The Journey of Ten Thousand Miles

By: Ted Hanulak

Many martial arts today pride themselves on being a "defensive art". In other words, if someone attacks you, only then do you defend yourself. What if you are confronted by an assailant who you know is going to attack you but hasn't yet. Let's say the assailant is still in the "threatening mode". Do you wait for him to attack? Well, if you follow the philosophy of a defensive art, you must wait...

If you want to survive however, you must attack first.

Attack first?? That's barbaric! But are you really attacking first? The old question goes: "What does the journey of ten thousand miles begins with?" The common answer is "The first step". The more appropriate answer is "The thought of the first step". Thought proceeds action. Therefore the assailant was attacking with his "mind" and when you seemingly attack first, you are just beating him to the punch. Hence, you remain defensive. If the assailant hadn't confronted you in the first place there would be no confrontation. This is not a play on semantics to justify a moral dilemma. This is a fact.

Now, many "decent" people, confronted in such a manner will hope that they can maybe talk their way out of it. The ole' "I'm not looking for trouble" speech. This is a fine speech but it usually ends with the assailant sucker punching the victim. While the victim prays for a peaceful outcome, the assailant attacks.

True martial arts training should include the development of that intuitive perception through disciplines such as Zen meditation. The benefits of a mindfulness meditation in relation to martial arts are immeasurable. To be honest, the victim in the above paragraph was more than likely overcome and frozen with fear to begin with. Regardless of any martial art training the victim might have had, it's useless if he cannot move. If you are relatively calm during the confrontation due to a regular regiment of meditation, you will know when it's about to hit the fan. If your mind is running in fear and your heart is in your throat, chances are you will miss the signs.

The signs are there. But will you see them?

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