Over the last six months or so, I’ve heard some folks wonder about John’s teaching and combative skills as he ages, and question whether he has the desire and energy to continue to teach Guided Chaos at all levels.
Personally I never gave such doubts much credence, but given I’ve gotten to work with John only a few times per year since I moved to Florida in 2014, I’m hardly an authority.
After John’s January visit, I can confidently state:
- While no one escapes the challenges of aging, John just keeps getting BETTER at teaching AND ass kicking! Whatever youthful attributes he may have lost over the years have been way more than compensated for by his ever increasing sensitivity, timing, intuition and applied knowledge and understanding.
- He seemed more energized and eager to impart his knowledge than ever, and has clearly been continuously cultivating better and better ways to communicate and transfer all levels of his art and experience to all kinds of people.
- You ain’t getting anywhere close to this level of knowledge and intuitive teaching anywhere else, period!
My students and I are still unpacking everything John shared and applying it to our training. From such a limited amount of training time while John was here, it’s amazing just how much there is to explore!
The below list won’t even begin to capture the subtleties John explained and demonstrated, but hopefully can serve as a reminder in the future. A lot of these ideas may not appear to be “new,” and indeed John has been teaching all of this consistently for decades, but for me at least a lot of new light bulbs came on and new ways of thinking about things manifested in improved movement and capability.
- Be totally preemptively unavailable (don’t wait for physical contact)
- As your training partner goes faster, he gives you more points of tension and intention to exploit
- Disrupt him just enough to affect his feet or pin him in place to get strikes in
- Totally loose, free, uncommitted (yet united and devastating) striking while remaining unavailable
- Can’t plan, gotta be in the moment!
- Feel and take advantage of his overtravel/overcommitment while providing none of same to him
- Oppose nothing directly, find easy green light angles to exploit without commitment, bypass and ricochet off resistance remaining unavailable
- If he goes faster, you can remain slower by immediately exploiting his points of intention and disrupting his body immediately, then slowly and efficiently drifting in to destroy
- Learn accuracy with unavailability via the “combat mobile”
- Dropping gains you instant 360 degree balance
- Instantly shift/drop slightly offline to deal with a blitz attack
- Nullify his attacks by disrupting his entire skeleton/balance, NOT by just stopping or moving his limbs
- Stick with everything passively
- Drill: contact flow, push back, immediate drop to return
- Seated use of feet, cane
- Drop out from under whatever ails you
What can I say? If you want to improve, just get off your butt and train with John whenever you can. It may not always be what you expect or what you THINK you need, but in my experience (this year and the 15 years before), it will be what you ACTUALLY need, and a hell of a lot of fun too!
Thank you John, and see you soon in NY!