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The Feeling "I Can Handle Myself" May Get You Killed

Alert: You may not like today's post. (Just warning you.)

But, then again, you may. (I hope you do.)


I have a confession to make: If I were embroiled today in a life-peservation/self-protection/self-defense situation, I'm not sure how well I'd make out. Even though I've been in a lot of fights in my life (well over forty [outside the dojo]), and even though I've trained in multiple martial arts disciplines for more than forty years, that doesn't mean I'll come out on top when attacked.

Despite what you may think, humans are easy to kill. If someone has decided to kill you, that person has more than just a small chance of succeeding.

Quite frankly, I don't call myself a martial artist anymore. Or a boxer, or a wrestler, or a shooter. I am none of those things. I'm just a human being; and, as a human being, I have significant, perhaps severe, weaknesses that make me very vulnerable to an attack by a person intent on harming me. Even though I study violence, I'm not violent by nature. Sure, I approach life combatively, meaning, I attack my life and I engage in it whole-heartedly, but I never set out with the intent of harming another person. I love living, and (again, quite frankly) I just want to live in peace, love and serve God, expand who I am, pursue my dreams, and empty myself into those around me.

Yes, I've trained against knife attacks. Yes, I've trained against pistol attacks. And, yes, I've trained against blunt instrument attacks. But that doesn't mean I'll fair well should someone decide to stab or shoot me or hit me over the head with a bat. Will I survive? I trust I will, but I know I may suffer injuries that may plague me the rest of my life. And they won't just be physical either. Being assaulted by someone is absolutely horrible. The nightmares that follow...horrible. The symptoms of PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) that burst forth at inopportune times and for no apparent reason...horrible. The physical and emotional pain, the impaired mobility. All of it is (or will be) horrible. I write of this from personal experience.

With all this in mind, my suggestion to you is quite simple (notice I didn't write "easy"): Do whatever you can to not be there. In the training I offer those around me, this is our Prime Directive.

Learn how to push people away (who get too close) and to create distance. Learn to sprint (as though you were running from a saber-toothed tiger). And train to deal with things, like mobs and armed attackers, in case you ever find yourself in a situation you didn't see coming. Believe me, such things can happen to even the most situationally adept among us.

The feeling of "I can handle myself" is arrogant. And it may get you killed. Not so much from lack of fighting skill, but from lack of humility. The humble man (or woman) has no desire to engage with an assailant. Thus, he will do everything he can to not put himself in compromising places, situations, or positions.

Every day, when I'm out and about, I pay very close attention to what's going on around me. For those familiar with Cooper's Color Codes of Awareness, the moment I step outside (any building), I'm on orange alert. I also carry pepper gel with me IN MY HAND, and I do so AT ALL TIMES . A few young toughs (badderrières) may say, "What a pansy." I don't care. Pansy or not, I do everything I can to steer clear of compromising situations and keep at bay (through the ways in which I cary myself) those considering doing me harm. I keep in the forefront of my mind "The Three Laws of Stupid," which read as follows:

  1. Don't go to stupid places...

  2. At stupid times...

  3. With stupid people (or where stupid people mill about with nothing worthwhile to do).

That's one of the reasons you'll never see me at a Circle K at 2am. Why? Well, first of all, because I'm usually in bed by 830pm; but, for the purposes of this post, because that would constitute a trifecta of stupidity. Yes, it's quite true, ladies and gentlemen: I can choose to behave less stupidly today than I did yesterday. (How's that for a refrigerator magnet?)

For those of you who may have been offended by the bluntness or crassness of this post, my apologies. I care about all of you, and I want all of you to be able to live long, happy lives. Helping you do just that is a part of why I exist on this planet. As such, I cannot help but speak (or write) plainly of what I know and to do so from a place of deep love for you.

God's peace, dear friends...



IKIGAI Weekly Blog Schedule (per The Training Trinity):

Mondays: Meditative Prayer

Wednesdays: Holistic Discipline

Fridays: Martial Arts Practice


The Life You Were Born to Live

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