"Be like water making its way through cracks. Do not be assertive, but adjust to the object, and you shall find a way around or through it. If nothing within you stays rigid, outward things will disclose themselves.
Empty your mind, be formless. Shapeless, like water. If you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup. You put water into a bottle and it becomes the bottle. You put it in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Now, water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend."
I'd love to take credit for the above, however, Bruce Lee is the responsible party.
Most know Bruce Lee as a prolific martial artist and (in my humble opinion) the father of the modern day action hero. If you're personally unfamiliar, then take the time to use the Google machine.
Having stated all of that, you're likely beginning to wonder what the hell I'm getting at. So here we go...
Life is about adaptability. Adaptability is not simply a concrete character trait, but is really an ever-changing ability to flow, to grow, to change, and evolve. Adaptability is about making lemonade when given lemons.
Since I've been both a fighting and firearms trainer (and most importantly a student) for the better part of the last thirty years, let's discuss the need for water amidst violence. Any violent encounter resides within a continuous loop: Observe, Orient, Decide, Act.
Observe: First we have to recognize that something is happening.
Orient: We place the above act in the context of our experiences, or what we know.
Decide: Based on the observation and our orientation, we form a plan as to how we'll react.
Act: We initiate a counter action to our first observation.
After all of that, we start the cycle over again. We then repeat the cycle until the end of the conflict. This concept is frequently referred to as "The OODA Loop". I'll explore the concept in more detail in a future post, but for now, I hope you all get the general concept.
OODA and water go together like peas and carrots (gratuitous Gump reference). The entire OODA cycle is about reacting to your environment rather than being controlled, constrained, or impeded by it. In a defensive environment, our ability to survive depends heavily on our ability to adjust. If you think about it, every defensive situation is begun from a position of disadvantage. The disadvantage comes from the fact that the "bad guy" will be the one deciding on the time and place of the fight. We are left to adapt.
As a brief example, let's say that you're attacked and are able to bring your gun up at the same time as the bad guy. You both start shooting, both start missing, and both run out of ammo at the same time.
Now let's assume that you've attended a couple of defensive classes. In those classes you learned a couple of valuable lessons. One, how to move to cover, and two, how to efficiently conduct a reload.
Continuing our above scenario, the world starts to look a bit different. You've moved to cover while your adversary is left standing in the open. You have reloaded your weapon while the bad guy is panicking and struggling to fish a magazine out of his pocket.
You adapted to the situation and flowed around the obstacles rather than becoming victimized by not only the bad guy, but also a lack of knowledge and skill. You win.
Now I have to admit, if were that easy, every good guy would win every battle and every bad guy would be locked up.
The reality, is that the ability to adapt, to flow, and to crash, are the direct result of investing in your personal safety by seeking out training, and then practicing the necessary skills until they become an extension of yourself. Only then can you navigate the rough seas.
Be like water my friend.
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I'm busy working on my blog posts. Watch this space!