I keep having to answer the same question from people who don’t understand my fascination with self-defence, risk awareness, emergency planning, etc. Why I’m wasting all this time and effort on “stuff I never use”?

To date, I have explained myself using the fire extinguisher analogy. I spend money on fire extinguishers hoping that they will rust and have to be thrown out having never done anything but accumulate dust. I don’t want to have a house fire to “justify” my investment. I know full well that if I ever need them and I don’t have them, I shall be a very sorry rabbit indeed.

As explanations go, it works reasonably well. It gives people an answer they can relate to. It is only a very small part of the truth, though, and it really doesn’t do the field of self-defence any justice.

One of the things I’ve noticed about good self-defence is that it crosses over into most aspects of my life. For instance:

  • Good “situational awareness” is mindfulness, not paranoia. It’s paying attention and being in the moment. You notice potential dangers, but you also notice the staggering variety and beauty of your surrounding. Plus, you notice how utterly ludicrous people often are.
  • “Limbic system management” (aka managing monkey traps) can make human interactions infinitely less stressful. It can also remove most of the unnecessary drama from your life.
  • Realistic “risk assessments” and “emergency planning” not only help keep you safe, but they can reduce anxiety and increase your options.
  • An awareness of basic human psychology and warning signs can help avoid muggers and rapists, but also trouble partners, friends, employers/employees/customers, etc.
  • “Critical thinking”… hell, I think it’s tragic that it’s become A Thing, because it helps with everything. Making major life decisions. Voting. Buying cereals.
  • Learning to manage adrenaline dumps helps with everything that can cause one: job interviews, exams, interpersonal conflict, dating, etc.
  • Learning to act respectfully towards self and others is probably one of life’s major sources of health, wealth, and happiness.

..and that’s before we ever get to smacking people, which, aside from being fun if you’re that way inclined, also crosses over:

  • Good structure and power generation help with all manners of physical tasks. Not only they can make the work easier, but they can keep your body safe from injuries.
  • Break falls. ’nuff said.
  • Learning how to learn physical skills can be life-changing, particularly for those (like me) who absolutely have no aptitude for it so tended to avoid it growing up. Although it’s an uphill struggle, it transfers over to all kinds of physical endeavours.

And the list could go on indefinitely.

It seems sad to me that so many people don’t see any of this, but I guess it’s inevitable. There is a lot of poor self-defence around, which either does not cross over or, if it does, it can make your life worse. There is nothing useful about paranoia, hostility, or poor structure. Bad attitudes can cause you to get into bad situations, which can convince you of the validity of said attitudes, in a horrid self-reinforcing downward spiral. Injuries are not life-enhancing.

I wonder if that could be used as a measuring stick of good vs. bad self-defence: what is it doing to my life as a whole?



One thought on “Crossovers.

  1. Excellent blogpost as always. If martial arts would ground itself in the items that you mention, they would imo be very useful. However, the opposite is true in my experience. For some reason, most seem to not want to involve the things you mention. Instead they are exercises in dysfunction to suit their individual narratives which seems to me is business small or large is bad, profit seeking of any kind is bad (but not their profit seeking and their advertising which if not theirs is brain cancer!) and we need to make it spiritual in order to spread that spirituality around the world so that it changes the world to work exactly as it should work (ie the way they want it to work which every spiritual person has a different opinion on). The amount of force that is used and type of attacks used are just about all used to re-enforce the perception that the moves of the art in question work indisputably and the teacher/grand master is the next Messiah.

    I used to really love all these traditions but I see most people can’t outgrow them (based on my experience and participating/viewing various martial art forums) and let them expand their art and knowledge to make it better and more practical or at least put it into the right context to be useful (based on how disputes/crimes/assaults happen which should be readily available now if you make an effort to research it a bit).

    Thank you for your writngs!


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