Tuesday, 14 December 2010

The Law of Surprise

The law of surprise states that 'when anything happens suddenly it creates a sense of shock, even if its expected'. there are two types of surprise, good ones and bad ones. No body likes bad ones and perhaps that's why we enjoy the 'known' in our lives and why people don't often like change because it brings with it a 50% chance of having a nasty surprise.

Surprise creates a moment of shock and shock is a moment of inaction while the brain adjusts and tries to make sense of what has just happened. During this 'shock' period we are unable to function and are for a while in a state of 'freeze'. Even afterwards our minds keep going back over the events trying to resolve what occurred and very shocking events can take years to recover from.

In combat a fighter knows the effects of surprise and her intention is to create surprise in order to produce this moment of shock thereby creating confusion in ones opponent; confusion creates inaction and action always beats inaction.

Surprise can be created in a number of ways using simple surprise tactics as starting before anyone expects you to or even at all. Another method is through deception. Yagya Munenori the famous sword master said that all martial arts is based on deception this is probably true as almost any successful attack or defence relies on the fact that it should be successful in its aim. the fact that it is or is not that a sense of surprise is thereby created.

In martial arts deception means using feints, fakes, draws, re-directions etc to land effective attacks, but in life? How does Surprise help us in our daily life? In negotiations surprise and deception may be more obvious as it more closely aligns with the competitive elements of life. Sometimes we can take actions, succeed or fail and surprise ourselves and those around us by either succeeding or failing when the expected result was the opposite of what happened.

But what about deception in life? Deception generally is not a technique to be admired but perhaps this is not how we use deception in a fulfilling and co-operative life that works with others and not against them. Perhaps deception in life is how we deceive ourselves that we are either better or worse than we are or that we are doing something that we are really not, appearing on the outside to be pursuing a goal when in reality we are coasting and fearing to take action.

What about other deceptions such as lies and untruths that we tell to others? some people say that we must always tell the truth even if it hurts whereas others say telling a lie is ok when it protects someone from pain. Sometimes we are better not knowing the truth if the truth will only cause us pain. Even when it come to telling a terminally ill patient the truth about his condition. Is he better to know or not? That is a larger philosophical question than I want to discuss today and frankly I doubt any discussion could come up with a result that would please everybody.

Would you deceive a friend to protect them from pain? Do you deceive yourself or know someone who is right now lying to themselves so that they don't have to face up to the truth?

Deception by its nature is a surprise only when it is discovered. The difference between surprise and deception I suppose is the intention behind it. A deception is a surprise but a surprise is not always a deception, a deception is a creation by a person whereas a surprise can happen either by intent or accident.

Either way in life and martial arts we must understand the nature of both in order to protect ourselves from the bad ones and arm ourselves for those that we can use. In either case knowing how to use them and recognise when they are being used is important and a useful tool to help us succeed.

So perhaps today we can surprise ourselves in a good way because no one likes a bad surprise and everyone likes a nice surprise, so surprise yourself with what you are capable of so that even if you intend to do it when it happens it can still be a surprise.

Thanks for reading today and I look forward to speaking to you again tomorrow. In the meantime if you want to learn more about the topics I have been discussing give me a call on 0800 0920948 or visit us online at www.nat-mac.co.uk

Best wishes

Tony Higo
National Martial Arts College
0800 092 0948

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