Fighting is an unglamorous thing. Although it looks real neat and epic on the big screen; two trained fighters squaring off, monologuing to each other then beating the living crap out of each other for almost half an hour before one of them finally succumbs to that one punch or kick that puts them down… What bullshit! I can promise you that a real fight is normally nothing like that. Even “professional” fighters train for hours and hours for a scheduled match and even they usually deal with heavy exhaustion by the end of it.
“Nobody Ever Wins A Fight…”– John Dalton (Patrick Swayze), Road House, 1989
I’ve been training in the martial arts for over thirty years now, and I’ve run out of fingers on which to count the number of fights I’ve been involved in. To be clear, I refer to the fights that were in the line of duty or in the defence of myself or another person, not sparring matches or in karate class. None of them have been by choice, and the few of them that were a “choice” were not mine to make. But since I’m sitting here writing this, they were obviously mine to finish.
As time and the years have elapsed, I’ve taken stock of the old adage that a true martial artists trains to fight so that he or she will never have to. I can say with firm honesty that I have never been the one to start any fight I’ve been involved in. The choice to take violent action has always been made by my opponents, although they’ve always regretted it, soon after. I’m sure that sounds like bragging, but rest assured that I say it only because it illustrates an important point: every fight MUST have a victor and a loser. Any true battle that is seen to its conclusion can only be as such.
So, which one will you be? I’ve read that you win every battle you never fight. That may be true. It’s kind of hard to lose if you don’t fight to start with. But it all depends on one’s reasons. I’ve lived with the belief that violence is never a reason. You should never seek out violence or to do harm to others. That being said, it would be a great dishonour to sit back and allow events to unfold if violence is visited upon your family and loved ones. At this point, learning to fight so that you’ll never have to is no longer a choice. Someone else has already made the decision and has dragged you into the consequences.
I’ve never stepped onto a sparring competition mat. Ever. The concept of fighting for a plastic trophy has always left a bitter taste in my mouth. My Sensei never believed in it, either. He always said that if I chose to participate in tournaments that he only had two conditions: never to ask him to train me for it, and to make damn good and sure that I won. And in truth, I’ve participated in forms on a couple of occasions when I was invited to attend certain tournaments. And form, or kata if you will, is a beautiful demonstration of the discipline that is learned din the martial arts. But even on those instances, I never demonstrated in a competitive manner.
I believe in peace. I believe in “live and let live.” And so should you. If you choose to fight, you must be certain that your reasons are noble. And worth it. The protection of yourself. The protection of others. To keep your family and loved ones safe. The preservation of peace. Upholding the law. There are some reasons worth fighting for. But even in those circumstances, it should never be your “choice” to fight. But once the choice is made, be certain that you win. Especially if your reasons are noble and honourable. ☯