Martial Arts as War (MAW) and Martial Arts as Sport (MAS)—these are the two paradigms that, by and large, define the contemporary universe of the martial arts. Or so I have argued in previous essays. Now, it’s true, of course, that—as my own Master-Instructor observed to me in one of our countless conversations over this […]
In the present circumstances, we hear increasingly from conservative media pundits on the need for everyday patriots to “fight back.”
Some food for thought:
(1)These same pundits—and you know who they are: talk radio hosts, Fox News personalities, and prominent scribblers of prominent renowned publications—have had, in some instances, literally decades to deploy their immense resources in money, influence, and connections to organize real, meaningful, pushback against the aggressions of the left.
While they have undoubtedly had some effect in persuading some to turn from the dark side, the bottom line is that the leading voices associated with the conservative movement have done virtually nothing to resist the left’s advances.
Massive street demonstrations (think of what Glenn Beck alone was able to accomplish with the Tea Party rally in Washington D.C. years ago), including those underscoring the essential importance to liberty of the Second Amendment; boycotts of “Woke” corporations; the construction of alternative platforms to those of Big Tech; the construction of entertainment media as an alternative to Hollywood—these are just some of the courses of action where prominent conservatives could’ve led the way.
Outside of Beck’s efforts a decade back, nothing like what I suggest has occurred.
Instead, these same pundits who are now instructing the rest of us to “fight back” are “fighting back” along the same lines that they’ve been “fighting” for a long time: They call attention to the left’s outrages (which by now are all too well known), cry about the left’s double standards (which are also well known), and always, always refrain from supplying the millions and millions of Americans in their audiences with any direction, other than “vote Republican,” as to how they can genuinely fight back.
(2)Perhaps my last point needs qualification. There are conservative pundits (including many with Youtube channels and blogs who are lesser known) who insist that now is the time for conservatives and patriots to “stand up” and “speak out” in their everyday lives when in the presence of the unenlightened.
Whether at a family event or any other social gathering, let your voice be heard!
Unequivocally stated as such, this is potentially disastrous advice.
First of all, as Victor Frankl, the German-Jewish psychiatrist who, upon having spent years in concentration camps while losing his family to Nazi predations, spent the remainder of his life helping his patients (and the readers of his work) find meaning in suffering, once said: “When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.”
What this means for us is that, in most instances, particularly with that arrogant, ignorant leftist relative who we see every so often at family gatherings, we’re delusional to think that anything that we’re going to say is going to change such a person’s mind.
Hell, odds are much greater than not that even those who (despite being ignorant) are not arrogant will not be persuaded by anything that one has to say, regardless of how well-armed with facts, logic, and reason one may be.
As Jesus Himself commanded us: Do not throw your pearls before swine.
To Frankl’s point, we can control only ourselves. Yet this is a liberating insight, one that can secure for us tranquility of mind and spirit.
And peace of mind is infinitely more valuable than the time and frustration that promises to be spent upon the unpersuadable.
Secondly, if the mass rioting, looting, and devastation that engulfed cities across the country a couple of weeks back, and the equally massive capitulation on the part of elites to the lawless that ensued as a consequence of it, hasn’t sufficed to prove to conservatives that rational persuasion is not an option when dealing with those who only understand the language of violence, then nothing else will.
Writing as one who daily trains in violence for violence (under the instruction of Marine combat veterans, including a Lieutenant-Colonel and founder of the combat art of Warrior Flow), I can say without hesitation that violence is morally justified only in order to defend from imminent danger innocents, whether yourself, your loved ones, or any other people in your presence.
Yet it is precisely because the violence against those who would make of themselves enemies of the entire human race by jeopardizing innocents needs to be administered with ruthless intent, with “a feeling of constantly crushing the enemy, from first to last,” as the Japanese Samurai warrior Musashi put it, that it is to be avoided otherwise. Unlike police officers, who train to subdue criminal suspects, and practitioners of pugilistic sports who train to best competitors in pre-arranged contests, soldiers or warriors train to kill the enemy.
As my own masters repeatedly underscore—the entire philosophy of their system is predicated upon this—warriors needn’t have actually fought in war in order to be, or to become, warriors. Warriors are made. And as long as Warrior Flow students are being trained, as students of all World War II Close Quarter Combatives are trained, to think of self-defense in terms of war, as “war in microcosm,” to quote the legendary combat artist Bradley Steiner, they will train to be warriors and to see predators as enemies who they will reduce to prey.
This short exposition on the nature of true violence is critical, for it reinforces the need for the decent to minimize their odds of having to engage in it. In short, because an argument with the wrong idiot, besides robbing you of time that you will never regain, could escalate into a violent confrontation, it is best avoiding altogether.
Situational awareness is key to martial prowess. So too is practical wisdom. Yamamoto Tsunetomo, in Hagakure: The Book of the Samurai, is relevant here. The 18th century Samurai wrote: “To give a person an opinion one must first judge well whether that person is of the disposition to receive it or not.”
Nor is deception a vice when interacting with those who are potential adversaries. Sun Tzu, quite possibly the most ingenious military strategist of all time, knew that of which he spoke when he wrote 2500 years ago: “All warfare is based on deception.”
Be subtle. Don’t reveal your intention.
(3)So what are patriots to do at the moment? Until such time as those with the resources (including the resource of strategic and tactical savvy possessed by men like Robert O’Neill, the Navy Seal who dusted Osama bin Laden and who at the outset of the riots in Minneapolis asked his social media followers as to when “we” were going to “defend ourselves”) are ready to organize a counter-movement to meet the violent head on, the rest of us can take comfort in knowing that we have total control over the protection of ourselves and those close to us.
The world is and has always been dangerous. Train. Train in the use of weaponry, conventional weaponry like guns and knives, yes, but also any number of things within reach of your fingertips at this very moment that can be transformed, under the right circumstances, immediately into lethal weapons.
Most importantly, train your natural weapons, your body parts. Man or woman, young or not so young, you can make yourself into a deadly weapon by cultivating your body, mind, and spirit (Check out here and here, if you’re interested).
Be civil, respectful, unassuming. Be as gentle as doves. However, as Christ was quick to add, we must as well be as wise as serpents, for the good co-exist in a world of wolves.
“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”—Victor Frankl