An interesting trial with rough-housing during pandemic-times
I have done some of this in the past and posted on it. I had stopped for a time but, as the pandemic has drawn, I´ve started continuing with this rather obscure experimentation. It has always given good, positive, calming results, ironically. My son, now 9, had developed more than a little frustration and some pent-up anger from the current state-of-things, not unlike millions of other kids his age. So, I decided to see how returning to an old method of release for him worked, at my own expense.
Ground rules were laid and explained explicitly. He had no rules. He could go as hard as he wanted. I would not fight back with anything offensive or aggressive in-nature. There was a green light-red light caveat laid-down as well, when it was “go” he could let loose with all his ability and capability at full energy and stamina, until either the “red light” message was transferred…or until he ran out-of-gas. (Added benefit here was that it was done – intentionally – right before his bedtime, benefit being for myself and my wife)
So, some interesting points to draw from this experiment.
- He has never been in a fight himself before, had rank-minimal training from me, is not generally allowed to watch the majority of classes I teach due to content restrictions, has seen minimal violence on tv outside of comic-book, video-game, and playing with friends.
- I limited myself intentionally even when hit hard. Elbow-covers. Head-shields. Limb-passes. Shifts in body-weight. No ground-positions like guard, bottom-side, mount, side-mount….just scrambling. Minimal movement.
- Despite this, it was amazing what he came-up with. He attempted to eye-gouge. He head-butted, and not only to the head, but to various parts of the body, knowing to hit soft-tissue, vulnerable places. He scratched, bit, clawed, pinched. He punched…hard. (I had previously posted a picture of the black-eye he gave me a couple of years ago to drive home that point) He donkey-kicked. He tried appendage-yanking with the ears, nose, and cheek. He downward-elbowed. He tried bending (he would´ve broke had I not been on-the-ball. Hell, he even tried a few pressure-points (behind knee, collarbone fossa, behind ear, inner-elbow) and a bloody bronco-kick and “cannonball.”
- There were times we paused and I asked him what else he could come-up with and gave him a little processing-time to think of things he could attempt or apply. He never ran out. There were other times where I lightly-taunted, asking him if that was all he had and that he wasn´t getting his point across, to which he had 2-3 other gears of aggression and motivated-intent instinctively. He could escalate and shift-gears as well, understanding that conserving energy and bursting were kinda´ important elements.
- When “red light” was called, he stopped almost immediately, did not continue to test or attack someone vulnerable. No cheap-shots. No accidents. And he was satisfied, content with the burst of energy and letting some steam off. He went to bed calmly and collected.
- We shared a big hug as I explained to him that when 2 friends fight hard to better-prepare themselves for future tests-of-mettle, that is what was shared and it allowed both parties to not have ill-will, forced containing emotion, and broke with a sense of mutual-accomplishment shared by combatants. He liked that part and it teaches fight-culture and rules-of-engagement.
Now, while I have experimented with this on-and-off for some time, it´s still early BUT there are some theories (remember, theories, not conclusions but worthy of further study) that can be drawn from this type of exposure to healthy aggression-release.
-It is positive for children to have some healthy and controlled outlet for releasing aggression, frustration, anger, emotional-discontent.
-We are given some quite effective tools for self-defense and counter-violence innately and without any form of training. There are some things we do when we are allowed to let loose and given the moral go-ahead to do so that manifest themselves pretty quickly and effectively. I am convinced that there are elements implanted that often, as we age and mature, change those elements entirely. Religion. Passivity. Social-boundaries. Worry of punishment, whether parental, educational, legal, or societal.
-The above goes to show that “training” is often over-valued in the sense that people often have these things inside of them already. They don´t need to have them ingrained incessantly, but to be given the correct context, boundaries, circumstances, and capability (not ability) to utilize them correctly.
-That the “inner-switch” to turn-off that aggression can be implanted early-on and that those elements above that stunt that those innate instincts can be worked-around with that context and the understanding of restraint, self-control, and sufficient-exertion…inevitably the nurture part. (morals, values, ethics, principals) Mindset can be built early and correctly. Physical-violence can starting becoming understood instead of taboo, fear-building, and misunderstood. – and misused.
While I realize this is likely one of those seemingly unending methods that create controversy, gasping, and horror even within the field, it´s been safe, controlled, accident-minimized, and healthy. The results have been solid and, even more importantly, it´s given a platform of positive physical-interaction with my son, allowed for some tactile/kinesthetic physical-contact in a time when that is at a premium during this pandemic, AND given an outlet to maybe both of us to roughhouse, bond, play-fight, and game-play in a healthy masculine manner.
Will keep you posted on further developments.