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Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Training mind set

There are three kinds of people. Those who think. Those who don't think. And those who think they think.

That saying can be modified to: There are three kinds of people. Those who do. Those who don't do. And those who think they do.

And unfortunately, that last group is made up largely by people who mistake training for doing.

The reason that the people who regularly stake their lives on their training are more open minded is
1) They know every decision must be worth your life (including the
decision to have an open mind).
2) They've experienced enough live-fire danger to know that 'doing' is
a whole lot more complicated than they were told in school.
3) They know unknown unknowns can kill them. So they are
always on the look out to turn unknown unknows into known unknowns -- or better yet, knowns.

On the other hand, people who don't have to worry about what-they-don't- know-killing-them are not only under less pressure to think, but are more prone to believe what they know is 'the whole of the subject.' This delusion passes for their reality. They not only lack anything to prove them wrong, but this intellectual fantasy is all that they can see. Worse, they often believe that what they know about a particular subject extends out into knowing about other subjects too.

People who understand they are staking their lives on their training
tend to be more open minded about training. Whereas the most
closed-minded and dogmatic are those who are safely ensconced
far away from doing.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Should you use violence to defend yourself

"Should you use violence to defend yourself?" is easy to ask, but impossible to answer correctly. To start with, the terminology is wrong. The term should be 'force,' not 'violence.' The difference between violence and force is kind of like the difference between racing and driving. While many of the components are the same, the application is radically different. But until you understand the differences you are going to mistakenly lump them together as so many people do. Strictly speaking one never uses violence to defend oneself. That's an oxymoron. Violence is the tool of the aggressor, not of the defender. As such the terms 'violence' and 'defend' cancel each other out, making it a meaningless question. This might sound like something a lawyer would try, but -- as you will see -- the distinction between force and violence is critical. While violence is almost always in the wrong. This not always the case with force. In and of itself, force is neutral. It is how you apply it that determines if it is violence or not. Force can be a necessary and valuable tool -- especially against violence.
This is why it is important to understand the difference in terminology. If your understanding of the terminology is incorrect, then by extension your assumptions about the subject will also be wrong. And when your assumptions and understanding are incorrect, then so too will be your actions. When misapplied and amplified, force becomes violence.
What are the circumstances of the situation? What is the level of threat? Where do you need to stop using force before it crosses over into violence? These are just a few of the issues that that simplistic question lumps into one poorly defined mess. Each of the issues must be individually assessed and its influence on others considered.