I am pleased to present a guest post from my good friend, RoseAnne Mussar. She hails from Ottawa, Ontario, Canada and trains in Modern Arnis at the 6Tigers Academy in Barrhaven (Ottawa) under Renshi Janet Heffernan. She also trains in the American Cane System, often traveling to New York for training.
Self-defense is a decision. A decision that you will not submit to the will of someone else.
People will give all sorts of reasons for not training in self-defense. Here’s a small sample:
• I don’t have time.
• It looks really hard.
• I might get hurt.
• It’s too expensive.
• My spouse/significant other/big brother/dad will protect me.
• Nothing bad ever happens to me.
Now, I know that a lot of people reading this already train in the martial arts and have a pretty good lock on self-defense training. For the rest of you, I have a question:
Who is the most important person in your life?
Most people answer this question with the expectation that they are being asked to identify someone else: a spouse; the kids; parents; a spiritual figure; a coach. But the thunderously obvious answer to this question is: YOU.
You are the most important person in your life. Moreover, you are the one raising those amazing kids. You are the one writing those excellent reports for your boss. You are the one helping your teammates win the championship. That conglomeration of flesh and bones running around and doing all those amazing things is powered by you.
Most regular people like me don’t train in the martial arts with the expectation of having to use it outside the dojo.
Some train because they’ve had bad experiences in the past. I have great respect for these people – I imagine it takes a tremendous amount of courage to take that step. The worst thing that ever happened to me is this: I had my purse snatched. I had barely noticed the running footsteps behind me when yoink zip gone. I was pretty shaken up but on the scale of “bad things that happen to good people done by bad people”, a purse-snatching barely registers.
But it could have been worse. I could have been knocked over. Would I have known to protect my head so that I didn’t crack it on the pavement? Moreover, the assailant could have tried to punch or kick me. Would I have known how to block an attack? If it turned into a confrontation, would I have known how to use verbal de-escalation skills? Would I have known to just try and escape, or be frozen on the spot in fear? I think I know the answer to all those questions, and frankly, I don’t like thinking about it.
Self-defense training, or martial arts training in general, constitutes more than just learning physical techniques – blocks, punches, kicks, and throws. It’s about learning to deal with scary situations on both a physical and mental level. You don’t have to dedicate your life to it either. You can learn a lot in a few weeks or a few hours with a good self-defense instructor. Some instructors even offer free self-defense classes through schools, community centres or other organizations. And many of these techniques are surprisingly easy to learn. Most importantly, you will learn this: you are powerful, you are worth defending, and you are in charge of your own destiny.
It’s nice to be able to depend on others, but there is only one person who is with you every minute of every day, 24/7/365. So take care of you. Make you a priority. And learn how to keep you safe.