Tag Archives: violence

40: Rory Miller on Violence, Self Defense, Social Conditioning, and Fear of Death

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Rory Miller has 17 years of experience working in maximum security detentions, booking, and mental health facilities; for 14 months he was an adviser to the Iraqi Corrections System, working in Baghdad; he is the author of several books Meditations on Violence; we talk about self-defense, the false assumptions martial artists make about violence, breaking the “freeze” response, fear of death, fear of embarrassment, how a criminal thinks, Steven Pinker, the decline of violence in the world, the power of violence, human nature, and much more.

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Full Audio of Interview on YouTube

Rory Miller Quotes (from Podcast)

“One of the problems with martial arts, especially if you want that martial art to make you feel safe for self defense, is that people want answers. People want to feel comfortable having answers. But there is nothing out there that’s an answer to all the bad things that could happen.”

“It’s not uncommon to spend 5, 10, 20 years for a martial artist to study what to do when a bad guy attacks him, and yet spend absolutely no time studying how bad guys actually attack in reality. I only see that in martial arts. There is no way you would ever go to a medical doctor and he would say that he has never bothered to study diseases or injury, he just focused on studying surgical techniques and drugs.”

“No one remembers their training until after the first 3-5 encounters.”

“If someone (who is not dealing with violence as part of their job) had to use serious self-defense skills five or more times, they need to make better lifestyle choices.”

“There are four ways that things get into your head: teaching, training, condition, and play.”

“A lot of times what we are training and what we are conditioning are working against each other, and it’s the conditioning that comes out in a fight first.”

“People who play hard have a huge edge over people who don’t play hard but pretend that they do.”

“Death is an inevitability. The world has a 100% mortality rate. No one gets out alive. A lot of the self and ego that people get defensive over is a wisp of smoke anyway.”

“In infinite universe, everybody is wrong, just accept that. If you can just start there, it gives you a lot of freedom to learn and to make things better, because then you’re not trying to making things right, you’re just trying to make them better.”

“Most of the mistakes that people make in a fight aren’t because they are afraid of dying, but because they’re afraid of looking stupid, they’re afraid of being embarrassed.”

“Everything involved in self-defense is breaking a social taboo. We don’t usually yell at strangers. We definitely don’t hit strangers. Even guys who practice martial arts all the time. We’re hitting friends, people we know, not strangers.”

“I believe everyone is a natural fighter, but we’ve been conditioned not to be.”

“Part of being good is exerting will when nature wants you to be bad, when nature wants you to eat the weak, to say: not today, I don’t need to do that, I’m not going to.”

“Violence works. The rarer it is, the better it works.”

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15: Jooyoung Lee on Gunshot Victims, Near-Death Experience, Popping, and Swimming

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In episode 15, Tim Carpenter and I talk to Jooyoung Lee, an assistant professor of sociology at University of Toronto, purple belt in BJJ, pop-locker, and former D1 swimmer. We talk about his 2 years in Philadelphia studying gunshot victims, 5 years in California studying hip hop artists in search of fame, the positive and negative changes after a near-death experience, the shame of disfigurement, gun violence in society, Donohue Levitt hypothesis, popping, locking, Tick a Lott, swimming, squeaky dog toys, and much more.

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Quotes

Jooyoung on interviewing victims of gun violence:

“If you ask questions that begin with ‘How’ you get a long story. But if you ask questions with ‘Why’ you usually get a short response that’s almost moralistic. People want to give you a good reason, instead of telling you the story.”

Tim on what drives him:

“There’s times you’ll do stuff that’s against your nature because it’ll make you some money, but overall I’ve never lost sight of who I was.  I never tried to get famous. That was never a goal. I like helping people. I like seeing improvement, in myself and in other people. It’s cool to make money but it’s not what drives me.”

Jooyoung recollecting on an old conversation about why jiu jitsu is a fascinating sport:

“Jiu jitsu is a weird sport because you train until the point that you could kill somebody or seriously maim them, and then you tap and you shake hands and you start over.”

Tim on jiu jitsu as a source of the much-needed sense of danger:

“Living today, there’s no real threat. There’s not a threat of death really anywhere unless you live in one of the horrible areas where there’s gunshots all the time. Just a normal person walking around doesn’t have to worry about death. That’s one of the things that gets people into doing jiu jitsu is you get a taste of danger.”

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