So, after a couple years of back and forth on the web, and a time or two of sitting down over coffee, I finally had a chance to play with Rory Miller, hands-on.
I know I've said it before, but I can now say it from a more personal experience: He's the real deal.
"Show me something," I said. So he laid out a simple, slow, single-step attack and defense drill.
Harder than it looked.
Then we played a little with me blindfolded.
Also harder than it looked.
And some stuff that started with him behind me and already grappling.
Um, did I say this already? Harder than it looked ... ?
Then, tired old guy that I am, I ran out of steam ...
Nothing spectacular in this -- no flying this or twirling that -- but Rory has a focused skill set. Me, I was doing okay until I started thinking too much, and as we all know in this kind of action, if you think, you stink. Every time I went down that road, I lost my own focus. A good lesson to remember: Don't go down that road ...
The dogs barked at us because we were dancing on the patio and that added a little distraction to the drills. And we weren't thumping each other hard -- though I have found a couple of sore spots I didn't notice at the time -- when did that happen? How did it happen?
This was great fun. He wasn't trying to show me any new techniques, or things that wouldn't work with what I already had, just pointing out avenues I might consider, and ways to develop sensitivity that didn't rely entirely on seeing what was going on.
It wasn't about winning or looking good, though my ego certainly wants to go there, but about being open to what is happening in the moment, and from a guy who has done it for real more times than he can remember.