The Silence That Comes After

Unlike most physical endeavors, ours has no target demographic.  It’s not possible to tell whether or not our training will resonate by just looking at someone.  I’ve seen young, smart, athletically-gifted people miss the point entirely and fail out of the first testing cycle; at the same time I’ve watched out-of-shape, “least-likely” people (who I’ve pegged as quitters inside of a month) end up going the distance with an eerie, natural ease.  And I’ve seen everything else in between… with the only common feature among those who take to it being the fact that they took to it.  Something spoke to that tiny sliver of sociopath lurking inside them.

Of course, this is a huge problem when it comes to running a business; what we really need is to know who this stuff resonates with — in terms of a marketing pie chart — and then aggressively market to that segment.  But when that thing is the littlest bit of non-pathological sociopathy — essentially being lit up by hands-on domination and obliteration via the breaking of the human machine — well, you can see the problem in trying to figure out just who to send a postcard to.

The obvious answer would seem to be found in evangelism, with excited practitioners sharing their newfound experiences of happiness (the feeling as power increases) with like-minded individuals — and here we hit the other issue in spreading the word:  the more people train, the less they want to talk about it.  Talking about the truth of it makes you sound like a psychopath; watering it down to make it palatable is disingenuous and causes people to recoil when confronted with the actual thing:

“How do I defend myself from [insert Facebook terror of the week here]?”

“You don’t.  The only available action is to hurt people so they can’t continue.”

“But I don’t want to hurt anybody!”

“Then you won’t.”

And so on until either you give up or they’re convinced you’re crazy.

So much easier, then, to never even mention it, to keep it as a delicious secret that only you know and no one else suspects — the credo of the ambush predator:  While you were sleeping in front of the TV, I was practicing putting my fingers into people’s eyes.

I run into this in ongoing training all the time.

“Bring your friends and family!” I say.

Everyone looks back with pained faces.  “Tried it once, got weird looks,” is the usual reply, “not interested in doing it again.”  Besides, they think in quiet asides, It’s my delicious secret.

You’d think I’m writing this to admonish you, to get you out as ambassadors for this training, to earn hashmarks on your hilt for every body you bring into the fold — and you’d be wrong.  I’m just as guilty as everyone else who’s ever hit the mats:  I don’t talk about it, I don’t proselytize; when people ask me what I do I demur and get them talking about themselves.  (This works great, by the way.)  It’s my delicious secret that last night, while they were sleeping in front of the TV, I was puzzling out the smallest discrete set of movements necessary to dislocate a shoulder with a baton.

So this is here for no other reason than to wonder at the phenomenon:  the fact that those who train shut up after having joined a silent cabal that meets in secret to study the undermining of Nature’s pinnacle.


— Chris Ranck-Buhr

12 replies
  1. Dave Richardson
    Dave Richardson says:

    Chris, if I was your marketeer, I’d target healthcare professionals. We routinely see disasterous results of accidents and illness, and in turn invade bodies to achieve betterment. We reset joints, realign bones, puncture arteries and depress carotid bodies and apply cricoid pressure all in a day’s work. What you teach is the mere flipside and there’s wonderful synchronicity in knowing both.

  2. Josh
    Josh says:

    Beautiful post Master Chris. “Hashmarks on our hilts”, great idea. Like the kill counts of aces. That would get people in the door! “We make aces. Its what we do.” 😉

    • Chris Ranck-Buhr
      Chris Ranck-Buhr says:

      Josh — Glad you liked it! We’ll crack the nut on getting people through the door… it’s an old problem. The good news is that the people who grok it REALLY love it—they tend to stick around for a looong time.

      • Ted
        Ted says:

        Well, yeah, but we all know you’ve written a book already! I read and wrote notes in my TFT Sourcebook until it fell apart! Speaking of which, will you be doing a book like Sourcebook for Injury Dynamics?

        • Chris Ranck-Buhr
          Chris Ranck-Buhr says:

          Ted — Glad to hear you got so much out of it!

          I wrote the first edition of the Sourcebook in 1992 for the class I was teaching at a university recreation department at the time—Universal Fighting—and it’s been the textbook for every class I’ve taught since then. Five different banners, different corporate wrappers, same basic information. For the 13th edition there will be no branding, because it’s always been the sourcebook for the information, not a specific and ephemeral corporate entity.

  3. albert paxton
    albert paxton says:

    I’ve been to three TFT weekend seminars, you were instructing at all three, You are GREAT communicator with the spoken and written word. I can”t wait to come to San Diego.

    • Chris Ranck-Buhr
      Chris Ranck-Buhr says:

      Albert — Thank you for the kinds words! It would be great to see you again in San Diego—with 12 local masters and instructors the instuctor-to-student ratio is off the charts…


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