Anyone who has watched TV recently might well believe their best option is to lock the door and never set foot outside again! It may be a pretty tough world we live in, but that’s a long way from reality.
Australia, like many countries in the developed world, is a really safe place to live. Terror attacks are highly unlikely, and attacks by random strangers on the street don’t happen in the numbers we are led to believe. In fact, the most likely source of trouble comes from people we know (see some stats here). So don’t worry, be happy!
Of course we do still worry. Fears builds pathways in our brain more readily than positive experiences. This is a hangover from when we spent a lot more time running from predators and hiding in caves. But this is where the dojo has a vital role to play. In our training we practise skills appropriate to the full spectrum of danger, all the while building multiple positive experiences for a happier brain.
Traditional arts like aikido provide a positive experience of resolving conflict while at the same time learning the motor skills to deal with it. The challenges we encounter on the mat are physical and graduated, so our ability grows over time. Probably the most beneficial aspect of this training is how it translates to the rest of our lives, enabling us to remain calm and focused as we resolve the non-physical conflicts we experience daily.
Our self defence training, based on aikido, provides us with non-lethal responses to violence. This is perfect for dealing with the most likely source of violence: those we know rather than strangers. Again the calm that comes with practise enables us to keep our heads in dangerous situations — because we have been there before.
Our atemi-jutsu is right out there on the ‘pointy end of the stick’, where modern combatives train us to deal with the outliers of human behaviour from our worst nightmares. For the sane and socialised it’s uncomfortable and confronting to think about and practise for worst-case scenarios. But it’s far better to process all of this in the dojo than when it’s happening right now. In the dojo you can learn to fight for your life without ever putting it at risk. Knowledge and practice give us options that dramatically increase our chances of survival.
Remember the old saying “It’s better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it”!