When you begin to feel like you are a tough guy, a warrior, a master of the martial arts or that you have lived a tough life, just take a moment and get some perspective with the following:
I've stopped knives that were coming to disembowel me
I've clawed for my gun while bullets ripped past me
I've dodged as someone tried to put an ax in my skull
I've fought screaming steel and left rubber on the road to avoid death
I've clawed broken glass out of my body after their opening attack failed
I've spit blood and body parts and broke strangle holds before gouging eyes
I've charged into fires, fought through blizzards and run from tornados
I've survived being hunted by gangs, killers and contract killers
The streets were my home, I hunted in the night and was hunted in turn
Please don't brag to me that you're a survivor because someone hit you. And don't tell me how 'tough' you are because of your training. As much as I've been through I know people who have survived much, much worse. - Marc MacYoung
WARNING, CAVEAT AND NOTE
The postings on this blog are my interpretation of readings, studies and experiences therefore errors and omissions are mine and mine alone. The content surrounding the extracts of books, see bibliography on this blog site, are also mine and mine alone therefore errors and omissions are also mine and mine alone and therefore why I highly recommended one read, study, research and fact find the material for clarity. My effort here is self-clarity toward a fuller understanding of the subject matter. See the bibliography for information on the books. Please make note that this article/post is my personal analysis of the subject and the information used was chosen or picked by me. It is not an analysis piece because it lacks complete and comprehensive research, it was not adequately and completely investigated and it is not balanced, i.e., it is my personal view without the views of others including subject experts, etc. Look at this as “Infotainment rather then expert research.” This is an opinion/editorial article/post meant to persuade the reader to think, decide and accept or reject my premise. It is an attempt to cause change or reinforce attitudes, beliefs and values as they apply to martial arts and/or self-defense. It is merely a commentary on the subject in the particular article presented.
Note: I will endevor to provide a bibliography and italicize any direct quotes from the materials I use for this blog. If there are mistakes, errors, and/or omissions, I take full responsibility for them as they are mine and mine alone. If you find any mistakes, errors, and/or omissions please comment and let me know along with the correct information and/or sources.
“What you are reading right now is a blog. It’s written and posted by me, because I want to. I get no financial remuneration for writing it. I don’t have to meet anyone’s criteria in order to post it. Not only I don’t have an employer or publisher, but I’m not even constrained by having to please an audience. If people won’t like it, they won’t read it, but I won’t lose anything by it. Provided I don’t break any laws (libel, incitement to violence, etc.), I can post whatever I want. This means that I can write openly and honestly, however controversial my opinions may be. It also means that I could write total bullshit; there is no quality control. I could be biased. I could be insane. I could be trolling. … not all sources are equivalent, and all sources have their pros and cons. These needs to be taken into account when evaluating information, and all information should be evaluated.” - God’s Bastard, Sourcing Sources
“You should prepare yourself to dedicate at least five or six years to your training and practice to understand the philosophy and physiokinetics of martial arts and karate so that you can understand the true spirit of everything and dedicate your mind, body and spirit to the discipline of the art.” - cejames
“All I say is by way of discourse, and nothing by way of advice. I should not speak so boldly if it were my due to be believed.” - Montaigne
Art of Avoidance - Layers upon Layers
Self-Analysis: The first layer to the "Art of Avoidance." Your life choices, do you find that your time is spent where you either encounter or witness violent behavior? Where you live, how you live, who you associate with or socialize with, how you play or socialize, where you work, the routes you take to work and going home, where you go and travel to do everyday life tasks, etc. All these will tell you, if you are brutally honest with yourself and determine the level of activity that exposes you to violence or violent environments, etc. will tell you if you even need to seek out the Art of Avoidance, i.e. self-defense instruction.
In your self-analysis the most important personal trait you can have is "honesty." That is total and unequivocal truth of who and what you are, etc. The ability to open all the protective layers you have acquired in life to see the true and completely bare exposed self. the naked self where nothing is hidden for to not see self completely and honestly can hide those things that lead to conflict and conflict leads to violence, etc.
Ask your "self:"
1. Are you willing to die for what you believe?
2. Are you willing to kill for what you believe?
3. Are you willing to sacrifice your family for what you believe?
4. Are you willing to sacrifice your financial security for what you believe?
5. Are you willing to sacrifice the family and financial security of the person your encountering?
6. Are you willing to sacrifice your mental and physical health and well-being for what you believe?
These are just "some of the questions" that you should ask your "self" about and the concerns you should consider if you decide to go past the Art of Avoidance and go right into violent behavior no matter the excuse or reason you believe justifies it.
Academia - Knowledge: The second layer of the "Art of Avoidance." Can you recognize violence, violent behavior, area's where violence is likely, what are traits of violence and violent people, what is predatory violence, what comprises self-defense what are the repercussions of self-defense/violence/violent people, what is the path that leads someone to violence, etc. If you cannot answer such questions then start here because if your brain/mind/spirit does not know these things you will fail at avoiding them. The brain and mind can only reference what is encoded in the memory so if it is not there ... ?
Do you know what kind of behaviors, yours, that will get you into violent encounters and situations? Are your communications skills viable to deal with the various personalties that make up people who tend to do violence/violent things?
The knowledge base must be one that not only encodes that information accurately in your brain but must be trained and practiced daily in life and in the training facility. If that does not occur then you need to find it and get there.
Practice-Training: The third layer of the "Art of Avoidance." Do you or does your training facility actually teach the fundamentals/principles that provide what is necessary to avoid conflict. It it or they cannot answer let alone provide for any and all of the first two layers then seek it elsewhere.
Realistic training scenario's must be conducive to utilizing all the first two layers into action. Knowing something does not necessarily equate to the mind/brain actually retrieving it as viable in avoiding attacks. Utilizing the ability to discover and recognize actual signs or the instinctual alarms is not as easy as reading about it in a post.
The Art of Avoidance: This is the layer where the rubber meets the road. These are some of the things you must utilize and utilize frequently to achieve a good solid foundation of avoidance.
It is easier to start by providing zones that move away from the center, i.e. referred to in martial principles as "centrifugal." Then we will try to cover when danger or violent traits/behaviors/environmental stuff starts to penetrate that outer zone coming toward you, i.e. referred to in martial principles as "centripetal." [Note: I am taking some liberties with Stephen J. Pearlman's book of martial power.]
Your closest zone is what I call the exclusion zone. This is the moment a person or person's actually enter a range where either of you can actually attack physically with strikes, kicks, etc. This is called the exclusion zone because your goal here is to keep any and all folks who are intent on violence or violent intent from gaining access to your body. Here is where your martial training, if combative in nature, comes into play. This is the first that communication ability of a diplomat is effective to keep if from physical and hopefully achieve deescalation, etc. Hopefully this zone is never penetrated under any circumstances because all the other layers achieved avoidance. Your diplomatic ability is coupled with all your senses, your body language, your demeanor, and more ... so if training does not teach it, seek it elsewhere.
The next zone is your clear zone. That area where you still have the ability to detect and still avoid by say, "running or leaving the area or seeking an area of safety, etc." Your EWS has triggered alarms and your eyes, hearing, smelling, etc. are assisting all those trained academic knowledge material into some semblance of intent and action to avoid.
The next zone is one that extends as far as the eye can see and the ears can hear. This is the zone that provides a much larger buffer zone and a lot more time to consider the alarms, etc. Nature imbued us with instincts that are programmed in our DNA and Genes so they tend to trigger that so called "spidey sense" so we pay attention. I mean pay attention and disregard/remove the stories we tell or might tell ourselves that this sense "means nothing, it cannot possibly happen" type stories, etc.
If I had to pick the most dangerous moment for anyone who is practicing the Art of Avoidance for Self-Defense it is this moment where we try to hide in some comfort zone of it can't happen to me syndrome. Yes, we do live in a society that provides a great deal of safety and security. It is not bullet-proof.
If your self-analysis dictates you should learn the Art of Avoidance/Self-Defense then don't let the little voice of dissent dissuade you from listening to the EWS alarms. Look at it this way, find safety quick and what harm does it do, none. It may mean a few moments delay in your journey but the delay if you get attacked will be a lot more costly. Think about it.
Environmental Awareness: This layer speaks of both Self-Analysis of probability of violent encounters where the places you go, you frequent, you need to pass through going to these places. Knowing this beforehand is paramount to avoidance. If you ignore them for convenience, etc. your asking for trouble and if you are asking then the probability of ending in violence is higher.
Know all the environments and what potential for violence they have so you can plan accordingly.
Self-awareness: Know thyself! Everything we do, say, encounter, experience, etc. is a direct result of "self." To me this means knowing how you think, act, talk, socialize, etc. so you will recognize those triggers that would send violence your way. This is especially important as to Self or "Ego." I would say in my limited experience and growing knowledge that the most responsible thing that always leads to or away from violence is knowing thyself, our ego's, or what some refer to as our "monkey brain."
A good maxim might be if you cannot take a picture of it, then it has done no damage you cannot recover from. If your being "dissed" or "insulted," etc. then the choice is all yours. If you allow such things to push your buttons and trigger anger, fear, resentment, etc. then you are open to responding in an inappropriate manner that can/will get you in deep.
All in all this is a mere tidbit of what I am trying to convey here as to the Art of Avoidance. Go to level one and try to continually learn and discover what violence is and what it takes to get there so you can avoid it at all costs.
Layers of avoidance are long and complicated. They have no real order of importance because it takes a "whole" to achieve success. Don't leave out any part and don't forget all the fundamentals/principles that are involved.
Remember, if you find you don't need it then don't yet if you have a remote chance of needing it, then do.