Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Being Right vs Being Safe

“A power struggle collapses when you withdraw your energy from it. Power struggles become uninteresting to you when you change your intention from winning to learning about yourself.”
- Gary Zukav, best-selling author.

Consider carefully the consequences of being "right".
-Christopher Gagne, "aspiring" best-selling author"

Practical self defense goes beyond physicals tactics and techniques.  Practical also means making decisions that get you home safe.

There are many instances when we witness, or are subject to, behaviour that is unjust, that "should not happen."

Here are some I have "witnessed":
  • someone throwing garbage out of their car or on the street
  • a driver giving you "the finger" for driving too slow (sorry I don't like to rush unless I am late)
  • someone insulting you or someone you care about
  •  a person cutting in front of you to get on the subway or in a long lineup (a daily occurrence)
  • someone damaging or stealing your property

In all of these cases, you can easily argue that the person(s) "should not" be doing what they are doing.  In other words, from an ethical standpoint, they are in the wrong.

From a practical standpoint, however, you need to consider the probable consequences.
For instance, what happens if you chase down the biker gang and chastise them for throwing beer cans on your lawn?  You would be in the right legally and ethically but you will not likely change their actions.  You stand a very good chance, however, of experiencing some serious hurt or disappearing.

Let's consider an event that happened to me. 

Many years ago(when I could stay awake past 10pm), in a city far away, I was dancing with someone and noticed a group of guys glaring at me.  My dance partner informed me that I had transgressed some primitive macho boundary (e.g "You dance with my girl me bash you good"). Ooops.

I decided it was time to go.

Some of my friends were upset saying we "shouldn't  have to leave", it was a public place......and so on.

My friends were right.  I had a right to be there and their sense that the woman I danced with somehow belonged to them was offensive at many levels.

Practically speaking however, I knew that if I stayed for another 20 minutes or so a brawl would ensue.  Some practical concerns crossed my mind.

  • fighting leads to pain, injury, even death, therefore avoid if possible.
  • going to jail isn't fun, going to the hospital isn't fun, going to funerals isn't fun.
  • there were 6 of them and 3 of us
  • my friends can't fight (they didn't know it at the time)
  • the perturbed group of men did not seem to be in the mood for rational debate
  • there are other more hospitable places to enjoy the rest of the night.  

Begrudgingly, my friends went along with my logic and we enjoyed the rest of the night.  

Of course, there are times when we must risk ourselves to be right.  There are many people doing this everyday, fighting for human rights, animal rights and many other vital causes.  These people are courageous and inspiring. 

My point is that you have to weigh carefully the consequences.

Pick your fights wisely. 

Stay Safe,

Christopher Gagne
Lead Instructor, International Krav Maga FederationToronto

No comments:

Post a Comment