Whenever I say I do Martial Arts, people almost always ask if I could beat someone up. OR they’ll say “I wouldn’t mess with you!” Without fail, I will pause…because I’m not always sure what to say.
I also know some folks who participate in a few of the more “hardcore” disciplines who have abruptly halted another martial artist while speaking to say his or her Art is the most effective. Shame on them! There is benefit to knowing how to maneuver one’s body in space and time, regardless of the style. Regardless of the SPORT, in fact!
I don’t really have to “be clear” about anything, though – one of the greatest swordsmen in history – Miyamoto Musashi – said it best…moons and moons ago:
I personally never pursued a Life with Martial Arts because I wanted to “take someone down.” I respect – fully – the sports surrounding the Arts, as well as those individuals who train arduously…relentlessly…to be at their peak in a few of the more merciless Arts – they have that right to choose. Everyone’s goals are different.
For me, though, it was about discipline, better mastery of my physicality, spirit, goals and challenges, and the ability to get OUT of a turbulent and escalating situation…not to start one.
I was trained as a figure skater and dancer for a huge portion of my Life – Martial Arts, in my own eyes, is a dance. A deadly one? It certainly has the potential to be. The Arts combine fluid precision, with grace, speed, agility, power and athleticism – it is the perfect, seamless dance…once which I am grateful to know on some level, that can be used to exit stage left if the occasion called for it.
Martial Arts DO NOT go hand in hand with bravado, huffing and puffing…
If that’s going on, it isn’t Martial Arts.
They are meant, in part, to serve you in a time of stress and danger, to allow you to escape as safely and quickly as possible without inflicting any more (or any at all!) damage beyond what is required to stay secure.
I can only speak for myself when I say that I hope my knowledge is never tested – I simply wouldn’t look forward to such an altercation, prepared and trained or not. I have nothing to “prove” to an opponent (beyond that I can stay safe…and lawsuit free!)
So if a brutal Art form is favored, by all means! Those training with you will be in the same boat, very likely, so the game is fair. But for me…it’s more about knowing them, and having the background…but not ever REALLY needing to use them.
And if I do…let’s just say I hope it’s to neutralize, not devastate…and get as far away as possible.