by Eric Nishio
You’ve probably seen many advertisements promoting self-defense courses that supposedly teach you how to defend yourself in an assault. We’re talking about intensive weekend courses, beginner’s courses, and so forth. While they certainly are benevolent services for people, I am quite skeptical about their efficacy.
You see, self-defense isn’t as simple as learning a few tricks and techniques that you can apply whenever the need arises. Learning how to defend yourself or how to fight needs to become part of you. It’s both a physical and an internal process that needs to be incorporated into your life if you want to be capable of successfully using it.
It’s all about preparation
How do the best Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu fighters acquire their trophies and belts? Can it happen just by learning a handful of techniques over a single weekend? Or even over a period of many years? While the techniques definitely are important and you wouldn’t be able to succeed without them, every fighter needs to develop him or herself physically as well as mentally to face a variety of combat situations.
“Education is the ability to meet life’s situations.”
Dr. John G. Hibben, Former President of Princeton University (quoted from How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie)
Any skill in the world
I think there’s a lot of truth and wisdom in that statement. And it can be applied to any skill in the world. I’m only talking about it from the standpoint of a martial artist, because I think there’s a lot of truth and reality in combat since it’s usually about two people facing off and only one of them prevailing. I’ve been studying martial arts for over ten years, and what I think it ultimately comes down to is preparation.
In a UFC arena, the winner is often the one who has better prepared for the fight. He has learned to apply the basic techniques of his fighting style. He has conditioned his body to withstand as much strain as possible. He has trained his body to endure the lengthy battles and not run out of steam.
He has trained himself to deliver the deadliest blows with minimum effort. He has fought with many opponents and gained valuable experience from every loss.
He has learned the common physical reactions of other fighters, and knows how to exploit them to his advantage. He has conditioned his mind to stay focused in combat at all times. He has gotten used to the tumults of the battlefield, and has learned how to relax and be comfortable with constant change.
And there are still blunders
There are so many factors that, when combined, lead to success in the battlefield. And even the top fighters in the world, who have dedicated their lives to becoming champions, are not free from blunders. But the thousands of hours of effective training under their belt are what fundamentally define them as superior in relation to those with inferior fighting skills.
Try not to believe in shortcuts leading to success
The fighting arts may not be the topic of most interest to you. I must apologize. But the same principles are directly applicable to any other skill or ability. I am a college student, and I have noticed that no student would be able to become a proficient IT expert if they depended solely on what their school has to offer.
That’s also what one of our teachers told us, “If you want to learn how to properly use Linux, install it on your computer and start using it.” There’s no better way of learning a skill than to just do it consistently.
Intensive self-defense courses, yoga courses, Linux courses, Java programming courses—they’re all just introductions that lead the students to the depths of knowledge within. If you want to become an expert at something, you should invest a lot of time in it and commit yourself to achieving the proficiency levels that you’re looking for.
Good luck! To your many successes.
(I would also be grateful to hear your tips and views on how we are able to gain expertise and become more successful. Thanks!)
About the Author:
Eric Nishio writes about self-education on his blog Self-Learner. He wants to help people to realize that practical skills and success are best learned by yourself.
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