The European Historical Combat Guild

Investigating Europe's Historical combative methods and behaviours

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Shared spaces

Before reading this post, read these other posts first.
Open mind 1
Open mind 2
Continuing the theme of the mind sets of those that provide guidance to developing a skill and those that come to receive it. It will also relate to an aspect that has wider application to what we study.

That is space. Both Personal spaces and Shared spaces.
Personal space being your body, your thoughts and places where that are exclusively your own, Your room if you live with someone, your house if you live alone.

As soon as two people are in a space and at least one of them is aware of the other/s it becomes shared

When we enter a shared space we generally modify our behaviour from that we apply to out personal space. This will  some form of implicit or explicit compromise and negotiation.

A class, seminar a group club etc. are shared spaces. Whether there explicitly expressed rules for how to behave, there will be far more that are implicit. They should be for the mutual benefit of all those that share it.
All involved should be winning, everyone should be gaining something though in some situations the exchange may be unequal and really the benefits should be shared equally. If they are not then something is wrong and you have the right and should renegotiate and and find a compromise so that so those benefits are in play.

However, once you have agree to those standard you are responsible to uphold them.

 When someone isn't willing to compromise or negotiate, then you have the absolute right to ask them to leave or if a student to go. Find where your needs met. People who are not willing to compromise to function in the shared space then they should not benefit by your presence or of those that are willing to work.
The previous posts addressed the more "hard line" closed minded students, but one also encounters the passive participant. These are those people that turn up and take part but really don't commit to the training, if you run a regular class, they probably turn up every week. However they do the bare minimum, do not really give anything to those that work are unwilling to work with every one and generally spend most of their time talking.

Personally I find these people just as bad as the more actively resistant.  They are just as unwilling to learn and are as negative an influence on whomever they work with. Though as mentioned they often work with someone else like them, normally a family member or partner they come with. However their very passivity leads to them being ignored or put up with as "they are not doing any harm". However I would argue that they are and as they have broken the or are not engaging in the mutual contract, and should be told to not take part and dealt with in the same way as any other closed minded person.

Finally I will say that in my experience that the concept of a shared space is one reason why rigid hierarchies are open to misuse and abuse and therefore are a poor model for what we study. The mutual contract is too easily manipulated to perpetuate the hierarchy rather than the learning and with an unbalanced set of benefits for those at the top. Also where the titles and stratification of hierarchy of the shared learning space carries over into interaction beyond. Rather the goal for which the group was formed to serve, which is to educate and improve all those involved.

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Open or Closed Part 2

This is a follow on, based upon some discussion that the last post provoked on Facebook.
If you haven't read the first part please do, this will make more sense it you have! ;)
One discussion took a route that these people don't want to push themselves and that people "these days" don't like to push themselves. I would suggest that some people have always avoided pushing themselves.

There are those that don't want to push themselves and don't like to push. Though they are not the ones I am talking about in the blog.

While the closed minded don't push themselves, in their case it is because they don't see the need, as they believe that they are already as good as they need to be, or that anyone outside their way of doing things can't push them.

It was also suggested that people these days don't like or understand hierarchies.

I tend to find that majority that have this closed mind attitude come from groups with rigid or strict Hierarchies, where they have allowed themselves to be brainwashed and believe that what they have been taught and how it was taught is "the only way" and as such they fight against anything that doesn't is outside.
Others come from a background where they are the "big fish in a small pond", they have been the top of there hierarchy and they have become to used to calling the shots, or when they swim in another pond they are reminded that they aren't as good as the have told themselves they were.
Others have such a stubborn and over inflated sense of their own skills and knowledge. This has meant that they have bounced from on group to another. Either because none of the groups could put up with them. Or because no group has given them the power and respect the "know" they deserve. They now travel around as the top instructor of their own group, which is normally only them. On occasion they may one or perhaps two, devoted followers who have brainwashed themselves in to deifying their teacher, others have come put could put up with the BS and have left. The Teacher  sees this devotion as validation of their own skills. In fact they normally see the fact that so few understand them or stick  to training with them as further proof of its truth and how special it is, as the "common herd" just don't get it.

Personally I don't like strict hierarchies, I have seen too many that may have started with the right intention, striving to be the best you can be, that have then become rigid and locked and really serve to only maintain those people at the top levels of the hierarchy.

Of course the teacher is the teacher, they should be given respect, and they should return it. However the teachers job is to make the student their equal or preferably superior in skills and understanding. To me you can't do that in a rigid hierarchy, though is does have to be carried out with acknowledgement and respect.

Follow on Piece on personal and Shared spaces

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.

Jump to Part 2
Related pieced on Shared and Personal spaces

Thursday, 11 July 2013

Leeds Chapter Open Training Day - Near the Battlefield of Towton

This is becoming something of annual tradition.
Follow this Link for details on Face Book