Facing criticism.

My brain is always fizzing with ideas of things that I can share with you on the blog. You see, the blog is just a fun way for me to share with you the way I see self-defence and also what is happening in the club. I'm hoping that it's not all self-indulgent garbage that you find dull or uninspiring. I'd rather be offensive than dull or boring. Ideally you'll find something of value or thought provoking in each post.

Follow your own path.

I've been advised by various different people to make the blog articles longer and some others said they needed to be shorter. I've also probably been given advice on everything else imaginable that they think I need to change. Quite honestly I've listened to their comments, been as gracious as I can be and thanked them for their input. I have taken on board what I want and thereafter followed my own path. Some of the best advice I've ever had is "write for yourself" and "follow your own path". This blog will be more of the same. 

What is criticism?

Obviously I had to check with Mr Google to see what the internet saw as the dictionary definition. The Oxford English Dictionary defined it as being: 

1) "The expression of disapproval of someone or something on the basis of percieved faults or mistakes."

2) "The analysis and judgement of the merits and faults of a literary or artistic work." 

Which was in line with my memory and understanding from when I was at school and university. The thing about criticism is that it can be positive, yet we see it predominantly as a negative, which is a real shame because by opening ourselves up to criticism and being vulnerable to it we learn so much. It seems like criticism is something we take personally now, yet even if the person offering it is an expert on the subject it's still only a subjective opinion, however informed. We need to push past our fear of criticism. We need to learn it's ok.

Criticism versus trolls. 

Now don't get me wrong in this internet age there is a HUGE difference between critics and trolls. A troll is bad energy, a keyboard warrior who gets super brave behind their screen and is the human form of pondscum. I really don't see the point in engaging with anyone who just radiates bad vibes for you and the universe. It's a growing problem that I am grateful to not have had much experience of. I like Tim Ferriss's attitude to trolls, he just deletes or blocks them. His position is that if they are writing offensive or rude things on his twitter feed or Facebook group then it's as if that person has come into his home and behaved badly and you take swift and decisive action in removing them. I tend to agree with this. Why let someone with bad ju-ju anywhere near you? Ditch them, block them, avoid them. And while you're at it cleanse your real world environment as well as your online environment too. We are all energy, remove the negative, toxic energy from your life and it'll serve you well.






If trolls aren't worth wasting time and energy on perhaps you could ask why am I writing about facing criticism? I guess because with the digitisation of everything and with our worlds increasingly being in an online arena one of the saddest issues we are facing as a species is our inability to have calm, respectful and engaging dialogue. I think back to my student days and how we were encouraged to debate the topics of the time during various classes. In the days before snapchat we would spend our free time doing it too! Not once did these debates descend into name calling and personal slights. Sure we didn't always agree, but we did listen and more than once I changed my mind about something that I thought was fixed. Which is really fascinating, because it seems as if we have lost the ability to see that changing our minds about things as being a mark of maturity and growth. I think it takes courage to admit your position has changed about something. You once believed in Father Christmas. Now you probably don't. Now you have evidence to the contrary of his existence so you've changed your mind. I think that is eminently sensible! 

Critique, dialogue and exploration.

Last week I posted a video on my instagram page of two of my teenage students doing a simple technique. To be honest, I was showing off, they did the technique pretty well and I'm really proud of them both. Not long after I'd posted it I could see there'd been a comment. It was a long comment about how the person who posted wasn't sure the technique shown in the video would have worked if attacked by a bigger very aggressive person. I read the comment and realised that this was not a personal insult and it was a great critique offering their own experience. As such I was happy to enter into a short dialogue about how I agreed and how this was just a tiny snapshot of what we'd done in class that day. Both the young men shown train pretty hard with each other which is encouraged as long as it is safe to do so. We'd already discovered that with this particular technique the outcome more often than not was that they'd end up going to the floor. This week we've pencilled in some time to explore that and figure out ways to either avoid it or overcome it. 

You see what you want to.

Krav maga is not perfect self-defence. I defy anyone to show me perfection when it comes to self-defence. My obsession with Rory Miller is largely because he is one of the few instructors out there who believes this and teaches accordingly. KMG teaches a syllabus, but a syllabus is really only important for a grading. I really don't care if you pull off a perfect P1 or G5 technique as long as you go home safe. In fact, better still if your situational awareness was so good you figured out something was going to kick off before it happened. Even better is having such control over your internal landscape and your emotions you don't let you ego get out of line. This is also beneficial for those days where you haven't had enough sleep or coffee and just want to tell your boss to do one. Training or at least training safely is always flawed because you cannot replicate every possible self-defence scenario. You can either accept that and train anyway, or think it's all rubbish and not bother. Or you can think that your system is the only one that is real and that everyone else out there trying to find a way is a charlatan. At the end of the day you see what you want to. If you can be open to alternative ideas or opinions or thoughts or positions this is nothing short of magic. Life expands to become something so much more interesting and fun. We don't have to agree about anything but we do have to be respectful, kind and curious. At FKMDorset we are.   

Tara Shaul