BOTTOM OF THE BARREL

The new millennium has brought about technology beyond imagination, but even with all this advancement, it has also exposed man’s natural primordial tendency for fighting.   News today constantly reminds us of the world we live in, the horrors of 9/11, countries on the verge of nuclear war, and the constant threat our lives are exposed to everyday.  If I were to ask you what your top priorities in life were, I bet career and family would easily make your top 5 list.  And, regardless of the order that you place it in, I don’t venture to disagree with you that they are definitely important priorities to have.   However, when situations arise that are life threatening, our first thoughts may appear to be that of our loved ones, but if you look deeper into man’s natural instinct, it is that of survival.  When push does come to shove, it’s surprising how quickly the importance of ones status, the material possessions, which one owns, or his past accolades drops quickly from the #1 spot.   Self-defense sometimes gets thrown into the bottom of the barrel when it comes to life’s priorities, but the way I see it, self-preservation will always remain our natural main goal.
Why then if self-preservation is our main goal, do we place such little importance in protecting ourselves?  Several reasons come to mind.  The most obvious reason is that of time.  We all live in hectic world, with pda’s keeping track of our busy schedule, and the wish that we had either an extra hour or an additional day to do the things we feel necessary.  Another reason has to do with the growing lack of personal responsibility.  Society has evolved to the point that responsibility is something that should be passed onto someone other than us.  If our kids misbehave, it’s obviously the fault of TV, video games, or bad teaching.  God forbid we should look into our own mirrors and question whether parents still parent.  Thus, why take self-defense when I can easily just call 911 and have the police protect me.   Also, why invest the time into self-defense when I can easily buy a gun, knife, or pepper spray.  Finally, we have a false sense of security that those kinds of situations will never happen to me.  Jedi mind tricks on ourselves are sometimes the strongest, as were convinced that: we live in a good area, I just don’t have the time,  or it’ll never happen to me.  While every one of these reasons may seem like a legitimate reason, in the end these are excuses that could be costly.
It is definitely true that everyone has a busy schedule.  If you have a typical family with kids to watch, a 9 to 5 job eating up your most of your day, 1 to 2 hours lost in commuting, who has time to invest into self-defense?  But strangely enough, even with our hectic schedule, we still find time to watch Survivor, Fear Factory, or even Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  Worthless TV shows have its place for our entertainment; just make sure it doesn’t take you away from really living your life.  As for passing the buck, I’m sure the police force in our community for the most part does a great job of serving and protecting.  However, if you really think about it, what’s the quickest the police can come to you once you dial 911.  Even at ideal situations I still believe the average response time to be maybe 5 minutes.  Let’s face it, 5 minutes is quick but allot can happen within that span of 5 minutes.   And, within those 5 minutes the only person you can depend on then is yourself. In this day and age, we sometimes wonder why the need for self-defense, when we can just have a gun, knife, or pepper spray.  Aren't these much simpler weapons to learn and use?  In some ways yes, any fool can pull a trigger and still hit the side of a barn (except of course the A-team). But, at the same time, no matter how trained you are in a gun, knife, or pepper spray, these are still items that will never be a part of you. Thus, all these weapons if they somehow get knocked out of your hand, can be used against you.  All these weapons must be pulled out, before they can be used.  Even the cop who has a gun with him 24/7 still has to draw it from a holster.  But, through self-defense your entire body can be a weapon.  Your hands and feet always a part of you, ready to do what you want it to do. 
Finally, there is the belief that it will never happen to me.  Life sometimes has a sick sense of humor, when you think it’ll never happen to you, life throws that curve ball to see what you do.  We live in a world were danger is right around the corner.  No matter how nice a neighborhood you may live in, it is unavoidable.  I know we want to believe it can never happen to you, but just watch the news on a daily basis, and you’ll see people consistently getting hurt, and killed, probably thinking the same thing as well.
So what’s my point?  Learn self defense on your own time, don’t be forced to take it after the situation has already occurred.  And, think of self-defense as an insurance policy to make sure you can enjoy all the other things in life.
Written by Sifu Ed Cruz
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