Read This Before You Invent a New Martial Arts Style

Rex Kwon Do

The skills that engender competence in a particular domain are often the very same skills necessary to evaluate competence in that domain—one’s own or anyone else’s. Because of this, incompetent individuals lack what cognitive psychologists variously term metacognition, metacomprehension, or self-monitoring skills. These terms refer to the ability to know how well one is performing, when one is likely to be accurate in judgment, and when one is likely to be in error.

Several lines of research are consistent with the notion that incompetent individuals lack the metacognitive skills necessary for accurate self-assessment. Work on the nature of expertise, for instance, has revealed that novices possess poorer metacognitive skills than do experts. In physics, novices are less accurate than experts in judging the difficulty of physics problems. In chess, novices are less calibrated than experts about how many times they need to see a given chessboard position before they are able to reproduce it correctly. In tennis, novices are less likely than experts to successfully gauge whether specific play attempts were successful.

We propose that those with limited knowledge in a domain suffer a dual burden: Not only do they reach mistaken conclusions and make regrettable errors, but their incompetence robs them of the ability to realize it.

~ From “Unskilled and Unaware” by Justin Kruger and David Dunning

Learning a martial art is inevitably a process of trial and error. To a limited degree, we are all inventors of our own unique style of martial arts.

Master Rex

Some ambitious individuals choose to go further. Rather than building on the experiential framework provided by a living martial arts expert, these innovators attempt to create a superior new system from first principles.

Is it harmless creative expression, or dangerous folly? Continue reading Read This Before You Invent a New Martial Arts Style

Movement, Martial Arts, and Man-in-the-Middle Attacks

Since we practice movement every day of our lives, it is easy to overlook the complexity of this task.

ASIMO

Voluntary movement, by definition, begins as an act of will. Willpower directs the brain, to signal the muscles, to exert force, to reposition the body in space, adjusting these commands in a real-time response to ongoing sensory feedback. And an accidental failure at any point in the sequence can foul up the end result, causing us to move poorly, freeze in place or topple over.

If an attacker could somehow introduce malicious commands or false information into our system, they could lead us to self-destruction. Fortunately for our individual liberty, there is no way to breach these communication pathways from the outside…or is there? Continue reading Movement, Martial Arts, and Man-in-the-Middle Attacks

Minimize the Risk of a Personal Security Failure

If you must endure long-term exposure to truly dangerous circumstances, your personal security preparations are guaranteed to fail eventually; the only question is when and how they will fail.

Generally speaking, a personal security plan is vulnerable to two types of failure. In a negative failure, your underreaction or poorly chosen response leaves you open to attack. An overreaction, or positive failure, turns you into the aggressor and your alleged attacker into the victim. Reducing the likelihood of one type of security failure increases the probability of the other.

Personal security is a classic trade-off scenario. Risk cannot be eliminated; managing it intelligently will encourage slight rather than catastrophic self-defense failures.

A well-managed self-defense plan exhibits these characteristics: Continue reading Minimize the Risk of a Personal Security Failure