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false sense of security
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Learning Martial Arts: A False Sense Of Security
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Learning Martial Arts: A False Sense Of Security

A friend of mine related this story to me once. He was out walking late one night to buy stuff at a nearby convenience store. He was approached by a man from the dark side of the street. The thief demanded money from him and he was frozen on the spot. He reached for his pocket and gave the man all his cash. It was good that he was just carrying enough money for the stuff he needed from the store. This may seem like a pretty ordinary story. But you know what the catch is? He is a brown belt in Taekwondo.

The story shocked me more than usual because I know my friend is a pretty good martial artist. He is often dubbed as “talented” by his colleagues and superiors. What’s wrong with that story? In theory, he could have wasted the thief in no time because he clearly had no weapon with him. According to him, he didn’t know what to do. He knew how he could subdue such assault but he just didn’t know what to do at that moment.

This kind of scenario brings back the age-old debate of the false sense of security that learning martial arts give us. Does learning how to throw, punch, kick and counter be enough to defend yourself when that time comes? Does winning in the dojo or the gym enough to guarantee safety?

I am pretty sure that the stalwarts in martial arts will agree with me on this one – The gym is nothing compared to the streets. Practice will do you good in sparring but it will never be enough for a real life situation. What you need is mental training. In the gym, you are taught that to do a certain move, you need to remember some steps in order to complete a move. But in a highly tense situation, your mind will be clouded if you are not mentally strong. In simple terms, you lose whatever you have learned.

So how do you solve this problem? Train your mind. Remember that physical training is one thing and mental training is another. One can be very good with the moves and the technique but lack the mental preparedness to use in real combat. If you do succeed in training your mind and body at the same time, you can use your skills anytime you want to. But do not forget that not every battle should be fought with muscles and brawn. You also need to discern when you have to fight and when you just have to give.


Street Talk

Thimo  

That´s 100% true. I did Taekwondo for many years, but we never had a type of mental exercise in the school I went to. So I wasn´t even mentally "strong" enough to go through situations that are nothing compared to life or death situations, even though I was a pretty good athlete. I´m training now qi gong and taijiquan for about 5 years, and because of some parts that are in those systems, I´m mentally much healthier and "stronger" than I was before.

Reply
  about 5 years ago
akwb77  

Hi Agatha, great article. I feel sorry that your friend had to go through such an incident. We shouldn't have to put up with these types of incidents. First your friend did the right thing, he gave the money. Sounds submissive, but what is worth more the money or his life. Second, what was the reason behind your friend doing martial arts? Taekwondo in this case. Was it for self-defence or just sporting reasons etc.... Third, if your friend did Taekwondo for self-defence reasons, did his instruction include topics such as: awareness, force escalation, legislation, stress innoculation, post-incident management, proper defensive tactics etc... If it hasn't then he really isn't doing the right training for the right job. In the end it will come down to the practioner not being naive and finding the right instructor. This is not meant to be inflammatory towards your friend, but I find that many people are not clear about what they want, and so don't do the correct amount of due diligence. And in addition to Terry's comment, repetition is very necessary, as it is said: repetition is the mother of skill. But when it comes to, self-defence, you need to be mindful of what you're doing. What I mean is, you will react the way that you've trained to. If your training doesn't apply the proper principles to the complete picture, you will be overly focused in one area, which will make you vulnerable. Andrew...

Reply
  about 6 years ago

Good info here! I might add that your training should include repetition that will make your movements come from your subconscious mind - don't think, do.

Reply
  about 7 years ago
akwb77  

Hi Terry, in reply to your comment, repetition is very necessary, as it is said: repetition is the mother of skill. But when it comes to, self-defence, you need to be mindful of what you're doing. What I mean is, you will react the way that you've trained to. If your training doesn't apply the proper principles (awareness, presence, force escalation through the force continuum, legislation, stress innoculation, strategic & tactical procedures, post-incident management, proper defensive tactics etc...) to the complete picture, you will be overly focused in one area, which will make you vulnerable. Andrew...

Reply
  about 6 years ago
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