Category Archives: awareness

Out with the Dodo

In conversation this week two things have become a recurring theme. Two things that seem to have gone out of fashion and are in danger of being relegated to the history books, just like the Dodo.

The two items in question have been essential tools in the furthering of our species since time began, they are two of the things that made us top of the food chain and without which we will start to slide back down it again. We may no longer be worried about a sabre toothed tiger hunting us down, but we sure as hell ought to be concerned about a mugger, rapist, junkie or scumbag having a go.

So what two things am I talking about?

Common Sense and Personal Responsibility.

We’ve spoken about common sense on many occasions, it is the master sense, the 6th sense that allows us to act appropriately to the information gathered by the other 5 senses.Without common sense we are stupid and irrational, impulsive and illogical, which is all well and good in a safe environment, but ridiculously dangerous and irresponsible any where else. Such as on the streets on a Friday night.

So what about personal responsibility? What’s that got to do with anything?
Simple. You are responsible for your own safety. You alone, nobody else.

As a society we look to blame everyone else for everything. A person scolds themselves with a coffee they’d just bought from a fast food store, so they sue the store and win. Read that back, THEY scolded THEMSELVES with a COFFEE that THEY had just bought.Yet they were allowed to pass the blame onto the vendor. They took no responsibility for their own actions. It is common sense that coffee will be served hot, you must use this common sense information appropriately and take measure to ensure you do not scold yourself, failure to do so will result in injury.

Now the coffee incident is not a life threatening situation, but it does highlight the problem.
You MUST open your eyes, ears and mind, you must engage the brain and utilise common sense, if you do not then it is your fault that you become the victim.

In other words, should you find yourself face to face with a mugger, it’s your fault.

Is that a bit harsh? Maybe.Is it justified? Yes.

Unless you are attacked completely at random, there will be a sequence of events leading up to the attack. You will have been selected as a potential victim, targeted, maybe followed, possibly approached, all before anything gets physical. It’s very much like the nature programs on the discovery channel, the Lions don’t attack the Alpha male in a herd of wildebeest, instead they go for the weak one that’s not paying attention. Joe Scumbag will do just the same.

If you present yourself as a target, you will be treated like one. It’s your fault.
If your head is down and Joe Scumbag approaches you, then you haven’t seen him coming, that again is your fault.

If you find yourself in a situation where you must physically defend yourself, have you trained yourself to do this? Are you fit to run away? Are you strong enough to push him back? Are you skilled enough to escape his grasp? Are you aware of the vulnerable targets on a body? No? Guess what, it’s your fault that you were unable to defend yourself.

That’s a hell of a burden to carry.
The alternative is simple, do something about it.

Leave the iPod at home and listen to what’s going on around you, walk tall, keep the head up so that you can see around you, be aware of your surroundings. Train a little (or a lot) to be physically able to at least run away, at best throw a knock out (or knock down) strike and then run away.

When we take some responsibility for what happens to us, we can look for ways to change what happens. We can start to take control of our lives, our health and our safety. Once we have control of our own selves, we can then help others either by looking out for them or by inspiring them to better themselves.
Take action today, it will become a habit, you owe it to yourself.

Wild Geese

Switching On

Martial Arts, ultimately, is about fighting.
Put whatever philosophical spin on it you like and you will still never get away from the fact that spending hours learning to punch, kick, choke and dislocate is the pursuit of violence.

I’ve no problem with that, the skills I’ve learnt over the years have on several occasions pulled me out of a tight spot. I know all the official Wild Geese Martial Arts instructors around the world can say exactly the same.

Unfortunately there are many who can’t. (upon rereading that last sentence, it actually may be better saying “fortunately”, as getting into a fight isn’t really something to be proud of. Avoiding a fight, is.)

Most of us have heard of at least one story where Johnny Black Belt had his arse handed to him on the street. Yet this same martial arts “expert” is practically untouchable in the Dojo or the ring.
So what happened? Why could he not be as efficient outside as he is in his home ground.

Ah, I let it slip there. Home Ground. Comfort Zone.
The knowledge that you are not going to get hurt, or at least only get slightly hurt, the knowledge that some one is watching for foul moves and bad attitude, this knowledge can become detrimental on the street.

It can hold us back in a couple of ways:

  1. We become fearful when forced outside our comfort zone
  2. We become complacent to violence.

Lets look at number 1.
Fear is normal. In fact dealt with correctly it can serve to our advantage. Fear is largely down to a chemical change in our body. The rapid release of adrenaline, the fight or flight hormone. There is also a third option, freeze.
And if you freeze, you’re toast.
This is why we need to learn to switch on. Snap out of the frozen state and launch into either full on fight or rapid flight.
Your training can, and should help with this. By training with the knowledge that your skills are of value, and occasionally putting them to the test, you will gain the confidence to use them while frightened and under pressure.
But thats still not the most important point.
You must also learn how to go from zero to 100 ,miles an hour in less than a heartbeat. You must have a trigger that will set you in motion, not stopping until the threat has been eliminated.

What is your trigger?
Hell, I don’t know. Maybe it’s Bruce Buffer’s “Lets Get Ready To Rumble” that gets your hackles up. Perhaps it’s the sound of a the bell or whistle. Find it, memorize it, internalise it and keep it in your head.
When the time come to get down and dirty, replay it in your head and BANG! Your away like a man possessed.

The downside, if you haven’t recognised the threat before it’s too late, no amount of triggers can help you.

Option 2, was becoming complacent to violence.
Has your ego become so overgrown that you fear nothing and nobody? Maybe you have gone unbeaten in the ring and your are the top dog down the Dojo. That doesn’t mean some bloke half you size, with no training, can’t put a glass through your face.
Begin to realise the dangers of what your up against and loose the ego. If you’re as good as you think you are, a little fear will sharpen you up to a razors edge.

While it is important to switch on, don’t forget to switch off again afterwards. Just always try to maintain your awareness so that you can avoid any further trouble, or switch onto a new threat.

All the best

Wild Geese
every cause but our own
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