Segmented Consciousness vs. Heightened Readiness

My friend DP Friesen opened this topic in one of the FB groups:

“Do you think we’re paranoid in the combatives/self-defense/martial arts arena? Most of us are not law enforcement, military, security (but regular citizens) and those that are, are not always on-duty nor serving in warzones. We talk of pattern alterations, people-watching, color code of violence, strategic placement (back to wall, best vantage point, close to exit), situational & environmental awareness, EDC packages, surveillance & counter-surveillance, body language/people reading & PINS, over-analysis of violence.

Yet, let’s be honest, rarely does something happen and the myth that we live in a violent time is simply that and has been proven to be inaccurate. Do we peddle fear, worse yet, do we coat ourselves with it at the expense of living a relaxed and full life? Does mindset-knowing/believing innately, through your bones, running through your blood-that you’re hard to kill goes far more towards confidence when ultimately needed than a ton of these other areas so heavily-focused on?”

These are my comments. I’ve spent 23 years in Mindanao as an itinerant sales rep and later as Sales Supervisor. There are clear and present dangers in a region that has not seen peace for the last 50 years. Part of my AOR then while employed with three companies, Zuellig, Carnation and Nestle were in those danger zones.

I don’t possess scientific knowledge in coping and preparing myself in high stress situations such as a lethal confrontation. I never bothered to delve into the science on this subject, much less sink into an analysis paralysis over a situation with so many unpredictable variables. Neither did I give so much thought that my martial arts background and my practical shooting skills would be a game changer. There was even a period in my “tour of duty” in Mindanao that I haven’t done any shadow boxing, or that stick twirling crap, nor shot more than 100 rounds in the range during weekends. I spent more time doing guitar scales than anything martial. But, I never stopped doing cardio, rode my bike every other day, did one hour on the swimming pool during weekends, and run for an hour in between.

Despite a lucky missed shot that barely grazed my nose in Bayugan by drunken lost command armed men, beating two would be robbers to a draw in Tandag, chasing in high speed motorcycle riding in tandem gunmen in Trento, and several other close calls, it never came to point that I would become paranoid, going about my daily routine like a nervous wreck constantly watching my back. I was nonchalant about all these life threatening experiences and fatalism was more of a factor than having to dwell with personal preservation 24 hours a day seven days a week.

I never let it control my life, and went about my daily routine segmenting my state of consciousness. Whether I’m driving, walking towards my next customer, going to church with the family, a joyous road trip to my wife’s home town – a lot of things fill my mind; basically consumed with music, jazz chords, syncopation, fast scales, arpeggios, improvisation. Jobim, Bacharach, Rogers & Hammersteins, Cole Porter, scenes from favorite movies, famous actors and de Niro, Al Pacino, Steven Spielberg, college days, friends, gorgeous ladies, 70s disco, and sex. But the martial arts, self-defense and combat practically never occupy my consciousness, only when I’m on facebook and writing an article such as this.

I don’t think much about danger, neither do I offer various templates to deal with it; maybe on a super conscious plane, but that’s another subject I’d rather not delve into. An overload of responses and preconditioning oneself with tactics in handling different scenarios could lead to tragic consequences. This has always been the fatal mistake of many “martial artists”.
But when my built in alarm bells ring, something inside my hard drive just switches on by default and everything goes into auto pilot, laser focused and very violent when needed. Everything that follows is instinctive.

I won’t dare to offer my of readiness / alertness in a state “suspended animation” as a survival solution; it may or may not work with every individual.

A Nestle customer Eddie Burgos once asked me: “Tin, how can you shoot so fast? Can you still acquire the sight picture and target?” I answered, “It’s hard to explain Ed, but yes, I can see the front sights on target like it’s slow motion, but the gun just shoots by itself, not me”. Mr. Burgos was perplexed and just shook his head.

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