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 (this applies to this and other blogs by me as well; if you follow the idea's, advice or information you are on your own, don't come crying to me, it is all on you do do the work to make sure it works for you!)
“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 (note: you are on your own, make sure you get expert hands-on guidance in all things martial and self-defense)
“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
I can say to you, "Don't fall for either of these," but what does that actually mean to each individual at any one moment?
We have all felt helpless at times in our lives. A loved one is suffering from a deadly disease and you want to help them so bad but you can do nothing. You see someone or something suffer like a child, yours maybe, after an accident while you try to comfort them but it doesn't alleviate the suffering, the pain and the after affects.
I have not experienced "helplessness." I don't know why but I have not felt it. Not true helplessness - a loss of control maybe and maybe that is a form of helplessness but I suspect it doesn't really meet the criteria for true helplessness like I described above.
I have been a victim and I didn't feel helplessness and I never used it as an excuse to do things that are morally wrong, inappropriate or mean. I also did not allow it to affect me long term - maybe I am just lucky as hell to have lived fifty-seven/eight years and not experienced it, truly experienced it.
I want to understand so when I post, write or comment I can be more empathetic but influential in avoiding the pitfalls. My first step is to try and understand how it fits into self-defense and self-defense training.
Helplessness is the perception that one was unable to act in a situation. In SD that means witnessing a violent situation and finding yourself frozen and unable to properly intervene. In the average person this is not as "intense" as it is for martial artists who have trained to be the "warrior" if you will allow me that term.
You may train and tell yourself the story that what your doing is adequate to "act" when the time arises that you, your family or your fellow persons are subjected to some violence be it a predator or some natural incident. You freeze and fail to act when you "think" your training should have allowed you to do "something." When you feel unable to influence what is happening in your own life, even though you feel you ought to be able to. This also goes for that feeling of inability to influence what is happening by word or deed in events occurring to others when your training says you ought to be able to act appropriately.
I guess it comes down to an understanding of what is normal human behavior and what is also the survival instincts that nature provided via DNA that is still with us long after the migration from jungle life to modern life.
I can only provide an example of my friend and Sensei who at the age of 70 something began to suffer and really didn't understand why - a Viet Nam combat veteran. When I recommended the books "On Combat" and "On Killing" by LtCol Dave Grossman did a light come on in his head and he finally understood, "It isn't his fault and there is nothing he could do and IT IS OK!" He wrote me back and let me know he was doing well now, he understood the truth of combat and killing and he was comfortable with what he did and did not do those many years ago.
I believe as to helplessness the martial artists must address it face on to understand what is normal and what people do that is normal and what people will feel that is normal and allow themselves to be ok with it and how it relates to what they are doing, what is happening and what they feel. I think Rory Miller said it best that regardless of the how, your alive - you survived and that is good.
Again, I am not experienced in this but my feelings about things in life can sometimes cause me pause. I try to understand or find out normalcy and allow myself a lot of slack. I understand one thing, "I am (or can be) my own worst enemy." I can not allow my personal self-enemy entity within to be my judge, jury and executioner - I won't allow it and neither should any of the others of the human race.