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Four-Leaf Clovers, Rabbit's Feet and the Art of Self-Defense

So there I was on the Preparation and Survival forum, browsing through the “Urban Survival” category of threads, when I encountered “Don't Get In The Car”.

The Original Post

The original post started off this way:

Original Poster said: 

Here is a tip. I know that they say to do whatever an armed 
criminal says to do, but there is one exception to that rule. 
If the criminal wants
you to get into a car and either drive or let them drive, 
DON'T GET IN.


No matter where you are, their intent is probably to take you 
to a secluded area and end your life.

After a dozen or so replies all hailing the original poster's wisdom I encountered this response from a youngish lady:

Youngish Lady's Response

Youngish Lady said: 


You could NEVER know how you would handle this kind of situations. 
As you said, every situation is different. I think luck is a very 
important factor in this equation. You can't tell anyone to keep 
it together or to keep a clear mind. How could that be possible? 
But you could say "TRY to keep calm".

My instant (and probably pre-programmed from years of saying it) response:

Round 1

SifuPhil said: 


I would NEVER rely upon luck - luck is for lotteries and one-night-
stands, not self-defense. 


It IS possible, with the proper training, to instill a mind that is 
clear and calm in a conflict situation, but it takes work and lots 
of it. It takes going outside your comfort zone - something most 
people aren't prepared to do - and it takes daily, mindful practice. 
Short of that you're right - it wouldn't be possible.


And, as Master Yoda said, "There IS no "try" - do or do not".

At this point I must have raised the young lady's hackles, because she next posted:

Round 2

Youngish Lady said: 


I said luck is important, I didn't say rely on it. Have you 
ever been in a situation like this? How did you feel? What 
did you do?


I had an awful experience like this, I really don't want to 
get into details. When I told the story, I used the phrases 
"I was lucky to..." and "Luckly(sp) he..." several times. 
I was very scared and my heart was racing. I looked calm but 
I was a mess. I wasn't hurt and I escaped. That doesn't mean 
I'm not emotionally hurt for life.


So I stand by everything I said in my previous reply.

Evidently I'd hit a nerve. I'd encountered one of the countless numbers of people who not only cannot let go of a sad event in their life, but also thank (or blame) luck as the important constituent.

“Emotionally hurt for life” … evidently not a warrior we're dealing with here. Why does this forum allow sheep to give advice on the handling of wolves?

Now how should I go about responding to this, while hiding my distaste for such attitudes? Hmmm … in response to her first paragraph concerning my own experiences, I wrote:

Round 3

SifuPhil said: 


No, I haven't, but I HAVE taught self-defense classes for 
over 30 years. I HAVE been mugged – unsuccessfully on the 
mugger's part – and I have worked as a bouncer and an armed 
escort. I stand by my assertion that luck has little if 
anything to do with the outcome. Do you think luck is impor-
tant in not burning yourself on the stove? Is it important in 
not having an auto accident? 


If you think that luck is important then yes, you ARE going 
to rely upon it, even if only subconsciously.


In my experience people who believe that luck plays an impor-
tant part of self-defense often have a victim's mentality. 
They assign responsibility for their safety to something that 
they cannot control - much like people ask God to protect them. 
Ask someone who has been attacked and injured where their luck 
- or God - was. They'll tell you a different story than the 
person who walked away unscathed. Yet the fact remains that if 
the victim or the perp had done something differently then the 
outcome would have changed.

I probably should not have used the “victim mentality” line, nor the reference to God, but my patience only goes so far these days.

As for her second paragraph, I entered my reply:

SifuPhil said: 


Well, here's an eye-opener - ask someone who has been mugged, 
shot, stabbed or whatever how important luck was in their 
attack. Sure, if they survive they'll say "I'm lucky to be 
alive", but that's in SPITE of their actions, not BECAUSE of 
them. A detailed analysis of what occurred would reveal 
errors on both the attacker's and victim's parts which led 
to the outcome, but to think GOING INTO the situation that 
luck is an important element is to remove your own power and 
give it over to something you cannot see, taste or feel.

And finally, to her “So I stand by everything I said in my previous reply”, I replied:

SifuPhil said: 


As I stand by everything in mine. It's all about personal 
power and taking responsibility for your own life - saying 
that luck plays an important role is to diminish that power 
and abandon your responsibility. It's the quitter's way of 
dealing with life, because the opposite - taking the time 
and effort to gain greater control over your life - would 
mean not having the fall-back position of "luck" to retreat 
to. It's a built-in excuse, a way to avoid making the hard 
decisions.


Does luck exist in these situations? Of course. Would I rely 
upon it, or even consider it when responding to those situ-
ations? Hell no. I don't gamble with my life, but that's what 
believing in luck implies.

Summing Up

I'm sure the conversation isn't done yet, and I'll post updates when and if they materialize, but I just wanted to get a consensus from my fellow warriors – did I go over the top on this? Is luck really something that we should be waiting for in a self-defense situation? Is it an “important” element of a scenario, or something that need not be considered at all?

Or is it, as I suspect, a very small element of our self-defense plan that needs only a minimal amount of our attention?


Martial Arts | Martial Arts Philosophy


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