Do ´was not Funakoshin´s. So if an opportunity to fight occurred, he fought, to get it simple.

Mabuni, Funakoshin and Othsuka took budo to be a way to (create/increas in) peace. This is a remarkable.

The Western societies are totally different to what they were accustomed to in Japan! Brute acts of violence is on your mind when your are inclined to attend a seminar in self-defence. This was not the case in Japan, see e.g. an essay of Takamura (master of shindo yoshin ryu, I send the link if you want).Clearly, I subscribe to the principle to avoid fighting in the public.

To do your job as a soldier or olice man or security is not necessarily affected by this statement. That´s a different context (, I agree).

Have a nice weekend,

Harald