I have learned over the years, that the Art of Personal Safety is not only about fighting to defend myself or my loved ones from mental, emotional, or physical harm. Of course, fighting will always be there but as a last resort, when all else fails.
As I progressed, I have come to realize that the Art of Personal Safety is about living your life in a state of consciousness. Living in the here and now, paying attention to myself, and my surroundings.
The goal of the Art of Personal Safety is about achieving my “personal” self-control. The ability to take control of my mental, emotional, and physical “re-actions” by not allowing the external circumstances to dictate my behaviors.
I have found it very challenging and requires tremendous amounts of “personal” self-control when confronted by an unyielding or unforgiving “noun” (person, place, or thing that causes a mental, emotional, and physical disturbance, anxiety, stress…etc.).
It is finding and having the courage to live in the “present” moment and to enjoy the “present” moment. It is a process that takes a tremendous amount of knowledge, understanding, and discipline to practice the Art of Personal Safety. To me, it was a constant battle, and the enemy is ME. It does not stop because my personal safety session ended. It is a lifelong endeavor. It is not something I achieve and complete, then move on. It is a practice I have to apply to my everyday life because I am the enemy to myself, and I should not be taking myself for granted.
The ability to live in consciousness allows me to have “personal” self-control, which is something I lack at times. There will always be that “noun,” that one person, place, or thing that will bring the worst out in me. When that “noun” happens, that is the moment I must be aware of my attitudes and behaviors towards it, if I am to learn from it. I have to be willing to see it, and understand it, in order to learn and grow from it.
Being aware, alert, and attentive to my “present” moment within my surrounding will give me a better understanding of what needs to be addressed. With this understanding, I can see how to best apply the techniques needed for my personal safety. I must learn to pay attention to myself and the “nouns” around me. I have to be aware of my behaviors caused by the “nouns.” I have to ask myself, “Are these external stimuli affecting me mentally, emotionally, or physically?” Once I have the answer then I have the power to respond accordingly.
The response may be in the form of the fight or flight “re-action.” Whichever response I choose, there will always be consequences. Whatever “re-action” I choose, I have to accept the consequences thereafter.
A Fight consequence is a physical “re-action“, a chosen response caused by the “noun.” A physical “re-action” is a defense mechanism to stop the attack from attacking me mentally, emotionally, or physically. It is a built-up of compressed emotions over a long period of time. The consequence of this may be, that both I and the other person engage in a physical confrontation, and both of us may be badly hurt. When it comes to this altercation, no one really wins once the emotions of anger and hatred have dissipated.
The Flight consequence is a chosen “re-action” to escape and evade an attack. This is also a defense mechanism that keeps me from harm. It is the avoidance technique. To flee from an attack safely is protecting myself from harm. I remember being taught,
I used to believe that I have to fight every “noun” that was attacking me mentally, emotionally, or physically, especially in the physical area. I was ignorant and did not know how to flee. I thought fighting was the only way to defend myself. I would always go head-on, with a fist in hand because of my weak ego and my fear of what others might think or say.
Having an ego and feeling fear is not good or bad. It is simply an emotion that keeps me safe. Depending on the event, having an ego (self-esteem) can be a positive thing. The same with experiencing fear. Fear at times can be a wonderful emotion and can be a great teacher when I accept and understand what I am facing. There is nothing wrong with the fight or flight response. The power comes from knowing which one I will choose at that specific moment.
What it boils down to is this, the Art of Personal Safety is NOT about FAIRNESS, it is about SURVIVAL. If I have the courage and the power to avoid getting hurt or hurting someone, I would gladly take the avoidance option.
As I continue to practice the Art of Personal Safety, I now understand avoidance is the key ingredient. Anyone can learn how to fight but avoidance requires personal self-control. It takes more courage to back down from a mental, emotional, or physical attack than to actually engage in it. Preventative action or avoiding a physical confrontation is a lot easier than what the majority of the people think. But without “personal” self-control, the “ego” can make it impossible to do so.
So the most important lesson I have gained through the Art of Personal Safety is that it requires my lifelong commitment and dedication to stay on my journey to self-cultivation. It is not only a physical journey but also a mental and emotional one. It is my salvation, my road to self-cultivating in all three areas (mental, emotional, and physical). I believe they have to be united and aligned to achieve the Art of Personal Safety’s goal of “Personal” Self-Control (control over ourselves, never other people).
“LIVE IN AWARENESS, NEVER IN FEAR.”
It’s a rare opportunity to be able receive one on one dedicated personal lessons in any of the martial arts. Considering APS puts focus on personal self control and development along with the the physical aspects of self defense, its an experience I have not found anywhere else. What I found to be particularly significant are the quick improvements that are made when the instructor is able to make even small adjustments to form or exercise. The unique workout routines paired with the mental emotional development make this program like no other.