The Thought Process in Morris Method

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The Thought Process in Morris Method

Post  Luciano Imoto on Wed Sep 19, 2007 10:08 am

After more adjustments, I reformulated my last question about the thinking process and mindset in and to fight.

You can work on your fitness. You can work on your technique. But what about the part of you that does the thinking? The part that makes the decisions that ultimately determines fitness, ability and level of success. Is this part working for or against you? How would you know?

The correct intention is a serious principle, so this long post.
I will try explain my point. Please, donīt confuse this topic with that others about unique mindset. Now I want amplify this theme.

To make comparations with Morris Method approach I will use some quotes extracted from morrisnoholdsbarred.co.uk:

The guiding principle that underlies all fight training is to train as you need to fight. That means mentally and physically preparing to take on someone who can fight in the multidimensional sense of the term,

"Mentally", in my actual view, is about thinking and flux of thoughts. In all human fields we suffer a influence of some previous idea and impressions. We are into a sphere of thoughts (coletive, cultural and individual) in time and space. So, any profession (or action in real world) have your own type of specific brain conditional functions (wire with multiple synapses). In other words, all human action have a modus operandi or pragmatic method to reach better results and evolve. And all method contents a specific theory/line/vision behind it.

"Method of no-method" Neutral

But in respect to fightīs needs, I never remember any thoughts during my spontaneous manoeuvres, even after the complete execution of the movements and tatical/strategical transitions in the struggle. Some coaches call this like "hyper concentration", "focus", "flow", "Zone", etc.
Or "tunnel vision"...

Anyway, how to recreate this process in training without artificial drills or hard didatics like "jump in sea to learn swim"?
How to transit in this altered state of atention without fall in linear/rational thinking and yours prejudices (delay in response and others disadvantages in real fight) derived of usual training?

Some training habits (thoughts and all ciclic images and repetitive internal and verbal definitions words added in "minds eye") can be very counterproductive to be carry on to the real fight:
Fight = Chaos, fear, fury, fatigue, stress, atavics instincts, limitation in environment, light speed, surprise elements, resistance, sharp weapons... versus Training = ruled by order, confidence, securance, good health, social behavior, expectation, cooperation, safety...

The "intelligent" fighter (in tactical-technical-strategical sense) can succumb to a less intelectual, but more savage and non-rational, adversary. Itīs not new to us and the cops...
The US army made the .45 to this type of oponent.

Sadly some traditional martial artists are proud because they memorize thousands of detailed and sofisticated techniques (to much cerebral approach = Motor Oriented Response).
Old TaiJi Quan had three movements. Ancient Hsing Yi had five. Modern boxing have four strikes with hands. Paradoxically MMA have little arsenal too. Include some fighters win only with one predilect strike (see CroCop round kick to the head / Fedor Emelianenko finishes in ground-and-pound with hammer fists).
Probably this reduction and proposital limitation of alternatives help in adaptation and improvisation during the fight. Of course this approach hit the Empty Mind topic too (if it is possible or real).
However, the problem remain: How to cultivate our natural state without alienation in civilized society - everyday simple activities - but in same time use it freely in fight requirements?
Athletes experiencing these "natural state" moments cannot explain how they came to be there, and report that the state is lost as soon as they become aware of being in it. From their observations it appears that Ďbeing in the here and nowí involves integration of the conscious and unconscious aspects of movement, that is the voluntary decision to act and the reflex that facilitates the action. Becoming conscious of the moment seems to destroy it.


Finally,

Although over the years I have successfully processed from every conceivable angle all of those components that need to be addressed within fight training, I have never been able (to my satisfaction that is) to organize these components into a definitive training method that I could easily pass on to others. That is, never until just over a month ago, when, parked up in a layby in the Shropshire hills with the kids asleep in the back, a notebook on my lap and looking westward toward the land of my fathers, I suddenly saw all the pieces of the puzzle fall into place with absolute clarity.

Does this final culmination arrives in a "quantic" process (jump thinking / insight)?
I ask this because in fight this 'suddenly' (on 'being in the moment') decision without any preconceived idea are very common, usefull and vital. And this topic also have relevance with the correct mindset, if we really need fix one to guide us in training. Maybe all we necessity are "non-thinking" to make correct decisions and to live in absolute clarity, but how step in this road without enter in obscure zones of meditation stuff (zen, yoga, philosophy, religion, mysticisms, etc), chemical substances (academic / cientific / intelectual / psychological neural approach) or pure violent intent (animal / feral / primitive human condiction)?

Mr. Morris, yours personal experiences in this subject can ilustrate and be usefull to us.
Thanks for attention,

Luciano Imoto

P.s.: about the "Zone" and another psychological (and sometimes non-orthodox) approaches of this topic please see:
http://www.artofperformance.co.uk/
http://www.rmaxinternational.com/home/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=111&Itemid=277
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flow_(psychology)
http://www.uppsalaonline.com/uppsala/berserk.htm
http://www.uppsalaonline.com/uppsala/somafera/somafera%20-%20the%20body%20wild.html
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Re: The Thought Process in Morris Method

Post  steve morris on Tue Sep 25, 2007 4:39 am

From a fighting perspective, there are many different styles of thinking, many different mindsets that you might need to call on. Different problems mean different solutions. Sometimes you have to think and act like lightning. Other times, you have time to plan. The brain as a whole is more than capable of adapting. But you have to see the picture as a whole. Sometimes Iíve been like a fucking alligator, cold-blooded, just Ďsnapí -- got ya. Sometimes Iíve been emotionally hot and violent. Other times Iíve been extremely lateral and cunning. Sometimes Iíve planned ahead by five seconds what Iím going to do to the guy. Sometimes Iíve planned ahead six months. Iíve had fights in gyms, toilets, bars, on the roadside. You name a place, Iíve had a fight there.

But at the same time I still have to do everything else you do in life. I donít walk around Ďlike a warriorí. A lot of guys feel they must Ďbe in a mindset.í You can even see it in their faces and body posture, the way they look. Theyíve got this stupid look on their face, and you know that in their head they think theyíre in samurai movie. Itís so artificial, so false.

So how in training can you facilitate and not inhibit the mental response? Youíve got to push it to a point where injury is possible, but you hold back. Thatís why the dissimilar and aggressor training is ideal, and you need a partner of like mind. Imagination can play a tremendous role in taking it to the next stage. And again, thatís what kids do. Even animals. Watch cats play at hunting. They look like itís for real, but thereís no mouse there, just a leaf. But the responses are all being trained. With visual imagery, youíve tricked the body into responding.

The real difference is, the cat knows what a mouse looks like. And itís using its natural inherent and bequeathed behavioural patterns without interference from the conscious mind. It hasnít got any false examples. But we do. Lots of them. Thatís why I say, watch the fight. So you can build the imagery on which you can work, even if youíre by yourself on a bag. You can fill in the gaps with imagination.

When I was in Malaya as a kid, I saw a belt lying on the ground. Weíd had snakes in the house, and I naturally thought it was a snake. I was up in the rafters until my dad walked in and told me it was just a belt. My body, everything, responded as if it was a snake. Now, in my training, I can do the same thing. I have very strong visual imagery. People ask me how I train without partners, and thatís how I do it.

And if you get good at it, you can build composites of different types of fighters. By watching, you can put together imaginary opponents in different ways. This is where your intellect can come in, to analyze the picture that youíre seeing and form new concepts and principles, strategies, and tactics. It really is the left brain and the right brain playing ping-pong with the image.

Usually when people talk about morality in martial arts, theyíll then hook in the other aspects of religion into their martial arts, which is unnecessary baggage. They end up sitting in a pose going through these actions, and you know that in their mind itís not the case of mu shin, they just havenít got anything there. Theyíre just sitting there waiting for something to happen, like they took a pill.

You said that as soon as you become conscious of this unconsciousness in action, it goes. But in my experience thatís not true. Again, it rather depends on what was happening at the time. You go through different levels of development.

The first step is being mindful of what you do. Even to the point of self-correction. Say you go through a door and you slam it behind you without meaning to. You go back and go through the process again. And you do that with everything throughout the whole day. It is rather like your mind is actively concentrating on what youíre doing. Itís very difficult. You can build the tool for it through concentration exercises. I would look at say a line on a wall or ceiling or any defined line, and follow the line with my eye without skipping from one point to another. Itís harder than it sounds. The rest of what I do would sound too esoteric! Iím not putting it on here.

Important to all this process of concentration is perception of time. Because if you havenít got this perception of time between the tick and the tock, so to speak, youíve missed it. If you work say with stick and you do synchrony drills (Trish experienced it), you do a synchronized drill and then you start to syncopate on the beat. That will teach you to sense that within a process thereís an interval of time, as well as between processes thereís an interval of time. And after you do that for a while, you find that your perception of time is better. If youíre merging with traffic, going through a revolving door, crossing the road, striking a ball, throwing a ball, catching a ball, they all improve. Theyíre all based upon the unconscious calculating when and where and how to move within this restricted time frame. Youíve enhanced that area of the brain which does that.

As we were typing this up, Trish was talking about how when she drops something she sees her hand fly out as if it doesnít even belong to her, and catch it. Now, the Sartori moment comes when youíre consciously aware of that. And thatís the place where Iím living now. Thatís why when people ask me, at 64 how can you be getting faster? Thatís why.

And you need to learn to sense not only what is external to you, but what is internal. So, kinaesthetically, you need to sense the body in action. To watch it, like an observer. So rather than plugging yourself into a machine so that some sports scientist can tell you what your body is doing, learn to sense the joint angular changes in alignment, sequence, rate and timing. Feel that the whole body is engaged.

Youíve probably read on the site where I talk about walking. That for me was always the best way in, because it was at a pace where I could do this internal process of sensing the interconnectivity of my body with itself, the ground, and the environment. Interconnectivity is a word often used, but when I see the people using it, theyíre obviously not connected. Look at a good athlete instead. Heís doing it at an instinctive level.

Lots of people use this little formula now to talk about the stages of learning. I wasnít aware of it until recently, but Iíve been practicing it for years: when learning any skill, first you are unconsciously incompetent. You donít know anything. Then youíre consciously incompetent; you start to realise you donít know anything. Then you become consciously competent. You can do it, but you really have to think about it. Then you become unconsciously competent. You donít have to think about it; you just do it.

But the level Iím working at, and anybody who has mastered anything is working at, is the level of being consciously unconsciously competent. Youíre aware of the unconsciousness in action, and you can intervene in the process.

Now hereís the problem with this. Itís easy to say all this, and even believe youíre doing it, but itís something you can only arrive at honestly. It just comes through the process of being mindful. And thatís a long process. I started it when I was seventeen or eighteen, when I read my first books on Buddhism.

Now, what I do, I can actually have a sense of what is happening and I can replay much of the action in my mindís eye. I have captured the important bits and I can go over them again afterward. Iíll lie in bed and re-edit the fight in my mind, of what I would do differently next time. So rather than having flashback images characteristic of Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome, Iíll actually use flash images as a positive way to teach myself. And thatís what dreaming is about. Youíre having a dialogue between the recognition networks of the brain and the generative image networks of the brain. Because theyíre interconnected, you can strengthen both.

I think the first step on this journey is the Ďconsciously incompetantí step. Thereís a lot of guys out there who havenít even reached that stageóthey donít even know how fucking incompetent they areóyet they claim to be masters. Thatís your first hurdle.

Then you need the technical drills, situational drills, conditional fighting, etc. to take you to that level of Ďunconscious competence.í You must be drawing on real experiences, and feeding them into your imagery system. Thatís how you can progress much faster. Watch the fight, watch the fight, watch the fight. And be like a cat with a leaf.
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Re: The Thought Process in Morris Method

Post  Luciano Imoto on Tue Sep 25, 2007 6:26 am

But at the same time I still have to do everything else you do in life. I donít walk around Ďlike a warriorí. A lot of guys feel they must Ďbe in a mindset.í You can even see it in their faces and body posture, the way they look. Theyíve got this stupid look on their face, and you know that in their head they think theyíre in samurai movie. Itís so artificial, so false.

Musashi said the same in his Five Rings Book: make the mundane mindset your warrior mindset (and vice versa).

You said that as soon as you become conscious of this unconsciousness in action, it goes. But in my experience thatís not true. Again, it rather depends on what was happening at the time. You go through different levels of development.
So, after all your tips Mr. Morris, I presume you live 24h by day in this natural state, ready to fight but at the same time ready to feel yourself.
This balance between external and internal body perception I want to bring to my ordinary life, without any all that "unnecessary baggage" attached in martial arts (one of many reasons behind that Mysticism topic).
And all your tips are very usefull to me since the first time I read your advices.
Thanks again,

Luciano


Last edited by on Mon Oct 01, 2007 8:01 am; edited 1 time in total
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Re: The Thought Process in Morris Method

Post  Guest on Wed Sep 26, 2007 8:55 am

This:

steve morris wrote: As we were typing this up, Trish was talking about how when she drops something she sees her hand fly out as if it doesnít even belong to her, and catch it. Now, the Sartori moment comes when youíre consciously aware of that. And thatís the place where Iím living now. Thatís why when people ask me, at 64 how can you be getting faster? Thatís why.

And This:

And you need to learn to sense not only what is external to you, but what is internal. So, kinaesthetically, you need to sense the body in action. To watch it, like an observer. So rather than plugging yourself into a machine so that some sports scientist can tell you what your body is doing, learn to sense the joint angular changes in alignment, sequence, rate and timing. Feel that the whole body is engaged.


And This:

Now, what I do, I can actually have a sense of what is happening and I can replay much of the action in my mindís eye. I have captured the important bits and I can go over them again afterward. Iíll lie in bed and re-edit the fight in my mind, of what I would do differently next time. So rather than having flashback images characteristic of Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome, Iíll actually use flash images as a positive way to teach myself.

Are of great interest to me and something I can identify with. There are a few posts you put up the past couple of days that make great sense and for me I connect in a different way. I feel I train somewhat as you do. I don't mean the actual training method but in the fact that you are a bit older and so aren't training for any matches or fights etc. Also the time thing. You may not do it because of time constraints, but you had mentioned once about having no set routine. You can make going up and down stairs with the baby into exercise. That is how I train, in bits and pieces, very intense, and brief, here and there throughout the day (or not) combined with a couple of times per week of longer trainings or specific skill training (BJJ, karate, personal MMA type stuff etc.). I'm all over the place. Sometimes I might be running up and down flights of stairs at work or flipping aircraft (DC-10) wheels. Once per week Kyokushin sparring just to keep in tune with contact and the BJJ rolling here and there. Nothing special....but I don't really need it. I'm not preparing for anything. It's just what I do. I'm not fighting anymore and I'm definitely not getting into street fights anymore but I just always like to train as if I might have to at any moment. "But" I also feel a comfort of knowing I really have nothing riding on my training and that I'm just doing it to stay somewhat in tune.

But getting older "and" faster is something I can get into! However I have to wonder how much genetics plays into this for you. My knowing about you through reading about you on your website etc. I would guess that you are pretty gifted. Meanwhile my body these days is held together by spit and tape Very Happy Surgeries, busted up feet, shoulders and elbows. But I don't complain and I don't slow down. So getting faster and more pain free would be a bonus.

So the points I list as an interest to me, as well as others are parts that I pick out of your method to suit where I'm at. Just an older (older, not OLD) training "as if."

Thanks....I find your stuff suits me.

Tommy

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