Monday, March 13, 2006

A Busy Stretch

Finally I have time for a quick post. The weekend before my trip out of town, I attended a martial arts seminar that my dojo was sponsoring here in the area. It was awesome. Other than learning some useful physical things concerning personal defense, we also had some good philosophical discussions on the nature of conflict. Conflict in its broadest sense, from war between warring factions to one-on-one combative situations.

There are other options to the natural instinct of fight-or-fight. In fact, to think of possible reactions to conflict merely in terms of this dichotomy, considerable limits our array of options in responding to a challenge.

Running away is almost never a good option. We can't run away indefinitely. We might be merely postponing the inevitable. There are times when running is not an option. There are times when we have to fight. Some challenges have to be met head on. One of the big unknowns is how we are going to react in a combat situation. You never know until you are there. I find that the most exposed you are to conflict, the most comfortable you become with it. Suppressing emotions is important. Time plays tricks with your mind. Thirty seconds feel like two hours. Two hours feel like thirty seconds. And when all is said and done, your knees feel weak. You feel like right after having sex.

To constantly be in a fight is a sign of failure. To constantly be flying from our attackers is not a sign of success. The third option is strategy.

No matter the outcome, conflict is always costly. Even the winner can lose something in the process. You have to know the type of fight you are getting into so you can formulate your strategy. Having done some boxing when I was a teenager I had to adapt my style to karate when I first started sparring in my dojo. In boxing, you are in for the long haul. You guard yourself differently. You can take a few hits. In competitive karate, the lighting strike is emphasized. You can get hot once and the match is over. You cover more of your body since your sparring partner can use his legs he has more weapons at his disposal. Boxing is more brute force and stamina. Karate is more about strategy: how can I hit you, fast, without getting hit myself.

It helps to know both forms, boxing and karate. Before a fight, you have to be able to judge if it's going to be short of long. Sometimes is best to go in hoping for the short fight, but ready for the long one. All this we must take into account when we formulate our strategy to deal with the challenge.

Strategy is the ultimate alternative. Strategy combines fight, flight, posture and even sometimes, submission.

I should be going back home sometime this week. It's been really busy out here. Long hours. Hopefully, when I get home, I'll be able to make more coherent posts.

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