In 2012 I embarked on a formal educational journey (i.e., my PhD), which I now realise was in fact a culmination of years of informal study. You see, as far back as a decade ago, I began to realise that my personal performance in the ‘fight game’ was largely predicated on what was happening on the inside. Said another way, if I stepped onto the mat filled with self-doubt, anxiety, and self defeating thoughts, it would invariably impact my game. While my research as an academic has been specifically focused on the inner game of leadership, with a specific attention to mindfulness in action — my realisation has been, that these tools expand to all areas of one’s life.
One of the most fatal flaws of martial art instruction, is that often, it is built off a system of predefined responses, that would need prior knowledge or prediction to accomplish. This may not be immediately obvious, but one can, if you look closer see how this acknowledgement of prediction is codified in practice.
Most people are uneasy when talking about violence, especially if they have never had to engage in it. In fact, often, those who suggest violence is never the answer have grown up in places in the world where front doors can be left open. Yet, in many places in the world, violence of various kinds is an everyday reality.
I have written quit a bit about defense on this blog. I still feel however that it requires further attention. It is clear to me when coaching around the world, and working with students from different systems, that the focus is on offense, with little or not attention to defense. In this sense, I get the impression that defense is often seen as someone losing a fight, rather than winning one.
In a general sense you can categorise interpersonal violence into three broad areas of concern;
- Seen-Threats (can be Potential or Active),
- Unseen-Unknown Threats (are Active),
- And Unseen-Known Threat (Has potential to become Active).