CLM 4: The State of Action
The concept of having a student teach another student is one as old as learning. A teacher looks to students to fill knowledge gaps that either the teacher does not have time, or capacity, to fill. In a large classroom environment with a high quantity of students, a teacher’s time is often taken up in working with either the slower students, or the students of higher caliber that the teacher is wanting to propel their learning. But, to have an organized way of students teaching students is something that most martial arts lack, and we have found, over time in Pramek, it was a needed structure.
Often times in the decade of seminars and classes I’ve taught I have found myself in a place where I need a student to teach another student so that I can take time to focus elsewhere. Any teacher, or even instructor, knows their time is limited and their focus even more limited when students are involved. To identify a problem a student is having and then be able to take the time to correct it in an 8 hour seminar, or a 1 hour class, can quickly take time tables on the time organization of the seminar and throw them into disarray. People pay to come to seminars or classes, their money is their time, and so a seminar or a class should make use of every moment to increase learning.
The EPL was developed because of this issue. In my mind, and I remember the realization in a seminar in Washington state when I had it, there had to be a way of quickly identifying a student’s problems with the subject matter being taught. Not ‘that guy is having problems’ but seeing the actual problem quickly…and teaching others to do it. This means not only knowing the lessons plan, but knowing the mechanics of what is occuring. If there was such a way of identification, I had to find it. Then after, in an efficient manner, I had to be able get the student past frustration and back on the path to learning, keeping up with other students.
In a learning environment a frustrated student can quickly bring the pace of the entire seminar down, if not become dangerous to other students. As one person becomes slow, and then frustrated. The teacher will slow the seminar to address the problems. If the teacher can not address the problem, it will fester, and soon, as noted in The Teacher and The Student, the student can pose a danger to other students. The longer they don’t get the information, the become difficult to deal with for other students they become. As their frustration increases, they revert back to their learned techniques from the past, because they ‘work. At this point their training partner must now not only deal with learning how the student will work with the technique being taught…they must learn how to overcome the student’s learned defenses from previous experience when it’s not called for in the lesson. Students who ‘get it’ and students who are lagging are easily identified by their training partners.
If a student has had compliant training partners they will excel in DPT over those who have not. Once the frustrated student is in circulation for a long enough period, all of their training partners develop a sense of frustration. I have seen this in seminars where I have let frustrated students circulate to see what would happen…and all of the students suffer when DPT is introduced. It harms the learning for everyone, as unfrustrated students may not want to work with the student, they may start taking water breaks, or bathroom breaks, leaving the frustrated student alone, taking up the instructors time or leaving the student to their own devices. Or, commonly, wrestling matches break out as students begin to force the frustrated student to ‘go along’ with the technique, and they begin to wrestle back and forth.
For a teacher, looking around a class or seminar, most often there is one student who is consistently creating wrestling matches and endangering other students…and most often, that student is the most frustrated. While the EPL is now used in some of the most well-known gyms and schools in the world – it’s impetus was for me in having a way of identifying problems and fixing them in a systemized manner. Bring the student back to imprinting, look at their cognitive versus associative understanding, find where the problem is – and fix that, not the technique, but that learning phase. That makes more sense, and it’s more ‘teachable’ to others than ‘well, he’s messing up on ____, now fix that’. That was the basis for what so many use now…
Most Pramek seminars are divided into two four hour blocks, with one hour figured in for demonstration ‘off to the side’ or for group demonstration. The first four block, being high in theoretical and movement training, means blocks are longer, up to 30 minutes at a time. 30 minutes on the theory, 30 minutes working with the theory in a mechanical application. In the second half of the seminar the time blocks become shorter as the key to learning is to experience at higher level. Students are encouraged to experience the theory and movement in mechanical interactions as much as possible, with as many different partners as possible, and corrections are made on the fly.
If the seminar is being taught properly, most issues with theory and movement will be addressed in the first 4 hour block, so the second 4 hour block can be spent learning and experimenting. Anyone who has been to a Pramek seminar knows that learning is taking place at a different level than other seminars, and this is by design. Every minute of the seminar should be laid out, and if it is not – there is time for students to do other things…and not be exploring and concentrating on learning the lessons being taught.
When the EPL is taught in the classroom, and students learn to teach in a general method, by bringing themselves back to the the basic levels of imprinting and differentiation, they learn to do so with another student. For a Pramek instructor, or any system’s instructor using the CLM, to have a student along for a seminar that understands the CLM structure of learning means having an instructor in the room. They aren’t a teacher, but they can identify and correct problems. As that CLM educated student circulates to different training partners, the CLM method is spread. The seminar leader only encourages this by saying, to the group as a whole when problems are happening in mass, ‘let’s go back to ______ phase…what are we not understanding in ____ phase.’ If they don’t get it, they go back another phase, and the learning starts over. Once they have it, they move back up the learning chain, be it EPL or DPT. That’s why our seminars are so radically different in student comprehension than other systems.
The CLM, comprised of the EPL and CLM, and the lessons from CLM 3 The Teacher & The Student are a gigantic leap forward in the pedagogy of martial art. There hasn’t been anything like it, and anything that is like it going forward will most likely rely on it. Kadochnikov system is where we get the basis of our mechanical science and I still teach human equilibrium theoretically about 90% like it’s taught by Alexei or Victor or Arkadij. Why change what isn’t broken? I didn’t create the whip strike, and though I think we teach it better than anyone else, it’s not original to Pramek…nor are a knife hand chop, palm strike, various chokes (though we have created original chokes), or throws, etc. Even the wedge has an origin in Kadochnikov System, though I think we have taken it to an entirely new level of application. Pramek, and, in turn my personal contribution, to martial art as a whole is the CLM. I didn’t get that from anywhere, learn it from anyone – it’s original to Pramek, comes from our experience and years of research. Just like even now, more than a decade after leaving the Russian styles, I say where concepts came from…people will say it about CLM. In the future people will say that their learning pedagogy, though it might not be a duplicate, will have come from Pramek.
Trust me – it’s already happening in Russia.
But this isn’t enough.
EPL, everything I have written, this is mechanical learning – but it’s not combative learning. Combative learning is completely different – it takes into account completely different variables. It’s post-EPL. It’s the essense of DPT. Stance, strategy, goals, how to deal with larger or smaller opponents, how to change what you are doing based on what will work or not work, the 90/90 rule, all of these combative learning concepts…CLM hasn’t covered how it’s to be taught, effectively, in a way that is measurable.
Mechanical learning is just that – it is mechanics, but it is not the state of action in the fight. The mechanical part of the fight is still held with the paradigm of action-reaction, because it is mechanical in nature. It is guided by neurology and experience, but the very nature of mechanical is force being applied and the resultant of the force. If a student decides to capitalize on the force they have exerted, they are in mechanical action – but mental action, no.
The brain must be trained separately from the mechanical interaction. The fight takes place at a rapid rate, but the brain is capable of actually slowing it’s perception of down time to solve complex problems. This has been shown in studies using perceptual chronometers, where time as the brain perceives it ‘slows down’ as the brain processes massive amounts of information and in effect, slows down what it is seeing to search it’s memory banks.
Within this, we find the state of being within a combative situation, and if it can be found – can it be trained?
How does a student exist within a fight? Can a student actively participate in a fight, versus get trapped in an action-reaction loop, but instead make active decisions?
Can a student know an opponent before they have square up and have a 90/90 advantage?
Can a student know, after squaring up, exactly what to do to have a 90/90 advantage?
Can a student mid-fight make active decisions on what they should be doing, to where a student only in a state of action, and reaction becomes action?
Can a student, even a brand new student, give even the most experienced fighter the ‘fight of their life’ with only a short period of training?
With the EPL and DPT, no, they can not. They have experience, but nothing that has fundamentally created a neurology that is ready for 90/90. In the past, to get someone to a point of neurology that they are fight ready against a variety of opponents and scenarios took years – with CLM 4, it starts on day one. A student will begin their training neurologically trained to be at an optimal level of fight readiness and ability to execute technique effectively. CLM 4 will address the state of action for the student, allowing them to ‘be’ within the fight, make active decisions, and develop a 90/90 advantage. In doing so, CLM 4 will show how to gain what is most vital in a fight – time.
CLM 4 will show how it’s done with a training methdology that shows incredible leaps in student capability. It’ll change the way martial art is taught and anyone, any school, that embraces it will automatically give their students a 90/90 advantage.
Because it’s science.
And that’s what the CLM pedagogy is – it’s science applied to combative learning. No more technique x + y = z, and though the EPL took care of that, CLM 4 will create the z without an x or a y.
I look forward to releasing CLM 4 in January 2017 as Pramek launches a number of new programs built to bring us in to the martial art mainstream.
Look for it, it’ll be something you’ve never seen before…but once you try what is in CLM 4, you’ll never teach the same way again.