We all do it. We have spent our entire lives creating a detailed mythic story of who we are. Nothing in this story is by chance. We never say, I got married because i was lonely and desperate and just happened to run into someone more lonely and desperate. Never. A good love is "fate". A bad relationship is a conspiracy of villainy or insanity.
We never stumble into a career because we desperately needed a job and this one of the thirty applications came through and it was good enough and besides I'm lazy and change is hard. Oh, no. If you love your career, your whole life has been leading up to it and you cherry-pick from your memory all the experiences that make that seem true. If it is a job you don't like it is either a stepping stone or, more likely, a cast of characters whose soul purpose on this earth is to enchain and challenge your inherent nobility and goodness.
People love drama and they create drama in their lives. They tell this story of who they are. Never underestimate the power of that story. People who won't lift a finger to save their own lives from imminent violence will fight and die so that people don't think bad things about them. People who are careful not to step on bugs have killed over rumors spread about them. It certain cultures, someone can be a coward, but don't you dare call him one. In jail I have heard inmates on the phone screaming at their mother: "Bitch you put some money on my books or swear to god I'll slash your face!", Men who would try to shank another inmate who insulted the same woman.
The biggest threat to this story are those inconvenient little things called facts. When someone's story is threatened by facts, watch the scramble. Facts can be denied, and often are. They can be labeled with 'opinion' or the "equivalent sources" fallacy (My favorite example: "It's unfair to claim that your experience is in some way more valid than my training." A martial artist at a seminar years ago.)
Watch the scramble. People will marshall resources and allies, redefine words, reject their own personal experience all to protect this story, this dream.
Same with supporting it, which is what got me started here. A friend was writing about the friction that MMA gets from the self-appointed "Practical self defense community". After all, MMA is only cross training. Picking the best things you can find from multiple sources. Is that any different than the so-called PSD community? Very valid point (most of my friends are pretty smart. Stupid people make me tired.)
That's not really the point, though... and the issue isn't what MMA is or isn't. The issue is, here and elsewhere, the "True Believer". It doesn't matter- the Gracies, MMA, WWII combatives, Koryu snobs: all have their kool-aide drinkers, the ones who have taken whatever it is as a core tenet of their story and defend it far beyond logic. They believe that this thing is IT, the ANSWER, the SILVER BULLET, because in the story they tell themselves, it is. Never likely to be in a fight for their lives, this piece of the story is tested over and over in fantasy before they go to sleep.
They will go to extreme lengths to defend the story. The Gracies swept the early UFCs (ignore that they wrote the rules, ignore the ruleset of a 'no rules' competition, ignore the difference between a bar fight and a match) so it must be the answer. MMA is the winning set of skills in the Octagon today, it must be the SILVER BULLET. WWII combatives and koryu have a bit in common- they were both used to kill real people in real battles, they must be IT!.
Each of these things are what they are. The Gracies I have played with have had the most superb body mechanics of any grapplers yet. I'll play with them whenever I get the chance (If I can afford it... damn, dudes!). But the mount isn't the worst case scenario, not even in my top ten and wearing gear does make a difference- sorry Rener. MMA guys play hard and with skill and relatively safely. They are always worth the time and you will learn more losing to Joey Lauzon than winning with many other people... but weapons and hard corners and multiple bad guys are part of my world. I am a koryu snob and love the WWII stuff- but both were designed for extremely fit professional soldiers and completely ignored the lower end of the force continuum- not something I can use most of the time.
Do you see it yet? When we speak of violence, we are talking about a very big animal. Almost infinitely complex, ranging from incoming artillery to squad tactics to snipers to assassins to redneck stompings and gang hamstringings and...there are an infinite number of ways to die. Adding patch after patch to all the ways you can imagine dying still leaves holes and can make a solution too unwieldy to apply.
The people who have dealt with violence are pretty consistent in their advice: You won't fit this beast in a box. You won't find a single answer to an infinite question.
"What's the answer, then? What is it? Where's my magic bullet?" the question echoes. There is no answer.
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