Be honest about your ability and your standard. If you are not as good, or as fit, or as tempered or as experienced as you should be, make the investment and place yourself before teachers of proven experience. Either that or be honest with yourself and your students about your ability, your knowledge and your lineage. There is great freedom in brevity. It doesn’t matter if a technique or an art (or an exponent for that mater) might not work in the street, who really cares at the end of the day, as long as you stipulate that in your manifesto. There is nothing nicer than doing ‘art’ simply for arts sake. If you kid yourself that you are better able than you actually are it might get you killed. When a live situation places your belief under scrutiny and you can’t make your martial art work at the most vital time, it might get your wife or your family killed.
Be honest with yourself about what a real attack actually is: it is terrifying and violent, it is explosive, it is unpredictable, it is savage and it does not abide by any rules. Often it follows you home or it turns up at your place of work and gets really personal. If you underestimate it, real violence can shatter you. Too many people in the martial arts grossly underestimate it. I speak to folk all the time who have stayed so long is safe systems that they have sanitised reality, they have stripped away all the limb-trembling uncertainty and the depressive terror that a real fight brings, and they teach defence techniques like dance moves, as though applying them for real is a walk in the park. A walk in the park it is not.
If you are teaching it as a self defence you have an obligation, an obligation, to qualify the potency of everything you sell as self defence, because someone’s life may one day rely on it.
Train in martial art and love what you do, partake in the sport, it is a great pastime and a solid discipline, but above all esle ‘know’ what you do, know its weaknesses and know its strengths, understand where it is lacking and fill the gaps. All you need to do here is be brutally frank with yourself and with your art. This is the age of CCTV, we have all seen numerous real street encounter on film, or outside the pub. Be honest: how would your art and you ability fit into those scenarios?
I watched a ferocious gang fight in a pub when I was fifteen years old and a purple belt in karate and I knew, I just innately knew that my art, my ability and my preparation at that time would not survive an encounter like that. It simply would not fit into it. And because I could be honest with myself I was able to change the way I trained. I still practiced traditional martial art because I loved what it gave me, I still dabbled in the sport (even though I was not very good at it) because it offered challenge, but I separated the self defence element, I isolated it, placed it in its own box and practised it as a different art.
And self defence definitely is a different art.
Once you are able to strip the wheat from the chaff and master the physical elements of self defence things get really exciting, then you can start to look at bigger game, the art of fighting without fighting, where you dissolve threat at the level of thought….
But that is another article for another day.
For your FREE 200 page best selling eBook – Watch My Back by Geoff Thompson – worth £10 follow the link; http://www.geoffthompson.com/newsletter/Joinnewsletter.asp