I hear a lot of people talking about self-defense on social media (and elsewhere). How we live in a violent time, and one needs to be able to protect oneself and ones family. So you MUST learn self-protection skills… learn how to shoot a gun, learn effective and lethal self-defense techniques and on and on…
It’s interesting that people bring this stuff up because I look at self-defense very differently.
To me, the #1 concern as a husband and a father is, like what many people who train martial arts want, to be there and protect my family. But protecting my family to me means to not just stand up to violence but to provide support for my family (in all the ways a father and husband does).
This means I must be:
1. ALIVE, and
So the most important self-defense techniques to me is to learn how to:
1. EAT HEALTHY, and
2. LEAD AN ACTIVE LIFESTYLE.
So, why do I spend so much time doing martial arts?
Because it helps me lead an active lifestyle. Not only does it contribute to fitness, but just as importantly gives me a way to develop discipline, provide mental stimulation, create new friendships and interact with people in a meaningful way, among other things. Plus, you get to pass on the same great benefits of martial arts training to my children so they can “protect themselves”.
And as a bonus, you of course get to learn some physical self-defense techniques (depending on the martial arts you choose to train)… which is actually quite low on my list of things of how martial arts benefits me.
Why isn’t it important?
Because according to statistics we live in a relatively safe time period where violence has actually declined drastically in the last 20 years. Just as an example, gun murder rate dropped by 45 percent nationwide between 1993 and 2014 (and down 56 percent in California during the same time period). If you are a mature individual with some common sense who does not live in an area affected by excessive violence (like in parts of Chicago for instance), chances are likely that you won’t experience much of any kind of violence.
Does that mean I don’t think one need to learn self-defense strategies and tactics that involve physical skill sets?
Not at all…
It just means that in my mind, in this day and age, one ought to focus less on fear. Train because it’s enjoyable, fun and for all the other wonderful benefits martial arts training provides.
If you’re not healthy (and alive), no amount of “self-defense” will take care of your loved ones. Which is why self-defense ought to focus on “defense of self” first through proper nutrition and active lifestyle (which hopefully is fun and enjoyable)… then focus on everything else (including physical techniques of self-defense).