Updated: Nov 9, 2020
Our final submission in the series will be on training.
So why should we train? Through training, we learn new techniques and ways of defending ourselves and loved ones. It can give us the ability to test these techniques under pressure but still in a controlled manner. We can practice these techniques so many times they become second nature as if we've always known them. It helps us to think outside the box and not always think something is "black and white". It lets us know how we would react under pressure and how to turn our natural reaction into something we can use in real situations.
The first step is finding a good teacher. Beware of the "expert self-defense master" who claims multiple black belts and offers cheap classes in seedy locations. Ask to have a meeting with the instructor or check out a class before you enroll. Try to make sure they have legitimate experience in the field in which you are interested. Find out the instructor's background, view the location, feel them out and see if they want to help or only want your money. Ask if their self-defense training is simply a set of motions or if there is real-world testing of the techniques. Do the instructor and/or assistants don full-body protection and allow you to test the techniques he or she teaches or are you supposed to just have faith that the techniques work?
Once you have found the right instructor and enrolled in classes, make sure you show up. You'll learn nothing if you don't go and you'll retain very little if you stop going. Go at least once a week and practice at home if possible. The more you train, the easier you will perform the techniques. Bruce Lee said, "I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times". This applies to all forms of defense whether empty-handed, with a martial weapon, or with a gun. You must remain in practice to be able to effectively use what you have learned.
We should train until we are no longer in need of training, i.e. never stop training. There are always other instructors that know different techniques than your instructor and you should always be in a learning mindset. If you feel a technique wouldn't work for you, learn it anyway. You may never use it, or you may find that the more you practice it, the more natural it feels. Another quote from Bruce Lee states "absorb what is useful, discard what is not, and add what is uniquely your own."
Another reason to never stop training is the old adage "if you don't use it, you lose it." Mas Oyama states "The Martial Way begins with one thousand days and is mastered after ten thousand days of training." For those of you that don't have a calculator handy, that's over 27 years of daily training. Not only do we learn new techniques but as our bodies change throughout the years, we move differently and may have to execute the techniques differently to remain effective. Only when you can easily adapt to your body's changes as well as environmental changes can you say you've mastered a technique.
I hope you've enjoyed this series and learned many things from it. Good luck on your journey to becoming your own bodyguard and as always,
Be alert, be aware, stay safe,