By Josh Vongkhamheuang

Martial arts is often mocked and underestimated by many who don’t understand it. Hollywood movies use it to the point where it looks amazing and cool, but at the same time, impossible to do. A single man or woman can’t take on a 6 foot 5 male with muscles bigger than a bowling ball; there’s a clear strength and size difference. A person can’t take on two or more opponents; the numbers are clearly unfair and uneven. And when he or she manages to beat the living daylight out of the bad guys, it’s because it’s just a movie or a TV show.

“It’s not real life.”Martial Final
Do you know what is happening in real life?

There is an ongoing crime of assault and battery.

Assault can come in all forms and sizes. It’s also a common crime here in the United States, and there is an alarming rate of it occurring to both women and men. It can involve a weapon at times, and sometimes, it isn’t reported until it’s too late. Victims become traumatized from the event and can’t find any closure to move on from it. There are potentially mental and physical wounds that result from assault.

Here’s the problem with thinking that martial arts is fake or not applicable to daily situations. By thinking that a person cannot defend him or herself in an unfair situation limits the possibility of doing so. I’m not saying that all people think this way, but I’ve noticed a large portion of people thinking it.

I studied martial arts, more specifically Ken-Ryu Kenpo Karate for six years during my middle and high school days and achieved a rank of black belt. Many of my friends knew I studied it, but would often sneer and snicker at me. They’d proceed to raise both arms and one bent leg in the air, as if they were going to throw a kick–all while letting out this high pitched wail or screech. Some would even go further and throw some fake punches at me.

I ignored all efforts to offend me, because of a lesson I learned from karate; Be the bigger person and avoid any conflict if possible. Most conflicts can be avoided when party B does not give in to the efforts of party A. I’ve never had to use self-defense–and before you rebut and say that there are cases where this isn’t true–I also believe your argument to be true, to an extent.
You may argue that sometimes, people are caught off guard and the worse happens to them even if they were minding their own business. They weren’t expecting something bad to happen to them. And when that certain thing happens, it happens all too quickly and nothing can be done.

I have to disagree on that last bit. Nothing could be done? There’s usually always something a person can do when amidst personal danger. For example, if you are held at gunpoint for money from your wallet, then give the money to the robber. Chances are that the robber doesn’t want to cause more attention than they already have by pointing a gun at you. Your life is far more valuable than the money in your back pocket. You may think that’s an extreme example, but it’s an example that happens all too often. Some of my karate classmates and colleagues experienced that same situation and gave their money up in a heartbeat. But what if, in a different scenario, you can’t avoid a fight or someone intentionally trying to harm you?
It’s difficult for me to explain in this piece how to defend yourself. I can explain in detail what kind of punches and kicks you should throw or what kind of blocks you should put up, but what’s the point if you aren’t seeing these being demonstrated and then practicing it on your own?
That’s what martial arts and self-defense classes are for. Sure, some may be costly, and some just seem to be pure sport. Some martial artists are purely competitive and cocky, but most will tell you that self-defense is not just an art. It’s a must. They would most likely agree with me and say that you’ll never know when you’ll need the skill set to protect yourself. You can’t underestimate any situation either and think that you’ll come out fine and unscathed, or you’re already doomed for. That kind of thinking could lead to a bad end result that you don’t want to see.

Plenty of martial art locations offer a free class for first timers and those who are curious. I suggest that you try multiple locations and get a feel for which one you think suits you. There are many different styles from judo to karate to kung fu, and many more to choose from. But all have similar disciplines and lessons. Learn to avoid conflicts the correct way, and if that fails, learn to protect yourself in the time of need.

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