Originally Posted on June 1, 2011 by Karri
Every once in a while I get someone who gives me a funny look when I tell them I teach martial arts in Gig Harbor, WA (pop. 7240, area 4.4 sq mi). It’s not too terribly small, but pretty quiet. People are active in the community, the schools are good, and the crime rates are about the national average (19 a year or so).
I could make all kinds of rational arguments like: “What if you’re one of those 19 people”, or “what if you travel”, “or what happens when your daughter goes off to college”. I could work really hard to enlighten you to the dangers out there, or take the morally gray tack of inflaming your paranoia.
I don’t need to do any of that. The reality is that training in martial arts makes you feel safer. The fact that you can handle a dangerous situation has less to do with your quality of life than knowing you can do it.
Imagine a life where you don’t worry when you are alone at home, or in a dark parking lot. You are still alert, and aware of dangers, but you are not afraid. You could say goodbye to the anxiety caused by imagined dangers. Your experience training can override your irrational fears.
This, then becomes habit.
Once you start looking at the reality of situations that cause fear or anxiety, you gain the ability to apply perspective to other situations like job interviews, public speaking, personal conflicts, etc. You realize that you have the innate capacity to read the moment once you aren’t clouded by imagined obstacles.
I would feel immensely gratified to know that a dangerous attacker was foiled by one of my students, but I also take a lot of pride in knowing that all of my students are living better because of their training.
So, whether you live in a quiet suburb, or the urban jungle, you will always take your personal reality with you. You can choose to be ruled by ignorance and fear, or learn to live in the moment and control how your perceptions affect you.
If you choose the latter, I’ll be here in my small town with the door open.