kelly mccann

Intellectualization is defined as a defense mechanism that entails using reasoning to avoid unconscious conflict and its associated emotional stress — wherein thinking is used to avoid feeling. It involves removing oneself emotionally from a stressful event.

Increasingly, I notice the trend in combatives and other self-defense "systems" to intellectualize — actually, to over-intellectualize. The definition of intellectualization that appears above perfectly captures the meaning as it applies to fighting.In an effort to avoid the pain, consequence, damage and stress of fighting — whether in training or for real — instructors use constructed language to describe the impossible (what's expected in the moment) and use pseudoscience to justify what they're professing.Those of you who have read this column for any length of time have heard me say over and over that if you want to learn to fly, at some point, you have to actually take off and land. The same is true of fighting: If you want to learn to fight well, you have to spend a significant amount of time actually fighting. There is no replacement for this.

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One of the first rules of self-defense is that you must realize when a situation has gone bad and be able to respond quickly. These techniques, demonstrated by Kelly McCann, show a situation that starts out with something most of us do commonly: shake hands.

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Many stories and posts have been written about the malaise people are experiencing. Among the reasons given are a faltering economy, world discord and rampant joblessness. It's hard to beat the feeling that no matter what you do, you can't influence your fate — that you can't exert control over your situation.

I learned a long time ago in the military during survival and resistance training that one of the things that upset a person's equilibrium the most is simply "not knowing." In Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape School, as well as Survival and Resistance Training, every effort is made to keep trainees in the dark about what's coming next. In the higher levels of SERE, even the trainees' circadian rhythms — a human being's "body clock" — are disrupted to destabilize them, taking away important physiological touchstones.

To combat this, trainees are taught to maintain any rituals and routines they can control, such as shaving and hygiene, physical exercise and visualization drills conducted at particular times during the day.

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My Kembativz organization recently ran its Sudden Violence course for the second time this year. The intensive training session puts students in some very unfamiliar and uncomfortable situations with drills that require ferocity and legitimate performance. The focus is on developing enough skill to deal with situations that suddenly — and unexpectedly — become critically violent.

I don't know the attribution for the following quote, but it applies perfectly to our course: "You can't hide what you don't know in here."

The Sudden Violence course is genderless. Female students are not partnered exclusively with other women. Instead, they're expected to perform to an acceptable standard regardless of who their training partner is. Men and women are paired with each other at various times with no regard to size, ability, strength, speed, agility or athleticism. The course, which I created in the late 1980s and have run ever since, is where the rubber meets the road.

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