The European Historical Combat Guild

Investigating Europe's Historical combative methods and behaviours

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Open or closed?

Come with an open mind or don't bother coming at all.

We will have all encountered those people that come to a class, seminar etc. with a closed mind. They don't come to learn, they come to show you and prove to themselves their own superiority to you and what it is you are teaching. They resist the training. They ignore and don't follow instructions. They start doing their own thing. They will start teaching other students telling them how things should be done or telling them to ignore what  you have told them. When they do follow some of what you are teaching they will do things to break it, following other options so they can win, or tell you why they would do something else because their way would be better. They will continue to hold their position in the face of reasoned arguments, polite requests and even when you show them in practice why their way is not working.  Constantly countering what they try in practice, They will respond with "Well I would do blah blah" You them let them try it and they still can not make their part work, they continue to come up with more excuses. "If it was free sparing", "If he had masks", "wore more protection or less", "went faster/harder", "the weapons were sharp" and so on. I have encountered this attitude from beginners to those considered "respected" instructors. I should note that people can change, that someone who displays this closed minded attitude and can open up, normally at later date,  but I would also be aware that the change may not be firmly established

If you are one of those people, then please don't go to study with people you disagree with, don't waste your time or theirs. Going to someone else without an open mind will not change anything, turning up and telling someone that what they are doing is wrong has consistently proven to be a highly unsuccessful way of converting people or making them receptive to change.

Now I hope that if you are reading this blog that you are not one of those people.

However in this case you might well have these people turn up to "train" with you. In which case I would suggest that as soon as you realise that they are one of those people, you politely tell them that you would like them to leave the session or not attend if you realise before the time, as it is not for them and they won't get anything from it. If they have paid for the training, give then a full refund, if they haven't paid then they have no reason to stay once you ask them to go.

We have all had the situation where we haven't asked these people to leave. Perhaps because we are afraid that if they tell them to leave that the people will go away and talk badly about what you do to others. Trust me, these kinds of people will talk badly about you whatever you do. Even if you had a sudden conversion to their way of doing things they would walk about how you were an idiot for training the old system for so long and taking so long to realise and that you are useless at their way.
 Remember for this type, it is not about learning, it not even about improving within what they do, it is about them validating their own self image, and that validation it based upon their superiority and the inferiority of everyone else.

Consider again, when you teach, why are you doing it, what are you doing? You are giving people, open minded people who want to learn/train, your time and access to your knowledge. If you are wasting your time in a pointless discussion with someone who is not interested in changing and will not, then you are not giving your time to those that are those who are with an open mind, and those open minded peoples time, and money.

Do it with an open Mind or don't do it at all.

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  1. Very good article, thanks.

  2. Excellent article, tough topic to discuss but needed, well done!

  3. From the Yahoo open fourm
    -Excellent observations, have you read "Our Iceberg is Melting" by John Kotter? It isn't about sword techniques, but it does have a relevance as it is about dealing with mind sets. You may find it interesting and quite possibly find applications within it that can be of relevance.

    -Thanks Forsyth
    No I haven't read that one.... I will check it out.

    -The book is about the management of change in organisations but the skills and techniques it describes for dealing with people and situations are invaluable, I find that I apply lessons learned in training at the club in the workplace. Not the meisterhau obviously, but many of the soft skills that are passed on almost as a secondary part of a lesson, remaining focussed and calm under pressure, reacting effectively to situations as they change, even breathing in a measured way etc all help in the workplace, it is therefore reasonable to assume that this can be a two way street, and some people management/engagement techniques and training principles can cross over into our training. I would be interested to hear what you make of it when you have checked out Professor Kotter's book.
    Kind regards


    -The more I study and come to be exposed to through works on physiology, psychology, and how the brain is wired, one sees that while the aspects for humans to excel in are almost unlimited the optimal ways to achieving them all follow a very similar path.
    I'll let you know when I have read his work.