Hello all those who take a few minutes of their busy lives, staring at Facebook and watching YouTube, to read my little blog. It has been a really busy time these last few weeks and I am just getting used to the new order in my life only it feels like disorder. There are so many great things happening that my life is really exciting, my email inbox looks like my bookshelf as I work with some amazing martial artists and self defence experts, I am close to producing the Academy of Self Defence ‘fixture list’ for 2013 very soon, I am so excited, up to now our seminars have been in Sheffield and most will stay there using the ace facilities of Sport Sheffield at the University of Sheffield. We recently had a great weekend there with Marc MacYoung and we will be there in few weeks with Michelle Fightingback, when we do a benefit gig for Sheffield Women’s Aid and then Iain Abernethy not long after that. Click for booking forms and a sneek preview of the fixture list.

The best thing about the ‘fixture list’ are the away fixtures, we are going on the road working with friends old and new to put on seminars in other parts of the UK. Alongside this I am busy writing a book with the working title ‘Exit the Dojo’, more on this another day, helping set up a pre NEET (Not in Education Employment or Training) literacy project with self defence as the main vehicle then developing literacy skills using new technologies with embedded learning at its core so that we challenge in new address old problems in innovative ways. I am also working to create a three year network of activities for young people from disadvantaged communities with various partners bringing the public and private sector into a more active partnership and I keep on delivering my self defence classes to various schools, groups and organisations large and small.

Last weekend was some training then a great Sunday with family, it was great to relax and unwind with some of those I love the most, as our family grows it gets harder to get them all together but my wife is on about another big one at our house before Christmas. After all that, or rather weaved in between, comes training. Now, as you know from previous blogs I take my training seriously, there is no point playing at it. Also I take other peoples training seriously too and that is my particular axe I want to regrind today. I was speaking to Anthony Pillage on the phone the other night setting something up and looking at ways we can work together and although I have not met Tony personally you could almost feel the integrity and honesty of the man through the telephone. It is a kind of sixth sense, the same one that helps identify the other type, the bullshitter.

I was so impressed that Tony had got in touch that I emailed my Ju Jitsu chums and told them and included a Facebook post from Tony hinting that he was working on something special to bring someone special to his dojo in Coventry. My mate emailed me to ask if it was Master X, the owner of our local Mac Dojo, name withheld for legal reasons. Although rumour suggests he goes by the title ‘Grand Master’ now, I do not know. So you now know where this is going.

If you train others or just train yourself in martial arts/combatives/self defence, wrap it up how you will, how high are your standards? Are they as high as you can get them? Is what you train real and do you firmly believe that? Here is an old friend who after a summer break decided to introduce something new to his dojo, You Jitsu..

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2hMoA7Q75cg&w=560&h=315]

So we know not to mess with Master Ken, now an amazing 11th Dan, but the MacDojo merchants are out there and they teach some pure rubbish. Lets us look at another spoof that illustrates the points I want to make. Defending against a weapons is a great attention grabber and I will paraphrase Marc MacYoung, the weirder the more farfetched the  technique, the more gullible people will believe them, let us have a bit of fun and watch this guy defend against baseball bat.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oSouggc3iD0&w=560&h=315]

So the best scamsters will tell you they are keeping it real, heard that before? I sure have, in fact I want more, this guy is good, what would he do with a knife attack?.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u2QwaxU0TNM&w=560&h=315]

Wow, I have never thought of that and, logically speaking it is so obvious, however, many people I know fear the knife but even more are scared by the increasing use of firearms. Come on fella help me here, what if some Kimbo Slice size gut comes at me with a gun, I do not know how traditional martial arts can help here, I mean bullets are fast?

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z6gDGBfeU4o&w=560&h=315]

Once again…… Ok let’s get back on track, we know all these videos are spoofs and they are funny, well I think so, but it is one thing looking at them and laughing and another to look at what you do and, well possibly laugh? Well that depends how deeply we have internalised the ‘correctness’ of the things we have learned and do, I lifted this quote from Facebook today;

“Sometimes people hold a core belief that is very strong. When they are presented with evidence that works against that belief, the new evidence cannot be accepted. It would create a feeling that is
extremely uncomfortable, called cognitive dissonance. And because it is so important to protect the core belief, they will rationalize, ignore and even deny anything that doesn’t fit in with the core belief.” ― Frantz Fanon, Black Skin, White Masks

So when in the past I have referred to these MacDojo merchants I have compared them to con artists and snake oil salesmen. Now I realise that I am wrong and want to set the record straight. I suppose this is true of the Ninja fraternity that I have also misguidedly ridiculed. Yep its humble pie time for Garry because these people are obviously  suffering from cognitive dissonance, this is not a healthy state to be in and there are complex neural battles constantly being fought in the sufferers brain.  It is in this complex cognitive framework that we must examine their useless techniques and tactics, what appears bullshit to us is reality to them even if we know deep down they are in a form of denial.

So to conclude, there is a saying that however much you polish a turd it is still a turd. That is what these poor sufferers of cognitive dissonance are doing, they are polishing their turds in their MacDojos, polishing them on Facebook and polishing them on YouTube and some of these turds really shine they have been polished so much. Remember to the cognitive dissonance sufferer it is not a turd at all but a thing of beauty, they really love their turds, they cherish them and hold them close to their hearts they love them so much, for some of these people their turd is everything to them. So whilst the rest of us can see the real turd we have to remember the needs of the sufferer and resist the urge to point out to them that they are polishing a turd BUT IT IS STILL A TURD, they are deaf to these arguments, blind to the evidence and there are none so blind as those who refuse to see, and before you go, check out your syllabus, re-examine the stuff you do and make sure that everything you do smells sweet, let us hope you do not spot a turd there, even a very shiny one 😉