Martial arts training and being a humble warrior is all about survival. Everything you learn is geared to help you survive. You learn and apply physical conditioning, good health, awareness and situational training.
But there’s another kind of conditioning going on in our country—and that’s the conditioning to be non-violent. People aren’t supposed to defend themselves or stand up for themselves. If you get in a shouting match, you may get accused of making “terroristic threats”. God forbid you should punch somebody in the face.
So how does this apply to the dire environment we find ourselves in now in the USA? There is a rising fear in the world that we are on the brink of government and economic failure worldwide. If that happens, lawlessness and violence will be the rule, not the exception. Will we let social conditioning determine how we react to this new world?
Please understand I am not a “doom and gloom” kind of guy. I have seen enough in my life not to wish a civil breakdown and mass violence on any person, state or nation. But looking at the world situation realistically, I can only see grave danger ahead. Some of the best “economic” minds in the world say the world economic outlook is bleak and that we may be looking at the disintegration of the free market system and maybe even of democracy. If the government fails the people, we are on our own and have to survive the next few years. The question is: Have we gotten so conditioned to be passive, that we won’t survive if civilized society breaks down?
I want to share with you an email I got from a friend and fellow martial artist—a guy called Chewman—who lives in the wonderful state of Michigan. He talked about the social conditioning of non-violence and how it plays out in a defensive combat situation. Here are the highlights of Chewman’s letter…
Been thinking about social conditioning a lot with the political atmosphere of today.
A baby elephant is chained by the leg with a heavy chain. It pulls and pulls on the chain unable to break it until its leg is sore and bleeding. Later in life a small chain easily broken by a full-sized elephant is all that’s needed to hold the animal. It learned long ago it cannot break the chain so doesn’t even try.
Since the late 1960′s the pacifists have pushed non-violence in any situation including self defense. Just look at what our schools “no tolerance” policies are today. Children are told not to fight, don’t punch, be nice, etc.
How do we combat society’s influences to be non-violent when violence is the answer? A woman holding a gun robbing you is as much a threat as a man, but many would resist hitting her as hard as the man with a gun. What if the robber was disabled in some way or faking a disability so you drop your suspicion? What about a midget, the young well dressed teen, or a cheerleader?
All the years of school teachers, television, and movies making violence to be bad in all circumstances makes me wonder when the times comes and I need to use violence, will I? Will I listen to my gut and act, or will society’s message drown it out causing me to hesitate turning me into the elephant or worse a dead elephant?
When I asked Chew if I could use his email in my blog, he said:
Go ahead and use it in your blog. I sent you my thoughts not just for your opinion or an answer, but also if I am thinking it, what if others are? Or worse, what if others aren’t? Criminals have no social moral issues to deal with when they choose you as their target. This puts the target (you or me) at a disadvantage if we are not willing to immediately recognize a violent situation and use violence versus social skills to end the threat. We try to talk our way out of it because that’s what “we are supposed to do” if we are a “Good Guy.
There are so many examples in today’s world where through the media our thoughts are being trained. So many different topics. Just watch the shows and the commercials to see how we are silently being trained to think. They even doctored the original Star Wars movie because in the original Han Solo shot the guy at the bar first. Now he fires second. Han couldn’t just act when he knew he was going to be killed.
Where is Chuck Connors with his rifle today showing one man can make a difference?
I agree with Chewman. We have been trained to take the moral high ground and I agree with it in principle. But when the idea of what is “fair and just” swings far to one side, you have a situation where the strong and skilled are condemned for being strong and skilled. The weak are able to play on a “level playing field”, except now the entire field is lowered to accommodate the weakest link. No one has to “get stronger” to compete.
Social conditioning for non-violence and non-competitiveness has helped decay “personal will”—the very thing that made mankind a survivor. For a warrior the will to survive is the most important tool in the box. Panic, fear and giving up have killed more people than any weapon or opponent on the field of battle.
Our nation would never have been developed if the Founding Fathers said, “No one can go into the wild until everyone is able to go”. Our forefathers and their families risked everything to make this nation great. Were there mistakes and injustice? Yes. But standing up and walking into the unknown carries with it risks that we (modern Americans) have never known. The strong and skilled built this country and brought the value from the ground with their bare hands. Today that life is in peril and we need to reflect on the basics and what we need to be to survive. We are Americans and can do anything we put our full will power into doing. Unfortunately, in a defensive/combat situation in the future, we may not have the choice to allow fairness to take the high road.
Self discipline, control and how to use stress are all a part of your training every day. Be aware and look with both eyes open. Use them to make clear judgments and really think about the future. An action encouraged by “polite society” today may get you killed tomorrow. Rest easy. Your martial arts training puts you are ahead of the weak sheltered masses. When the shit hits the fan, you’ll be the one who survives—provided you can overcome that “nasty” social conditioning.