Another ring?

John Boyd really liked Miyamoto Musashi’s 1645 treatise on swordfighting, A Book of Five Rings. In that same vein, he was a big fan of The Japanese Art of War by Thomas Cleary, a work that includes excerpts from Musashi and quotes from several other samurai and Zen masters of that period. Both of these books emphasize preparing an opponent mentally before risking an attack, a theme that also runs through Sun Tzu and that forms the foundation for much of Boyd’s Discourse.

As an aside, the parallels between fencing and dueling in the skies over southern Nevada are too close to ignore.

It’s always good, then, to receive a paper by someone who knows both fencing and Boyd. Here’s a new one for you, Nick Johnson’s “Boyd’s Real OODA Loop and Fencing,” which I’ve uploaded to the Articles page.

5 thoughts on “Another ring?

  1. “Thus, a divisional OODA loop would have to be at least 36 hours long.”

    I find it hard to relate to what the critics of the loop are saying. I mean when you are dealing with both time and space, and you are being criticised in units of time only, it would probably take longer than 36 hours to even explain to your critic what you meant. I can see why Boyd was hesitant in actually drawing the schematic diagram of the loop in the first place.

  2. To say that a divisional OODA loop is 36 hours long, would be like saying a battleship is 320 ft. long.

    I don’t know the real length of a battleship, but I do know that structurally limiting a battleship to 320 feet tells us something about its width and depth, the same data you would have with a OODA loop that is 36 hours long.

    The fact that data is coming in, before the feedback from the action of the loop, to me, means that data waits for no man.

    If data waits for no man, then to think that the division is somehow “waiting” for a reply from its last action is ludicrous. As you imply, the feedback and feedforward is working on the entropy (energy not available) in a way that might not be known, until it reaches a tipping point.

    Which, because it is energy, entropy, if it happened to become available, acts with an exponent, which, Thomas P.M. Barnett got right, a person needs to watch out for an exponent.

    The exponent in Boyd’s case is represented by the exponent of T-D, which represents the structure of the aircraft.

    Of course the exponent would be different for a battleship.

  3. Nick Johnson’s “Boyd’s Real OODA Loop and Fencing”, while I haven’t finished reading, should get quite a few hits off the internet.

    Can your website handle it ? 🙂

  4. I understood Boyd to talk about all the individual O, O, D, & A going on (and interacting) constantly in real time. I could sympathize with Boyd (I had met Boyd in the early 80s and would sponsor his briefings at IBM) having done dynamic adaptive computer resource management algorithms as undergraduate in the 60s and difficulty showing 4D operations in a two dimensional space. When it was picked up and included in IBM products, I had to document … and even included an obscure joke with regard to 4D operation … that apparently nobody got. In the early 90s I ran into a recent graduate in Hong Kong who claimed to have studied it at the Univ. … and asked him if anybody got the joke.

  5. “and even included an obscure joke with regard to 4D operation”

    What’s another penis joke among friends? I find it funny you get a penis joke, but not the “z-axis” the F35 is a master of.

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