Kiado-Ryu Karate

May 14, 2018 - Photo of the Week

Self-defense: External & Internal

When we think of self-defense, it is fair to say that the most common perception is of an assailant attacking us as we defend ourselves with our martial arts skills. Such a scenario comes within the milieu of external self-defense.

However, how often do we consider defending ourselves from ourselves? Answer: not often, if ever. Yet, defending ourselves from our own selves via bad judgement and foolish behaviors can, arguably, be the most critical application of self-defense. Learning to protect ourselves from ourselves fits into the category of internal self-defense or defending ourselves from the “inside out” rather than the “outside in.”

What are the odds of someone attacking us throughout our entire life? For most people, extremely slim. In contrast, what are the odds of us doing things which would harm us, perhaps for life? For most of us, extremely high. Therefore, it is arguably safe to say that internal self-defense is more important than external self-defense in the big picture of a lifetime run.

Following are a few examples of internal self-defense. What can you add to it?

  1. Ingesting alcohol or recreational drugs that inhibit our reasoning ability and physical reaction time, potentially causing us to perform actions injurious to ourselves and others, even fatal actions.
  2. Losing our self-control and over-reacting to external stimuli, such as a person’s anger, negative behavior, political wrangling, global insanity or anything that we allow to upset us.
  3. Not managing our diet properly and becoming overweight, thus risking diseases caused by obesity.
  4. Not staying in physical shape; being lazy.
  5. Not paying attention to what we’re doing in any moment; losing our concentration.
  6. Listening to others too much and not trusting our own instincts and judgement.
  7. Driving too fast.
  8. Acting before thinking or not thinking at all.
  9. Being too quick or too slow to react. Remember, we must act in perfect speed to be safe and whole.
  10. Losing our concentration.
  11. Losing our balance—physical, emotional, psychological, financial, spiritual.
  12. Not paying attention when we’re crossing the street, walking in a parking lot, driving in general.
  13. Wearing headphones in public. How can we defend ourselves if we can’t hear what’s going on?
  14. Texting or talking on the phone while driving.
  15. Not warming up properly before working out.
  16. And on and on and on …

The list of things we do that endanger our well-being is endless. Yet, to be safe and have a good life we must inexorably and perpetually exercise internal self-defense. If we fail in this, we cannot hope to have a good life, and if our life turns bad through neglecting the principle of internal self-defense we’ll have no one to blame but ourselves. After all, this is our life and it is, unquestionably, our responsibility.