ARTICLE - NEGATIVE THINKING

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ARTICLE - NEGATIVE THINKING

Post  Guest on Sun Dec 31, 2006 5:37 am

NEGATIVE THINKING (Always assume)

2006

How many times have you heard about the virtues of positive thinking? How about never to make assumptions, and the dangers therein - ring any bells? If you'll bear with me for a little while I'd like to explore a touch of negativity and see how making certain assumptions can be more than a little useful.

Too often personal capability is all anyone considers - all the great stuff that they can do, the slick moves that they've put the work into - when really, being aware of self limitation is the real concern - knowing what you can't do best highlights real options for real situations.

Make assumptions, each and every time - but do yourself a big favour, make them negative ones, based on nasty limitations as opposed to lovely capabilities.

Training, just like operational planning, is best based around your limitations and the capabilities of the enemy - never the other way around! Consider and prepare for what may go wrong - with creating contigencies and transitions between such procedures a firm priority. Badly planned jobs - any kind - assume everything will go fine on the day, and so does badly planned training. Play devil's advocate, work out what you can't do, and this will reveal what is possible and viable with your current level of personal resources - in this case your physical, technical and emotional states - base your training on this instead.

To best consider limitations, think about three factors - Time, Space and Effect. Assume you won't have a great deal of either one, or all! Sounds bleak? Absolutely - did you really think otherwise? Don't fool yourself that real combat is, or ever will be, anything other than a pig's ear, no matter how many 'experts' try to make it into a silk purse! It's ugly, it's desperate - it hasn't got a lot going for it, so don't expect anything to go in your favour as a matter of course!

So let's look at these Time, Space and Effect limitations - what are they exactly? For the purpose of this article I'll define the terms and place them into context a little.

Time is a no-brainer, basically how long do you have to perform a given action, either physical or mental when the situation goes 'live'.

Space, like time, is basic in concept and refers to how much room you have available, both in terms of range and surroundings, to perform a particular manouever.

Effect is essentially what happens when you utilise and apply whatever method you choose, in terms of the extent of the intended outcome, does it work as planned?

Each of the above applies equally to your 'enemy' too - and the only saving is that he'll often be in as short supply of them as you!

Let's talk about Time first, given enough time almost anything is possible - unfortunately that's rarely, if ever the case and our training and selection of methods should really reflect the negative assumption of time being in short supply - on a good day - and completely absent in the worst - but most realistic - scenarios.

Everything leads to Time ultimately - and our training should focus heavily on methods to 'create' more of it - for us, not them. This is where the softer skills of awareness and assessment come into play with most effect - identifying and evaluating a threat at the earliest possible moment is the difference between being involved in combat or not most often.

Time is linked to Space, each buys a little more of the other - and less of one also reduces the other. Again, training and tactics should focus on methods and means of creating, or at least maintaining, available space. To be realistic, we have to assume - negatively - that we won't have any space to execute all but a select few techniques, training should reflect this. Learning how to fight with no space means that you can perform with space - the same doesn't apply in reverse unfortunately!

Effect is probably the factor that is most overestimated - put simply nothing will work as planned! Whatever 'perfect' technique you practice in training, don't be surprised if it comes up short on the day. This is largely due to the lack of time and space, plus random movement and high adrenal factors can affect performance considerably. If you have more space to move you can increase effect as this is usually dependent upon leverage and acceleration of some part or parts of the body, if you have more time you can also increase the effect through more considered application, and so on.

No matter how 'reality based' your training is, if you fail to address - in some shape or form - such negatives, you are missing the point. Perfect conditions exist only in training scenarios, initially they are necessary in order to install proper form, but if they persist as the normal state of affairs you're simply not training realistically - however impressive your technique becomes.

Once the basics are properly installed, start training to fail, to miss, to mess up! Sounds crazy? Bear with me - I might make some sense sometime soon! How many times during some drill is a mistake made, and some kind of 'reset button' is 'pressed' - start again, take two, do it better next time? Think about this and the old 'as you train, so shall you fight' adage - don't programme in a mental 'hiccup' if a 'mistake' is made, keep going - learn to transition from bad to better without losing a beat. I would argue that this ability is one of the most important, and one of the most overlooked.

When it comes to 'mistakes' anyhow, there's really no such thing in real fighting other than getting beat. Too often you hear all about the 'right' way and the 'wrong' way of performing certain technique for instance - come off it, there is no right/wrong outside of 'branded' formal martial arts where things must be done according to a laid down standard.

In 'real' fighting there's only better or worse, everything works, everything can be effective - but some things are more 'efficient' than others. Ultimately the end result is what determines what works - try telling the guy who just poleaxed someone that his technique was 'all wrong' - at the least he'll just point at the guy on the floor and look puzzled at you!

Not getting too hung up on doing things 'right' might contradict the essence of good training - absolutely not, everything must be perfect, it must be twice as good in training bearing in mind it'll be half as good for real - but keep it all in perspective, the end result is where it's at.

If something doesn't go to plan - newsflash, it won't! - get on with something else seamlessly, instantly - kick yourself later! Don't let a quick flash of 'analysis-paralysis' nail you!

Time, space and effect - train like you won't have them, so if you do it's a bonus not a necessity. Find ways of making training harder or, to be more precise, more 'difficult' - little things like not grabbing and stoppng the heavy bag swinging between combinations, or having over-scripted pad drills that test the memory more than actually prepare you for fighting!

Don't obsess over perfection outside of training - the disappointment will kill you! Remember the old saying "It's not who's right, just who's left that counts" - getting the job done is all that is important, get it perfect in training before, and work on where it went wrong after.

Negative thinking, not so bad after all....


Last edited by Mick Coup on Thu Apr 24, 2008 4:02 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: ARTICLE - NEGATIVE THINKING

Post  Joe Hubbard on Thu Apr 24, 2008 12:50 pm

Hi Mick

Thanks for that great article. I really enjoyed that; you should rename it: Shit Happens 101. Being able to thrive in chaos must be a high priority objective for any study of survival combatives. I like the old Task, Conditions, Standards method when teaching because it breaks down the objective, the possible and probable goat f*ck and then, within those perimeters (in training) start to work on raising the standard by repetitive drilling. Everything in the end is really less than perfect, but as David Hackworth used to say, “In the end you’ve got to have a go to hell plan!”

Out

Joe

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Re: ARTICLE - NEGATIVE THINKING

Post  Guest on Thu Apr 24, 2008 1:40 pm

Thank you for that.

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Re: ARTICLE - NEGATIVE THINKING

Post  Ade on Thu Apr 24, 2008 1:59 pm

Nice.
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Re: ARTICLE - NEGATIVE THINKING

Post  Nick Hughes on Thu Apr 24, 2008 2:21 pm

Good piece Mick,

I used to tell my karate students if you're testing and screw up keep going...I won't fail you for it. I will fail you for stopping and trying to start over.

Nick

PS: Also wrote a piece for Terry's mag (but he pulled the plug on FAI before it went to print) on Assumption is NOT the mother of all fook ups" as the popular saying goes. In fighting, the opposite is often true.
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Re: ARTICLE - NEGATIVE THINKING

Post  Guest on Fri Apr 25, 2008 9:11 am

Thanks for the feedback!

About time someone read it - been up for more than a year......Smile


Mick

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Re: ARTICLE - NEGATIVE THINKING

Post  Peter on Thu May 29, 2008 1:47 am

I've just read it too Mick, excellent article.

Pete
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