In contrast with the common interpretation, what might be a deeper meaning of the term ‘self-defense?’

For many decades, I have taught, coached, and practiced the arts(s) of tai chi chuan, chi kung, kung fu, and associated health wellness arts (inclusive of a vast health and wellness philosophy/theoretical foundation (as set forth in my book), acupuncture/pressure, herbal arts, nutritional arts, refined meditation, diaphragmatic breathing, guided imagery, tui na, stretching, diagnostics). In this specific tradition (of which there are plethora), we have an old saying, i.e.: “True self-defense is self-defense against our own weaknesses and bad habits.”

Humbly and respectfully, the point herein accordingly, is that it isn’t the speeding automobile, the mugger (or various types of ‘bad guys’), disease, or other vile/dangerous circumstances that we should most deeply be concerned about, and/or fear. Accordingly, what we should be most concerned about is our reaction to these things, inclusive of what might be associated with in our way of life. What we might best take into account, is that we have the wherewithal to realize skills (inclusive of quintessential levels of mindfulness) which can keep us MUCH safer and secure in difficult circumstances.

If we are confronted by a speeding car or mugger, wouldn’t it be of TRULY substantive benefit to be able to ‘keep one’s head,’ and not be (MOST truly) defeated by adrenal stress/panic. It is pretty clear that most muggers are aware that most people will panic (on varying levels, i.e., one-size-does-not-fit-all) – they know instinctively or strategically that most people do not commonly deal with such circumstances in their lifetimes. Muggers are genuinely not much different than a common bully. They would NOT (in most cases) ‘mug’ someone unless they were ‘pretty darn sure’ that they would come out on top. Not in an unhealthful spirit of meaning to be harsh, albeit most muggers/bullies are intrinsic cowards…entrenched to varying degrees into/of criminal sociopathic mindsets and miens which have been the foundation so much bad behavior – inclusive of wars and famines throughout human history. Once again, it is NOT in most cases a mugger or bully which defeats or gets the best of us, it is we ourselves who often fail to rise to the occasion. That said, PLEASE know, I believe that it is the ‘bad guy’ who is the REAL bad guy, NO MATTER how we respond to them.

My point is that we are rarely helpless…we DO have healthful choices. The outlook of true responsibility herein is inclusive of developing and deeply embracing a WAY OF LIFE which is genuinely healthful, i.e., with regard to stress/anxiety, exercise/mobility, and diet.

This also applies to disease…disease is not unlike a bully, or some such. Often (NOT always…lightning bolts DO strike…but even then, we have choices as to how to respond) our lack of exercise, our poor dietary way of life, and habitual means by which we deal with stress (and even the plethora means by which we promote it) are to significant degrees the root of the disease. It has been empirically substantiated that our whole outlook on life can (largely) either save us or defeat/destroy us: At any given time, any type perpetrator is simply a new form of stimulus which may or may not accelerate the time table.

Congruent with the overall outlook herein, we have an another saying in these ages-old traditions, i.e., “Humankind will not evolve/raise itself to higher common levels of objective insight and its practical applications, until at least a slight majority of us learn to take true responsibility for our own health and well-being,” in short, “true health through true responsibility.” — Dr. Glen Hepker


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