How will you react to unavoidable violence?

bob-mel-tft“These situations not only left their scars but also taught me a few things…”

My Dad was an SAS officer. He tried to teach me and my brother a few ‘self defence’ moves, although they were a little extreme for the playground. Later he enrolled us in judo, which we both loved and continued to train into our late teens.

Like most teenagers I got into a few scrapes and unfortunately found myself in some violent situations. They didn’t go the way they do in the dojo or any way I could have imagined.

These situations not only left their scars but also taught me a few things — you never know how you will react in a violent conflict — you never know when you might find yourself in a dangerous or potentially lethal situation — and you never know for sure what the outcome will be.

“being a fairly skeptical person I dutifully avoided TFT…”

I guess that is why I eventually returned to martial arts, to learn to be calmer in stressful situations, to recognise danger and avoid it whenever possible, and to have a better chance of dealing with it when it can’t be avoided.
I have been training for the past ten years and while I have gained the benefits I was looking for (and then some), it is only after adding TFT (Target Focus Training) into the mix that I feel that I might have a chance in a situation of life-or-death asocial violence.

It was through my aikido training that I was first introduced to TFT. I had mixed feelings about what I heard. The first blurry explanations sounded like the kind of self defence course that guarantees effective fighting skills in record time and comes with a free set of steak knives! The US website’s marketing didn’t help either — so being a fairly skeptical person I dutifully avoided TFT.

“…at its most basic level, TFT is an invaluable self protection and violence survival tool that ANYONE can learn quickly and use effectively”

Meanwhile ‘back on the farm’, my aikido teacher was pursuing TFT with great enthusiasm and so it became inevitable that the time would come when I had to give it a go…  Now, after attending a TFT live training weekend and multiple regular training sessions, there is no doubt in my mind that at its most basic level, TFT is an invaluable self protection and violence survival tool that ANYONE can learn quickly and use effectively. At higher levels (in my opinion) it may be the pinnacle of martial training for our times.

For me, TFT has raised questions of morality and reality that continue to challenge me every time I train. It has brought renewed understanding of the martial art that I train and love, as well as its meaning and place in the world. It has sharply focused my mind on the delicacy of life.

As Spider-Man’s Uncle Ben once said, “With great power comes great responsibility”.

words: Bob Withers
photo: Ray Banfield

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