Don’t Be a Wannabe

There is a problem in the Filipino Martial Arts, that I have noticed seems to be a very dangerous one.

The arts we practice are very deadly. Not many martial arts styles address actually maiming the opponent or killing him. This style regularly introduces techniques that will result in the opponent’s death, and are designed for nothing more than killing the opponent. For street combat effectiveness, this seems to be just what the doctor ordered–our arts can truly arm the average citizen with a skill that will stop an attacker dead in his tracks. While many teachers claim to give their students self-confidence, what other skill can one have–besides shooting a gun–that would give you the range of simple self-defense to lethal potentials? Arming someone with the Filipino fighting arts can be similar to giving them a firearm, however, we must treat it with the same level of responsiblity. And this is one place that the industry of FMA instruction has failed.

I am not going to bore you with the number of FMA student who have killed in America alone. There is a conversation we must have openly in the art among teachers and masters:

Who do we teach, who do we refuse, when do we teach certain techniques, and how do we teach the arts?

Rhetoric and cowardness in the FMA have led to the philosophy, “I teach people to defend themselves, even to the point of deadliness, because they may need it.” If you are teaching people how to fight, is it necessary to teach them mainly how to kill? I know of men who only speak of fighting as a life-or-death fight, and consider everything other than a life-or-death fight a separate skill from what they do. Any idea why they have this fantasy of fighting?

Yes, they are cowards in the biggest way.

These are men who are really afraid to mix it up, they are afraid of an ass-whipping. So afraid, that any threat they perceive must be met with death. Not much different from the 10 year old kid who is bullied at school and brings a knife to confront his bullies. See, he sees no way out of this situation–no way to handle it appropriately, so he falls back on the common dream the race of the weak often fantacize about: killing the people they fear. What situation is so bad that a 5th grader must carry a knife and kill another 5th grader? What taunts or names could you call him to justify that? Of course, none! But in his mind, his parents can’t end this bullying, his teachers can’t do it, and he certainly can’t do it, and the only thing he feels safe doing is to bring a knife and shove it in the boy’s stomach.

We have men, who call themselves “self-defense experts”, who are so afraid of gambling the appropriate level of force to thwart an attacker (and the butt-stomping that would accompany that failure), that they hide behind knives and tough talk. These are men whose teachers never taught them true self-confidence and lessened their fear of another man by teaching them to deal with attackers with nothing more than bare hands. So the only thing they know will stop an attacker is the knife.

And let me tell you something about the knife.

 The knife is the perfect excuse for not having to prove you know what you’re doing. It’s the modern-day “my art is too deadly for sparring” excuse. It is something that many other men fear, and wielding one will scare other men into not challenging you on your knowledge. It is something that is so wrapped up in theory and fantasy, there is no testing or winning or losing to face–only the belief that “if I fight for real, I’ll kill you”…. It is the excuse for not being physically fit (“you don’t need abs or stamina to stab your attacker”) or really having to train hard. It is the perfect thing to hide behind–along with rank, organizations, friends, reputations, and tough talk. Frankly speaking, it is the weapon of choice for cowards.

The coward is a guy who is afraid of everything and will not face his fears, even if they confront him. He will do everything in his power to avoid confrontation. It has nothing to do with fearlessness and courage, as courageous men are not fearless, they are just men who are strong enough to do and face what they are afraid of. Cowards are quite often cloaked in wolves clothing; they are dressed like the tough guys, they talk their talk and act like them as well… but inside–deep inside–they are cowards. As the saying goes, they wear their toughness only on the outside. The knife is something they brandish because secretly, they are hoping that this image will give the appearance of toughness. And they keep just enough skills, that secretly, they can’t wait for the day they get to use it (justifiably) and redeem themselves of being… well, a coward.

Martial arts wannabees. No man wants to accept that he is afraid. We want our women to feel safe around us, and we want to know that we are capable of defending them and our children. But to hide this fear behind the false bravado of being a cold-blooded killer–when we know darn well that most of us would never face another man, mano a mano. This, my brothers, is cowardice. True self-confidence and bravery is the knowledge and belief that no man poses a true threat, unless he is the coward with the weapon. But instead, most FMA guys is that guy.

Don’t be a wannabe.

Thank you for visiting my blog.

Author: thekuntawman

full time martial arts teacher, full time martial arts philosopher, and full time martial arts critic

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