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Old 07-11-2008, 06:34 PM   #126
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Join Date: Feb 2002
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Re: Is Aikido effective for police?

I agree, there is a time issue here. That is a problem, indeed. Howe we choose to deal with it, well, that's a choice we make. That said, I can see where Mike and Kevin are coming from, and I can very much appreciate their view. It's just not mine, and I would never presume to have folks do what we do. I have my reasons for why we do what we do, at the same time that I know it's not for everyone (nor can it be).

I've recently come to the conclusion that while we'd like to believe otherwise, there simply are no shortcuts to being effective (i.e. putting as much chance of surviving and mission success - whatever that may be - on your side as is possible per a given situation). That said, when it comes to luck, or when it comes to playing the long odds, yes, there are shortcuts - including doing and/or training in nothing. I choose to see training as an attempt to not rely so heavily upon luck.

I know this is not a very popular view, this being the age of shortcuts, and many industries (self-defense, law enforcement, military, etc.) spending a lot of time and money on getting all of us to believe in and even admire shortcuts.

I used to teach law enforcement personnel with shortcuts in mind as well. No more. I refuse to train to the lowest common denominator, because, in truth, the lowest common denominator doesn't train. Do you see the contradiction there? Training folks who do not train? What a losing battle, what an impossible task! Contradiction lies at the very foundation of said process and the need to provide training doesn't take that away - it simply adds to it.

I had one guy at my last "open" session keep asking "what if" question after "what if" question - which is perfectly fine. However, when you can't do the move at all, and your talking is just keeping you from training (and others), and you have no chance of showing up on a regular basis because of character flaws... Well, the truth just popped out of my mouth: "What if the guy is stronger than you and pulls out a knife right when you put your hands on him?" Answer I gave: "You'll probably get killed, because you don't train regularly."

Nowadays, when folks tell me, "this is too hard" or "too complicated," etc., even my own law enforcement students - the answer is the same: "That's why we train. You want to be elite at our craft - train. You want to be a common denominator - don't train - nothing is easier than that, no shortcut is shorter than that."

I should also say, a lot of this has come from my own training in live environments. That is to say, in those kind of environments, you see who would likely die and who wouldn't, and the correlation is pretty consistent regarding those that train and their likely survivability. In my own experience, the truth of these type of training environments is being reduced to some sort of hazing ritual and/or some sort of imagined process that breads a combat mindset. This has gained a lot of fuel with the new, "never give up the fight" slogans that have spread with the popularity of this type of training.

Personally, what we do is quite at odds with this. Again, not at all a popular view, but if someone starts "superhuman-ing" things in our live environments, we hit you harder and shoot your more, etc., till you figure out like everyone else present that you are not being tough - you are dreaming, and its time to wake up, before your nightmares turn real.

Why bring up live-training environments... Well, for me, the point of such training is not to make you tough or teach you to never quite, the point is to reflect upon one's skills and one's training. When you do that, when you see folks fall apart in said environments, where all they can do is "tough it out," and you are coming from this latter perspective, you quickly realize, there are no shortcuts, just the delusion of shortcuts.

So yeah things take time, lots of dedication, etc., but that need, as great as it may be, does not make the opposite true - that one can achieve something, even anything, with minimum to no commitment. Again, this is not a popular view, getting less popular every year, but this is the view I feel I need to adopt to remain a responsible instructor in this profession.

David M. Valadez
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