CONCEPTION + CREATION | URBAN DYNAMICS
Urban Dynamics is a program Caity and I discussed and planned unknowingly for months. Over and over again, we kept seeing repeated problems with students in regards to testing and preforming under pressure. Students were passed that honestly couldn’t fight their way out of a paper bag; good people but almost all of them were failing to do correct technique because they were sloppy and completely ignored principles and tactics. This became increasingly frustrating to us as we pride ourselves on adhering to strict testing principles because we give a damn that our students are prepared; physically, mentally and emotionally. Excuses like “it’s a business, we have to promote them in order to make money or keep students” and “they’ll figure it out in the next level” don’t cut it when it comes to instructing selfdefense. Because it matters.
Let’s get one thing straight - a real fight sucks. At a minimum you’re lucky to deal with cuts, scrapes, bruises, blood and tears … combined with anxiety, frustration, fear and stress. Not to mention, broken bones, torn ligaments and tendons, damaged organs, dismemberment, even death are all possible, especially the greater the proportionality is in terms of size/power/experience. Truth is, the body will heal over time but the real damage lies with the post-traumatic stress, paranoia, depression, anger, apathy and fear. These issues (amongst others) can, and in most cases will, manifest in one form or another after a physical altercation. I’ve been there. I’ve been there way too many times. Most were unprovoked - just in the wrong place, wrong time, the wrong skin color or wrong last name. Other times, I was angry and wanted others to feel the pain I felt and even though they provoked me, I could have just walked away and let it go, but I didn’t and let anger lead me astray. I paid the bigger price, mentally and emotionally. In my mid-twenties, I was fortunate enough to learn better and begin a new path, refocused on my education, training and future. Honestly, most of the situations that happened to me dealt with people I knew in one form or another and it caused me to doubt everyone, trust no one - not even myself, and I wish someone had helped me develop a better understanding of the impact that has on someone.
By definition, availability bias varies slightly depending on who you ask - those in the judicial system will say, “When decision makers choose based on a personal experience rather than facts. The reaction is emotional.” Whereas psychologists will say, “It is a human cognitive bias that causes us to overestimate probabilities of events associated with memorable or dramatic occurrences ... it is a cognitive illusion.” In my personal opinion, people use this availability bias as a veil to hide and justify their emotional decisions - often ignoring facts. By no means is this an insult; more so an explanation of why and how we as individuals make choices with relation to our emotions, memories, social influence, and statistical errors or inconsistencies.
For example, the belief that signing your name after using your credit card somehow increases security. The truth? It doesn't, credit card companies don't verify signatures; there isn't a team of handwriting experts comparing your signatures after each transaction. The whole process is an illusion of security to make you feel better and we fall for it. The bias comes into play when we place belief in the increased security simply because we are tasked with providing a signature of our name as if that mattered. We are led to believe our name means something and therefore CC companies use that feeling to give us the illusion of security. Hopefully that doesn’t burst anyone's bubble too much. I mention all this because this bias affects us all. This is why we must understand and limit availability bias and other cognitive biases, especially when we train.
My experiences combined with our passion, research and perspectives is what drives Caity and I to pour so much into understanding more than just the physicality of fighting. At Rogue, we approach self-defense and self-preservation from a different perspective. For us it’s about self-improvement; becoming a better, stronger, faster and more informed version of yourself to handle the challenges and conflicts of life. We start with information and simple training drills, then move on to more dynamic and intense drills which isn't a new concept; but where we differ is how we make those transitions. In the years I've trained, it's the physical aspect everyone focuses on, but there is so much more involved. In selfdefense, the truth isn’t pretty or nice. Statistics are alarming and sadly often ignored. We’ve all heard and probably believe to some degree that “It’ll never happen to me” “I take precautions, I’m always safe when I go out” “this city/location is safer than anywhere else” and “Well, I’ve never been in a fight”, etc. The brutal truth is, the vast majority of violent/sexual crimes are committed by someone you know. And those statistics are based only on reported crimes - sexual crimes in particular are severely under reported.
If you want to find out some statistics on violent crimes in general or in your area, look for a local crime tracker or check out the FBI and DOJ's crime and victim reports. Here are a few links:
Caity and I want our students to succeed and do so with real confidence. We decided to create a program where students have a chance to visualize and experience the reality of a violent encounter in a safe environment and with that exposure, gain insight into the mindset of criminals and a-holes. Through this program, we provide an understanding of what Krav Maga is really about and how to apply the principles in any situation no matter what is presented. We started with research to see what was out there, videos, news reports, police reports and then we added what we knew, drills, techniques, personal experiences, and it all started to come together. The internet is full of surveillance footage, mobile video uploads and all sorts of reports and documents on violent crimes, aka a crap ton of material to go through, but we did and still do.
There are already instructors out there showing videos and then teaching a class. But the problem was, it always felt like something was missing, i.e. key elements unaddressed. In our experience, the few instructors we’ve seen do it, will on occasion, pull out a general video with little to no productivity value (ex: elevator surveillance video of one guy taking out three other dudes after a verbal argument or an MMA fight where a professional fighter destroys his opponent simply because their skill levels were drastically different) that only confuses students.
So we sat down, discussed the failures of others, the opportunities in front of us, and the key elements of those who were and are successful in using third party video footage as an educational tool. This is where Urban Dynamics was born - in our living room, in sweat pants with our laptops out and hot cocoa in our mugs. Urban Dynamics has become our race horse, the winning training template that allows us to teach others the severity of violence, the signs of a potential conflict, and the immediacy of action required to handle those threats dynamically. What we do to prepare to each and every class takes time, involves research, and is structured in such a way that students from all levels can readily digest the information and apply it to training. We didn’t just create this program, we are the program.
So what is Urban Dynamics? It is a scenario based class where we (Rogue) dive into captured violent crimes with discussion, principles, and training. Each class is broken into specific segments to prepare students to effectively train the simulated scenario: We work on defensive measures and striking patterns, specific force threats (gun, knife, blunt objects, multiple attackers, etc), and then begin working the simulated scenario piece by piece, slowing adding in new elements as the class carries on. By the end of the class every student is given multiple chances to go through the simulation and train the techniques and principles covered that day and/or previous training sessions. We believe in Krav Maga and the principles within, as such, every class will have discussion pieces on those principles and how to apply them in a practical way. Life is full of threats and possibilities, it is our job to prepare for them and when the time comes, GoRogue.