September 6, 2022, Los Angeles, California, USA
The classic student-teacher relationship, passing on more than just technique but life wisdom that can save your life. We all need a good teacher. We need to know who we are.
One of the great lessons of the Miyagi legacy is, "Best Defense - Not be there" and I wholeheartedly agree with this. What does this mean? It can be interpreted in several ways, but the most basic is to avoid trouble by not being where the trouble is likely to take place.
Now we are all upset when we see a neighborhood go through " the change"; i.e. a once prosperous neighborhood taken over by gangs and criminals. I have taken tours through such neighborhoods in New York, Detroit, Johannesburg and other places around the world where former residents tell of the glory and beauty of a once proud community, now reduced to gang fights, gang control, drugs, and crime.
But it is not our job as individuals to clean up that mess, it is too much for us. That is for the government, the police, even the military. Our job as individuals is to stay the hell out of these places as much as humanly possible. (so why was I there you might ask, good question, but I am a student of crime and self-defense).
So this sounds simple enough, avoid trouble by not being where the trouble takes place. You have no reason to go to a bad bar, you have no reason to go to a bad neighborhood, you have no reason to go to where people are drinking and acting stupid. Unless...
now here is the problem, sometimes we find ourselves in these places. Many people have told me, I don't need to learn self-defense because I live in a good peaceful neighborhood. I avoid bad places, I stay where it is safe. so thanks, but no thanks, no need for training.
This is a mistake.
Yes, it is great that you live in a good neighborhood, it is good that you avoid that bad parts of town, but sometimes, despite this, we all find ourselves in the less peaceful parts of town. I will use myself as an example. I live by the principle of Best Defense Not Be There and yet, there are times when I find myself in areas that are not so safe, where I need to be on high alert.
When I arrive in a new area I always ask the locals where it is safe to hang out and what areas are best to avoid. I follow these guidelines carefully, but yet...
In Liverpool I wanted to see the legendary Cavern club where the Beatles played, it was a Saturday night. The crowd was getting quite drunk. Sometimes even ordinary law abiding citizens find themselves in bad situations.
In various parts of the world I have visited martial arts school, either to train or to teach, sometimes these were located in dangerous parts of town.
Sometimes we take buses or taxis to the airport, sometimes these pass through dangerous areas. The bottom line, the point is, everyone needs self defense training. None of us can avoid the dangerous areas for ever. Sooner or later we may find ourselves in the unsavory part of town. And we need to be ready. Enough said.
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