Never get caught with your pants down.
Or, perhaps I should say: Never get caught weaponless. That is, if you are a true warrior.
I have been called to the carpet about giving the Sayoc Kali people a hard time about anything I can find to talk about, yet I seem to agree with a lot of the things they say. There is something about challenging people on their views that I believe strongly in (actually a topic for another article, so we won’t get into that much today), and I enjoy debating… even debating against topics I agree with. I believe that a martial artist becomes a better martial artist when he must defend his view without emotion or action, because it forces him to deal with the “what ifs” that you never encounter when you surround yourself with people who just agree with everything you say. Sort of why I prefer a fighter with a few losses on his record than an unbeaten one. See, when you avoid discomfort, you show how weak you really are. When you get angry during a debate, it shows how weak your argument is because you are no longer dealing with the validity of your argument–you want the opposing side to go away, shut up, or just never show its face. The fighter–the true fighter–not only doesn’t mind opposition, he LOOKS for it. For the martial artist who allows his emotions to enter a discussion about the martial arts, nothing could be truer than the fact that all debates can be resolved in about 60 seconds. And this fact should lead to the lack of a need to get upset about it. Instead, you should smile, pick up your stick or gloves… and “explain” your case a little better. When I debate a subject in the martial arts, I do not get upset (unless cowards get to name-calling and ridiculing, because this is not about how intelligent I am or how well I can spell, but the validity of one’s technique) because I can prove everything I say. Few martial artists can “prove” what they say, so they’d rather keep it at words and stuff like “buy my video/pay for a seminar and then see for yourself”. But enough about that.
One of the things I like about the Sayoc philosophy is their view of how a warrior conducts himself in his regular life. For the warrior–you must understand–you are never “off-duty”. Just as a man should never have a day he leaves home without his pants, a warrior is never caught without his weapons. Even if the only weapon on your person is a ballpoint pen, you must have something available that can kill, cripple or disfigure a potential opponent besides your hands. The only time a warrior should be without a weapon is when his hands are that good, those hands are weapons. (Trust me, there are far fewer people who can claim to be this good… and those who are will rarely admit to being so) The weapons to the warrior are the tools of the trade, and we are a rare lot in that we have a skill that can be utilized and employed even when we go to sleep. Bottom line, never be without a weapon.
When I moved into my last home, I chose places in the house where I kept weapons. This included two machetes, three knives, a spear, several cocobolo sticks, a push dagger, and a firearm. I pointed these places out to my children and warned them not to touch them unless a stranger was in the house. I also promised a near-death experience if they touched these weapons out of curiosity. Only the teenagers knew about the firearm, but even my 9 year old was taught about the locations of my blades and all were taught to attack the hands and throat of the stranger. All members of my family were taught Eskrima, and my wife and I sparred almost weekly. She is a law enforcement officer and I would be livid when she came home from work with injuries, so I insisted on her studying my arts. She trained for the “Battle of the Badges”, and within a few months of our wedding I was confident that she was safe with her hands alone. The home, in my opinion, is not safe unless every member is a soldier. My children trained weekly, and they sparred every wednesday. On top of that, they boxed and fenced with a fencing club. The warrior must arm his family as well as himself, or he is wasting his knowledge.
Understand that there is no safe haven from violence, and even when you are home, there is vulnerability. If you are attacked in your sleep, you should have a defensive tool available within an arm’s reach. If you are in your car, you should have a weapon available as easily as a feigned dropped set of keys or wallet. If you are fumbling in your back pocket for cash, some sharp object needs to be a quick grab away. Your family will never be completely safe 100% of the time, so if anyone needs access to a weapon, even your children needs to be able to find a blade. I have a 10 year old boy who is crafty enough to be able to plunge a blade into the neck or bladder of even skilled Eskrimador. My daughter’s specialty in fencing is the foil, and because of her fast footwork, has even managed to thrust me a few times in playful combat. Prepare your family for defense, because you are their protector and the best way for you to protect them is to teach them to protect themselves.
And never, ever, forget your role as warrior–because this role does not end at 5 p.m. every day. It does not occur only on weekends, or 5 or 6 days a week. When you leave your blade at home, or your firearm in the cabinet, or your plastic knife in the glove compartment of your car (HARD plastic, that is; it gets past metal detectors), you are basically convincing yourself that you know for a fact that no violence will occur today. And you really don’t know that, do you? I didn’t think so. If you ask me, I’d say that you were in denial, hoping that “today isn’t the day”… but we don’t carry weapons because most attacks occur on weekends, and certainly not at 6 in the afternoon when you’re going to the mall, right? Are you sure?
No. We carry weapons “just in case”. And just in case can and does happen when you never expect it right? Or are the bad guys sending out texts messages that “today is the day” before they attack now? So if the attack occurs when you don’t expect it, doesn’t that include the day that you decide to leave the weapon at home? Because you’re not expecting it to come today? Brothers, you have some thinking to do!
Arm yourself. Arm your family. And always have a weapon available, because you can “always” be attacked–at home, in the car, while you sleep, when you shop. This is the life of a warrior… We are the armed among a sea of the unarmed. Like the guard dog in my previous article, you are not one of the prey, unless you choose to be.
Thanks for visiting my blog.