The Fear Factor, Pt II: Mind-Set and the Martial Arts Spectrum – Paul McRedmond (Conflict Manager Magazine, APRIL 2015)

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COMBAT: Kill High adrenaline, emotional commitment and

SELF-DEFENSE: Escape ‘spiritual’ cost, extreme legal repercussions



ART: Coordination

FITNESS: Fitness Low adrenaline, emotional commitment and

PHILOSOPHY: Knowledge spiritual cost, no legal repercussions

The purpose of combat is to kill the ‘enemy.’ The issue here is that a modern, ethical martial artist is not trained to kill or to deal with someone trying to kill them while a wolf (one of the three categories of criminals, the other two being coyote and weasel) has no compunction about killing you, nor any concern for legal repercussions.  The mind-set here is ONE AND DONE and the ambush the best tactic.

Most martial arts are advertised as self-defense styles but the training is based on staying engaged – multiple strikes, locks and holds, takedowns and pins, etc. This is fighting, not self-defense. The mind-set, and tactic, is “STUN AND RUN.”

Defensive Tactics are the realm of the criminal justice and security specialists.  The goal is to control the individual; this means either getting him or her into secure custody or to voluntarily alter their behavior.  Training here MUST include Verbal Judo (George Thompson), conflict simulations, grappling and counter-assault techniques, behavioral psychology and stress management and inoculation.  The mind-set is “I WIN, YOU LOSE’ and the tactic is the swarm-and-pile.

Sport is a formalized contest between one or more players.  It has rules, time limits, special environments (like mats), referees, protective gear, restricted techniques, etc.  Sure, you can get hurt and many martial artists ARE capable of hurting someone badly, but the training doesn’t include the one most important factor that divides martial arts from ‘shtreet’ fighting – the fear factor.  The mind-set is I DON’T LOSE and the tactics, better fitness and force delivery.

Art is for coordination and expression of mind – perception – structure – movement and is also good for developing reflexes that, if trained correctly, can get you past the first punch or rush of a wolf.  Modern Arnis is an art.  Forms are art.  Bagua is an art.  Stylized knife and club counters are art, NOT reality.  The mind-set here is harmony and the tactic, rhythm.

Fitness is for increasing the available mental, physical and intentional energy so as to live a longer, happier and healthier life OR to prepare you for a sport.  The former is about health and longevity, the latter (‘extreme’ fitness) to prepare you for the intense structural stress demanded by most sports.  The mind-set here is ONE MORE PUSHUP and the tactic is finding the time to get, and stay, fit.

The purpose of philosophy, the foundation of the spectrum, is the acquisition and use of knowledge.  Knowledge is power, purpose and direction and melds the internal and external world into a greater, more inclusive whole by expanding your consciousness via the avenue of focused perception.  Knowledge can help you survive in combat, see and avoid the stalking wolf, gain control of confrontational people without incurring liability, be more successful in your chosen sport, reveal greater vistas in your art, help you train smarter, not harder and, perhaps most importantly – know thyself.  The mind-set is mindfulness and the tactic, question everything and keep at it until you find an answer.

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