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Tread softly, carry a big stick

Regardless of whether you consider yourself a violent person or not, we cannot avoid the fact that the world is populated by those who would wish to do harm to others.

The concept of violence and how we react to it is inherently woven into our martial arts practice. When presented with no other option but to react, what do we do when violence is presented to us?

One thing I have learnt from my own practice is to tread softly, but carry a big stick.

Treading softly

Treading softly refers to the demeanor in which you should carry yourself. Be unassuming, avoid confrontation and don’t provoke violence.

For those who are entirely unaware of the intrusiveness of their presence, violence and confrontation is likely to follow closely. Whether with friends or surrounded by strangers, the way one carries themselves can be referred to as the weight of their tread. The egotistical and arrogant have a heavy tread that brings with it much attention.

This also refers to the way one might speak. If you are thoughtful and intentional with your words, you can often avoid confrontation through being a compassionate person. Those who are clumsy and abrasive with their words are likely to have them corrected.

The big stick

Your ability to defuse or deter violence directed to you or your loved ones is directly related to the size of the deterrent you wield. If you carry a large stick, this means you possess the ability & confidence to defend yourself and others. It is your responsibility to equip yourself appropriately.

It’s been said before, but failing to prepare is preparing to fail… This is no less true when it comes to being prepared to defend yourself.

We live in a time where martial arts are more practiced than ever before, and the likelihood of an attacker having some knowledge of one in a confrontation is higher than in generations past. If you have no choice but to fight, be as well prepared as you can.

I’ve heard the term “verbal jiu-jitsu” and similar used before. There is no shame in using words to de-escalate a situation; I think this is always preferable to the risk of bodily harm, but be prepared for confrontation when words fail.

This is just a writer’s opinion. A short thought for your Sunday as you plan ahead for another week. Try to take a higher level of intention and thought into your interactions with others. Tread softly in that you carry yourself well, but have that big stick ready for the situations that call for them. 

Thanks for reading.