Getting Comfortable With Chaos

In the upper right corner of this blog:

(Which blog, by the way, I recommend to you as a resource for information that could be useful to you for awareness and help with threat analysis.)

is a quote space titled “Words to Chew On…”.

…in which one day the following quote appeared:

“You must train in chaos in order to thrive in chaos”. -Hock Hochheim

I think this is true. I also think that if it is taken too much to heart it will get you in trouble.

The reason is that I have come lately to differentiate more than I used to between training and practice. They are not really the same thing. Training takes place when you are learning a skill or skill-set or acquiring some kind of knowledge you didn’t have or didn’t have a lot of before. It can also be training when you are reviewing and refreshing a knowledge or skill-set you already know. Practice is where you apply what you have trained as or in an exercise. You do repetitions of the skill-set or application of knowledge to make it more natural and automatic and to check your level of competency and what you have learned during the training. An example often debated is the use of shooting competitions to someone who focuses primarily on fight shooting. The fight shooter can use competition as a medium to practice subsets of fight shooting that he has previously trained in. They cannot use that as training, however, because no skills are taught in competition.

Training requires a pattern and/or structure to be most effective. The student, especially during first exposure to a given skill or skill-set, needs a progression from part to whole, from simple to complex, from basic to advanced, from single step to combinations of steps performed simultaneously. If you don’t give them that, you don’t teach the right and they don’t learn well and maybe not at all.

It’s easier to become comfortable with Chaos if you have first learned the Patterns properly.* It’s as simple as that in concept, though the practical application of that concept can be quite difficult. (Doesn’t have to be, but it can be.)

For these reasons I would, if I were making a quote about this, change the sentence to read:

“You must practice in Chaos in order to be able to thrive when you encounter it.”

That, I believe, is a better way of saying it.

*I have a chapter in the first book of my “Gunfighting, and Other Thoughts about Doing Violence” series that considers the learning of Patterns in preparation for encountering Chaos in more detail. (All three volumes to date combined here.)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *