This guy from the local paper rings me up and wants to take some self defence type pictures for a “Vicars Are To Learn Self Defence” article. “No problem” I say…. Any (reasonable) publicity is okay…
The reporter comes up and like all newspaper (and magazine) journalists and photographers wants the stupidest pictures that you wouldn’t be seen dead doing. But being a veteran I was ready and irrespective of what he asked for gave him the right ones.
“Can you……. (Steve immediately strikes up one of his poses with uke) Oh… OK… fine….” (Click, click) “Then could we have….. (Steve strikes up next pose) Oh… Yeah….. (Click, click)…. And so on until he runs out of film…
It appears that Vicars are being attacked more frequently and there is a “call to arms” for them to be given self defence lessons. Some are in favour and others, quite naturally, are not too keen. Our esteemed Martial Arts establishment comments: “Any self defence training is better than none” and are quite in favour of the idea – but is that being honest?
The guy didn’t want my comments because he’d already written the article and my views didn’t fit in with the established views he’d already written…. But he was going to get them anyway!
I’ve worked in and taught the security industry since 1971 and still teach a large variety of security and police personnel on specialised courses. I will NOT teach week end or six week “one night a week” courses because I don’t think they work. Training has to be progressive and long term with continuous improvement, a few “cheap tricks” can lead the student into more trouble than if they never took a lesson in the first place.
Religion, Self defence and Martial Arts are analogous in the sense that all require character education through dedication, perseverance and continuous instruction over a long period of time.
What would a vicar say if I went to him and asked for a few “tricks” as I’d decided to do a bit of preaching in my spare time or in my classes? His answer would have to be that I’d get into more trouble than I’d solve…..
In my experience without continuous “reality” training in the Martial Arts you lose your “bottle” when it comes to it and no “tricks” are going to work. The street urchin doing the violence is going to be far more ready for it than the poor old vicar trying desperately to remember the “tricks” he learned on a short course ages ago.
In particular a Christian vicar taught to “turn the other cheek” and to abhor violence is going to be the LAST person willing to “release his inner animal” and “do the business” required to take out a street attacker. He would do better to cast his fate to God.
BUT… don’t get me wrong I do think that a vicar could learn Martial Arts properly over the years just the same as us and NOT break any of his religious principles. Martial Arts are the way of peace. I teach Police, Bodyguards and Security personnel that their job is that of PEACEKEEPER and therefore to negate violence NOT propagate it. Therefore it takes serious training to control yourself in the most violent of situations and learn the strategy and techniques required to maintain a state of peace.
My mantra is that “peace is earned”. It is NOT a natural state. It takes maximum self discipline and incredible technical skill to maintain peace through inner strength and physical skill but if everyone learned the arts properly instead of listening to the scaremongers and the “quick and easy” brigade they would discover that they are in accordance with ALL good religions.
But of course this view didn’t suit the newspapers. “Vicars take courses in self defence” is far better reading than EVERYONE should develop their character through Martial Arts training and then stop violence wherever they come across it.
There are of course many religious personnel training seriously in the Martial Arts and also many that distribute leaflets claiming that Martial Arts are the “work of the devil” and just a “guise” for Satan to enter. I was watching a “God” channel the other week and the way that they put Martial Arts across was criminal.
The problem is that many Martial Artists and religious zealots fall into the same trap. They “scaremonger” and play on the public’s fears. They then scare the living daylights out of people by telling them that the world is coming to an end unless they learn to defend themselves against violence or the devil, and that it’s getting worse. By dividing people and making one lot scared of the other taking control, they effectively control them. Hitler also used that strategy very effectively.
We should be responsible and teach “reality” (a grossly overused word in the Martial Arts). There are no short cuts. Education is the way forward. Empowering people to become strong, skilful individuals able to determine what is true makes them fisherman instead of giving them fish (sic). Both true religion and Martial Arts should do this.
We need to look to proper values and get away from the “fast fix” society that is so prevalent at the moment.
Meanwhile…. Put a vicar, a martial artist and a reporter into the same room and what do you get? Sensationalism, sound bites and a dam good picture!