To Be or Not To Be, that is today’s questions. Lets do some homework first. Here’s a riposte from my blog. Please go read it and come back. I’ll wait. OK so you’re back, were you listening then? Are you listening now? Are you prepared to sweep the leg? There is a Hungarian proverb that says, “It is ok, in times of great danger, to walk hand in hand with the devil until the bridge has been crossed”. Are you ready, willing and able to walk hand in hand with the devil to save your life?
There was a recent tragedy in my town that was so horrible no adjectives suffice. Read it here, I cant even describe it. I know or have met the roommates of the victim. This is close to home. A friend of mine lives a block away from the crime scene. It could have been any of us. The accused was a transient, most probably a meth addict, this was probably a crime of opportunity and circumstance. The point I make here is the randomness of it. So random it could have been anyone the accused ran across that day. It could have been you. It could have been me. Are you listening now?
The deceased, from what I hear from people who knew him well, was the nicest of guys. Could this have been the reason? Because he was too nice and let this man in his home to help him? The deceased was employed by the local college and was well known in the community. This is a crazy upside down world currently. It is very violent and I see no decline in that in the near future. What are you going to do?
Fact, the police cannot protect you. This isn’t a knock on them, it’s a simple fact, they can only respond to the crime and pick up the pieces and maybe, just maybe, protect you going forward if there was still a need. But even then they cant be there – AT FIRST - YOU have to be responsible for YOU until they get there. YOU have to protect yourself and your family during that time between AT FIRST and RESPONSE time. During life and death that can be 5 seconds can be an eternity and in some cases, forever.
What are you going to do about this?
Maybe your a scrappy kind of person that is naturally tough. Can handle themselves. That’s great. If you are not, if boxing matches make you squeamish, you need to train a bit. You need to step up and be responsible for yourself. Luckily for you squeamish types it’s not all about kicks and punches and blood and sweaty gym time.
An ounce of prevention eh? Prevention is the first line of defense and it starts with situational awareness. Being aware of your surroundings, being diligent. Look around when you arrive or as you leave. Notice. Get your face out of that phone. Attackers don’t like eye contact and will most often pause or abort when they see that you noticed them. You “made” them. These critical seconds can save your life.
What you do next is just as important. Adjust your behavior and/or plans. Whether that means walking on other side of street or driving around the block or even going back to the store later. Getting to safety is the goal. Once they see that your not going to play and it would be an effort that is sometimes enough to dispel them as well.
But maybe it didn’t. Now what? Be calm. Easier said than done. Much has been written on the fight or flight response and you should check some out. You can start here for a good resource. Predators know how to smell fear and it will sometimes give them the extra courage. That’s why bully’s are so effective against the ones they can bully. Now fear will always come to you in times of danger, as it very well should, that’s it’s job. It is telling us “hey look out”, but it is such a strong emotion that it can easily take over due to the chemical reactions that occur in the body at the time. It’s job is actually over after we realize there is danger but the effects can remain for a while after. Unless you know what to do. Learning how to control that fear can be key. It can make us appear stronger and more confident than we feel at the moment or it can lend us advantages. Read about it. Learn about it. Fear is not a bad thing. Don’t be “fearless”. It does not make us tougher to get rid of it, it makes us stronger when we understand it and can control it.
Be suspicious. Don’t be so naive as to think you are someone special and no one would dare harm you. That kind of thinking is no bueno. If warning bells are going off listen to them! Learn how to listen to your little voice. Thomas Magnum had a little voice he listened to and it served him well. My little voice has for me as well. Learn how to say no. I like to give to the homeless or less fortunate than me but sometimes I get bad vibes and don’t, especially when it’s 11pm and they are standing in the shadows. I have nice ways to say no, and I have some not so nice ways to drive the point home. Get good at both, but even when you have to be firm, do not be mean or cruel, be direct. NO passive aggressive language, that is weak and they will pounce.
“To win without fighting is best” - Sun Tzu. Yes I agree, but now none of this worked or it all happened too fast and all of your maneuvers failed because they are intent on harming you. Now what? Remember, YOU are responsible for YOU at this moment. Your spacial advantage didn’t work and they are on you. None of your negotiations have worked and the time for talking is over and they are on you. Are you going to fight back? Are you willing? Do you know how? Really only the willingness needs to be there. In the end that’s all you need, is a willingness to sweep the leg, to do whats needed to walk away. Are you ready to walk hand in hand with the devil until that bride has been crossed?
Most readers of this blog are already interested in the martial arts of some nature. If you are not one of them this article is really for you. Hopefully I got your attention and you are thinking about this. We may not have created this crazy world but we have to live in it. If you are wondering what’s next learn a few moves. It could be anything - boxing, kung fu, mma, firearms. Talk to the person who shared this with you and get their opinion. You dont need to learn a whole system, just some basics if that’s all your willing to do. Learn from your brother, father, sister, uncle or the family scrapper. Just be willing and take responsibility for you. You must.
All of the points I made above have been written about extensively and the concepts are found in many schools. For the physical training seminars abound and DVD’s have been made ad nauseum. Dont be afraid of choosing the wrong one. Trust me when I say you’ll be able to spot Bullshido when you come across it. Find what works for YOU and you will be fine.
Peace and Safety to you and yours.