I am raising three men.
Caleb, Nathaniel, and Andrew are five, eight, and nine respectively.
"But," you might say, "They are only boys." You're right and wrong.
They are boys. At some future point they will become men. They are men-in-training, a fact I must never forget. The eighteenth birthday does not a man make. Nor does sixteen or twenty-one. Boys become men like a pile of steel becomes a soaring skyscraper. They are constructed from the ground up. External constraints form the foundation. The externals become internalized over time through ongoing reinforcement. In other words, I repeat myself a lot. As values harden they become load-bearing. Trials test character. Unrefined ore becomes steel. Weakness becomes strength. My role is that of architect, engineer, and foreman all in one. Therefore, I am building men.
Today's lesson: On Hitting.
Andrew: "He was hitting me."
Me: "Yes, I know. Did you need to hit back?"
Note: Andrew is a nine, almost ten-year-old junior black belt in Taekwondo. Andrew knows how to hit, hard. For the record, he chose not to hit back and instead came and told me about it. Did he want to hit back? Absolutely, and I don't blame him for feeling that way. Part of being male involves managing hardwired aggression. Men are naturally aggressive. We're designed that way for a reason. We don't need to apologize for it. But, we do need to own it and use our strength for good.
Back to Andrew...
Andrew: "I have the right to defend myself."
Me: "Yes, you do. But, you have to learn when to hit back and when not to. Were you really in danger? Was he really trying to hurt you?"
Me: "That's right. He wasn't. If your life is ever in danger you have my permission to use your skills. Daddy will back you to the hilt. But, I pray that day never comes. Don't hit back unless you absolutely have to. I'm proud of you for not striking back."
And the moral of today's lesson?
Me: “We use this first.” (finger taps the brow) Andrew, looking grave, nods. "Yes, daddy."
Me: “We us this last.” (fist comes to eye level, ready and hopefully always waiting) I smile big. Then Andrew smiles. I smile bigger and open my arms. We hug and the balance returns to the force and all is well.
God help me if I'm ever in this situation. See the link below for context. Then, read on.
Now, I need a dummy-gun and a training partner. Master Hong, are you game?
For the record, the best defense is not to be there. Then, compliance. Here's my wallet...you can have it. My life is more important than my Visa. Run away if you can.
Fighting isn't cool. I know...there is a certain coolness factor to a Chan or Lee film. Five-on-one: cool X 5. Ten-on-one: that's cinematic magic. It's also a twisted distortion of reality. We root for the good guy while the body count piles high.
Fighting is dangerous and in many cases morally questionable, if not wrong. Trying to take a gun from someone will likely get you hurt, perhaps seriously, perhaps permanently, perhaps fatally.
But, sometimes, the only option is to fight for your life. In those instances, do what you must to keep yourself and the ones you love alive. Hopefully, you've got training to fall back upon.
Don't court the unforgiving minute. The Martial Arts aren't white-magic voodoo. Disarming a gunman isn't cool ( well, okay, it kind of is). But that prospect should also terrify you. It terrifies me. Most people don't have the proper mindset to attempt it, let alone the training to begin with. Including me.
I have a 2nd Degree Black Belt in Taekwondo and I've only just begun learning. I've trained little in gun defense. But I want to do more, much more. The more I learn the more I come to terms with my own frailty; the more I come to terms with how little I know. I've only just begun.
But, I'm open to learning more.
Start there...if you're interested. Stay humble. Stay teachable. Get training. Become a student and pass on what you've learned.
Never use your knowledge for self-gain. Develop might to do right, and walk humbly. Be an ambassador of peace. Confront evil with good, speak life. But, when you must, stand firm.