Monday, October 06, 2014

Maija Soderholm's interview and upcoming book (“The Liar, the Cheat, and the Thief – Deception and the Art of Sword Play”)

Photo Credit:  Greg Manalo- Manalo Pictures

My friend Maija Soderholm will be self-publishing her book titled: “The Liar, the Cheat, and the Thief – Deception and the Art of Sword Play” later this year. I am so looking forward to it! In case you haven't heard of her, she studied under Maestro Sonny Umpad in his Visayan Corto Kadena Eskrima and is also certified to teach it. Additionally, she has studied Toyama Ryu Battodo, western style foil and sabre fencing.

She also had a great interview recently. Below is one of her replies that IMO is a key to understanding the brain, adrenaline and real world self-defense.

How did you overcome the adrenaline of combat when seriously training as an adult? How are you able to control yourself and stay composed without shaking or flinching; does this come with experience?

“There’s a brain model that says we all have 3 brains: The lizard, which is all, and only about survival – your fight, flight, freeze, adrenal response stuff, (freezing BTW is a throwback to predators in the wild tracking motion, and thus if you freeze, they may not see you). Then there’s the monkey brain that deals with status and social issues – ‘where do I belong in the pecking order?’ (ex: male  animals, including humans, going toe to toe to find out who’s the biggest and baddest) and then the human brain, which is basically all the cognitive stuff – abstract thought, planning, imagination, decisions based on rational observation.

Adrenaline is mostly linked to the survival brain, the lizard, and kicks into high gear when it perceives threat, especially when something unexpected happens, or something you can’t control.

Therefore the more experience you have in chaotic environments where threat is present, the more you can access your human, cognitive brain – to scheme and use your tactical thinking to prevail.

Interestingly enough, fighter pilots only get ‘Ace’ status’ after 5 ‘kills’. The first 3 or 4 are deemed luck and reaction (linked to training, but not yet ‘on purpose’).

With that in mind, an Ace has connected Human to Lizard, and though Sonny didn’t put it this way, another teacher of mine (Rory Miller) does – If you can connect your lizard to your human – you have a super power.—It should be noted that the monkey brain plays no part. If you stick your ego and need for status into the equation the power evaporates…”

Please keep an eye out for Maija Soderholm's her upcoming book, "The Liar, the Cheat, and the Thief – Deception and the Art of Sword Play."

For more information, please check out:


Rory said...

I'm Rory Miller, and for the record I consider Maija one of _my_teachers. She's aces.

Stickgrappler said...

Hello Rory:

*puts left palm to right fist and bows deeply*

Thank you for your comment!

The mark of a good instructor is s/he never stops learning... you are both instructors AND students of each other!


Very truly yours in SD and MA,



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