Every judgement is based on the potential success of a task and also how the action will be judged afterwards, in terms of success, law and morality. Self defence is fraught with worries about the danger to oneself obviously but also for the danger posed to ones aggressor and how any injury to him will be viewed by the law. Good training and a thoughtful education will influence our judgements, hopefully for the better but certainly it will increase the number of available choices before we decide on which course of action to take. A martial artists choice of effective action in combat will depend on the ‘relevance’ of his training to the challenge that presents itself. I say ‘relevance’ and by that I mean how applicable his training is to actual self defence. Without getting too political on the subject my judgement on many of the martial arts systems I have seen and studied is that they are not ‘relevant’ that is they are not applicable to the situation, in other words they wouldn’t help much more in combat than a knowledge of golf or tennis. This is my judgement on martial arts systems and the consequence of this has influenced what I teach and the curriculum taught in my schools motivating me to teach a system that based on my experience of combat and which I judge to work in the wide range of experience I have had.
My reasons for writing about the laws of combat is to use my experience to help martial artists realise that what they are learning should not be based so much on style but on content and that content should be driven by the universal laws that govern all things in life and combat. This is why my writing speaks of laws, strategies, rules and techniques to show the difference between these concepts. To demonstrate that every strategy or technique is governed by a law and that if one knows the laws the techniques will be practiced and applied better. In martial arts there are things that are equally if not more important than technique and every effective martial art will contain certain principles in its make up that decide its effectiveness. These are the concepts of Fitness, Aggression, Strength and Training what I call the FAST principle:
F is for Fit, every effective martial art in its practice will promote high levels of cardiovascular conditioning. One never knows how long the fight will last and at what intensity so we must prepare ourselves for this.
A is for aggressive attitude. Aggression is necessary in combat, controlled aggression but aggression all the same. One cannot fight for ones life half heartedly, one must fight at one hundred percent intensity and this intensity is pure aggression. I said earlier ‘controlled aggression’ because we must be able to switch it on and off at will so we do enough but not to over step the mark, doing more damage than is necessary.
S is for strength both physical and mental most opponents choose us as victims because they are stronger or at least they think they are. Effective martial arts systems are not out to turn us into bodybuilders in size and weight but they must develop the strength to perform effectively against the average opponent.
T is for training and as I said earlier training should be relevant to the current trends in street defence both in physical and mental attitude. There is nothing new in martial arts despite what the adverts say. No one has discovered a more effective way of running than we did thousands of years ago. Of course we have all sorts of shoes and styles and what have you but at the end of the day they are all just fads, in fact today ‘experts’ are taking us back to thin soled shoes almost like running in bare feet. Martial arts are the same as it ever was, the same the laws and principles remain unchanged for centuries though the techniques come and go with the fashion at the time.
The FAST principle is one of my judgements on martial arts effectiveness and I use it as an example of judgement and how we might apply it in our lives.
In summary, judgement is a continuous processing of decision making and action taking. Every move we make has been judged to be the most appropriate for the outcome we desire in life and martial arts. Our judgement can be improved and if it is our martial arts and life will too. The skill of the master is in his judgement and how he applies it.
Thanks you for reading today