Universal Truth of the Martial Arts No. 10
The one basic quality or attribute that underlies martial arts ability is awareness.
A high level of awareness enables you to avoid a crisis rather than solve it after it begins. In any crisis situation, your awareness tends to shrink to a pinpoint of perceived danger. Open awareness in this context means staying relaxed, continuing to breathe deeply and remaining peripherally sensitive to other potential threats.
With open awareness in such a situation, you often experience the so-called “master’s phenomenon” of everything seeming to move in slow motion. This can give you ample opportunity to respond appropriately.
The Verdict on the 10 Truths
Are these really martial arts truths? One way of testing them is to turn them around and see what the exact opposite sounds like.
In the case of the first truth, for instance, it would be something like this: “There are techniques that will work irrespective of the difference in skill between two opponents.” The only solution that springs to mind is a gun. An eye jab may be a great equalizer, but first you have to get to your attacker's eyes.
It’s a useful exercise to examine the other nine truths in the same manner.
Of course, some martial artists will disagree with several of the 10 truths, or even all of them, but whether or not they are actually truths is perhaps not even the ultimate issue.
What is of much greater importance is that martial arts students ask questions and think about what they are doing and why they are doing it. It is exactly this process of continuous questioning and experimentation that leads to growth and to the finding of truth.
About the author: Erik Petermann teaches martial arts in Cape Town, South Africa.
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