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Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Phases of Self-Defense Conditioning

Caveat: This article is mine and mine alone. I the author of this article assure you, the reader, that any of the opinions expressed here are my own and are a result of the way in which my meandering mind interprets a particular situation and/or concept. The views expressed here are solely those of the author in his private capacity and do not in any way represent the views of other martial arts and/or conflict/violence professionals or authors of source materials. It should be quite obvious that the sources I used herein have not approved, endorsed, embraced, friended, liked, tweeted or authorized this article. (Everything I think and write is true, within the limits of my knowledge and understanding.)

Note: Before I begin, the concept or numerology of “3” pops up a lot in martial arts studies especially when it involves some of the ancient Chinese classics such as the “I Ching, Tao Te Ching, and the Analects, etc.” When you view nature as well things like the spiral also come into view and as related to martial arts the “Tomoe” symbol has a spiral like configuration that allows you to perceive the possibility of a spiral action. Then on study of the principles you also train sub-principles that are an enactment of a spiral action, i.e., centripetal and centrifugal force applications. Theories and Philosophies discuss certain symbolic traits of martial arts in threes, i.e., shu-ha-ri and shin-gi-tai as examples. It all ties together so when I came up with the following I found it appropriate to break it down into three’s just like kata practice is about three’s as well. Now, a very important part of Conditioning (as I have come to understand, accept and believe, have fun with it!)

Note II: My book, the modern bubishi one I am writing, is also broken down into three’s, i.e., Part One: The Physical; Part Two: The Mental; Part Three: the Spiritual. Then also, consider all the myriad things of the Universe have, “A Beginning, A Middle and An End - three.”

Phase One: Knowledge (Mental)
Phase Two: The Physical
Phase Three: RBC (Reality Based Conditioning)

Actually, it would be more advantageous, from my view, to actually combine all three phases into one as one progresses. Regardless, this formatting provides an easier way to convey such information for encoding in the brain. Knowledge at a basic level must precede actual Conditioning in phase two and three. Phases two and three also start out separately with a gaol of holistically combining them into one form of self-defense martial arts Conditioning. 

First, in phase one there are some things you need to know before you even try to find a self-defense martial arts dojo (to be referred to as SDMA dojo). The information is such that it will provide you with a base of questions and answers necessary to separate the chaff from the wheat or the McDojo from the Dojo and then the Dojo from the SDMA  Dojo. Once you have that basis and select your place or Conditioning hall then you will study in tandem with actual hands-on Conditioning. Also, in this phase a person must make some changes, changes in regards to their mind-state and mind-set. This concerns violence and social conditioning. 

Second, in phase two there are things that you want to develop before trying to add in the complexities of the RBC stuff. In all martial arts there are principles that you want to understand and train your body-mind in before branching out into phase three. That takes time, often until one achieves a level of student at the black belt level. Don’t get caught up in the levels or the belts, those will come as you become proficient in the principles that underly all martial arts and are beneficial in applying self-defense.

Third, in phase three we all assume you have middle to high proficiency in both the fundamental aspects of phase one and two. Know that because you are delving into phase three at this point there are still huge amounts of stuff to learn still in phase one and two. All the phases are a continuous and diligent practice and Conditioning. It never ends if you wish to understand and apply SDMA.

Phase three along with phase one are critical. Phase two may or may not be martial in nature as RBC does address the physical stuff without having to study a martial art be it modern, traditional or classical in nature. 

The three phases are also to provide the practitioner student with distinct distinctions as to what it is they are studying. In martial arts there are several major “Ways” one can practice and study. There is the sport aspect, the combative one, the spiritual way and the self-defense civil form with a lot of in betweens associated with those. You can study more than one but in my view if you want self-defense then you need to make that a singular focus for the time necessary to make it the foundation of all your other efforts. Once you begin to study self-defense then you will begin to get a larger picture of how important it is to give focus and awareness to that discipline. Example, in self-defense it is all about defending against damage, etc. that involve the possibility of loss of life or at a minimum great bodily harm. Remember, it goes way beyond that as to its ramifications if you need to apply your expertise. 

Phase One: Knowledge is power and a good start on attaining self-defense knowledge is the study of the references provided. It is very, very IMPORTANT that you actually study the material and that means, for me and from my view, you read, study, read, highlight, read, study and then bring that to your practice in self-defense. (See bibliography for basic references)

Phase Two: The physical is about following the learning process of a self-defense instructor and/or the martial arts sensei as has been traditionally taught for hundreds of years. In that light I also advocate the study and implementation of the fundamental principles of martial systems where the four (initially there are four major principles with a few added by me for my Conditioning) provide “theory,” “physiokinetics (what most call body mechanics but more),” “technique,” and “philosophy.” The four are for balance and for creating a unique philosophy toward apply the knowledge attained in SDMA. This seems important to me because of the power that comes from such study, knowledge and experience. 

Phase Three: This is one of those critical things for self-defense. If you don’t have this part then all the rest “may or may not” work. Phase three is going to subject the practitioner/student to the adrenal responses and a lot of the force stuff, all found in the study materials but now applied toward hands-on self-defense. RBC is about violence dynamics, force levels and force applications in differing situations that are often chaotic and unpredictable. It is also a complex subject that takes experience to convey well. 

The phases of self-defense Conditioning is not a hard coded method or syllabus toward teaching, it is an information tool to get you started finding and beginning a self-defense discipline. In martial arts there is a concept of “shu-ha-ri” that is similar where one has to assimilate and mold or meld all three in order to achieve mastery and proficiency in martial arts. The same concept is working here, we provide you the atomistic for ease of assimilation/learning then you have to achieve a dynamic way of applying it without apparent structure, etc. 

Of Note: This is just a model, a means of creating a base from which a novice or the uninitiated may discover facts about self-defense and martial arts. It is just one thought or idea on how to approach such a difficult discipline that is not readily apparent in this short article. Yet, when you begin your first phase of study you will discover that the three phases consist of a great deal that must be learned, practiced and then applied - if you need it. As long as the self-defense course you find has “Legal and Ethical aspects; violence dynamics; avoidance, escape and evasion, and de-escalation (not fighting); counter-assault (operant conditioning goes here, definitely); breaking the freeze; the fight itself; aftermath - retaliation, medical, legal and psychological.”  Then you add in all the other stuff you should have a decent self-defense Conditioning program.

Primary Bibliography of Self-Defense (Some titles have RBC drills included):
MacYoung, Marc. "In the Name of Self-Defense: What It Costs. When It’s Worth It." Marc MacYoung. 2014.
Miller, Rory Sgt. "Meditations of Violence: A Comparison of Martial Arts Conditioning & Real World Violence" YMAA Publishing. 2008.

Bibliography Articles on Self-Defense/Conflict/Violence

The main page leading to the articles I have chosen as a starting point to attain knowledge of conflict, violence and self-defense is: where you can navigate to the below or you can simply find a title below and click for direct access to the articles. Most of these are actually introductions to the references written by the authors themselves. It is advisable to start here then move on to the more in-depth stuff in their publications. This section will get you a beginning understanding necessary in phase one of learning self-defense. 

I.M.O.P. Principle—Intent, Means, Opportunity and Preclusion
Introduction to Violence: Scale of Force Options
Facing Violence: The Unconscious Stuff-Finding Your Glitches
Violence: What Everyone Needs to Know About Fighting

Secondary Bibliography of Self-Defense (Some titles have RBC drills included):
Ayoob, Massad. “Deadly Force: Understanding Your Right to Self-Defense”Gun Digest Books. Krouse Publications. Wisconsin. 2014.
Goleman, Daniel. "Emotional Intelligence: 10th Anniversary Edition [Kindle Edition]." Bantam. January 11, 2012.
Miller, Rory. "ConCom: Conflict Communications A New Paradigm in Conscious Communication." Amazon Digital Services, Inc. 2014. 
Miller, Rory and Kane, Lawrence A. "Scaling Force: Dynamic Decision-making under Threat of Violence." YMAA Publisher. New Hampshire. 2012
Miller, Rory. "Force Decisions: A Citizen's Guide." YMAA Publications. NH. 2012.
Miller, Rory Sgt. "Facing Violence: Preparing for the Unexpected." YMAA Publishing. 2011.
Elgin, Suzette Haden, Ph.D. "More on the Gentle Art of Verbal Self-Defense." Prentice Hall. New Jersey. 1983.
Elgin, Suzette. "The Last Word on the Gentle Art of Verbal Self-Defense" Barnes & Noble. 1995
Morris, Desmond. “Manwatching: A Field Guide to Human Behavior.” Harry N. Abrams. April 1979.
MacYoung, Marc. “Writing Violence #1: Getting Shot.” NNSD. Amazon Digital. 2014.
MacYoung, Marc. “Writing Violence #2: Getting Stabbed.”  NNSD. Amazon Digital. 2015.
Elgin, Suzette. "The Gentle Art of Verbal Self-Defense" Barnes & Noble. 1993.
Elgin, Suzette. "The Gentle Art of Written Self-Defense" MJF Books. 1997.
Maffetone, Philip Dr. “The Maffetone Method: The Holistic, Low-stress, No-Pain Way to Exceptional Fitness.” McGraw Hill, New York. 2000
Strong, Sanford. “Strong on Defense_ Survival Rules to Protect you and your Family from Crime.” Pocket Books. New York. 1996.
and more … see blog bibliography.
Jahn, C. R. “FTW Self Defense.” iUniverse. Amazon Digital Services. 2012
Jahn, C. R. “Hardcore Self Defense.” iUniverse. Amazon Digital Services. 2002.

Bibliography of RBC Drills (Some titles have RBC drills included):
MacYoung, Marc. "In the Name of Self-Defense: What It Costs. When It’s Worth It." Marc MacYoung. 2014.
MacYoung, Marc (Animal). “Taking It to the Street: Making Your Martial Art Street Effective.” Paladin Press. Boulder, Colorado. 1999.
MacYoung, Marc. "A Professional's Guide to Ending Violence Quickly: How Bouncers, Bodyguards, and Other Security Professionals Handle Ugly Situations." Paladin Press. Boulder, Colorado. 1996.
Miller, Rory. “Drills: Conditioning for the Sudden Violence.” Amazon Digital Services, inc. Smashwords. 2011.
Quinn, Peyton. “Real Fighting: Adrenaline Stress Conditioning Through Scenario-Based Conditioning.” Paladin Press. Amazon Digital Services, inc. 1996

My Blog Bibliography
Cornered Cat (Scratching Post):
Kodokan Boston:
Mario McKenna (Kowakan):
Wim Demeere’s Blog:

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