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Avoid The Fight


BY Master Richard Leasure

Every time I pick up a martial arts magazine I am disquieted by the number of advertisements that claim to give ordinary people the ability to overcome the violent loss of a street fight by training them to become better fighters.

It has been over ten years since someone has really attempted to hurt me in a real self-defense situation. I am hoping to continue the rest of my life without getting into a serious fight. Of course, I train in the martial arts and I do have some ability to defend myself, but I do not consider my physical ability to be the ultimate goal of my training. I hope to improve my chances for living a long and quiet life by recognizing a true self-defense situation.

First of all a true self-defense situation is one where conflict cannot be avoided. It involves a person who is attempting to do the right thing and then someone tries to hurt them someone they are with. With the possible exception of the police or military that are servants of the people and must expose them to harm for the benefit of their community, self-defense situations are identifiable and can usually be avoided. One can avoid danger by recognizing the fundamental of an attack.

The first thing that everyone must remember is that Bad People Do Bad Things. This may sound obvious and simple, but the untrained individual often overlooks it. Some people by social influences or economic circumstance wish to cause harm to others. The first key to self-defense is to admit that it can happen to you.

Nobody likes to lose a fight! Bad people take great effort in picking their victims. They are careful to select only the targets they can dominate. Bullies pick fights with people smaller than they are. Men attack women. Thieves use guns and knives to gain advantage over their prey. It is the intention of the attacker to catch the victim off guard. They like to attack when the person is distracted or is showing signs of fear. These predators will then use their advantage to attack and dominate the situation and meet their objective.

Most attackers donít distribute a rulebook. They have no intention of playing fair and will not hesitate to cheat to win. Most muggers do not put a sign on the alley that they work in. You will not be notified of a rapist hideout. The bad guys do not share trade secrets with their victims to help them avoid pain or loss. How would a businessman know how much cash to carry? What clothing styles say "Rob me, Iím rich"? How would a conservatively dressed lady know she has caught the attention of a rapier? These are but a few of the questions you should ask yourself every time you go out into the world.

Martial artists and streetwise people should know how to avoid places of high risk. Many of us have heard of someone who says Ďevery time I get drunk at that bar I get into a fight.í Here we can identify three situations where conflict may be avoided.

One - ĎEvery time I get drunk.í This phrase indicates a deliberate attempt to create a situation of risk. One should take great effort to maintain control of ones mental and physical abilities at all times. This becomes especially important when one is in the public domain. The continued use and abuse of alcohol has detrimental effects on ones ability to think and function in a dynamic environment. Here the people are setting themselves up as a potential target for the attack. Bad people or bullies will not hesitate to take advantage of someone in a condition of reduced capacity.

Two - The words Ďevery timeí indicate that he recognizes a pattern to the events. If something bad always happens when you follow a certain action, then you should consider not doing that thing. Simply donít return to a place where you get beat up every time you visit. Bad people may be there waiting for you to come back so they can rough you up again. You canít even blame the bad people for thinking that it is OK for them to hurt you. They are "Bad!" They donít know that they are doing something wrong by hurting you or they donít care. Once you have identified some trouble spots avoid them if at all possible. Also, if you are putting yourself into a position of danger and always loosing the fight you may wish to evaluate the reasons for going to that bar in the first place. Perhaps an in-depth conversation with a minister or counselor will be in order.

Three - The phrase, every time I get drunk at that bar I get into a fight, may indicate that you left your house expecting trouble. It is considered to be a 100% certainty that if you look for trouble hard enough you will find it. Individuals of good conscience will attempt to avoid conflict whenever possible. However, when people go looking for a fight they deserve what they get. Martial artists and street wise people should endeavor to develop the character to rise above the limitations of base emotions and grow to be examples for their peers

There are, of course, a lot of situations where people of good character can find themselves to be at risk. Men and women should always try to avoid going where bad people hang out. There are times, however, when this is impossible or impractical. On those rare occasions, when you have to go into an undesirable area, try to use good judgment.

One area of good judgment is to avoid victim thinking. If you look like a target you will become a target. Ladies donít go into dark alleys alone. Avoid carrying large amounts of cash in your purse. Donít show obvious fear when walking down the street. Muggers and other bad people are trained to look for these signs to identify their victims. They will recognize your readiness to fall to their tricks and take what is yours.

Gentlemen, avoid victim thinking. Donít flash your bank roll. Donít show obvious fear. Donít travel alone. Stay out of bad neighborhoods. Some bad guys will attack men also. Donít think that because you are a man that you are not vulnerable to attack. Some muggers feel better taking things from men because it makes them feel stronger and more in control. Use good judgement in your daily activities also. Women are not the only ones at risk.

Be alert at all times! Some people say that when you are in a strange neighborhood or out of town you should be extra careful. I feel that you should be alert at all times. Bad people will watch you. They follow you home from work. They see you at the mall. They watch you when you go and come from your house. Most crimes of violence occur close to home. So be alert at all times. Then you will not have to go to extra effort when you are away. Besides, crooks can recognize when a person is trying too hard to be prepared. You are more likely to make a mistake that someone who practices good judgment at all times.

However, even if you are the most street wise and cautious of people, there are still bad people out there. Get in shape! Prudence would indicate a need for being ready for the unavoidable attack. Find a good martial arts instructor and train with all of your heart. Remember that Bad Things Happen to Good People. Learn the skills and techniques that give you an advantage on the street. Learn to defend yourself in a variety of situations and learn to be adaptable to new situations. Then condition your body to be responsive to the commands of the mind.

Mastery of the martial arts is a lifetime pursuit. However, your safety is a daily concern. Develop the wisdom and physical skills to minimize your risk. Reach for the highest possible goals and donít quit until you get them.

True self-defense is a variety of skills both physical and mental. Masters recognize the need for protection and develop the ability to defend themselves. However, people of good character must also seek higher virtues. Humility and respect will give an individual advantage of spiritual enlightenment. Never limit yourself to the mental and physical realms. Train the total person with regard to the impact our lives have on others. Self-defense includes the honor and goodwill we bring to those around us.


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