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In Bruce Lee’s most famous movie – Enter the Dragon – he stands on a ship confronted by a bigger bully. The bully challenges Lee to a fight. Lee says, “Sure, but not here.” The bully asks where the contest shall take place and Lee points to a small island a short ways from the ship. When the bully asks how they will get to the island, Lee points to a life boat being slowly pulled along by the ship. The bully agrees and climbs on to the life boat, at which time Lee unhooks the tow line from above and watches the bully simply drift off to sea while waiving good bye to him!
While this is a funny cinematic interpretation for the lesson of “Fighting without fighting”, it does make the viewer wonder, what is the best way to diffuse a potential physical confrontation while keeping your honor and body intact and possibly even getting the last laugh.
First, if confronted by a physically aggressive person, you must attempt to immediately establish maximum distance between you and the potential threat. Yes, running away is a great option but you may be in a situation where this is just not practical or even possible. However, even simply being out of “arms reach” from an assailant can give you the extra time to react that you need. It may even prevent the other person from simply striking at you on impulse. Obviously, it’s going to be much easier for someone to hit you on impulse if they can reach you.
The next thing you should do as you are obtaining the distance and space we just talked about, is create a protective physical barrier between you and the threat. The most immediate option would be to put your hands between you and the assailant in a non threatening manner. Generally, your hands would remain open (not balled into a fist) and your palms would face the other individual. This will give you a great line of defense to cover your head with in case they lunge at you. Any other physical barrier you can put between you and the assailant is now an added bonus, such as a car door, shopping buggy, etc.
VERY IMPORTANT NOTE: If you are confined in a small space and can not manage to gain distance as instructed in step one, still MOVE ON TO NUMBER 2 – PUT YOUR HANDS UP!
The third thing you need to do to possibly diffuse the situation is use appropriate language. There is no magic formula here. You have to go with the flow of what you think the situation calls for. However, here are some ideas.
Ø Mild: “Why are you acting this way? Calm down, can’t we talk this out?” (Remember, he who asks the questions, controls the conversation)
Ø Passive Aggressive: “Hey, look, my husband is a highway patrolman and he and his partner are meeting me here any minute. In fact I was supposed to call him five minutes ago.”
Ø Aggressive: “Back off and leave me alone”
Whatever, you say, however, should be brief and to the point. Remember, never start arguing with a knuckle head, they will just bring you down to their level and then they will beat you with experience! Plus it’s hard to stay clear headed and have maximum awareness when you are bickering back and forth.
Finally, get away at the first opportunity. If at any moment you realize you have created a chance to get in your car and lock the doors – do it! Drive away if possible! If you have an opportunity to go inside a public place – do it! Also, never hesitate to call the police if you think the situation warrants the call. You may end up saving your life and someone else’s.
Oh, and as for getting the last laugh? If you make it back home safely and in one piece, then you got the last laugh – Mission Accomplished! For free safety videos see www.EssentialMartialArts.com .
Positive Mental Attitude
PMA at EMA
"Even if you are not a member of EMA, we hope these little stories will make an impact on you."
Think about it:
The best phone call ever!
Let’s imagine for a moment. Your telephone rings, and the voice on the other end is someone that you greatly respect. This could be your teacher, your pastor, your coach, your karate instructor, or a friend. This person says, “I just thought I would call and tell you that I think that you are one of the nicest people I know. You are a great person to be around, and I like listening to the things that you have to say. Every time that I am around you, I feel inspired and motivated to want to be a better person. I wish I could see you every day because you motivate me to be my best. That is all I wanted to say, and I look forward to seeing you soon”
Now, if a person called you and said these things to you, how would that make you feel about yourself? You would feel great about yourself wouldn’t you? By someone taking their time to call and say all of those things about you, it would probably make you want to be an even better person yourself. You would have such confidence in yourself that you would want to get better grades, work harder in your other activities like hobbies or sports. You would want to be a better son or daughter, and even a better martial artist.
The words that the person on the phone said to you, made you feel positive about how you see yourself. What if the person on the other end of the phone was you? What if you said all of those great things about yourself every day? Things like I’m a great person, I always try my best; I can do anything that I set my mind to. I want to help others. There is a saying that the mind completes whatever picture we put in it. If we paint a picture of ourselves about the type of great person that we could be, we can become that person. It all starts with the way that we chose to see our self. How we see our self is called our “Self Image”. If you say positive things to yourself, you will have a positive self image. With a positive self image, an interesting thing happens. Your confidence grows, and when your confidence grows your competence grows, which simply means when your self image improves, your performance improves.
If you see yourself as a straight A student, you will become a straight A student. If you see yourself as a doctor, you can become a doctor. And, if you see yourself as a black belt, you can become a black belt.
When Victor Seribriakoff was fifteen, his teacher told him that he would never finish school, and that he should drop out and get a job. Victor took the advice, and for the next seventeen years he did a variety of odd jobs. He had been told that he wasn’t smart, and for seventeen years he acted like it. When he was thirty-two years old an amazing thing happened. While applying for a job, an evaluation revealed that he was actually a genius with an IQ of 161. Guess what? Seemingly overnight he started acting like a genius. Since that time, he has written books, had several inventions, and has become a successful business man.
This story of Victor makes you wonder how many geniuses we have walking around acting like dunces, because somebody told them that they were not smart. Obviously Victor did not suddenly acquire a tremendous amount of additional knowledge. He was already very smart and bright. He did however; suddenly acquire a tremendous amount of self image. When Victor saw himself as a genius he became more effective, and more productive. When he saw himself differently, he started acting differently. He started expecting and getting different results. How someone thinks about themselves will determine what type of person they become.
Three strikes you’re “Not” out!
Imagine that there are two batters. Batter A steps up to the plate. Every pitch that he is thrown, he swings super hard. He misses once, he fouls the ball once, and he connects to a pop-up fly and gets caught out. Batter B steps up to the plate, the pitcher throws three strikes in a row, striking the batter out. The batter never lifted the bat off of his shoulder.
Which of these batters were more successful at trying to get to first base? The answer is, batter A. Batter A showed confidence and had such a positive self-image by believing in himself, that he tried to knock the cover off the ball with every swing. Batter B had such low self-image and was afraid to strike out that he stood there and watched three chances to succeed pass him by in the hopes of receives a free walk to first base.
Even though both batters failed to reach first base, batter A learned from his swinging failures, and showed great confidence and the will to succeed. Batter A is the type of person that has a positive self-image, believes in himself, and will try even harder next time. Batter B, just like those three balls, will let life pass him by because of how he feels about himself.
We would like to thank our friend Grand Master Greg Silva who provided these stories for us this month.
"He's one of the most organized martial artist that I've ever met!"
Master Hendrix and the "Li'l Guy" with Grand Master Silva at GM Silva's
Newest MMA school in Arizona.
(Now those are some good looking fellahs!)