As someone who has taught martial arts for a number of years, I’ve seen all kinds of people come in the door to learn kung-fu. Some want to develop wellness, others want to learn to use their wellness better, and others want to learn self-defense. It’s the later I’d like to focus on for a moment.
In today’s society there is a huge misconception of what fighting is. Many who come in the door want to intellectually learn a self-defense program or principle, but they don’t want to learn to fight. Guess what, folks…. You can’t learn self-defense and not fight. At some point in your training, your training has to challenge you to experience a fight. If all you do is learn from a book or intellectually grasp the idea of a martial art “style”, you won’t have the ability to express your intent if and when you must fight. And, if you don’t know what that honestly means, you’re not going to be prepared to defend yourself in the must-fight-situation.
Consider the following situation: You and your family are walking downtown, enjoying all of the booths at the Downtown Block Party (in Terre Haute, Indiana). Suddenly, someone in the crowd pushes past your children and grabs your wife’s purse, while the other begins striking you.
Are you prepared to deal with that situation? Do you have any idea how you’re going to respond? Honestly?
We could play this “consider this situation” game all day. The fact is, you cannot intellectually respond to that situation when it happens; neither can you learn to defend yourself through intellectual stimulation online and in books. Be honest with yourself. If you want to learn self-defense, get into a real self-defense school, and work with others to condition yourself for the worst. Hope for the best, but be prepared for the worst. (By the way, it was Benjamin Disraeli who is credited for this quote.)
And, before you say, “That can never happen to me”, consider the news every day. I used to work in the crime-scene clean-up industry. I had to go in and clean up crime scenes after the police were done with them. I’ve seen all kinds of things…. Yes. Here in the Wabash Valley. If you want to hear some of those stories, stop by my school, and I’ll share some of them with you.
“If you fail under pressure, your strength is too small. Rescue those who are unjustly sentenced to die; save them as they stagger to their death. Don’t excuse yourself by saying, ‘Look, we didn’t know.'” ~ Proverbs 24:10 – 12
Now, before some of you start writing to me saying, “Jason, are you saying I should go out and start fights with people?” Let me respond by saying, NO!
Let’s not be stupid, but prepare for those who come to us stupidly. We won’t do that by just exercising or running through drills or generically running you through a program so you can have a black belt. Let’s get real about our training, condition ourselves to be our best when it matters most and is the hardest to maintain, and preserve the lives of those around us that depend on us from the stupid of the predators.
If you’re not advocating violence, does that mean you only train against untrained people?
Believe it or not, I’ve heard such garbage (not in person, usually through Facebook messenger or some other virtual reality) by those too insecure to inquire and experience the truth (i.e., by those who don’t really care about the truth because they can’t handle the truth).
Allow me to clarify something: I wasn’t referring to just untrained people. I was referring to anyone who would be stupid enough to step up and force you to defend yourself.
You see: Most of us get the opportunity to choose to fight or not. We can live our lives with dignity and respect, or we can disrespect others and act stupid. When we choose to start a fight when there are other options – we’re being stupid. Yes. That’s my word for it. Like it or not, it’s stupid.
Now, when someone acts stupid they’re responsible for their choice. If you defend yourself against stupid and they get hurt – that’s their fault. They shouldn’t have made such a stupid decision as to attack you. The same goes for you, though, when you act stupid. So, make your choices to fight wisely.
We could say the same thing about the law. The law in Indiana is very understanding of self-defense, but it isn’t forgiving of people who choose to act stupid (as I’ve defined it). So, again, make your choices to fight wisely.
But in any case, prepare yourself for those times and situations where you don’t have a choice; and, do so wisely. Playing around with something called a self-defense is not the same as preparing yourself for these situations. If you want to be able to fight in these situations, you will have to learn to fight in these situations – and that’s what I’ve been talking about.
Read a book. Great. Watch a video. Great. But, you’re not learning to fight that way. And, for those of you blessed enough to never have had the experience to know what I’m talking about. Great! But, don’t take for granted that you or someone you know (or don’t know) may need you to fight sometime against stupid. And, don’t take for granted you’ll be able to fight when/if that situation arises. Hope (and pray) for the best, but be prepared for the worst. If you don’t and that situation arises, the only one responsible for your lack of ability is you. Think about it, and be honest with your response.
Empower yourself to life!™
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