Self Defence: Deciding in Advance
Every decision we make has enormous power. One single decision can change our lives, taking us down an entirely new path. I’m not just talking about words here. We have all muttered, “from now on things will be different”, only a week later to find ourselves having gone back to our original habits. I’m talking about true, deep-seeded decisions. The word ‘decision’ comes from the Latin word ‘de’ meaning ‘from’, and ‘caedere’ meaning ‘to cut’. In other words, committing to achieving a result, and then cutting yourself off from any other possibility.
Why People Procrastinate
In our moments of decision, our destiny is literally being shaped. Because of this, many people fear to make a decision for fear of making the wrong decision. This leads to procrastination, which gets you nowhere. They live hoping that at some point, their destiny will reveal itself to them somehow, enabling them to make the perfect decision. Have there been important decisions you have put off for fear of making the wrong decision? The worst decision you can make is to decide to be indecisive. To idly sit and go nowhere for fear of taking the wrong path means you are living your life in limbo, waiting for something that will never come. We can only make sound decisions with sound information. Therefore, it is far better to make a decision, any decision, and act upon it. Even if it leads you down the wrong path, you will soon come to realise this and you may turn around by making a new decision. So don’t procrastinate, make a decision…today.
A Clouded Vision Leads To Indecision
The more specific our vision for our future, the easier the decision making process becomes. The problem is, most people fear visualising their future because they fear failure. Lets take a karate example. A person would ‘like’ to become a black belt but something inside them says, “You’re not good enough”. So they simply ‘go along for the ride’ to see where it takes them. People who are along for the ride in life are scared of failure, therefore afraid to commit and therefore, rarely achieve their goals. This then reinforces their lack of self-belief and carries through to their next endeavour…a deadly cycle begins. In contrast, the person who really decides to become a black belt and visualizes themselves wearing one will likely commit and focus during training. This will result in their goals being achieved and a positive cycle of self-belief begins. In the movie, ‘The Karate Kid’, Mr. Miyagi explains this to Daniel by saying, “Either karate yes, or karate no. If karate guesses so, then squish just like grape.”
Making A Decision Is Paramount For Self-Defence
The topic of self-defense and decision – making was the catalyst for this article but I felt it necessary to first consolidate the importance of true decision-making, else this article might fall somewhat short. Most people in karate have pondered at some point what might happen if they were to find themselves in a real-life self-defense situation. The question that runs predominantly through their mind is ‘Will my techniques hold up and disable an attacker?’ An equally important question to ask is, ‘Will my belief system, morals and values hold up?’ Let me use an example, in most cases of rape, the woman admitted she knew what she should do to defend herself, but refrained for fear of hurting her attacker. It may mystify you to read this, but when faced with the possibility of having to actually cause irreparable damage to another human being, we can all be hesitant. And in self- defense, hesitation can be critical.
In a Self-Defence article, Martial Arts Instructor Jason Stanley, wrote, “Have you ever stopped to consider how your beliefs can determine your fate in a self-defense situation? Have you ever wondered what you believe to be morally right or wrong might be the difference in you being attacked and injured or staying safe? And making a decision about your beliefs before you’re threatened might be the most important choice you’ll ever make?” It’s a compelling question, could our beliefs system, not our training, be the weak link in self-defense capability?
There Is No Half-Defence
When it comes to self-defence, there is no half defense. It’s not a tournament, where you can be down by 2 or 3 points then make a comeback and snatch victory in the dying seconds. You can ill afford to be hit once. There is no grey area, its black or white, act, or procrastinate, you or them, fully commit or, as Mr. Miyagi so eloquently puts it, “squish just like grape”.
There Are Many Complicated Emotions
Remember, this is a serious topic and many of you may feel my points are overkill. But if you read statistics on violence you soon come to realize that when push comes to shove, our emotions, moral and religious beliefs can easily suspend our actions, either briefly or all together. I can assure you this is not overkill.
For animals, it’s simplistic. An animal does not stop to consider, “Should I defend myself?” But ironically for us and our highly develop intellect, we can become frightfully good at ‘not choosing’. Our advanced mindset likes us to weigh up all the pros and cons before acting. Then there are the moral implications and the ‘is this really happening?’ emotional response. This takes time, and time is not a luxury we can afford. We are not buying a house; it is really simple – them or you!
Author Jason Stanley came up with the following questions. Not wishing to stoke uncomfortable images, but visualize each one then answer each with a TRUE or FALSE.
- I feel comfortable hurting somebody else in order to survive
- I would quite happily knock someone out during a threatening confrontation
- I feel comfortable kicking someone in the groin with all my effort to prevent them from hurting me, or someone I care about
- I feel comfortable about putting my finger in someone’s eye in order to protect myself.
- I would do whatever it takes to save my life, even if that meant taking a person’s life, where it absolutely necessary.
If you answered ALL TRUE then that’s a great start. In fact, if you answered ALL FALSE, that too is excellent, at least you know where you stand and when the time comes, you know how you will act.
I’ll Shoot You First And Pray For You Later
The questions above are similar questions that police officers are faced with. There are many devout Christians in the police force. People who live by the 10 commandments and believe with their whole heart that it is not right to harm another human being. There are also many pacifists and people who do not endear to violence. Yet they all understand, have made an advanced decision and even visualised what they would do if faced with the prospect of protecting the life of another. For a Christian, they can decide in advance, “If you try to hurt me or my family, I’ll shoot you first and pray for you later.” The point is not to argue what seems right or wrong, just know where you stand.
Its Not An If Question, It’s A How Question
If you answered the test with a mixed bag of TRUE and FALSE, or had great difficulty visualising the TRUE scenarios, it implies you’re still yet to really decide if you will protect yourself when seriously threatened. For you, your best method of self-defence is the ‘flight, not fight’ option but this is not always available. So it is something you need to get your head around. The reason this is such a complex issue is that many people are willing to protect themselves to a point, a kick in the groin for example. But there is a line, that when standing at some would have great difficulty crossing. The real decision is not IF you’ll use your skills, it’s a matter of HOW you will use them. When faced with a real-life confrontation, will you fight fire with water, or fire with fire? And how much fire?
By Adrian Cowley