Lately I’ve been thinking about the absurdity of taking self-defense classes. What I mean is: going some place where you volunteer to have pain inflicted upon you. To the natural untrained brain, the very idea of doing this is completely absurd. The only other instance of this I can think of is going to a doctor knowing that things will probably be painful. But this is usually understood and expected. We usually learn pretty early on that doctors are likely going to do painful things to us. But we (hopefully) also learn that doctors only inflict pain on us for our good. It’s for our healing.
In the same context, pain inflicted on us through learning self-defense is contrary to our nature. Our body sends out pain signals. Our reaction is anywhere from “Ow that hurt” to possibly experiencing excruciating pain. Pain is, not always, but usually, short term. The signals from our body usually mean something is wrong. And so we naturally seek relief. If pain persists, we will hopefully get some help to find out what’s wrong.
In the context of learning self-defense, voluntarily having pain inflicted upon yourself seems really ridiculous. Seriously, why would anyone do that? On the surface it seems quite absurd. I’m sure a lot of people have asked the question: Why would anyone do something so contrary to our protective nature of ourselves?
I believe in this context there’s a difference between protecting and coddling oneself. Coddling tells us to do all we can to avoid pain. It tells us to just relieve the pain somehow instead of trying to find the cause. Coddling can lead to self-medicating, both with physical and emotional pain. It doesn’t solve any long-term problems. It only helps us feel better for the short term. Self-defense teaches a person how to protect themselves in the right way should the need for it ever arise. As we feel the pain of a technique we’re learning, we can laugh at the absurdity of what we’re doing… because it just seems so odd. I’ve experienced this several times.
But I understand why its important to do the absurd things. It’s important to retrain our minds and bodies to know how to react in a potentially dangerous situation. It’s important to know how to protect ourselves. If we only see things at the surface level, we’ll never understand why these seemingly absurd things are so important. Under the surface of fun and absurdity flows a current of serious importance to the protecting of our lives.
If we can look past the absurdity of what we’re doing and understand its importance,we can begin retraining our minds in ways we may not have believed possible. Retraining our minds for something better and more productive is difficult, but not impossible. Eventually it no longer feels so absurd. It begins to feel the like the right thing. It begins to feel like second nature. Honestly, it seems more absurd to do nothing and make ourselves vulnerable to a potential attack. Training to defend and protect ourselves is far more valuable as it keeps us safe from potential harm.
Everything I have written for this blog to this point has been to basically break down and explain some element of self-defense. These blog posts barely scratch the surface of the benefits of taking these classes. These things are hard. But they are good and helpful for long- and short-term aspects in life, both in the classroom and in walking out these principles in day-to-day life.