What would you be willing to pay to ensure a long, healthy, and safe life? I’m sure most will say just about anything. Then you ask “what are you doing to ensure the above?” Then the answers slow down and thoughtful looks appear. I could now go on about exercise, eating healthy, regular doctor’s checkups, staying away from “hey watch this!” moments, and obeying traffic laws. I’d like to think that most of that “stuff” is just common sense but in reality, it’s not. All I can do is try to influence people in my small circle of friends, acquaintances, and people that care to listen to me. What I would like to propose though is the study of a martial art also being “life” insurance.
Human nature is imperfect, always has and always will be. While not specifically stated, Cain’s murder of Abel is generally accepted as being born of jealousy, and so it began. Fast forward several thousand years and guess what! It’s still happening today but on a slightly larger scale. Humans will always want and while most will actualize those wants in a socially accepted manner, enough won’t and in turn, will impose their will on others. I’ve talked about the origins of structured fighting systems in another blog so I’m going to jump ahead to now. Why learn a martial art when we have cops, guns, the rule of law, and statistically speaking, very low crime rates. At this point, I’d like to interject a personal story. My wife Tina, has been a martial artist for over seventeen years. She has learned a modern system that is very self-defense oriented to include heavy physical contact, assault drills, ambush prevention, “street” weapons, awareness skills, and the legal ramifications of violence. During that whole period, she hasn’t gotten into one fight! This has put her in the predicament of asking her-self, was it all worth it? She voluntarily chose to make a huge investment of money, pain, time, effort, and challenge but as of yet, has not had one opportunity to smoke a bad-guy. Now, she is afraid to use her knowledge for fear of getting into trouble with the law and/or being sued. I on the other hand feel that she has accomplished every goal of her studies and continues to maintain that skill set. She is extremely fit, knowledgeable, continues to live the life-style of awareness, and when asked what she would do if confronted by REAL violence, is confident in her ability to survive and overcome. I like to think I’m a realist and plan accordingly. I do all the above mentioned “stuff” along with a bunch of “other stuff”. I keep an emergency bag with trauma kit in my vehicle, a trauma kit on my modular belt, I stay up on first aid knowledge, I keep enough money in savings to get by for several months of un-employment. I ensure my vehicle is properly maintained. I own firearms and maintain proficiency in their use with regular NRA and privately sponsored training courses. I READ THE NEWS, all of it. Local, national, world, right, left, and internet all have information that one can use in making informed decisions. In other words, I’m trying really hard not to be caught by surprise, and that in a nutshell is why I train in a martial art. The idea of learning self-defense is to use it when you need it but as the saying goes “It sucks to need and not have”. Do you really need to fight over a parking spot, a Cabbage Patch doll, or some real or imagined slight? I don’t think so and if awareness, avoidance, and verbal/physical diffusion skills are not part of your curriculum, then you are not learning self-defense/protection. Most won’t get this for the simple reason that it takes effort above and beyond what they HAVE to do. Tina wants to be around to have fun with her grandkids. Her martial arts training has been one investment to ensure she reaches that goal.