Sunday, November 08, 2009

Learning Self-Defence

A fellow pushing hands student was telling me that he intends to take up aikido to learn some grappling/chin-na techniques, so that he can deal with drunks (he comes across them once in a while in the course of his work). Although he has learnt some martial arts before, he tells me that everytime he encounters a drunk, he feels fear and doesn't dare to do anything. I don't understand his intention for learning aikido, but I think he is trying to get some experience and confidence in using grappling/locks/throws/etc against a partner before trying it out for real.

What I fear is that he will still find himself at square one. Fear.

At the end of the day, using martial arts in self-defence is very different from sparring with a partner in a controlled environment. I have written about learning self-defence (or rather, not being able to learn) through pushing hands. In self-defence, there are no rules. You may have all the confidence gained sparring with a partner, but once the rules change (or disappear, for that matter), how confident can you be that you will come out the winner?

What we learn in class improves our techniques. But to counter fear, to gain that confidence needed to face a real opponent in self-defence, you need more than technique. You need the right mentality.

Before you commit to the fight, ask yourself, are you willing to lose (and either end up hurt or worse)? If not, it is better to avoid the fight (which may mean "Run!") But sometimes, we cannot avoid a fight. That is when our daily life will determine if we can counter our fear. If we live each day to the fullest with no regrets, we can then enter the fight knowing that if we die, we die with no regrets.

Thus, we practise the techniques of self-defence in the classroom/dojo, but we practise the mentality of self-defence through our daily lives.

No comments: