The Difference Between Form, Sport & Self-Defense, Part 1

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In our class, we are passionate about applying Filipino Martial Arts in an effective self-defense ability and skill. Self-defense is not easy. If you have ever been in a situation where you've had to defend yourself, or if you an imagine yourself in being in such a position, you may realize your biggest obstacle in defending yourself is centered on one thing: the "unknown", or as we call it in the Akrish Academy of Self-Defense "randomness".

Millions of thoughts run through you mind. And yes, I have been in this situation a couple of different times. Thankfully, both times, I never had to throw a punch. But I do believe that both times I got out of these situations because I was ready, and the assailant knew by looking into my eyes that I was not an easy target. I was not going to go down without a fight. And if you know me well, you would know, that it wouldn't be an easy fight either. This is not a threat of any kind or me trying to sound tough on this blog. It's just a statement of who I am as a person. That I'm quite fierce when it comes to my life and what I want from my life. And no criminal is going to take that away from me.

In hindsight, this probably worked because each circumstance that I was in, it seems the object of the altercation was intimidation, oppression and control. They didn't want my wallet, or my car. They wanted to control me, as a human being. Control my emotions, and my actions being the result of those emotions.

Getting back on point, the "unknown" or as David and I call it, randomness, is the obstacle. You don't know what's going to come at you. It could be harsh words--an initial attack on your emotions, or perhaps not a single word at all. Both extremes were the realities in my two cases. You don't know if they have a weapon, and if they do, what it is or when they will present it to you. You don't know how they are going to close the distance between you and them. And sometimes, you don't even know if they truly mean to harm you.

In sharing one of my stories with a family member, I was told that most people, in the beginning stages of an altercation, are in denial. They don't believe it's happening to them. They didn't believe it could happen to them, until it did. I believe this, as I also experienced this in one of my confrontations, and now that I think about it, it was the first altercation of the two. This was with a "gentlemen" who didn't say a single word to me. He just stared at me in an aggressive stance, about 40 feet from me, waiting for me to make the first move. For whatever reason, maybe it was because of my training, or because I tend to be more of an introvert, or I'm a double Pieces with Cancer rising, or because I've been blessed with strong intuition... I didn't say a single thing. I just starred back.

And upon looking at him, I realized I could make no discerning identification of any of his characteristics. He had masked as much of who he was very carefully and deceitfully. I noticed, he had black leather gloves on, a long sleeve sweatshirt with a turtle neck underneath that went up to his jaw. He had a ball cap on, covering up his hair, he had big black glasses (despite being in a very shaded area), a big black bushy mustache to the point I couldn't see the shape of his lips, much less if they were dry and cracked or not. Upon really looking at him, I realized I couldn't really tell if he was really a he!

Once I realized that he was attempting to make it so that I couldn't identify him, as he just remained a statue, I came to accept that he did want to harm me. That's when the answer to my central internal question, "Is this happening? Does he want to hurt me?" stopped in my head. I can remember, that answer was literally like a ping pong ball. It said, "He does, he doesn't, he does, he doesn't, he does, he doesn't..." and went on like that for what seemed like an hour, but was more likely just a minute.

This is RANDOMNESS. And in studying a martial arts, David and I ask ourselves, how do we prepare for this randomness??? How do we deal with the reality that the world is getting progressively more dangerous, and that anything can happen to us at any point in our life? Do we fight it? Prepare for it? Ignore it? Succumb to it when confronted? I come to the conclusion that the only question is, to what degree to you value your life and the life of your family?

Lots and lots and lots of people think that by learning how to punch and kick, even if you've only done such moves in the air, you've done your duty to yourself. This is what I am calling "form". Bruce Lee called it the "classical mess". But I ask you, have you really taken the necessary precautions to preserve your life?

Stay tuned for part 2 of this article.

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