The failure of your self preservation
delusions, deceptions and dangers of self defence industry
In the most purist sense the ability to defend ones self from violent and deadly attack is perhaps the most important act that one could under take. Whether it is in promoting good health so that ones immune system can fight back an infection or if it is in the throes of fending of another person who seeks to end your life in the most primitive of ways.
It seems quite logical and rationale that this should be so important and yet despite the many fears we have of our own mortality and the millions spent daily on life extending cure all’s. Ones investment in themselves seems to extend only to the most passive and self deceptive means. Silver bullet pills and popular diets come and go with the brilliance of a comet only to ever return under a different guise. Yet after they pass they are often scoffed and derided as being trickery or flawed. Yet they continue to have so many advocates for a time and sadly often after. These brilliant schemes though short lived always over shadow the tried and true grinding truths of hard work in smart exertion and avoidance of such nasties as alcohol, tobacco and so on. Managed with the moderation of a balanced and adaptive diet to your daily needs. Knowledge that is for the most part universal and historically consistent but still the allure of trendy eating plans and pills grabs the attention of those who lack the dedication or perhaps desire the quick fix now.
Just as the diet and health industry has its fads and trends so to does the self defence and martial arts realm. Whether it has gone from silk pajama wearing men promising death touches, the jeet kune do progeny of Bruce Lee, karate grand masters, 1980s ninjas to the military fatigues wearing ‘reality experts’. The promises remain the same, the egos are just as bloated and the deception always as apparent.
Found within the realms of defence from a savage predator one can observe a confused and terribly shameful industry of ignorant instructors indulging in the very profitable market place of suckers who naively assume expertise from any one with decent marketing. The need to find a generic and simple approach is none more apparent than in this realm. The ability to promise a cookie cut method to so many different individuals for imagined and perceived threats has a great appeal to those in the general populace who trust absolutely these self proclaimed experts. It is found in very few other industries such a trust in the service providers. IN no other realm of consumerism do individuals trust so absolutely the claims of those who sell them a product or service.
Perhaps it is in the nature of what they sell. The fact that fortunately most who come through the academies doors will never have to test the supposed skills that they have learned. Furthermore should they ever have to defend themselves with what ever bunk that they so turned to these experts for guidance on, it would be that they failed themselves. Never once is it considered that the system or those teaching it were at fault for instilling such flawed and out right dangerous methods. Instead as is the reality, the individual failed themselves. This is the honest truth. They not only failed themselves in those dire moments of desperate violence, but failed themselves when they threw time, trust, energy and capital at these harbingers of falsehoods.
For most people violence is a depiction found only in fiction. It is not something that they encounter often and when they have it is usually from the perspective of being a helpless voyeur. For what ever reason many are drawn to training in a martial art or self defence academy. Here they are being proactive in the pursuit of their own self defence. The ability to navigate what is ‘real’ and what is not has long been taught out of most people, instead a conditioned naivety has developed as they come through the ranks of society thanks to out sourced dependance and so much knowledge waste in formal education. We have a culture which insulates itself for the most part from the suffering of others and when one does suffer it themselves, it is usually to late. It is a culture so filled with education and inexperienced experts that it is hard to ascertain truth and reality, points of reference for the innocent is hard to grasp to when they seek a less than easy to recognise truth.
The appeal of well marketed academies is great, they have nice advertising, friendly demenours and provide a social outlet for often time poor individuals. The intial objective for most in learning how to defend themselves is lost amongst the luster of these many other perks. And yet that underlying reason for going to such a place in the first place is lost and buried beneath a deception of willingness and outright betrayal.
Often it is with some what intriguing smugness that many ‘experts’ from the self defence community who despite their fascinations and fan like adulation for combat sports will deride the relevance of lessons learned from them. The practitioners and experienced combatants of these ‘sports’ are dismissed as being unimportant athletes who have no ability or skills when it comes to ‘street fighting’. Despite the very origins of sport being a means by which warriors can train and hone skills for the battle field or the fact that the ancients so valued combat sport virtues that these athletes were utilised to train their armies. Armies which fought very real up close and personal skirmishes with melees so frightening and terrible that not even Hollywood in its most orgasmic of depictions could come close to matching . Yet despite this learned experiences of these ancients and more recent war fighters, the modern ‘expert’ so readily dismisses the valuable lessons learned from the competitive arena as though a sport has no cross over to reality. Perhaps the motor sport industry should remove itself from the technological drip down it has on the production car market place.
Because of clever marketing and a general popular belief in class room settings and the trust in those who display confidence. Many seek out institutions of mass deception. Embarrassing this dangerous deceit with very little consideration for themselves. It is perhaps because a silver bullet is often offered all too easily and an easy to digest system and methodology is given so as to secure ones world view while never forcing them to step outside of a comfort zone. The terrible news is this, violence is all about being outside of any comfort zone. The swallowing of bitter and bloody truths is the first step one needs in realising a truly battle effective mindset. Telling a meek minded bully prey person that they may some day need to force a pencil into a persons eye is not exactly friendly and yet this harsh reality is one that they perhaps should have to consider in very dire seconds of life or death struggle. Because not only would such an action potentially save their own lives, but also those of a loved one. The well marketed answer is usually some what sanitised and very consumer friendly however and despite the camouflage pants and proclamations of an inexperienced instructor, the violence that they seem to understand is extremely virginal.
Found within most academies of self defence is an almost cult like culture. Where new practitioners are introduced to this world hierarchical world which proclaims to have very specific answers. Soon the recently devout learns that only their methods are the most effective and that other approaches are pariah or extremely flawed. It is usually then often with such early followers that exuberance and enthusiasm is at its most highest and any doubt is completely non existent as the sense of community and culture comforts them. Often when some one leaves this clique they are frowned upon and condemned and those who wish to train else where are told that they risk either sharing the clubs secrets or learning inferior techniques or methods which may pervert the very important system that they are so apart of.
This cult structure has a great appeal to many people as it provides a platform, consistency and a safety network. Like all cults, not all are theological, they hold an appeal to people who are lacking social consistency, family stability or who generally find such a community comforting. This is fine. This is not the issue. The issue is that this cosy and comfortable environment only bleeds individuals of wealth and tares their trust as they learn bunk. Bunk which will either harm them directly or indirectly. Regardless it will only in time damage them. Just like in more traditional cults it is found within those who eventually do leave the group a dire realisation may emerge at the betrayal and the dangers of such a network. Those who were once so believing and faithful can suddenly with some reality, repugnant rejection of all that was offered. For those it is with at the very least mere frustration that they may feel, or in some cases this realisation may have come at greater expense.
The very idea of rankings and certifications based upon some arbitration or standards so devised by the creators of these systems is in itself a key indicator to deception. One should not feel the need to have a ego building external standard by which to judge themselves. A standard which costs mind you each time you go for a grading. These artificial hierarchies insulate the individuals from reality and create an atmosphere so removed from anything helpful to the process of self preservation that it is in many ways despicable. If some one feels the need to chase after belts or glass covered wall paper then they are so far removed from the objectiveness of self defence or fighting, instead they are merely inflating their ego so removing themselves from actually being able to some day confront conflict or vile challenges. Some of the most pathetic fighters ever encountered were those so proud of their black belts or those who collected certificates from various systems. Their ability to fight was akin to a Harry Potter fans talents at conjuring up very real magic. Deluded illusions of ego serving fiction.
The answer is not so simple that an instructor or training institute should have sporting experience in the combative arena. This is far to absolute. Not all combat sport centers cater for self defence nor even consider it. But the truth is that sports were created to train and emulate combat. Over time they lost their way but combative sports especially give the practitioner and honest appreciation for human movement under varying stresses. The knowledge gained from working AGAINST different body types and temperament of peoples is invaluable. Not to mention simply feeling a resisting and aggressive body. Regardless of the combative sports rules or variations. The virginal insulation provided by supposed to dangerous self defence schools is quite frighteningly lacking when it comes to actual ‘hands on’ experience and concept. Some one who has been in an actual fight or who competes usually has an eye for another persons movement, a feel for their motives and the ability to usurp this attackers intention. They also have the ability to observe BS. Which is why most who actually do or have done look down on so called self defence experts and academies. And why these experts and schools have such a voyeurs fascination and intrigue with combat sports all the while deriding them. For the most part these experts are like pre pubescent perverts obsessed with pornography, but because of this fascination with sex they feel that they are actual experts enough to teach others on it. Despite never having ever come close to feeling or experiencing the act in the flesh.
Obsession with pre conceived constructs as to what a street fighter is or wants is often self defeating. It builds up a mythic illusion of a stereotype. It over looks the deceptive charms of many really violent predators. Awareness and understanding of very real violence and those people who have little moral regard for your safety is something that very few truly understand. This is a harder area to gauge. Generally however those who have stood the line against very ugly natured human beings can tell when another is pretending to have walked the walk. Ideas and notions of a non aggressions stance or an over obsession with body language is sometimes comical and truly shows a naive under standing of situations. Though it seems superficially relevant and clever many of these stances and postures are quite dangerous and self defeating to the individual being taught them. It comes with experience and under standing the awareness needed to avoid and gauge potential threats and attacks. But unfortunately for societies most physically weak these attacks will come suddenly and without warning and this is where real combat born conditioning and training will help ready one for terrible and desperate violence.
In the end it is up to the individual to determine what it is that they want. If they wish to have some fun and interact with new and usually very friendly people then so be it. If they wish to train comfortable and never actual address the supposed stated objectives then this too is fine. But for what ever reason, those honest few who actually seek a very bitter truth, then it should be realised that nearly always you are being deceived. It is with some sad ignorance that this should befall the individual but we live in an age where despite clever marketing and boastful promises, information literally bathes us from every direction. Common sense dictates that you can only learn some thing from those so experienced. If the instructors claim something, like everything in life, claims are easy to make. Verify. It is your wealth, time and trust which is on the line. Check on them. If they claim to be a champion in combat and yet they are google proof then chances are they are lying. If their only experience is claims at being a door man, or training x amount of years in something then consider this heavily. As neither relate to actual experience. And if they say that they have had numerous street fights then also consider this as well. We are fortunate that we have very real combative arenas. Certainly they are not like the battle field or a balls in ‘street fight’ but the truths found inside a cage against a very violent and trained person will always guarantee you a certain knowledge should you confront an arrogant rogue any where else. Further more by doing something so public like this one can validate themselves before the world in a most raw way.
If however one does seek a mere social gathering, a place to validate oneself among others then perhaps there are more subjective outlets for this. Not a place which wraps itself in the importance of self defence. This self defeating mis use of initial purpose is quite distracting and volatile in its deception. Objectivity needs to be maintained and this sort of honesty is very hard to find in most individuals. But if one is honest with their intentions whether that being as the learner or the educator, then so shall they maintain this focused purpose. Otherwise it is merely a collective circle jerk where so much is wasted and spilled all the while the bad guys win.
For those experienced who do end up coaching those who have been damaged by the ignorantly dangerous methods of these con artists it is not only frustrating it is a very cynical process. The damage done to these people is far reaching. Not only do taken for granted methods or techniques some times create injuries but also instil counter productive instincts and reactions. They most often inject flawed and failed concepts and mis conceptions into the former students minds. So while seemingly assuming that some training is better than none is beneficial it is all too often quite the reverse.
The reality is that fighting and violent struggle is like any competitive en devour, the best prepared and most skilled usually wins. Certainly variables come into play but the odds do tend to favour those who are best readied for the realities, both expected and those always unexpected. However little you pay to your personal health and self protection will often come to light when the nastiest of scenarios happen to escalate, hopefully this never happens. In any case the amount of time dedicated is up to you. The goal is to ensure that what ever time you do dedicate is not wasted with self important wastage geared towards abstract illusions or esoteric gradings based upon arbitrary standards that often have very little relevance to battle. This is not meant to be a hobby nor a social group. It is battlefield preparation should you ever need it. It is about instilling mindset and training sets so that you can ply them as often as possible. Never fail to realise that those most vulnerable already start from a disadvantaged position, this is why they are preyed upon in the first place. Violence is not an egalitarian matter. Horrible and savage people care little for fair play or equality, they thrive on those weaker so you must train with this in mind. This is confronting and uncomfortable to do, which is why its unpopular and uncommon.
Always assume that your foes objective is to take your life and if they are present, the life of your loved ones. Whether these are uniformed agents of the State or lowly chemically dependent thugs. If they are initiating violence most likely the outcome is determined by the one who is most violent. This is where you must reach deep into your character and bring up dignified indignation. You can not achieve this training by wasting your time adoring a person who themselves has never faced or over come real violence. Whether this happens to be real world or sporting. People do not know what they do not know, so why abide by some one who is both arrogant and ignorant.
It is your person. It is for you to do with it as you please. Make sure that you consider who you invest your trust in. It is seemingly simple to do. Yet it is extremely uncommon. The goal of self preservation under the desperate conditions of real world violence are in the end ultimately lost to so many other subjective charms. And despite what ever initial and naive intentions one may have commenced with, the individual all too often tends to fail with realising it. And for those who so cowardly make boasts, steel trust and with a pathetic arrogance take others money and so willingly teach them from your bastions of ignorance. Shame on you. Shame on you for so many reasons. One day, some one who really trusted you will suffer terribly because they wasted their time and energy so that your ego and wallet may swell. Shame on you all.
Kym Robinson, June 2015