This is the fantasy of the martial arts, the allure of the hero who has spent hours, months, years honing his skills and physique in order to step in and save the day for the helpless sheeple around him. Ironically they rarely become a professional warrior / defender, that calls for a little too much reality
Of course all societies have had hero-figures. In the past they stood as role-model, guide, mentor, teacher, warrior. In today's aspirational consumer-driven culture the hero figure has been denigrated to selling after-shave, underwear or a "new" training product
The reality of course is that we are all in different physical and mental states at different times during our lives. Added to that we are all in different physical and mental states under different conditions. What is aesthetically pleasing to the eyes of a generation raised on "health" magazines is not always the most practical under certain circumstances, nor the most healthy way to live. The most unlikely people reveal hidden strengths under duress and carry out feats deemed almost impossible under normal circumstances. I'm not talking about the apocryphal "woman lifts car to save baby" but actual events such as an elderly lady seeing off armed robbers, "out of shape" people completing gruelling athletic events and various others that fly in the face of consumerist convention
This to me is the root of the concept of "natural movement". If you cling to the previously mentioned model of "martial arts" it is a difficult concept to grasp. Probably it seems a very vague idea, in fact almost an affront to suggest that a non-expert out of shape looking guy can function at least as effectively as the finely tuned "martial artist".
Of course we can argue that nothing is truly "natural", everything we do is learned. So by natural I mean "everyday", our normal and usual movement pattern, response, SOP. This is what we have to build on because this is where we start from.
The role of a teacher in this approach is threefold:
One is to provide a framework of drills and exercises that help a person achieve good health, strength and fitness, giving them the optimal tools in order to carry out the work
The second is to help the person "smooth out" their natural reactions, strip them back to the basic levels (which operate very well when allowed to), minimise the negative impact of fear, tension and stress and teach the person to "trust" their own body
The third is to create an environment where each component involved, each of the "systems" within a person, can be trained, tested, refined in interactions with other people
So learning becomes a group endeavour. I find it a more adult way of teaching as opposed to feeling like you are back at school sat listening to a teacher drone on for half an hour and being treated like a child. The "natural" approach is dynamic learning - if a question is raised we can look at different answers and test them there and then to see which works best for whom.
Fixed Action Patterns, OODA loop and the more psychological aspects. Of course physical condition is important, but survival /success is often determined in the psyche, especially if you are physically impaired in some way
Nor does it mean that it's ok to be lazy about our training. It isn't, but people need to find their own motivations and strengths, not rely on me shouting at them to do another press up. A big part of the training is to take responsibility for yourself and to understand your own strengths and weaknesses. This understanding will feed back into everything you do and empower you to help those around you too
This is why our work needs to be behavioural, what we are not what we do. In training get hit, get cold, get wet, get to a point where you think "FFS....." Put aside any notions of toughness or persona, understand acceptance of what is happening now and how you deal with it....... that is where the learning starts