Guided Chaos Seminar Review

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Guided Chaos Seminar Review

Postby Acroft » Wed Mar 30, 2011 10:53 am

Just took part in the 2 day Guided Chaos Seminar that took part at the TKM headquarters in Sydnenham. Here is my review.

Met with the two instructors, Al and Michael, both Master level of this art. They got straight down to business demonstrating basic close combat strikes (throat strikes, palm heels to chin, knee's etc) and having us replicate. They then talked through the 'interview' which is the Guided Chaos ready position. No formal stance, basically looking as unassuming as possible with hands in a position that would enable immediate attack to face and throat and defence against choke if we got sprung by secondary attacker. We drilled this a fair few times, moving from 'ready stance' (they call it the Jack benny, after a famous comedian) to a combination of close combat strikes and knee's. All good so far but nothing I hadn't really come accross before.

Then it all changed. They added what they call 'dropping power' drills, which is at the heart of this art. Dropping power is a very simple movement that allows significant power to be generated in close combat situations. I had been practicing this at home from the DVD's and books, but to be hit by either Al or Michael was an experience to say the least. Nothing mystical about it, just simple physics and body alignment. We drilled this. The experienced martial artists in the group all noticed the same thing. It was the tendons not the muscles that were getting sore. In the DVD's they talk about developing tendon strength, I now know why.

More drills combining close combat strikes and dropping power. I've got monies worth already.

Throughout the seminar Al would tell stories of real world violence and made it very clear that for them, training is for life and death encounters, not sport and not bravado. They talked about how a large number of students in the US are military, police offices, bouncers and correctional officers who found that their prior martial arts and training had basically let them down or simply didn't work when the s*** hit the fan. When you have a 'perp' on angel dust who has just cut his own arm off he's so nuts raging towards you, you had better hope that what you know can actually get the job done. They talked alot about the 'fantasy' mindset of most martial artists, even the so called reality based guys. As you all know by now I have a fair amount of experience in MA but to be honest their mind set is a whole different level of intent. They call it Moral Will. Best explained by asking yourself 'when all the bravado is put aside can you actually drive your fingers 4 inches through the eye socket into someones brain if need be".

They made an important point about training. They believe in learning how to cause maximum damage first and then with training and mastery you can choose to temper your reponse if required. Most arts train the other way around. At first I thought this a bit extreme, but they kept on saying, we would never willingly engage in a fight, we would give every opportunity for the 'perp' to back off. If they keep on coming it can only mean one thing, they have bad intent (or worse) towards you and it's time to attack them first with all you got and get out of there. This art was not designed to win an ego based fight down the local pub or a sport fight in the ring. It was designed to save yours and your loved ones life in a life and death altercation.

We then did some balance drills "the ninja walk and the vacuum walk'. As they say - they had to call them something as well as some body unity drills and some looseness drills. All designed to be simple to train and provide maximum benefit.

Next came an introduction to 'Contact Flow' which to most would look like wing chun sticking hands or JKD sensitivity training. It's neither as I've done both. The aim of contact flow is to develop sensitivity, angles of attack, looseness, balance and body unity. You flow in a totally unchoreographed manner with your partner with every movement an attempy to get a strike in. There is no 'overt defence moves' in this art. More a matter of developing the ability to strike and get out of the way of an incomming strike at the same time.

It was at this part of the seminar that a lot of lights went off in my brain and a lot of fuses blown at the same time. Al and Michael were quite happy for you to 'try anything' you wanted to get a hit in on them with no set up. It was a very spooky sensation to be on the recieving end of what happened next. They simpy hit you easily and from any angle as you failed to get anything off successfully. They have a saying 'be unavailable yet unavoidable' and they were true to their word. I couldn't get a strike on them yet I couldn't avoid getting hit. Great stuff.

Day 2 Underneath... on next post
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Guided Chaos Seminar Review Day 2

Postby Acroft » Wed Mar 30, 2011 11:16 am

Started with foot work drills. Stepping offline and box step based drills which we practiced.

As a side note these guys give you everything from the start. They don't hide anything and they obviously had a distaste for the instructors who used the 'secret knoweldge' approach to keeping students hooked in. In their words they 'give you the house' meaning they give you everything, I played the 'what if' game numerous times and they were happy to demonstrate their response.

Next, heavy bags and the 5 second fight. Their attitude is that in a real fight you have about 3 - 5 seconds to get your stuff off. To train for this they have a '10 seconds of hell' drill were you basically go ape s*** on the heaving bag using dropping power and 'anywhere strikes' to demolish what is in front of you. We did a lot of '10 seconds'.

Next more contact flow, which is at the heart of the system. Gudied Chaos does not teach 'techniques' beyond basic close combat strikes. Instead they have you develop four principles 'Looseness, Balance, Sensitivity and Body Unity that enable you to best unload close combat strikes without getting taken out at the same time. Contact flow is done at very slow speeds the only way to effectively improve.

We trained 'fright reaction' drills which is their version of handling a surprise attack and the adreneline dump that goes with it.

We finished with an intro to knife attacks and groundfighting. The knife attacks confirmed what I had already realised from past experience that trying to do 'fancy holds, etc' will get you dead. If you don't believe me, get the hardest most violent man you have in your training group take a hold of a dummy knife. Tell him that once you've stopped him your going to do some very bad things to his wife and kids. Make him go into a mad stabbing frenzy using all his power. The chances of getting that knife are slim to none. And the chances of not being stabbed in your attempt are even lower. When you up the levels of aggression, protection, violence and survival like this, a lot of what people claim - simply fails. Try it, if you don't believe me - better yet video it and upload the footage !! For years I wanted to be able to do the fancy stuff, I trained it and it made me look very good in the dojo, but I am more than happy to put those fantasies away now.

In response to this reality, Guided Chaos advises that it is likely you will get cut anyway if the person has the intent to stab you so use your legs to do as much damage as you can, as they legs have the ability to keep the knife at greatest distance from your vital organs while doing damage at same time. It was a brief intro and they normally do the knife defence stuff over a weekend.

Groundfighting, this is were I personally had the most doubts as it was a 'strength' of mine in the past. Al let me shoot and take him to the ground and get the full mount. He then went for my balls and throat as he pushed me off. It was interesting as when it's a life or death situation what your willing to do does change the nature of the fight and he demonstrated this effectively. He also had me shoot a few times where he dropped his weight into his legs so hitting them was akin to hitting a tree while he gouged my eyes and demonstrated snapping the vertabrae in my neck at the same time. My take downs failed, but at least I gave it a go !

We then did some ground drills (the ones that most people take this piss out of on youtube) and they gave us their reasons for them which was basically to destroy the opponents legs, create space, get to feet and get out.

We only had 10 people which was a great shame because I am totally confident that anyone from any style and any ability would have had, as we did an extraordinary 2 days and perhaps eyes opened to a whole new way of self defence skill and ability.

I would personally like to thank Master Al Ridenhour and Master Michael Watson for their time, skill and generosity of spirit in sharing what they did. I would also like to thank them for 'giving us the house' so freely and personally pulling my head out of a 'comfortable and somewhat blinded martial arts safety zone' and into what is for me a far more effective,honest, exciting and rewarding pursuit of martial art/self defence mastery with Guided Chaos.

I am hoping to keep Guided Chaos alive and well in Australia and will endeavour to bring them over again in the near future if they are willing. I would need to organise at least 30 - 40 people to make it worth their while. I belive Blitz magazine are doing an article/feature so you can verify that I am of sane mind and honest review. I will also be organising informal training groups on the Sunshine Coast and Sydney if anyone is interested, but please remember I am not an instructor in GC and will just be training the principles to the best of my current ability.

If you are interested you can join the attack proof mailing list at www.attackproof.com

cheers

Alistair
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Re: Guided Chaos Seminar Review

Postby Dean Whittle » Wed Mar 30, 2011 11:25 am

Alistair,

Thanks for the review, interesting stuff.

With respect
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Re: Guided Chaos Seminar Review

Postby Kotengu » Wed Mar 30, 2011 2:09 pm

Very enjoyable read. Thanks for sharing :)
You should submit that seminair review for inclusion in next blitz magazine, must be an email/submissions link on website.

also MikeM (if you see this) same for your Silat Sem. review, thanks. on phone atm, hard to find that thread.
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Re: Guided Chaos Seminar Review

Postby Joe Saunders » Thu Mar 31, 2011 2:33 pm

There is some chance I will offend with this post, so I just want to get started by saying that I offer the following in the spirit of discourse. It is not to denigrate anyone's art, philosophy or hobby. I hope it may spark an intelligent and rational conversation. Fingers crossed.

Acroft wrote:They made an important point about training. They believe in learning how to cause maximum damage first and then with training and mastery you can choose to temper your reponse if required. Most arts train the other way around. [...] they kept on saying, we would never willingly engage in a fight, we would give every opportunity for the 'perp' to back off. [...] This art was not designed to win an ego based fight down the local pub or a sport fight in the ring. It was designed to save yours and your loved ones life in a life and death altercation.


I understand this viewpoint, but I really don't agree with it. I've seen other arts that have this approach as well, insisting on ending every takedown with a head stomp or other "kill shot." To me, this seems delusion, paranoid and more than just a little dangerous. You can argue that you are preparing for a life or death struggle, but do you have any idea how many regular people will ever find themselves in a life or death struggle? I don't, but in Australia I would guess it would be less than 1% of the population. Why train for a remote possibility, never likely to happen to you? The vast majority of conflicts that the average person will find themselves in are with other average people who have no intention of killing each other. My philosophy has always been to train for probability, not possibility.

The second point about never willingly engaging in a fight seems like the same lip service that most martial arts claiming to teach "peace and harmony" will start their lesson with before showing you how to fracture ribs and cause internal bleeding. From your account, (and if they truly did "give you the house") there doesn't appear to be any training of verbal de-escalation. So how do students of Guided Chaos avoid fights? Was there any education about when you should fight? If the techniques are explicitly designed to be lethal, should there not be a signficant amount of time spent on how and when to use such techniques? Or more to the point, how to avoid using them?

I'll be honest and say I do have a problem with anyone teaching lethal force combatives for the purposes of self defence that doesn't spend considerable time also addressing ego management, verbal de-esclation and self defence law before getting to the physical stuff. Why? Because I find it irresponsible to give someone a weapon without telling them when they should use it, how to avoid using it, or how much trouble they can get in if they do use it. The truth is, a large percentage of the people at these seminars (not necessarily Alistair above, or anyone on this forum) want to go along to become killing machines and feel lethal, not because they actually have any need for the training. Performing a neck break or a head stomp feels a lot cooler to some than effectively de-escalating a situation that didn't need to turn physical; yet that is what we are more likely to face in the real world: someone we pissed off accidentally who probably isn't a homicidal maniac. When under stress, that which you train is that which you will do.

Unfortunately what I've seen from my years of being surrounded by martial artists, bouncers and police officers is that those who train constantly in "lethal" arts without any safety gauge are far more likely to impose lethal intent into a conflict where it doesn't actually exist. The dispute over a car park or cutting in line at the supermarket suddenly become a real and threatening situation so that it provides the practitioner with an excuse to "use their moves." Suddenly someone is seriously injured for nothing, someone else has to live with it, and no one knows who is at fault.

I notice the popular disclaimer that most students are police, bouncers, military or corrections, therefore they need lethal force training. Disagree entirely. In fact, all but the military would be better off spending their training time working purely on tactical control and restraint, not lethal force. Especially in this country.

Again, my intent is not to offend. I do just get concerned about the whole "more is better" approach to use of force without a behavioural and emotional component to the training.
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Re: Guided Chaos Seminar Review

Postby juggernaut » Thu Mar 31, 2011 2:41 pm

Well said Joe,

I had the same thoughts when I read it.

talk of breaking someones neck etc is simply misguided, highly unlikely and simply not necesary, not to mention unproven.

One a different note, one thing I would like to see a video of is the mount escape. My experience has been that if someone gets the mount and starts punching you in in the face, you put your hands up and do your damndest to protect your head. you certainly dont start reaching for other things.

I have had a few people bring up the mythical, yeah what about the groin and eyes, and every time we have tested it, I simply started gently slapping them in the face and all thoughts of attack went out the window.

Dont worry, if it works, I will steal it. I will of course give recognition from whence this magical technique came :D
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Re: Guided Chaos Seminar Review

Postby Joe Saunders » Thu Mar 31, 2011 2:55 pm

juggernaut wrote:Well said Joe,

I had the same thoughts when I read it.

talk of breaking someones neck etc is simply misguided, highly unlikely and simply not necesary, not to mention unproven.

One a different note, one thing I would like to see a video of is the mount escape. My experience has been that if someone gets the mount and starts punching you in in the face, you put your hands up and do your damndest to protect your head. you certainly dont start reaching for other things.

I have had a few people bring up the mythical, yeah what about the groin and eyes, and every time we have tested it, I simply started gently slapping them in the face and all thoughts of attack went out the window.

Dont worry, if it works, I will steal it. I will of course give recognition from whence this magical technique came :D


May 14 at Monash, come on down and steal some of our stuff. :wink:
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Re: Guided Chaos Seminar Review

Postby Acroft » Thu Mar 31, 2011 3:59 pm

Hi Joe

I understand you point of view and see it as a totally valid point, however my review covered the mechanics of the art and the mental attitude they expressed when dealing with a life and death situation, not road rage, bar fights or a squabble on the footy pitch.

When you read the book, attackproof you will find that the first few chapters are all about developing awareness and doing all that you can possibly do to NOT put yourself in a violent encounter. They go out of their way to express that pretty much everytime you CAN avoid a violent encounter, but if you can't... this is what you can do.

Let's use an example. r***. It is perpertrated on countless women in our society. I say that a women would have every right to bring as much force as she chose to bare on the fiend. I would also say that 90% of martial arts would not provide the average woman with the skills or the mind set to do what would be needed.

I would also say that if people were honest with themselves, it is ego that gets you into a fight, near enough all of the time. Guided Chaos have a deep philosophy of not engaging the ego. So when all is said and done once again avoiding any form of fight is avoided... But, and here we go again... if the attacker continues...

I also think that you underestimate the level of violence that is becomming more common. For example, I just took a class where a woman brought in a photo of her cousin in hospital who had a meat cleaver actually stuck deep into his head. It had missed his eye by half and inch. He had been set upon by 5 youths out of knowhere. What about the police officer recently who was put in a coman by a bunch of youths even after he attempted to de-escalete and took a few punches and walked off. The point is they didn't know when to stop, and when you met people who don't know when to stop, no amount of talking or de-escalation tactics are going to work. It's time to hurt them alot and run. It's not about scaremongering, it's about havng the choice to be prepared.

I for one am very glad that I know this information and hope that others decide to as well. The stats will say that only 1person in however many will get into a r***/murder/kidnap/life or death situation, but those stats don't mean a thing to the person who the assault if happening to, and that is what you train for.

I'm all for peace, common sense and avoiding vilolence at all costs. I'm also for learning what I can actually do if the need should ever arise. I wouldn't want to be protecting my family with a karate block, arm bar or de-escalation techniques when I have a couple of intruders in my house, that's for sure.

all good

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Re: Guided Chaos Seminar Review

Postby Terry » Thu Mar 31, 2011 4:08 pm

I wouldn't want to be protecting my family with a karate block, arm bar or de-escalation techniques when I have a couple of intruders in my house, that's for sure.


I was covering this in my MMA class last week, basically explaining some limitations to a very effective method of combat. The arm bar is great but you have to break or be entangled was my message, I was using the 2am outside a pub scenario though which is more likely for my student base to be caught in.

Interestingly there is theory that with so many low probability events out there that there is in fact an eventuality that one or more of those will happen to you. This theory is usually a start systems theory but applies across all disaster stats.

I'm not overly interested in SD training merely as I subscribe to the Stoic ethos, I do however see merit in it for those who are not as capable physically or require it for employment. Just a personal choice, I do and have attended seminars to add to my martial training and I find this method better for me.

Anyway like all things seeing and feeling is the test, I think you'll get better numbers if the price is more within the budget of experimentation with something new.

Cheers,

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Re: Guided Chaos Seminar Review Day 2

Postby truthseeker » Thu Mar 31, 2011 5:57 pm

Acroft wrote: and demonstrated snapping the vertabrae in my neck at the same time.

How did he do the break? Was it the movie twist? This is an extremely difficult thing to do unless you drop or throw them onto their head.

Acroft wrote:Guided Chaos advises that it is likely you will get cut anyway if the person has the intent to stab you so use your legs to do as much damage as you can, as they legs have the ability to keep the knife at greatest distance from your vital organs while doing damage at same time.

So your femoral artery isn't vital. One thing about this is that if you receive a serious wound on your leg how do you run away if necessary?

Acroft wrote:I personally had the most doubts as it was a 'strength' of mine in the past


What is your grappling history?

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Re: Guided Chaos Seminar Review

Postby Acroft » Thu Mar 31, 2011 6:21 pm

Hi Sam - let me answer your questions to your full satisfaction:

yes, it was indeed the 'movie twist' - it was amazing, he actually blew chi power fire balls out of his arse at the same time. You should have been there...

yes, your absolutely right about the femoral artery, I totally forgot that the legs had blood in them, thanks for reminding me. I just wish everyone would start posting full contact real knife attack disarm videos so I can learn from them as well. It would be like UFC 'as real as it gets'.

and as for my grappling history, as stated in previous posts, my 6 year old daughter and the physically challenged.

I hope that clears things up,

Get the books, DVD's etc or not. I've done my best to honestly convey my experience. It was my experience and yours would be yours. Everyone to their own and after 25 years of MA I prefer to indulge unfounded, totally ridiculous, make believe and hopefully useless approaches to my self protection. It's just the way I roll...

Enjoy your truthseeking mate, I've done mine

in good faith and humour

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Re: Guided Chaos Seminar Review

Postby magpie » Thu Mar 31, 2011 7:57 pm

Hi Alistair

Thanks for sharing, sounds interesting to say the least dont know what the dive bit is all about but and i really dig your utube clip about kicking at an assailent who is trying to stab you with a knife.

Most of the vids posted on here where grappling is employed with aliveness certainely show the defender recieving afew blows to the body before any sort of control is established.

Not saying grappling is no good against a knife, BUT striking in my opinion should definetaly nor be over looked when it comes to defending against a knife.

Thanks for sharing.
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Re: Guided Chaos Seminar Review

Postby truthseeker » Thu Mar 31, 2011 9:52 pm

Chi balls out of his arse, so they do multiple attackers too?

An honest question here what was the peson on mount doing other than mounting? (remember it's only gay if you make eye contact)
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Re: Guided Chaos Seminar Review

Postby ffsguy » Fri Apr 01, 2011 8:28 am

Acroft wrote:Hi Sam - let me answer your questions to your full satisfaction:

yes, it was indeed the 'movie twist' - it was amazing, he actually blew chi power fire balls out of his arse at the same time. You should have been there...

yes, your absolutely right about the femoral artery, I totally forgot that the legs had blood in them, thanks for reminding me. I just wish everyone would start posting full contact real knife attack disarm videos so I can learn from them as well. It would be like UFC 'as real as it gets'.

and as for my grappling history, as stated in previous posts, my 6 year old daughter and the physically challenged.

I hope that clears things up,

Get the books, DVD's etc or not. I've done my best to honestly convey my experience. It was my experience and yours would be yours. Everyone to their own and after 25 years of MA I prefer to indulge unfounded, totally ridiculous, make believe and hopefully useless approaches to my self protection. It's just the way I roll...

Enjoy your truthseeking mate, I've done mine

in good faith and humour

Alistair

Ray Floro is the guy to go for when it comes to knife...he is also very funny
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