We all have a glorified notion of “self-defense”, from “Karate Kid” to Charles Bronson, Bruce Lee to Clint Eastwood.
We all have a glorified notion of “self-defense”, from “Karate Kid” to Charles Bronson, Bruce Lee to Clint Eastwood. A pack of thugs comes into the drug store, the local tough guy accosts the pretty girl at the bar, the high school bully picks on the new kid at school. The movies would have us believe that we can see the situation from 10,000 feet above, that we can train to protect ourselves or others through physical exercise and martial arts techniques.
In reality, protecting yourself comes down to a lot more than BJJ techniques. We think it’s rare or infrequent that we find ourselves in actual self-defense situations, yet for me, I find myself or see others in need of self-defense on a daily basis. It doesn’t come in the form of an oversized meathead in an Affliction t-shirt. It comes in much less intimidating forms, yet they are every bit as dangerous.
Getting into the car with a drunk friend driving. Surrounding yourself with negative people who need company. Staying in abusive relationships. Not listening to my ego and the BS it spews at me. Staying positive, eating nutritious foods, not overspending. Personally I am in the fight for my life on a moment to moment basis!
The other day I heard the story of a guy who recently got engaged. His bride to be sounds more lethal then Fedor! She said yes to his proposal but won’t accept the ring because the diamond isnt big enough (it’s a family heirloom from his grandmother!) and she refuses to sign a prenuptial (his family is very wealthy–she is fine with him having his inheritance but she has every right to his families’ business according to her. They have been together for 6 months). I mean if we were watching this in a movie, you would be covering your eyes and shaking your head wanting the poor guy to run away right?
Or my friend who is engaged to a great girl and got a call from an ex-fling who wanted to meet him for coffee to “catch up”. Then it was, “why don’t we grab a drink at my hotel”. Next, “I ordered room service, come up and lets watch a movie”. Maybe it’s not so easy to see when you are right there in it, but the affects of that situation would probably do way more damage then getting head kicked by Mirko CroCop!
I had a friend last year who went to a concert at Red Rocks and gave his “friend” a ride home from the concert. When they got routinely pulled over leaving the ampitheatre the “friend” stashed his bag of drugs in the back seat pocket. A year later the guy I know was still dealing with the legal fall out from that. Some “friend” he had, huh?
Self defense isn’t only about being able to win a one-on-one fight in the parking lot. Self defense is about keeping yourself healthy in your body and mind. What is it you imagine yourself to be? Do you have a personal set of principles that guide you? If you have that, if you create that for yourself…then defending your “self” becomes like following the rules of a game. Each situation is either part of “your” game, or it’s a foul.
I was watching that show “cheaters” the other night. The guy who got busted cheating on his wife gave an entertaining exit interview “I cheat. It’s what I do. I meet chicks and I bang them.” As if he had no control what so ever of his actions, and the carnage he left wherever he wandered. The crazy thing was the woman left him, but they fast forwarded one year later and she was back with him. Crazy right?
You don’t just have or not have “honor”. It isn’t something we are born with. We gain it and lose it with each and every one of our actions and how it fits into our own personal code of ethics.
The wonderful thing is this, your “persona” is what you choose to show. Your actions create what and who you are, it isn’t something preordained, you have the ability to control it. If you want to be considered an artist, do art every day. If you want to be a musician, study music everyday. You want to be a Black Belt at Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, its simple, all you have to do is do BJJ everyday.
Define your ideal “self” and then do the things that support that definition. Self-Defense is protecting your “self” against people or situations that don’t support your principles, they have to be contained or avoided. These are the things that will bring us down faster and harder then a hip throw from Brian Olsen!
P.S. Here is a secret that my business partner shared with me. When dealing with difficult people, let your actions precede your feelings. It has worked wonders for me! Say good morning with a real smile on your face to the person you least want to see on Monday morning at work, bring flowers and give a big hug to the mother in-law that drives you nuts, you get the picture, give it a try!
P.P.S. I heard Prof Easton say…”Watch your emotions, they will influence your actions. Watch your actions they will become your character. Watch your character that is who you are”