The above video series is great examples of a Belief System. What is a belief system? According to Wikipedia: A “belief system” is a set of mutually supportive beliefs. The beliefs of any such system can be classified as religious, philosophical, ideological, or a combination of these.
In layman’s terms: “Belief systems are the stories we tell ourselves to define our personal sense of Reality. Every human being has a belief system that they utilize, and it is through this mechanism that we individually, “make sense” of the world around us.”
We use belief systems as a means to interpret and respond to our “reality”. In this video, Penny’s belief system (Penny’s World) revolves around the premises of:
a. She has learned certain physical skills by training in a certain system of Aikido as evidenced by her black belt ranking.
b. These physical skills allow her to physically defeat attackers.
c. These physical skills can be shown and taught to women who can also use them to defeat attackers.
In Penny’s World, self-defense is framed as simply applying a physical solution to a physical problem. Penny’s World doesn’t contain other factors such as psychological and physiological responses.
In Penny’s World, Penny always wins. It is likely that other women (men too), who enter Penny’s World will also experience the same “reality”. Penny’s “attackers” are of the same belief system. The longer a person spends in Penny’s World, the more likely that he or she will come to accept this Belief System as representative of actual human interactions and behavior (actuality).
So is Penny’s World representative of actual physical assaults and effective defenses or is it the Fantasy Island of Self-defense?
For Penny’s belief system to be accurate, she would have to (1) have the ability to defeat attackers from outside of Penny’s World and (2) have the ability to teach other women to be able to defeat attackers from outside of Penny’s World.
In Penny’s World, all the feedback she receives supports her beliefs. The more time she spends in Penny’s World, the more ingrained her beliefs become. She also becomes deeply invested in her beliefs. In fact, her very identity and sense of self has become intertwined with Penny’s World.
It is highly unlikely that Penny will actively seek alternative feedback from “attackers” outside of Penny’s World. As such, her belief system is likely to remain intact. The question is “What happens when Penny or her students are attacked in actuality?”
NOTE: This post is not about whether or not Aikido is effective for self-defense. It is about belief systems. The self-defense effectiveness of any given style is a function of it’s practitioners’ ability to succeed in a wide variety of the real life conflicts.