Heroes and mentors and the lessons we learn. Latosa Concepts Escrima Terminology.
How often do you look back at who you were and compare that person to who you like to think you are now? Having kids will cause that reaction in many people. I am proud to write that I include myself in that group of people.
Think back to the idea’s you had about training martial arts and why you thought they were cool. Bruce Lee comes to mind for many people. For me, many of the old singing cowboys were my first initiation in what could be called that type of movie. We loved watching the good guys (with the white hats of course!) They had fist fights with the bad guys and shot the guns out of their hands as well. When it was really bad, they shot the bad guys. Gene Autry was just one of the many cowboys who we loved to watch. The fact that I come from Texas didn’t hurt either. That made them even more cool! The Lone Ranger and Roy Rogers were some others that really got me worked up. I would get my bb rifle and run outside.
Comic books presented me to Conan and that type of tough guy. It’s easy to see why I like swords. All boys have this gene or at least many do. What came next was no big surprise. The kung fu movies with all the terrible vocal quality and lip syncing. The common link in all the above was the good guy and the fight for some standard of right and wrong. I still live by a code today. My conscience is a strong driving force in what makes me feel good and what makes me feel like I should strive to do.
This can quickly become a hot topic in that many of the vertues we would like to support in our children, our students and would like to see in our own mentors and instructors, don’t always fit with real life. This is one of the reason there are so many cops that feel like they are taking undue chances with their lives. Society’s desire to have a LE force that looks and reacts a certain way collides with reality. Surviving a possible lethal confrontation is not as clear cut as when Gene Autry knocked the bad guy out with a combinations of wild hay maker left and right swings.
We react differently to confrontations depending on who we are. It took my wife hours to truly calm down after I was in a fight with a gang in Copenhagen. My history on the street and in tournaments as well as many other aspects of my life told me that reality was much uglier than what the movies showed us. As I have written before, J is a gentil soul and the reality of fighting a gang is not something that fits into her expectations. How many people are like this? The answer is … Many people! It all get back to our heroes and mentors and what we got out of the lessons from them.
Many of the instructors that choose to call what they do combative are an example to open people’s eye up to the reality of conflicts. Latosa Concepts is most definitely combative. I live my life by a code taught to me by the singing cowboys but the adult acceptance of life’s realities has to be there when training and teaching. Training has to help me survive on the street … this is a short and sweet truth!
If we look at the martial arts / combative instructors that I have learned from there has been a mix of real hard asses and some idealistic types. We need that mix just like we need to acknowledge where we come from. We lose a little of our history and who we are when we don’t do that. We can surpass an influence in our life, but the fact that they were there can not be denied. If we lie to ourselves we void the lesson we learned.
If you want to have fun and look at the balance of idealistic and reality based instructors you have you can make a little list. This is mine. Note it is not in chronological order. They have all contributed in some form or fashion to improve my martial arts /combative skills and mentality. I’ll stop here to avoid the psychological talk.
A nut case that wanted to see my family extinct
Students who I teach to this day.
GM Latosa – Escrima and unarmed hand to hand
Master Bill Newman – Escrima and swords
Master Lind – Escrima and swords
Karate instructors I can’t remember the name of. USA and DK
Malte Frid-Nielsen – BJJ
Lars Murholt – special subjects
An escrima instructor named Dumpe
Nic Osei – Escrima
Kenneth Kyhe – Escrima and WT
Jørgen Riis – WT
Henning Daverne – WT
John Waller – Swords and more. See the video at the end for a little taste of what he knows. His son, Jonathan, teaches actors how to stage fight. He is also in the video.
This is just a little bit of the list I could make. There were many more including the people who kicked my ass on the street as a kid. They taught me lessons and therefore are a type of instructor.
This brings up a subject that people forget way too often. We learn from the lost fights and confrontations in our lives. These might be confrontations of will, knowledge or emotional as well. It can be hard, but we should remember that we learn something from each time we are hit in reality as well as when it is conceptual. We should learn from mistakes and keep looking forwards as much as we can.
Our mentors from other areas of our life can easily effect our judgment regarding self-defense. In my case, a carpenter who I worked for years ago changed my life. I wanted to be more like him in many ways. He was a contrast to my own father in many ways. Through his quite ways, he implanted many ideas in my head. If you start to think about the list of people who have given you food for thought in other areas of your life you might recognize their influences in your martial arts as well.
I’ll stop here. This could be a very long post otherwise. Stop and think a little and you might find that some treasures come to mind, be it a drill, an idea or some little detail. It might even be a memory of getting drunk with some friends. You never know.
Be Proactive in Life and Training