As some of you may know, I am an accomplished martial artist for more than 20 years. During my time training, I have studied a variety of martial art forms and have achieved advanced training as well as earning black belts in a few. These martial arts include: American Kenpo Karate, Chinese Kempo, Isshinryu Karate, Korean Kung, Chinese Kung Fu, Chinese Kempo, Judo, Jiu Jitsu and Combat Hapkido.
Each martial art taught me how to defend myself using a variety of self-defense techniques including open hand techniques, sparring, weapons’ training, joint locks, throws and ground defense. By the way, NEVER go to the ground unless it is your last resort because the concrete is unforgiving and it’s just not easy to defend yourself from the ground!
For example, after having lived in the Bronx for closed to 20 years of my life, you learn to avoid danger. That is to say, you don’t go into the South Bronx late at night and decide to go for a nightly jog or for a leisurely stroll and you don’t take the 6 train late at night if you don’t have to.
Also, when a local drug member is hanging outside of a building in which you must enter and asks, “why you are going inside”, you certainly do not tell him to mind his own business. You let him know that you are a therapist going there to help children with special needs.
Lastly, whenever you are walking on the street and you see a group of people hanging out with or without their pit bulls, you avoid walking directly in front of them by crossing over to the other side of the street. In these situations, you learn how to be humble in the face of danger.
There was one very important aspect that each martial art had in common and that was, what is the best way not to get into a fight? Although each martial art had its own unique style of fighting and self-defense, they all had one thing in common. That one thread that seemed to run through each art form was the idea of “Avoidance”. That is, the best way to not to get into a fight is to avoid the altercation altogether.
In Bruce Lee’s martial art classic, “Enter the Dragon” there was a famous fight scene referred to as “The Art of Fighting without Fighting. His opponent asks Lee what style he practices and Lee responds, “The Art of Fighting without Fighting”.
His opponent challenges him to a fight on the barge where they both stand but Lee deflects by saying that they should go to the nearby island where there is more room. His opponent lowers himself into the little dingy and Lee proceeds to watch his opponent slowly float away. Avoiding a fight is the best way to assure that you and your opponent stay safe and healthy.
For me, living the martial way of life and understanding the art of harmony and its virtues, means being true to myself, humbling myself and at times, surrendering to an opponent much larger than me. That is, having the strength and courage inside to say, there is no longer a need to fight.
You have proven yourself a worthy opponent in and outside of the ring and there is no need to prove yourself any longer. The longer one walks along the warrior’s path, the more one understands that the true art of combat or the true art of war is not with one’s physical body, but rather with one’s spirit.
The art of fighting without fighting is simply saying; avoid the physical contact in order to preserve one’s well-being and the well-being of one’s enemy.
If you look at the Covid-19 virus from the perspective of a martial artist, you will come to understand that one doesn’t need to live in “Fear” but rather have respect for one’s opponent. Sometimes, we must “Enter the Dragon” and face our enemy who is much bigger than we are.
Bruce Lee demonstrated that no matter how big our opponent appears to be (Kareem Abdul Jabbar) our superior knowledge and fighting abilities will overcome all adversaries. Therefore, flow with the energies of Gaia and use your “martial intuition” to live in harmony and to live in peace for your own well-being and the well-being of others.