What is ‘Practical’?

For the people who know me best, the idea that I talk so much about being practical can sometimes take a moment to sink in. I do things in an oddball way as often as not. When asked a question, I tend to give a thorough answer with supporting information rather than a quick, simple, and direct answer. In this and many other aspects of my approach to life, I am not always practical, which frustrates those close to me.

But when we start to go into the subject of martial arts, this all changes. After spending many years steeped in the more esoteric aspects to be found in the Chinese Martial Arts, I somehow ended up planting my feet firmly in the real world, and have been working to stay there and help others in a real way ever since.

After my recent posts, I had some correspondence with an old friend who is very much in to the esoteric aspect of martial arts. This is someone who has known me since I was in my late teens, and is a good person who really believes in this martial arts viewpoint. So do not mistake what follows as a condemnation of anyone holding to these views. This is me speaking from where I am at this point.

The conversation was about my recent journey into the training of firearms. The questions were largely centered on two points.

  1. Are firearms to be considered a part of martial arts?
  2. Are firearms practical, or even necessary?

I will address this speaking only from my personal viewpoint, and this in no way reflects the opinions of anyone who has personal of professional ties to me.

Are firearms to be considered a part of martial arts?

The term martial art refers to warrior arts, with the martial having a root in the name of the Roman God of war Mars. In our modern time, we have burred the lines of what is martial, what is warrior, among many other terms that seem to have needed blurring.

In times past, common people were conscripted to be a part of wars. But there was also a warrior class, and these people trained for fighting with weapons. The warrior class trained to fight with weapons which were the state of the art for their time.

While governments tend to outlaw much of what the military has access to, if you live in a country that allows private ownership of firearms, then by all means you should own one and train in the proper use of such. This training will prevent you from hurting yourself or innocent bystanders in the event you need to actually use your weapon. Training takes time and practice and requires guidance. Just like any other martial art.

Are firearms practical, or even necessary?

In my youth, I would have answered something along the lines of firearms being a coward’s weapon, anyone can pull a trigger, or some other pat answer that I had been fed.

Whether we are talking about a home invasion, or a terrorist attack, or a hijacking of a flight, or an armed assailant mugging you after dark – if you are going into the confrontation thinking your awesome spin kick will save the day, you are in over your head.

Yes, there are people who could bring a knife to a gunfight and go home with a new gun, but these people are rare and will spend a long time in prison if they are caught, which in our time is a foregone conclusion.

Practical?

Yes.

Necessary?

Well, yes again.

See, there are bad people out there. People who will rape you, rob you, kill you, and all of this because they can, or because they want to, or because you have something the want. No law will stop them. If they were worried about laws, they would get a job, or a cause, or join a group that did not involve harming others.

It is necessary to level the playing field. When they go armed, it is wise to do so as well.

Now, anyone with their head screwed on straight would not be wishing for a chance to use the weapon on another human. I own a gun and have no wish to shoot a person. I want to be prepared should the situation ever arise, but just as with CPR training, I would prefer to know how to do it correctly and never need to, than need to and not know how.

None of this is to say that people who do not wish to own or use firearms are stupid. This is all simply from my perspective and is my opinion on the topic. In my opinion, I like to seek peace from a position of strength. I don’t want to hurt anyone, but I have no intention of allowing anyone to hurt those I hold dear.

It really is that simple.

I share this because open dialogue on some subjects has become a strange practice of shaming those who disagree with you. I do not seek to have everyone agree with me, I am only explaining my position on the subject.

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