Self defense is the process by which we avoid danger. This is done by using a combination of our intellect and our physical bodies. First and foremost it is important to recognize fear. Fear itself can be utilized, however, it can also make us overreact or it can impede us from evading a situation. Making correct judgments under pressure is a very difficult process and this is where training is particularly important. When training for self defense it is very important to recognize that this is not only about kicking, punching and choking. It is about your mind and how focused you are on addressing the particular situation at hand.
How will your mind affect your ability to keep safe? Will you escalate out of anger and start punching the attacker only to find that they are hiding a knife? Alternatively will your mind respond to fear by freezing you in place? Last week our class addressed this issue since we worked on drills and skills that make the mind stay centered under pressure. A member of the dojo commented on this the following week. He mentioned that he was able to foresee a situation escalating at work and was able to redirect the energy in a positive manner, since he was able to focus his intentions correctly.
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I was working on kenjutsu last week and was moving with my training partner changing kamae (position based on what my spirit is sensing in relation to a changing environment). This requires the mind and body to stay sharp, because if your mind floats for one moment you could be in over your head. A good starting place on how not to get in over your head is “Stay in the moment, not before or after.”
The longer we train in martial arts, the deeper we come to understand ourselves. This deep understanding comes from first training with the physical techniques and then studying the effect the training has on us. If you train with a sincere heart, you can gain great value from martial arts.