Can You Be An Expert?

MJS

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In the Sport and TMA...Again thread, (man that thread gets a lot of attention :D) Chris and Steve were having an interesting debate and something that was said, caught my eye.

Steve said:

Yes. We disagree completely. You cannot be an expert in self defence without practical, real world experience in the field applying the techniques. You CAN become an expert in a system. Call it Parker-fu, put whatever techniques you want, apply measures for proficiency and teach people to an expert level in your system. Because THAT'S what they're learning and applying. They are not defending themselves in your class. They are applying your system.

To which Chris replied:

Yes, you can. Many are. It comes down to understanding what the needs are first and foremost, and continuing from there. I mean, most self defence isn't anything to do with any physical techniques at all... so there's nothing to go and test. It actually is far more an academic area than you're thinking it is. Forget the idea of techniques, you're focusing on the wrong thing, and honestly, I don't think you know what you're arguing against.

So, what does everyone think? Can you become an expert or authority on SD, with no real world experience? Sure, of course, one of the most effective tools of SD is avoidance. Is there something you can potentially do to avoid a situation? If you can avoid something altogether, you're better off. Of course, in the perfect world, sometimes things aren't that easy, so physical skills are necessary. But having experience in hands on skill, I feel is important. Would you want to go in for surgery and know that you will be the first patient that this new doctor has ever worked on? How about the pilot flying the plane you're on? I'd like to know that my flight isn't this guys first solo flight. LOL.

I'd like to think that if we took 2 people, 1 with no experience at all, and then someone like Rory Miller, that it should be a no brainer.
 

TwentyThree

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Well, I'm curious, then, how one acquires practical experience to become an expert without becoming someone like Rory Miller who's sought out professions requiring that knowledge.

If I'm a normal person (y'know, with a regular job and family and bills and stuff), in order to train and gain expertise in self defense, do I purposely seek out dangerous situations?

Do I hang out in rowdy bars, walk alone in bad neighborhoods in dark alleyways... what?

Or, unless you have that profession, it then becomes impossible to be an expert in self defense?
 

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Technique is always good and a go to place when the chips are down. But, I feel that focus and determination "mentally", are most important, and the vehicle by which learned techniques are properly fueled by.
Law enforcement and Military see fit to address this aspect through discipline and consistency of adherence through the daily mental training from day one of basic training. (This may be what Chris is eluding to above). First the mind THEN the body Then the technique........
For this very reason, LE love to hire ex-military for all the above reasons. Add this to hands on life threatening experience and you have the whole ball of wax. But, IMHO I don't think you would need the hands on life threatening experience as long as the mental aspect was thoroughly instilled.

Re: Can You Be An Expert? Yes

Proper training, exposes us to many more situations then we may ever encounter in a lifetime. So, for this very reason always "train as if your life depended on it", and in doing so you will be well rounded to handle yourself in SD and an expert to boot................. :)
 

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Maybe instead of saying that someone is an expert in self defence they can say they are an expert in self defence training or self defence techniques and strategies. May be then there will be less disagreements on the subject.
 

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So, what does everyone think? Can you become an expert or authority on SD, with no real world experience? Sure, of course, one of the most effective tools of SD is avoidance. Is there something you can potentially do to avoid a situation? If you can avoid something altogether, you're better off. Of course, in the perfect world, sometimes things aren't that easy, so physical skills are necessary. But having experience in hands on skill, I feel is important. Would you want to go in for surgery and know that you will be the first patient that this new doctor has ever worked on? How about the pilot flying the plane you're on? I'd like to know that my flight isn't this guys first solo flight. LOL.

I'd like to think that if we took 2 people, 1 with no experience at all, and then someone like Rory Miller, that it should be a no brainer.

The pilot trains for thousands of hours in simulators and other venues to handle emergencies that may never occur while he flies. The surgeon trains, reads case reports, watches videos of complications and observes other surgeons to gain a knowledge base on how to handle complications that may arise.
What they have in common is the ability to acquire knowledge of how to handle situations based on the experience of others and apply that knowledge if needed. They don't necessarily have to face every situation personally to be well trained for the event if it occurs. This is systematic learning and is very effective.
I don't see why that approach cannot apply to self defense. The underlying requirement is that the techniques in the system be tested and proven effective by someone who has used them and then diligently taught to students who may or may not have the occasion to use them.
That's also military combat training in a nut shell. Would you expect that someone who had actually used said techniques might be more seasoned and effective? Probably, but that doesn't mean that the techniques that are developed are any less valid when taught to the next student. The glaring difference is that the pilot and surgeon are training in a formalized, reviewed and standardized system of crisis management with a solid foundation in collective experience. How much of martial arts self defense has such a formal "peer reviewed" body of knowledge as the foundation for the techniques that are taught. I suspect that the deficiency lies in a lot of untested material being taught as though it is proven. Without the organized peer review of those individuals who have actually used the techniques as a gold standard, much of what we are taught probably falls under the umbrella of unproven theory.
 
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Well, I'm curious, then, how one acquires practical experience to become an expert without becoming someone like Rory Miller who's sought out professions requiring that knowledge.

If I'm a normal person (y'know, with a regular job and family and bills and stuff), in order to train and gain expertise in self defense, do I purposely seek out dangerous situations?

Do I hang out in rowdy bars, walk alone in bad neighborhoods in dark alleyways... what?

Or, unless you have that profession, it then becomes impossible to be an expert in self defense?

Yet, if I was to ask you if you could do anything with those sticks late at night with an intruder in your home, I would bet that for a short point in time you would be that "expert" moving like a cat. Funny thing about that expert inside of the ones that have put the time in, the expert appears when we need it most.......... :)
 
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MJS

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The pilot trains for thousands of hours in simulators and other venues to handle emergencies that may never occur while he flies. The surgeon trains, reads case reports, watches videos of complications and observes other surgeons to gain a knowledge base on how to handle complications that may arise.
What they have in common is the ability to acquire knowledge of how to handle situations based on the experience of others and apply that knowledge if needed. They don't necessarily have to face every situation personally to be well trained for the event if it occurs. This is systematic learning and is very effective.
I don't see why that approach cannot apply to self defense. The underlying requirement is that the techniques in the system be tested and proven effective by someone who has used them and then diligently taught to students who may or may not have the occasion to use them.
That's also military combat training in a nut shell. Would you expect that someone who had actually used said techniques might be more seasoned and effective? Probably, but that doesn't mean that the techniques that are developed are any less valid when taught to the next student. The glaring difference is that the pilot and surgeon are training in a formalized, reviewed and standardized system of crisis management with a solid foundation in collective experience. How much of martial arts self defense has such a formal "peer reviewed" body of knowledge as the foundation for the techniques that are taught. I suspect that the deficiency lies in a lot of untested material being taught as though it is proven. Without the organized peer review of those individuals who have actually used the techniques as a gold standard, much of what we are taught probably falls under the umbrella of unproven theory.

Nice post! I agree....there are simulators to use, as mentioned for pilots, etc. We can simulate things in training, and I'm a big fan of scenario training, providing it's done in a realistic fashion. Hell, LE, firefighters, Military do it all the time. But going on what you said...that the techniques in the system have been proven by someone...well, for me, I'm not 100% sure I can be sold on that. It doesn't matter if 100 people before me, tested them, the fact is, I'm not them, and I need to make sure that *I* can do them, regardless of success. Its a shame that if someone is billing what they teach, as effective SD and they're claiming to be an expert, that there should be some sort of formalized, reviewed, standardized system.
 
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MJS

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Well, I'm curious, then, how one acquires practical experience to become an expert without becoming someone like Rory Miller who's sought out professions requiring that knowledge.

If I'm a normal person (y'know, with a regular job and family and bills and stuff), in order to train and gain expertise in self defense, do I purposely seek out dangerous situations?

Do I hang out in rowdy bars, walk alone in bad neighborhoods in dark alleyways... what?

Or, unless you have that profession, it then becomes impossible to be an expert in self defense?

Well, for me, I'm no longer in one of those 'professions' so I consider myself a normal person, with a job, bills, wife, dog, etc. I don't hang in bars, and avoid bad spots if possible. Of course, there are situations that I have not found myself in, ie: having someone pull a knife on me, yet I still teach knife work and defense. I do however, make a point of really looking at things for practicality, and I'd say that simply comes with time. I also make a point of training with those that are currently or have been in professions in which they have to walk the walk and talk the talk. :)

Does everyone have to be a Rory? Not at all. But I'd be more inclined to take his word on whether something works or not, over the guy who says that his teachers teacher, said that it worked for him, and who might not be testing it and seeing for himself, whether or not its as effective as he claims.
 
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MJS

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Technique is always good and a go to place when the chips are down. But, I feel that focus and determination "mentally", are most important, and the vehicle by which learned techniques are properly fueled by.
Law enforcement and Military see fit to address this aspect through discipline and consistency of adherence through the daily mental training from day one of basic training. (This may be what Chris is eluding to above). First the mind THEN the body Then the technique........
For this very reason, LE love to hire ex-military for all the above reasons. Add this to hands on life threatening experience and you have the whole ball of wax. But, IMHO I don't think you would need the hands on life threatening experience as long as the mental aspect was thoroughly instilled.

Re: Can You Be An Expert? Yes

Proper training, exposes us to many more situations then we may ever encounter in a lifetime. So, for this very reason always "train as if your life depended on it", and in doing so you will be well rounded to handle yourself in SD and an expert to boot................. :)

Good points. Peyton Quinn did this with his scenario training, getting people into the right mindset. Sure, some will say that a scenario isn't the real deal. Well, of course. But he was obviously capable of putting the students mind into that state.
 

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Can you become an expert or authority on SD, with no real world experience?

I like to look at this from the probability projection. If you have knocked/taken 100 guys down, the chance that you may knock/take your next opponent down will be high. The question is where will you be able to accumulate your 100 successful experience if not from "sport"? Can you consider "sport" real world?
 

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Good points. Peyton Quinn did this with his scenario training, getting people into the right mindset. Sure, some will say that a scenario isn't the real deal. Well, of course. But he was obviously capable of putting the students mind into that state.
Even in kata your opponent needs to be real to you in your head. I teach people to move with that invisible enemy and as you strike kill the air around you. Train the way you want to react and you WILL react that way for real..............
 

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Well, I'm curious, then, how one acquires practical experience to become an expert without becoming someone like Rory Miller who's sought out professions requiring that knowledge.

If I'm a normal person (y'know, with a regular job and family and bills and stuff), in order to train and gain expertise in self defense, do I purposely seek out dangerous situations?

Do I hang out in rowdy bars, walk alone in bad neighborhoods in dark alleyways... what?

Or, unless you have that profession, it then becomes impossible to be an expert in self defense?

I would say that one can gain experience without being an expert. Where this really matters is when someone begins teaching others.

Can you take CPR lessons and remember the skills when you need them in a crisis? Sure. That's possible and happens all the time. And, if you are diligent, take refresher courses and practice the skills, your chances of remembering them when you need them go up significantly. But does this make you an expert in CPR?

Now, let's look at it from the other side. Would you want to learn CPR from someone who is not even a qualified medical professional?

But, "self defence instructor" isn't as specific as CPR. It's a skill set, similar to that of being a nurse practitioner. Is a person who graduates from nursing school an expert? Would you take a nurse, who's never worked in a hospital or in any capacity as a nurse, and put that person in charge of teaching other nurses?

In the same way, we have a lot of people who teach self defense, who, like Chris, believe that studying something can lead to expertise. I disagree. You can get to the piont where you might be able to apply skills. But that does not equal expert.

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Nice post! I agree....there are simulators to use, as mentioned for pilots, etc. We can simulate things in training, and I'm a big fan of scenario training, providing it's done in a realistic fashion. Hell, LE, firefighters, Military do it all the time. But going on what you said...that the techniques in the system have been proven by someone...well, for me, I'm not 100% sure I can be sold on that. It doesn't matter if 100 people before me, tested them, the fact is, I'm not them, and I need to make sure that *I* can do them, regardless of success. Its a shame that if someone is billing what they teach, as effective SD and they're claiming to be an expert, that there should be some sort of formalized, reviewed, standardized system.

The pilot, however, can be an expert pilot. In fact, I'd argue that there are only a few "expert" crash landers among pilots. There are, however, a lot of very experienced, competent, expert pilots. And they are expert pilots precisely because their experience is not limited to simulators.

Once again, let's look at it from another perspective. Let's say you have a guy who cn do anything in a simulator, but has never flown an ACTUAL plane. Can a person become an expert pilot without ever flying a plane? I would say no. In order to make the leap between a competent trainee an an expert, there's a lot of hours logged in the pilot's seat of an actual plane.

Would that person be competent as a flight instructor? I would say that there might be some limited, specific things he could competently share, but I'd be very uneasy if the pilot of my 747 to Orlando was brand new off the simulator having learned from a guy who had never flown a real plane, who himself learned from a guy who had never flown a real plane.

Sure, you can learn skills in a simulator. I've said this many times in the past, but it's relevant here. There's something called Bloom's taxonomy and it's very simple. People learn things in predictable stages:

Knowledge -> Comprehension -> Application -> Analysis -> Synthesis -> Evaluation

Most martial arts training stops somewhere between comprehension and application. The transition you guys are talking about is exactly the transition between comprehension and application. In adult learning and business training, this is the big challenge. How to get people out of training and able to apply the skills on the job in the quickest, most eficient and reliable way.

But, in business, as in ANY human endeavor, competence is the FIRST step toward expertise. In other words, a person who is an expert must be competent, but not every person who is competent is an expert.
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Maybe instead of saying that someone is an expert in self defence they can say they are an expert in self defence training or self defence techniques and strategies. May be then there will be less disagreements on the subject.

This is what I was referring to in the other thread. If you're training in goju ryu karate, you can certainly become an expert in that system. If Chris Parker or RTKDCMB teaches a defined curriculum with standards and measures of proficiency, then of course students could advance within the system and become experts.

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Even in kata your opponent needs to be real to you in your head. I teach people to move with that invisible enemy and as you strike kill the air around you. Train the way you want to react and you WILL react that way for real..............

Your imagination, no matter how vivid and detailed it may be, is not the same as real life.

Visualization is a terrific training tool. However, it is specifically to assist with the transfer of training from comprehension to application. It does not REPLACE application. Only by applying skills can one progress beyond this stage of learning.

And there are stages beyond application. Competence is application. Expertise is a level of understanding beyond simple competence.

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The pilot, however, can be an expert pilot. In fact, I'd argue that there are only a few "expert" crash landers among pilots. There are, however, a lot of very experienced, competent, expert pilots. And they are expert pilots precisely because their experience is not limited to simulators.

Once again, let's look at it from another perspective. Let's say you have a guy who cn do anything in a simulator, but has never flown an ACTUAL plane. Can a person become an expert pilot without ever flying a plane? I would say no. In order to make the leap between a competent trainee an an expert, there's a lot of hours logged in the pilot's seat of an actual plane.

Would that person be competent as a flight instructor? I would say that there might be some limited, specific things he could competently share, but I'd be very uneasy if the pilot of my 747 to Orlando was brand new off the simulator having learned from a guy who had never flown a real plane, who himself learned from a guy who had never flown a real plane.

Sure, you can learn skills in a simulator. I've said this many times in the past, but it's relevant here. There's something called Bloom's taxonomy and it's very simple. People learn things in predictable stages:

Knowledge -> Comprehension -> Application -> Analysis -> Synthesis -> Evaluation

Most martial arts training stops somewhere between comprehension and application. The transition you guys are talking about is exactly the transition between comprehension and application. In adult learning and business training, this is the big challenge. How to get people out of training and able to apply the skills on the job in the quickest, most eficient and reliable way.

But, in business, as in ANY human endeavor, competence is the FIRST step toward expertise. In other words, a person who is an expert must be competent, but not every person who is competent is an expert.
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So In your opinion nobody can be a self defense expert since nobody has 100s of real world self defense experiences?
I think self defense may be too broad a term. There are knife experts that would suck with a gun gun experts that would get hurt going hands on, dept of corrections self defense is different then police which is different then woman which is different then men. So there may not be a all encompassing self defense expert. Breaking it down a little more specific and yes there are plenty of field experts. That build that knowledge from case study and training. an expert in shark attacks doesn't need to have been bitten by a shark.
 

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Unless you're Batman, or some sort of vigilante, you're not an expert on self-defense. I would also say that law enforcement and ex-military aren't experts in self defense either. They're experts in law enforcement and military tactics respectively. Neither completely translates into self-defense tactics.
 

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So In your opinion nobody can be a self defense expert since nobody has 100s of real world self defense experiences?
I think self defense may be too broad a term. There are knife experts that would suck with a gun gun experts that would get hurt going hands on, dept of corrections self defense is different then police which is different then woman which is different then men. So there may not be a all encompassing self defense expert. Breaking it down a little more specific and yes there are plenty of field experts. That build that knowledge from case study and training. an expert in shark attacks doesn't need to have been bitten by a shark.

Who said 100s?

I do agree that the term self defense is too broad. It's hopelessly abstract.

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TwentyThree

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Yet, if I was to ask you if you could do anything with those sticks late at night with an intruder in your home, I would bet that for a short point in time you would be that "expert" moving like a cat. Funny thing about that expert inside of the ones that have put the time in, the expert appears when we need it most.......... :)

Ah, but my training with my sticks would apply well to the various knives and shorter clubs hidden around my household that I can, in fact, find in the dark.

An intruder would do well to choose another house.
 
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