I don’t train for certificates, ranks or trophies; I train for that day when my training will save my life or someone else’s.
I know a lot of people in the martial arts world. Some of them are as nice as can be, and at the same time, they are stone cold killers if they need to be. Others appear to simply be in it for the recognition and to stroke their egos by collecting certificates, ranks and photos of themselves with martial arts celebrities. I prefer the first group – the guys who are real, nice as can be, and who can stop any attack in its tracks.
I don’t train for certificates, ranks or trophies; I train for that day when my training will save my life or someone else’s. I train for self-defense and self-protection. I no longer do flashy kicks or complicated combinations; I simply train to take someone out if that unfortunate circumstance ever enters my life.
I don’t train with swords, sai, nunchuku, or other ancient weapons, not because there is anything wrong with these at all, but merely because they are not a part of my self-defense program. Instead, I train with the bo, hanbo, jo staff, and the cane. The reason is simple – because those are more readily available if I need to use them. You can always find a broom or a mop to snap off and use as a weapon, or find a stick if you are out hiking.
I no longer use Japanese terms, at least not much, in my training. Not that there is anything wrong with learning Japanese terms, there isn’t. I don’t use them simply because I am not Japanese. Language is for the sole purpose of communicating. None of the people I teach are Japanese, and I am not teaching traditional arts anymore, thus I simply speak English, although not very eloquently, but that is another story.
My training focuses on the reality of life and the reality that there are a lot of bad people out there with less than honorable intentions. If any of these guys cross my path, it is not my intention to impress them with my titles, rank, or knowledge of karate; my intention is to destroy their body as efficiently and quickly as possible, if I am forced to take that step. And that is exactly what I now train for.
This is not to say that I am no longer interested in traditional arts, philosophy, or weapons. I always have been interested in them and I always will find them interesting. But at this time in my life, I am more concerned with being able to keep myself and my family safe, and the way I train now gives me the best chance of doing that.
Don’t get me wrong, I am still honored by my martial arts titles and honors that have been bestowed on me. I am still very proud of the fact that I am in the small minority of people who is dedicated enough to reach the rank of master in the martial arts. And I still love martial arts and those who practice the traditional arts. Almost all of my friends are martial artists. I am simply realistic. I train for real-life situations. I would never use a high kick in a life-or-death situation, as I don’t live on a movie set. I would never use a complicated combination of punches, etc. in the street. And I am too old and too injured to risk restraining some maniac intent on killing me, restraint comes after disabling him.
So now, I just train to stop any attacker in his tracks, no if’s, and’s or but’s. I spend time training on nothing more than hard, cold, fight-ending techniques, no flash, no fluff, and no bullshit. My weapons are made of hickory, oak, lead, and steel. My techniques are fight-ending, bone-breaking, joint-destroying, and vicious. Thus I don’t teach them to just anyone.
All that said, I am a peaceful man, who is nice to everyone I meet. I never want to use my weapons or my techniques on anyone. I would love it if I went to my deathbed, never having to use what I train for. I don’t want to have to use my car insurance either, but I still pay for it every month. It is better to be prepared than sorry, and I train to be prepared. Bohdi Sanders ~ Bestselling Author of: MODERN BUSHIDO, MEN of the CODE, THE WARRIOR ETHOS, and WARRIOR WISDOM.
About the Author: Dr. Bohdi Sanders is the Chairman of the Education Committee for the US Delegation of the World Martial Arts Congeress.