Hmmm ... I wonder what thread & post you are talking about.
An excellent subject Greg, one which I truly enjoy.
>1) Do we have specific obligations above and >beyond those of any other 'citizen' because >of our (theoretically) greater abilities in >the realm of physical combat?
No, especially in the realm of physical combat. In Canada, and maybe the States, there is a law whereby any trained lifeguard must attempt to save a drowning person regardless as to whether they are currently employed as a lifeguard or not. Simply put, their skills when acheived lawfully place an obligation on them by law. I know of no nation, city, province, state, etc that has a similar law for martial artists.
However, again in Canada, my policeman buddy told me once that it is against the law to refuse to aid a policeman if he requests your help in dealing with any situation. So, what does this mean? Well, as a community we have in place in our culture to some degree (I mean North American culture here, not just Canadian) the expectation of helping each other out. It is our tradition that to some degree has been lost. Why?
The sad fact is that the large portion of society are spiritless. Blame it on whatever you like, but it does seem to be the sad fact. As martial artists I believe we have awakened the sleeping strength of spirit, and we have a choice to make. Do nothing, or do something. I choose as a single person to try to make things better. Hopefully, if I live life openly and strongly people will see the strength of that and want it too. As they acheive their own inner strength hopefully they will do the right thing as well. I am not trying to change the whole world alone ... rather I believe that inside everybody is the spark of raw goodness (it is why even the most "evil" people ... the ones we expect nothing good from sometimes perform the oddest acts of mercy, kindness and charity), and perhaps by being good I can help other along their journey to be good too. Just one mans hope.
>2) What would cause you, as an individual,to >involve yourself in a situation involving >people unknown to you?
I would have to know alot about the rightness and wrongness of the two (or more) sides. Also, I see little need to get myself uselessly killed. Martyrs are just dumb guys who get revered. For the most part, in a violent confrontation I would tend to stay out of it and call the police. In a non-violent situation I try to help people out whenever I can.
>3) Would you (Do you) have different >standards for getting involved physically? >Verbally? What particular strategies to you >tend to use?
See above. Avoidance. Again, I don't think martial artists have an obligation to fight the wars of society, but to use our inner strength to live good strong lives.
>4) What dilemmas have you, personally faced >in this realm?
In my younger days, more than a few ... and definitely more than I am proud of.
Of late, very few if any ... I can't think of any fights in the past 2 years involving any strangers ... in fact, I don't think I have been in a street fight since Jan. 1997.
But I still hate litterers (sp?) and have confronted a couple.
I hope this makes my view of the martial way clear or at least partially understood. As I stated in Van's forum. This isn't an attempt to impose my views or attitudes on anybody. We all have our own choices to make, and each persons choice has a certain degree of "rightness" just as my choices certainly have a certain degree of "wrongness". The important thing is that to be able to look into the mirror and be confident and happy with the image there. By living my life this way, or at least trying, I have never looked in the mirror in disgust (in fact, that is what helped me grow up from my younger days to my slightly older days ... when I looked in the mirror I didn't appreciate the violence that had taken a hold of my life, so I rejected it (I wish it had of been that easy a struggle)).