Is there ever a need to resort to violence? I’m not talking about countries at war when I ask this. I mean, is there a need for violence between individual people living in our societies? This is a contentious issue with some, and I have had many debates and arguments with people over this subject.
I say, yes there is. There comes a point where diplomacy fails, or, where it may not have been an option in the first place. I believe there are certain situations when one has to take a stand and, if necessary, become violent. I’m not saying get into a fight for any reason that comes your way. Fight only when you are pushed that extra measure and retaliation is warranted – and like I said, yes, I do believe it is sometimes warranted.
Some people have told me “As a martial artist you should always walk away from a fight.” Others have said, “Martial artists aren’t supposed to fight.” I’ve even been told, “If you practice martial arts properly you should find enlightenment and realize that there is never an excuse to fight.” It’s amazing that all of the people who said these things have never practiced martial arts.
Call me crazy, but I never took up martial arts to find enlightenment. I probably would have been better suited to taking up meditation classes if that was the case. Yes, through martial arts we learn restraint and not to let ego dictate to us in situations. Yes, we can walk away from most confrontations, but there comes a point where we may need to physically defend ourselves. Even the “enlightened” Shaolin monks would fight to defend themselves and their home.
When adults come to me for training some of the most common words I hear from them are, “I want to become confident.” Why? “I want to be able to stand up for myself. I’m tired of being walked all over.” When parents bring their kids for training, I often hear, “He is being bullied at school. I want him to learn to defend himself.” Through knowing that you will physically be able to defend yourself you are more confident to live. It is often the threat of violence that causes people to lose confidence. Just the thought of knowing that you can defend yourself can change a person’s outlook on life. There is comfort in knowing that if things turn violent you can play the game and won’t hesitate to do so. People learn martial arts so that one day, if necessary, they can fight back. They don’t learn to fight to carry on get pushed around and given hidings. Like I said, it can give you the mindset to walk away and get out of fighting, but when the game is on, it’s on. To this day, I haven’t had someone come through my doors saying, “I am seeking enlightenment.”
When there is a violent aggressor who cannot be reasoned with and is hell bent on taking your head off your shoulders, are you expected to stand there and take it? Are you going to be the turned into a victim? When there is an injustice being done and your freedom is being compromised, are you supposed to stand there too afraid to even open your mouth for fear of being beaten up? There is a point where we may have to use what we have trained our bodies to do. Yes, we find peace through learning to fight, but where negotiation fails or an injustice is done, we must be prepared to stand up and, when necessary, turn on the hurt. Sometimes to have peace we must fight. It’s a contradiction that makes perfect sense.
Unfortunately, there are those out there who are too hard headed and stupid to be reasoned with. There are those who are violent without warning. In order for somebody to understand, sometimes we need to speak in their language, and that language may translate to pain and destruction. We cannot be walked over all of our lives. Sometimes we need to stand up and take control – by force if necessary. In today’s society, people misunderstand niceness for weakness and will try to abuse and take advantage of it. They will even try to turn you into the bad guy when you eventually do stand up for yourself.
In my opinion, there is only so far a person can be pushed. I’m not the type of person who likes to make a point by taking a moral stand against violence by taking a beating or dying. I’m not prepared to suffer grievous bodily harm and live out the rest of my days maimed or retarded. I’m not prepared to let my family come to harm at the hands of some sick bastard. Making a moral stand against violence and being trounced on doesn’t affect the minds of barbarians. They just see weakness and will never change. We live in a violent society and sometimes violence is necessary to overcome our adversaries. Bullies and illogical people sometimes need a beating. Violence is ugly, but as long as there are those out there who will bully and infringe on others rights, I believe it has its place.
In the end, it comes down to personal choice and perspective. Each to their own, I guess.