FIT TO FIGHT

The pri­mary fac­tor in self-pro­tec­tion and self-de­fense is sit­u­a­tional aware­ness.

Black Belt - - CONTENTS - BY MARK HATMAKER

The pri­mary fac­tor in self-pro­tec­tion and self-de­fense is sit­u­a­tional aware­ness, the au­thor says, and with that in mind, he out­lines three his­tor­i­cal meth­ods for be­com­ing a more alert mar­tial artist.

Keep­ing in mind that crime is more of­ten than not a prod­uct of op­por­tu­nity, if we take steps to re­duce that op­por­tu­nity to as close to nil as we can man­age, we’ve gone a long way to­ward ren­der­ing our phys­i­cal tac­ti­cal train­ing un­nec­es­sary. (That would be a good thing.)

Yes, hav­ing de­fen­sive tac­ti­cal skills in our back pocket is a great ace to carry through­out the day, but all the more use­ful for sav­ing our lives or the lives of loved ones is hav­ing a honed aware­ness, a ready alert­ness to what’s oc­cur­ring around us ev­ery sin­gle day. There’s a prob­lem, though.

MAIN­TAIN­ING SUCH

aware­ness is a tough job be­cause most of our day-to-day ex­is­tence is safe and mun­dane (also a good thing), and it’s this very safety that al­lows us to back­slide in the aware­ness depart­ment. With­out daily dan­ger­stres­sors, we eas­ily can fall into de­fault com­fort mode.

Clearly, we need to take ac­tion to re­turn aware­ness and alert­ness to the fore. A use­ful prac­tice for ac­com­plish­ing this is to gam­ify our aware­ness. That en­tails us­ing spe­cific drills on a re­volv­ing ba­sis to keep our mind on our daily rou­tine while also mak­ing a bit of a game out of things that could save our skin.

I use a se­ries of gam­i­fied aware­ness drills culled from his­tor­i­cal war­rior tra­di­tions that were de­vel­oped across the globe. Where ap­pro­pri­ate, I up­date the drills to fit our 21st-cen­tury en­vi­ron­ment. De­scribed be­low are three of the many drills you can use to ac­com­plish this goal.

THE FIRST aware­ness ex­er­cise for war­riors comes from a Co­manche tra­di­tion called Pue­watsi Nemito, mean­ing “The Wild Walker” or “Walk of the Wild.”

SETUP: To­day, you are on the menu. No mat­ter where you are — in an ur­ban set­ting, a nat­u­ral set­ting or some­where in between — live as if you’re a hunted man, a tar­geted woman, a per­son on some­one’s kill list. Know who or what is be­hind you at all times. Look into the faces of the peo­ple around you — is one of them your hunter? Look at the hands of those around you — is there a method of your demise in one of their hands?

Keep to the edges of trails or side­walks be­cause only con­fi­dent or fool­hardy an­i­mals cross open ground. Treat all se­cu­rity cam­eras as tools to lo­cate you and avert your face when pass­ing by or be­neath them. Treat birds as pos­si­ble drones.

In short, live with your eyes wide open, your mind alert. Live as if you’re be­ing stalked.

At the end of the ex­er­cise, ask your­self what you learned from this bit of role-play­ing. It should be that war­riors must be aware. Aware of what? Ev­ery­thing. And war­riors must be awake. All de­tails are of in­ter­est be­cause any de­tail may be im­por­tant. You don’t know what de­tail will change your life. You don’t know what de­tail will save your life.

HERE’S ANOTHER

drill adapted from Pue­watsi Nemito. It’s an in­verse of the Hukhiap’u Pu­niti, or “Shadow Watcher,” drill. SETUP: To­day, look for re­flec­tions. Find all the re­flec­tive sur­faces that you can and see what those re­flec­tions hold. Look for the trees in the win­dows of your home. See the glint of the semi in the win­dow of a pass­ing car. Lo­cate the rip­pled re­flec­tion of the sky or your­self in a pud­dle of wa­ter. Watch what’s hap­pen­ing around you in the restau­rant us­ing your bev­er­age glass. Note the dis­torted you in the eyes of the per­son you’re speak­ing with.

The only re­flec­tion you shouldn’t pay at­ten­tion to is the one you see in a mir­ror. Oth­er­wise, find any and all re­flec­tions and note how many sur­faces pro­vide mir­ror im­ages.

I re­peat: War­riors must be aware. Aware of what? Ev­ery­thing. And war­riors must be awake. All de­tails are of in­ter­est be­cause any de­tail may be im­por­tant. You don’t know what de­tail will change your life. You don’t know what de­tail will save your life.

THE THIRD

drill is adapted from a prac­tice found in the North­east In­dian war­rior tra­di­tions and the Vik­ing tra­di­tion. Be­fore we be­gin, con­sider th­ese his­tor­i­cal mes­sages:

“If you are wise, be wise. Keep what goods the gods gave you. Don’t ig­nore five good senses seek­ing an un­known sixth. — The Vik­ing Hava­mal

“Don’t get caught look­ing for leaves in the trees in au­tumn. Those leaves are on the ground.” — Co­manche teach­ing “Look.” “At what?” “Ev­ery­thing, then you’ll never have to ask.” — Medicine man speak­ing to a young war­rior

SETUP: Take three, find five. Se­lect a 15-minute pe­riod in your day. Take three steps, then stop and note — ver­bally, if pos­si­ble — five things in your en­vi­ron­ment that you can phys­i­cally sense. They can be ob­jects you see, sounds you hear, scents you smell, fla­vors you taste, even the breeze you feel. Take three more steps and re­peat the drill but don’t du­pli­cate any of the things al­ready on your list. Con­tinue un­til the pe­riod is up.

If you take the time to hon­estly com­mit to this drill, you’ll find there’s far more to sense than you nor­mally take in. We gloss over and glide through so much of life that what we miss can be as­tound­ing.

I re­peat the ex­change: “Look.” “At what?” “Ev­ery­thing, then you’ll never have to ask.” For more in­for­ma­tion about Mark Hatmaker, visit ex­treme­self­pro­tec­tion.com.

All de­tails are of in­ter­est be­cause any de­tail may be im­por­tant.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.