Testing your martial arts

This is a subject that’s been bugging me. So, you train martial arts. And you’re pretty good in the dojo, but you really want to know how would you, or would you even react in a real confrontation. It’s not like you’re agressive and want to beat the crap out of somebody, but you just want to know if you learned something.

And now the question arises. I’m absolutely against trying to start a fight. For me, that’s a big no. But I have to admit that somewhere deep down, I want some idiot to do just that: try to start a fight with me. I’m really not sure what to make of it. I still believe firmly that fighting is stupid and shouldn’t be done unless there is no choice, but it might not mean avoiding a chance of conflict every time. It means avoiding a conflict, especially a physical one.

The chance of conflict and the conflict

Situation: You’re entering a pub with your friends, planning to have a nice, relaxed beer. There are some loud, half-drunk guys at the other table. You get your beers, you’re talking, and one of them comes up to you starting to talk angrily to you.

Now, the dumb thing to do would be to make him even more angry in order for him to attack you, so you can test your skills. Trying to prove something, or just being as rude as he is.

The smart thing to do would be to defuse the conflict verbally, to de-escalate it. To make it known with your body language and with what you’re saying that you’re not his enemy, you’re not going to fight him, you’re not a threat to his manliness and his ego. To be calm and be assertive. IF it comes to a physical fight, you’ve done your best, then you proceed to the physical part.

Now, the first response wasn’t avoiding neither the chance nor the conflict itself. The second response avoided the conflict, but not the chance for conflict. If you were to avoid any chance for conflict, then you wouldn’t even come into the bar, and you certainly wouldn’t stay if you saw those loud, half-drunk guys in it.

What I am trying to say here is that avoiding conflict is a good thing. Trying to defuse things verbally and stop attacks even before they happened. Moving away from the agressor, leaving him space. But I don’t think that avoiding a chance of conflict is necessarilly your best option because you avoid the real world then. The world itself is a chance for conflict. It’s just about how you’re navigating through the conflicts, how you’re defusing them and redirecting them, moving yourself if necessary. That said, I think it’s a good idea to immerse yourself into the real world every once in a while. In the end, it just boils down to what you perceive as smart or stupid in a given situation. Maybe the smartest option would be to find another bar or pub, depending on the level of agressiveness of those drunk guys.

Where does the fight begin?

I think that the physical conflict is just a small part of the fight. I think that the fight began ever since you walked into the pub. What you do afterwards will decide if it will continue to grow into a physical one or not. So basically, I think that verbal de-escalation qualifies as “practicing” your martial skills. It’s a means to end a fight, and often it’s the smartest option to end a fight. Fists aren’t the only weapon available.

But there is one thing I would like to mention: protecting others. I have a firm belief that you should always try to protect those that are agressed by others. A situation that happened to guys I know: they were riding a train and a group of guys started bullying one guy because he had long hair and a metal band T-shirt. What began as an arrogant provocation quickly turned into physical violence. They started to push him and hit him, while these guys simply stood there looking at the fight. Now, I believe you have a moral obligation to help those in such situations, especially if you know how to fight. I find it unacceptable for someone to just stand and watch others get hurt because he or she is too much of a coward to do anything. But I must mention one other side of it all: the fact that helping others while attacked is one way to test your skills. It’s selfish, I know. But it is one of the very few ways you can test yourself, and at the same time fulfil your, so to speak, duty. 🙂
I don’t think you should walk the streets at night serving justice, but if the situation arrives, you should be ready to help. If you want to be a vigilante, then do it smarter, devote yourself to it, use technology, essentially, be Batman. 😀



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