Once upon a time. A long time ago. There was a very famous blacksmith who lived in a land far, far away. It may have been China, it may have been Japan. It may even have been Spain. No one really knows anymore. He was renowned far and wide for making the very best swords. He worked iron and steel like a necromancer conjuring spirits with the dark arts. Metals seemed to come alive in his skilled hands and take on a life of their own.
Once upon a time. A long, long, long time ago. A primitive man or woman stared out of their cave shelter. They were cold, hungry and terrified. There was precious little on the menu for their tribe to eat but they themselves seemed to feature heavily on everything else’s menu. And then a miracle happened. They thought to themselves, “How can I ensure that we don’t starve and that we have some way of stopping that blasted sabre-toothed cat from eating us!” And shortly after that, some really good ideas started to occur to them. Ideas that had sharp, pointy tips and ideas that smoked and burned.
Last Christmas day 2016, I lived through a major martial arts failure which could have easily cost me my life. It all started with a minor Dad-fail on Christmas morning as my 2-year-old son was unwrapping presents. This was the first time that he understood enough about Christmas to get excited. I knew that he would appreciate his Christmas presents for the first time and I was really looking forward to giving him something special. He loves cars, machines and vehicles of every type, so I thought I’d go the extra mile and get him a small remote-controlled quad-copter drone. I had assumed that the technology had advanced enough so that controlling it would be easy enough for him to master. I was so wrong.
Social media, in particular Facebook, is a bit like a social thermometer. If you want to get a feel for popular thought patterns, sample some of Facebook’s meme traffic and status updates. It will give you a good idea of major trends in popular thought. Most of the time, checking Facebook feels about as inspiring and refreshing as stepping into a crowded public swimming pool on a hot summer’s day. You know it’s gross, but once you’re in you find that you stay in because it’s only slightly less comfortable than getting out. That state lasts until your morbid sense of curiosity is finally overwhelmed by the rising tide of revulsion at the mysterious yellow stains, phlegm nuggets and frothy drifts. At least the chlorine masks the other odours. I think I may have just figured out why we climbed out of the primal ocean to begin with.
My wife and I have just finished watching the first season of Stranger Things. I quite enjoyed the homage to cult 80’s sci/fi which was punctuated by musical classics like “Should I stay or should I go” by the Clash. For me, it brought back all the same excitement of watching cult classics in the 80’s and early 90’s such as The Goonies, Ghostbusters, The X-Files and Buckaroo Banzai.
“Should I stay or should I go now?” is a good question to ask ourselves within the context of a self-defence situation. It is not only a question that we should ask when faced with a situation, but the broader question of “Will I stay or will I go?” is essential to answer while preparing and training for self-defence.
28/7/2017 0 Comments
In addition to being a martial arts and self-defence instructor, I am also a chartered electrical engineer working part-time in the building industry, a backyard tinkerer and a part-time inventor. What can I say? I have a lot of interests. For someone who doesn't know me very well, it may seem as if they are all disparate interests, but when you get to know me a little better, you will see that they are actually all connected.
Many years ago, I saw a film called “Beautiful People”. It was released in 1974 and was in the style of a nature documentary but with a strong 'object-lesson' narrative binding the stories together. Stories about various interactions between animals and humans in the African bush. It left a big impression on me as a child.
One story began with a Bushman (or San) hunter who needed to find some water. He noticed a baboon in a tree nearby, so he carefully dug out a hole in the side of a large termite mound and stuffed it full of melon seeds, making sure that the baboon could see what he was doing. He then left the immediate area and hid to watch what unfolded. Once the baboon could see that the man was gone, he climbed down the tree, rushed over to the termite mound and stuck his hand into the hole to grab a handful of melon seeds.
As the head of a martial arts centre, there is a lot of pressure to appear perfectly confident and poised at all times. This is what is often expected of a professional martial artist.
The motivated, positive and confident exterior is of course not always a true representation of what I am facing inside. I am human just like everyone else. We all struggle. Even those who claim that they don’t.
I’ve always been fascinated by the world’s most renowned fighters throughout history. From the mythical Greek heroes to accounts of modern soldiers excelling under fire. One of the groups that has always appealed to me are the Nepalese Gurkhas or Gorkhas.
We live in a society amongst hundreds of thousands or even millions of other people. Behavioural laws have developed in order to ensure that our society runs smoothly. Without these laws, social interaction would become increasingly dangerous. The breakdown of these social laws is explored in many apocalyptic movies and series. A popular modern phenomenon is the zombie apocalypse genre which explores how the breakdown of social laws makes life increasingly dangerous for the survivors who have to contend violently with other humans jostling for dwindling resources.
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