Monday, May 14, 2012

The Only Tool That You Always Have

The sheepdog should be prepared for as many different things as possible. However, I see that many individuals, be they students or friends, ignore one very important aspect of self-defense: unarmed combat. As red-blooded gun toting Americans we feel safe and secure with that tool on our side - but remember that your firearm is just a tool, and there is no tool out there that will do all jobs. Since you are reading this I am going to assume that you have received some training in the use of that firearm. Now, why wouldn’t you get some training in the use of your hands for defensive purposes? The one thing that you always have with you is your body. How will you defend yourself, your family and friends if you are somewhere that firearms are prohibited, or in a situation where the use of a firearm is not justified?

In the tactical training world hand-to-hand skills are often overlooked. Why would you overlook something so vitally important? The answer is simple: every male I have ever met already knows how to fight, and almost every female was taught to kick dudes in their dude parts. I am almost certain that your father taught you something about fighting, and maybe you are a lucky one and your dad actually knew what he was teaching you. The majority of us were not that lucky.

There is no shortage of martial arts training out there, and it can seem daunting to try and find a style that fits you. Your choices include everything from boxing to kung fu and beyond. If you ask a practitioner of any style you will be told that their style is the best or most applicable, but of course we know that is just not true - in reality there is no perfect fighting style. The simple answer is all martial arts have something to offer, and a very short list of benefits would include: better reaction times, the ability to “read” another persons movement, knowledge that you can in fact survive getting punched in the face, and building up a certain level of physical fitness.

As I stated earlier, there is no shortage of training venues for the martial arts. How do you choose one that is right for you? Start with a little bit of self-analysis. Are you a smaller person, larger person, physically fit, and do you have physical disabilities or limitations? How much time do you have for training? How much of your budget are you willing to commit to this training? Are you willing to alter your lifestyle to accomodate new concepts? Once these questions have been answered, look up the telephone number for some of your local martial arts studios and start making some calls. Try to speak with the sensei or instructor and explain to them what are you are looking for and ask if they can provide that. If not, move on to the next facility. Once you’ve found one or two that sound promising go and watch a couple of classes, and talk to the students after class if you can. Then ask the instructor if you can come back and try a class for free - most reputable schools will do this. After all of this is done, sign on the dotted line and keep with it as long as it continues to provide you with the training that you seek. 

You do not have to become some kind of ninja just to learn to defend yourself without using your gun or a similar tool. But you might find yourself one day in a crowded airport or a government building and some wolf may decide that he wants something from that you are not willing to give him. How will you defend yourself then?

Stay Aware, Stay Safe, and Train Hard.

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