May 5, 2013

Post image for WHAT ARE YOU READY FOR?

The explosions at the Boston Marathon have been in the news non-stop. I had many thoughts and feelings about that act of evil, but I wasn’t surprised or shocked given how we are going about dealing with terrorism. However I will bet many other people were experiencing disbelief at the events as they unfolded.

Everyday unexpected things happen to people individually and in groups. Many of these people are usually on autopilot going about their daily business; more so they also unaware, unprepared and unready for their encounter with an abrupt event that may likely take their life, change their life, or at least turn it upside down.

My mindset is such that I personally want to be ready for these kinds of events. My preparations and training is meager compared to others. But what my experiences in training and preparedness to be ready has shown me is the most important weapon anyone has against the unexpected is mindset.

I admire the readiness and preparedness of warriors. The common thread with all the great warriors is their mindset and their ability to roll with the punches, more importantly to improvise. It was their mindset that started them on the track that leads to preparedness and readiness. The track that leads them to dedicate themselves to training and preparing for the worst and the unexpected.

While training and knowledge are among the most important things you can have in your arsenal, the truth is you cannot be physically prepared for everything. Being well planned and well-stocked cannot account for every conceivable challenge during situations where your life or the lives of those around you are in your hands.

“Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face” ~Mike Tyson

This is where the warrior’s mindset is most valuable and important. Mindset is the missing key that allows warriors to think and react on their feet top the unknown and the unexpected.

So the questions is:

What is going on in the warrior’s mind that allows for a warrior to be ready for anything?

My answer to this is acceptance.

Acceptance that evil exists and anything can happen.

Acceptance they are mortal and any day that is today could be their last.

Acceptance that survival requires overcoming challenges and insurmountable odds.

My answer is based in part on my observations of those who are overcome by sudden and unexpected challenges like mass shootings, violent assaults, or other disaster.

I see a common thread in the many news stories about those who were unprepared for calamity; be it a deranged kid shooting up a mall, or the ever increasing number of home invasions.

The victims in these news stories didn’t think it would happen to them. They frequently say in the aftermath of shootings and violent assaults, “I didn’t think it would happen to me,” or they might say, “it seemed unreal, like a dream.”

Variations of these kinds of statements are all over the news and in the stories that are told to me. These statements reveal that their mind was in victim mode and was not in gear to handle reality or act accordingly.

Those who think certain events can’t or won’t happen to them are unable to accept the event happening to them when it materializes and affects them directly- physically. The lack of acceptance concerning the nature of evil and its ability to strike anyone, anywhere, anytime leaves people in condition white and thus making them unprepared, attractive targets for the criminal element.

The result is they freeze, or they act out in sheer panic. Ever see someone who didn’t know how to swim getting into deep water? Their lack of knowledge and training in swimming causes them to lose it. The same is with any other life threatening situation where people are untrained or ill-prepared. They have no ability to act in a rational, prepared fashion.

To be someone who is going to be prepared, someone who is going to train and get what is needed, there has to be acceptance. Acceptance is the catalyst that leads someone to train, and to train seriously. Acceptance is what primes someone to sacrifice time and resources to be prepared.

When I say acceptance, I mean the ability to believe and understand the things you hear about happening to everyone else can happen to you.

This is fundamental and it is true.

After you are able to accept  things like a robbery or a mass shooting can happen to you or in your vicinity, you must accept there is no one else who can save you but you. You must accept responsibility for your life and your well being.

If you cannot grasp a hold of the reality that bad things can and will likely happen to you, odds are you will never train. If you train and prep without accepting terrible things can happen to you or your loved ones, you may not train or prepare with the seriousness needed to overcome a threat to you or your loved ones.

When I go places, I go believing I might face what has only been a story in the newspaper for me. Thinking this way causes me to act and be prepared, and to proceed in a mindful manner. When I go to sleep at night, I lay down knowing that night could be the night trouble comes knocking.

It is my acceptance that bad things can happen at anytime to anyone has me concerned I haven’t trained enough and I haven’t prepared enough. I always feel uncomfortable about my readiness. I think anyone who is honest about their own fallibility will feel the same as I do.

It doesn’t matter how confident you feel, or how much more prepared you might be than those around you. You can never train or prepare enough.

It wasn’t till I started training in Systema with Sonny Puzikas that I heard a phrase which has stuck with me:

Always be training.

Post by Chris Harris @ Between the TemplesImage credit: ManOnPHI

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