Something Else

Contributors offers insight into the non-physical side of the Martial Arts, often ignored when discussing self-defense.

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Something Else

Postby RA Miller » Thu May 13, 2004 12:02 am

Working medium security this year, I've dropped from one or two fights a week to one every three months or so.

A few days ago, I dropped into one of the dorms in my area, chatted to the deputy and several inmates and started to leave. The exit door was by the inmate telephones and as I got there and pushed the button to alert Control to open the door I could _feel_ someone behind me deciding he could take me. I turned in that direction and the inmate moved quickly to stay directly at my back.

I was overwhelmed with an incredible, feral joy. It was going to go down, right there, right then; and it would be an ambush and therefore there would be no rules, no restraints on what I could or coudn't do.

I kept turning and I couldn't stop smiling. I don't know if it looked like a smile or not because every inmate in sight froze and went dead silent. The inmate who had tried to stay behind me wasn't moving, maybe because of something about my body language or the sudden silence. As soon as he saw my eyes he reached for a phone and pretended to dial. His hands were shaking. I turned my back on him and when the door buzzed, I left.

I was still burning with the joy, even though nothing happened. I talked the next day to a friend and mentor. We both know that ugly fights are ugly things but he can also understand that feeling. He said it was because of purity, because when someone is trying to kill you and you have absolutely nothing to lose, that is the only moment in life that is perfectly pure. The moment is exactly what it is. You and the threat are exactly what you are. No thoughts, no plans, no regrets.

Even in the purest love, it's always about a future.

Gray, in his book "The Warriors" told of a French woman who had lived through horrible times in WWII, but also said that she had never felt truly alive since the peace.

That should have been the central question of Gray's book, but he shied away.

What is this joy? Is it good? Does it make up for the sleepless nights after the less clear-cut encounters? Is it the reason some people need a life with conflict? Does everyone feel it, or just a few?
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Postby 2Green » Thu May 13, 2004 1:44 am

First of all, what is THIS?
"I could _feel_ someone behind me deciding he could take me"

That's a major question right there, how people can "sense" danger.
With what? That whole thing about gut-feeling, sense of danger, hair standing up on your neck;...there's a whole "undiscovered physiology" going on that we haven't yet harnessed.

The next major question, the "joy" in the ultimate dangerous moment...hard to say. It's the opposite of the "paralyzing adrenal dump", perhaps due to your familiarity with such omnipresent danger?
I THINK it might be some kind of "elemental lucidity" where you suddenly find yourself in a situation you feel "in your element" and that realization hits you, like "this is so easy to me."
In that situation, you, with all your hard-won qualifications, are exactly where you "belong", in the sense that very few people can really get to that level of familiartity with violence.
For us, prison life is our worst nightmare.
For you, it's another day on the job.

I'll go one step further to tell you why I think this, Mr. Miller.
I remember in past posts you mentioned having to restrain a violent inmate but you were actually thinking about the coming paperwork!
You are to my observation a man who can function in a violent situation while keeping the higher-brain engaged; something most of us lose in a similar situation. We're lucky to keep the sphincter engaged.

Anyway, that's my observation; sorry it doesn't answer any questions.
You've come upon something quite profound, I'd say.

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Postby Rick Wilson » Thu May 13, 2004 6:17 am

Rory:

“I was still burning with the joy, even though nothing happened. I talked the next day to a friend and mentor. We both know that ugly fights are ugly things but he can also understand that feeling. He said it was because of purity, because when someone is trying to kill you and you have absolutely nothing to lose, that is the only moment in life that is perfectly pure. The moment is exactly what it is. You and the threat are exactly what you are. No thoughts, no plans, no regrets.”

I think if someone wanted to sum up the Samurai acceptance of death in a manner the western mind might be able to latch onto you have done it. The misconception of the western world is that the Samurai sought or wanted death when in fact they merely accepted the moment you described and the clarity it brought.

Very powerful post and perhaps only when life itself maybe lost can we truly appreciate it?

Thank you.
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