Is self-defence a lifestyle?
A very interesting point of discussion in a seminar with Richard Dimitri and Chris Roberts recently has really got me thinking on a different aspect of self-protection training. While it is something that I am acutely aware of, I have never really verbalised it. So here goes.
But before we proceed… A key word throughout the next few points is moderation. Read all the way to the end and you’ll see what I mean!
As a self-defence (or self protection, call it whatever you will) teacher, I get a variety of different people from all walks of life and socio-economic backgrounds wanting to train and learn self-defence. That is an amazing thing, and helps create the community feel and open-minded approach we value so highly.
But it also begs another question;
Does your lifestyle support your self-defence aspirations?
What do I mean by that?
It’s pretty straightforward. What is the point of learning self-defence, if you live off takeaway, smoke two packs a day and drink like a fish? In other words, giving you skills that may help you to fight off an attacker won’t matter all that much in the long run if your lifestyle is going to kill you before anyone else gets a chance to!
Often, the change in lifestyle comes with training – it is one of the many wonderful benefits of martial arts training (or any other physical activity for that matter). But with the self-defence skill set, specifically, this is even more important.
So let’s have a look at a few lifestyle choices that can help you improve your chances of self-protection;
- . Physical fitness – keeping fit and healthy is important. We all know it. I do not mean that you have to be at your ‘competition fitness’ 12 months out of the year or run a marathon every day, but maintaining a good and regular exercise regime will not only improve your health, but will improve other attributes that can help you in combat – speed, stamina, agility, etc.
- ‘Garbage in, Garbage out’ – whatever you eat becomes what you body is made up from. Literally. If you live off junk food, not only will it make you gain weight and cause other health issues in the long run, but also you will find that you lack the stamina needed for training. You will also find that your recovery time is much, much longer as your body does not get the nutrients it needs to repair itself after hard sessions.
- ‘Toxicity’ – cigarettes, alcohol, drugs, etc., have negative effects everyone knows about – increased risk of cancer, reduced lung capacity (especially for longer sessions), etc. They can also alter your perception of reality, afect coordination, slow down reaction time and, in general, make you act like an ass.
A key step in considering effective self defence practices is considering how frequently you are putting yourself in situations where you are more vulnerable due to putting yourself in:
a. Physical states where you cannot defend yourself effectively because your skills are impaired (i.e. you’re totally wasted…)
b. Environments where you are more likely to get attacked, such as with people or in places where lots of drugs are present.
c. States of mind that put you in situations where your decision-making processes are severely impaired, such as driving drunk. No amount of training will get you out of that one!
- 4. Tell me who your friends are, and I’ll tell you who you are – We are an average of the 5 people we spend the most time with. If you spend most of your time with people who are likely to get you in trouble or do not support a lifestyle that reflects your goals, then you are highly unlikely to accomplish those goals.
Again, key word here is moderation.
I do not advocate that you live like a warrior-hermit, eliminate every little guilty pleasure from your life, or completely sever friendships.
But I am suggesting that you review your lifestyle with relation to your goals, and make changes as necessary to help you meet those goals. If you decided that learning how to defend yourself is a priority, then try and make those changes – sometimes small, sometimes not so small – that will support that decision in every aspect of your life!
And of course, if you need any help, contact one of the friendly CAIA instructors to help you!
Stay safe, stay tuned.