| "HOW I DISCOVERED GUIDED CHAOS:|
...my first experience"
| by Austin, Texas martial artist Derick Miller|
I saw some references to the GC materials on the internet while
time reading about doing martial arts instead of practicing
I noticed that GC was controversial, but I also noticed one striking
everyone who had tried GC thought it was great, and everyone
was negative about it had not bothered to try
As anyone with critical judgment notices quickly, there is a small
of people who love to read and write things on the internet who
not bother to get any practical experience. Many of them are
articulate, and a few of them do a valuable service in
things more clearly, but many of them make things more
their false assumptions and assertions. These people
have taught me
to be quite skeptical of those who might write well,
but who lack
practical experience – those who have not yet “earned the
have an opinion.
Those who did have a right to have an opinion based on direct
thought GC was fantastic.
I got a copy of the book and liked what I read. The things in the
summed up a number of things I had learned directly or from
(mostly cops in my classes and those I know who have been
of crime) about martial arts and, most importantly, about real-
Since the book was so accurate about the things that I did have
The book asserted a number of things which made me a bit
with, I figured it probably had some good things to teach
that which I did not (yet) know :-).
like that perhaps the methods I had learned and was
not the best way to go about preparing for self-
this discomfort meant I needed to learn something.
I have studied a number of arts over the years. The best way I
found to learn martial arts is to get together
with like-minded people
and practice doing things,
asking questions and experiment by doing
things. This martial arts laboratory quickly reveals that many
do not really work under pressure :-).
When we moved to Austin, I looked around but did not find a school
was a good fit, so I got together a group of people to practice
yard combatives” (we actually use a parking lot at a friend's
or a local park, but you get the idea). All of us had
bunch of things and we brought our diverse experiences to
“laboratory.” The only rules were that our practice had to be
and at a level agreeable to those working together.
I brought out the Attack Proof book and everyone thought it looked
so we started using some of the drills and incorporating them in
practice. What we were doing at the time was much more like a mix
MMA and WWII combatives with some GC ideas mixed in.
I started getting some of the GC DVDs and picked up the second
So at this point, we are incorporating some GC ideas, but we are still
when it came out (if you are still on the first edition, it
worth the upgrade).
it in the context of MMA clinch (stand-up grappling) with
from WWII combatives. This all seemed like a good idea at the
(more on this later :-). But it was clear to me that what we are
is not quite contact flow and I kept wondering “am I missing out
I tracked down the Attack Proof web site and looked for people in
and put up a listing, as did one of the guys I practice with.
was only one other person listed in Austin (a fantastic guy you
know from his postings here :-), but no one with any direct
It seemed clear that Contact Flow was the heart of the matter, but I
not quite figure out how to do it. I had the impression that it
a lot like “push hands” (a Tai Chi practice), so I told the group
to figure this out, maybe we should learn push hands.
one of my friends already knew how to do push hands and
me the basics and put me in touch with a group that meets
week to do push hands. (If you are ever in Austin, look up
Park Push Hands.)
Push hands is not contact flow, and it will teach you a few bad
I could tell that what we were doing was better than what we had
if you are not careful, but it is a great way to develop
and some aspects of balance.
doing before, but I could also tell that it
was not the same as
contact flow (which I could see
on the “Eye of the Storm” DVD set,
best martial arts DVD set of all time, at least so far).
So, as I said above, we were doing a modified version of MMA clinch
“This all seemed like a good idea at the time....” After some
attempts, I finally got to NYC and had a chance to try it for
The short version is this:
I met with Matt and within less than a minute of contact
became clear that my “A-game” just did not
work against what he was
doing. In fact,
when I tried to use my “best” methods, it made things
than when I simply flowed with push hands skills and
myself. But even simply protecting myself wasn't enough to
from getting clobbered, it just kept me from getting clobbered
much as when I tried to use clinch (stand-up grappling)
With very deft instruction, Matt was able to help me see
re-focus my efforts so that I could use the more useful skills
had, drop the ones which were getting in my way, and begin to do
contact flow. That is when the real learning started. (To see
about my experience with this, you can read my other post...).
Which leads to the most important mistake and how you can
The most important step in learning GC,
in my opinion, is to get a
hands-on feel for how
it works. To do this, you need to do two
things: find a
person who can do contact flow with competence (they
don't have to
be an expert, but an expert is best) and be willing to
let go of
everything you know long enough to understand how it works.
This does NOT mean you have to ignore all of your past training. As
said to me, you can keep everything that is useful from your past—
don't have to let anything go. It just means you need to be open
Having said that, my personal reaction to the experience was that I
ready to “drink the Kool-ade.” ;-). What I mean by that is that I
the best way to learn what GC has to teach is to commit to the
methodology 100% and not try to reevaluate and redesign the
as you go along. [Please note: I completely sympathize with
who do this. That is what I have done so far in my martial
before finding GC. But there is such a well-developed method
the GC material that straying from the path simply slows progress
far as I can tell.].
So if you want to continue studying other arts, just designate a time
Remember, there is no limit to what material you can incorporate in
that is focused on GC and a time that is focused on other stuff.
way you can focus your effort on learning instead of focusing
deciding what to learn.
Flow. If you know how to do something well because you
to do it when you were studying (fill in the art here),
you can use
it in CF and test if it works well or not. All I am
saying is that
it has been helpful for me to separate time for the
practice of CF
from the study of other materials.
So what can you do better
than I did: If you don't have a local
training opportunity, get
hands on experience with someone who knows
how to do CF as your
highest priority; get to NYC or a local seminar
as quickly as you
can and get a feel for CF directly. Or if someone
like Ari is
travelling anywhere near where you live.... This
save you a lot of time. And it doesn't take a lot to
get a clear
sense if you are open to the instruction.
If your experience is anything like mine, you will also have a
enthusiasm once you try it. At
its best, my group was meeting three
times a week (although we had
some random pick up sessions between
meetings). Since I brought
back direct, hands on experience with CF,
we have six scheduled
meetings a week!
What you can do that I think I did well: gather some like minded
to practice with – hands on practice is the most important
of martial development. I have gotten most participants from
to face meetings, but Craig's list has worked well, too. Steven
CA suggested meet up, which I plan to try.
Get the book and DVDs and study them. “Eye of the Storm” is
and, once you have a feel for CF, it will
give you years of material
to study and work from.
I initially skipped AP Companion 1 and 2 and got the Combat
DVD and “Eye of the Storm”, reasoning that I could learn
exercises by combining the book for instructions with the DVD for
video “visuals” to see how the exercises are done. This did work
because my group and I had fairly extensive experience with
arts, but the explanations on companions 1 and 2 are very
and they do a good job of setting the context and priorities,
well as showing better ways to do a number of things that we
we knew how to do :-).
GCC (the combatives part) is presented on Companion 1. If
you do not
I plan to get more of the DVDs as funds allow. The next steps for us
have any martial experience and are
reading this post (seems highly
improbable, but the
wonders of Google...), you must start with this
Probably the quickest road to usable self-defense skill short
hands-on instruction. If you have more experience, you may be
inclined to skip this disk as I was. Learn from my mistake: watch
to look into weapons and ground, but we have more than enough to
on with CF for now.
So, to sum up my advice: Get the book and companion DVDs and get some
hands-on experience as quickly as you can. Then practice,
practice. And if you continue with other martial pursuits
at the same
time, I suggest designating separate times so you use
Thank you for reading this far. If you are a remote student, please
your experiences, too, so we can all learn from each others
And if you live in Austin or near and have not contacted us yet, what
are you waiting for? We meet regularly and, if you can't make our
times, we will set up a time you can make. You can find
information in the training groups section of the attack proof
site. And keep your eyes open for a seminar coming to Austin soon