Sunday, February 14, 2016

Bird view

Funny think struck me the other day. Not really an epiphany, but more like finally finding the missing part of the puzzle sort of reasoning. "About what?" you may ask...

Well, I have never been a kind of guy who desperately needs ostentatious recognition and/or ceremonies within a hierarchical organization in order to feel valued or as a confirmation of whether my training and effort had been worthwhile. Yet, it does not mean I feel disdain or other negative attitude toward various organizations (let's stay with martial arts here) per se. Some of them are functional, serving the purpose of making things easier for the members, some are unfortunately their very own raison d'etre, but it is not really any different than in other fields of life. Anyway, I did notice that some of those associations I liked better than others, and sometimes wondered why.

Sometimes I would think it depended on their administrative setting, other times I thought it had to do with the training methodology, maybe declared philosophy. mission etc. But no, there is another decisive factory.

We now get back to the beginning of this post. I received the latest book, War Hawk, written by Fernan Vargas, and got into a brief correspondence/conversation with the author. I was familiar with some of his earlier works (hence my initiative for obtaining this one), and our exchanges confirmed the impression I had of Mr Vargas. His demeanor showed a humble and honest man, always eager to learn more and new things, shying away from the pretentious status of grandmastery and other related aspects. On the other hand, his actual high level of expertise on the matter he teaches and does is evident in the process of sincerely sharing the knowledge he had accumulated over the decades of practice.

And so, as the birds of the feather flock together, Vargas seems to be gathering a colorful band of people of the similar ilk in his Raven Tactical International in a loose structural organization, but with the tight bond of common values. Finally, this is where I had my light-bulb moment - it is the fraternal feeling of non-enforced tribal belonging that some organizations have that I tend to appreciate. In such cases, even if I don't share the same views and interests of the said associations, there is still the tendency to enjoy the company of their members, relieved of any need to prove something to the rest of the world, content in belonging to where they feel at home.

Another nice commonality in such organizations is that their members tend to be ready and willing to learn from each others and help each other grow, regardless of their previous experience, background or "level" in the group. It is the supportive and not fiercely competitive atmosphere that enables the development to mean true growth and maturing, and not just plain expansion for the sake of numbers.

The aforementioned published works of Fernan Vargas and his associates are a nice example of this attitude. They all start with some very important notions and clear ego-check points that are too often either taken for granted or ignored altogether. Oh, and when it comes to the value of the contents, one would be severely challenged to find a better ratio of the proverbial bang for the buck.

Naturally, the Raven bunch is not the only crew of that sort, or worth mentioning in this light (Systema Homo Ludens of Alex Kostic, Astig Lameco of Roger Agbulos, Libre Fighting of Scott Babb, Combat Systema of Kevin Secours, to mention just a few), but being that they happened to be responsible for my "moment of insight" I devoted the space to them.

Liking other types of organizations and their inner workings is absolutely fine, as long as you find what you are looking for in them. It is just my personal preference to gravitate toward certain types of communities, and I am he author of this blog, so...

NOTICE: I am in no way and by no means affiliated with the RTI or Mr Vargas. This entire piece of writing was completely unsolicited by any of the mentioned parties. It represents my honest opinion, based on my personal experience with those subjects, so take it for what it is.