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 […]
Last year, 2020, is a year that deserves to remain forever nameless.
That being said, from its hardships—which, being, as they were, the spawn of human vice, were really outrages—we learned, up close, interpersonally, in real time, more about the machinations of fear than we would have been able to learn otherwise.
The lengths to which countless numbers of our fellow human beings went (and, in some instances, continue to go) to avoid contracting a virus which, even according to the official (which is to say, wildly inaccurate) numbers, has a survival rate as low as 99.5% (!) revealed to all with eyes to see the extent to which the Spirit of Fear permeates the very marrow of their bones.
Everyone possesses fear. In and of itself, not only is there nothing problematic about this, but fear, when managed, is good, for it alerts us to dangers and maximizes our odds of protecting ourselves from harm. The problem, though, lies not in the possession of fear, but in the possession by it. It’s obvious that the Spirit of Fear is present when it dictates the every move of those whose lives it dominates.
The Spirit of Fear saps the last remnants of rationality, forcing its captives to die by the proverbial thousand cuts as they inexhaustibly aim to dodge threats of their own imagination.
The Spirit of Fear is a Spirit of Death, 2020 has taught us.
Yet that the Spirit of this world is the Spirit of Fear was also made manifest by the lionization of the rioters who visited some two billions dollars of damages upon hundreds of cities across the country and incalculable harm to the legions of persons upon whom they set their sights. While there were indeed courageous Americans from sea to shining sea who met the rabble head on and prevented their communities from suffering the same fate at that of far too many others, those in positions of influence, authority, and power not only failed to decry the violence; they encouraged it.
The rioters and assorted thugs disclosed—inadvertently, of course—their own fearful nature by targeting only those who they figured for easy marks. However, those who kissed their asses—or, more literally, bent their knees before them—exhibited cowardice as well.
The Spirit of Fear is ubiquitous. 2020 has been the textbook illustration, so to speak, of its life-negating essence.
It is the Spirit of Fear, obsessive, irrational fear—and not fear itself which, to repeat, is at once necessary and desirable as long as it is managed—that must be defeated.
It is true that the rampant lawlessness that continues unabated in some areas has provoked untold numbers of American citizens to assume responsibility for their own protection. This explains why there have been mass exoduses from higher-crime areas and why applications for gun licenses have recently eclipsed all preceding precedents.
It is indeed a good thing that more people are becoming aware that, in the last analysis, the only finite beings to whom they can turn in this world when it comes to self-protection are, well, themselves. However, the measures thus far taken, while eminently sensible as far as they go, don’t go far enough.
Obviously, the best and most rudimentary way to minimize one’s chances of being violently victimized is to avoid all environments where such victimization is more likely to occur. And a gun, being the killing machine that it is designed to be, is the most efficient weapon by which to neutralize threats. Still, neither of these measures, whether severally or collectively, are sufficient to increase to as great an extent as it can be increased one’s likelihood of adequately protecting oneself and one’s own:
Trouble isn’t always avoidable and the gun, being just an object, is of no use to one who hasn’t trained, physically and mentally, to wield it with the ruthless efficiency with which it must be wielded in order to incapacitate human predators.
Of central importance to a regimen of self-protection training is training in a martial art—a genuine martial art. “Martial,” it is easy to forget, means “of, or pertaining to, war.” Violent attacks of the sort that leave victims critically injured, raped, maimed, and killed are akin to acts of war. So, those who are interested in protecting themselves from the vermin who perpetrate this evil upon innocents should realize that training for purposes of self-protection is, in effect, training for war.
And they, then, are training to become warriors.
To this end, there is no system of combat better suited for self-protection than Warrior Flow Combatives. In the next article, we will examine it carefully.