First, I am predominantly a "lurker" on these forums because I learn more by listening than talking. Second, I am only a 1st kyu and do not feel the need to debate with high Dan ranks about a style I know very little of. These forums, however some of the most fascinating reading I have found.
Since my first forays into MA in the early 80s, I have sought the "real world" application of that which I learned in the dojo. I have found daily benefit from my training. This ranges from effective avoidance of traffic mishap to not yelling at my children. Indeed, I began my study because I felt physically inadequate and spiritually timid. To compare my capabilities then with now is to find marked accomplishment. To compare me with the world at large at this point is to see some good, some bad, culminating in an outwardly mediocre appearance. I may not be a great or even good fighter, but I am one hell of a lot better than I was. I am no paragon of physical conditioning, but my current self could crush my old. I am a better person for having become a Martial Artist even if I am not a great Martial artist.
My point is this: Most, if not all, of my interpersonal conflict will never reach the physical combat stage. If it does I will handle what circumstance brings, but it probably won't. Attitude and demeanor have a great deal of influence on the potential for a problem. Awareness, of environment and personal state, gives some lead time for preparation and avoidance. Not succumbing to the debilitating effects of the body alarm response or "chemical cocktail" but recognizing it and embracing it is a major effect of serious MA training. Control of onesself is everything. It is not wholly attainable, but exercising it as much as possible in any given situation will always be the best response. Avoid (parry, absorb...) the attack, Assess its nature, and Alleviate the threat. I have learned this through my fitful struggling at MA practice over the last 18 years. It works for me, though I cannot claim to come through unscathed, just somewhat less than what might have been.
This forum on verbal self defense addresses most closely my daily personal experiences with the application of what I have learned in the dojo.
with all respect and admiration,
[This message has been edited by Ted Dinwiddie (edited May 23, 2000).]