Grandmaster Rose 10/1995 Fall Address

C&S Self Defense Association

Dear Students and Friends,

As we move into a new season of the year, I too move into a new season, so to speak, of my career. I have always counseled students that if they were unhappy in their work to move on; to find something better. Unfortunately, the teacher found himself in the position of being dissatisfied with his work. Who do I turn to for advice? I turn to myself. I have taught myself these things, and I have taught those same things to hundreds of others. If the advice that I give to others does not apply to me, then it does no one else any good either. I use the tools that I teach to you- and I tell you about it because I want to be sure that you all know that the knowledge that I share with you works. It is not theory. What I teach works on the street and off. It works because I live my life as I study my Art. I am the Art. And so are all of you. We are all a product of the way that we think. We must think positively and positive things can only result.

As the summer drew to a close, I realized that all I had done was work. I have averaged almost 12 hours a day with many weekends spent as well. Life is more than work. Unfortunately, the people that I worked for did not have families and work days of 8am to well past 9pm at night were the norm with most of a Saturday or Sunday thrown in as well. I began to feel guilty that I was not willing to spend that amount of time writing computer programs for someone else at the expense of taking so much time away from my family (and myself as well!). And I found that because I was becoming more and more unwilling to spend this time working that I was not 'fitting in' with the group. I have a new job, with new people (most having families), with more diversity of work, more opportunity, and more money (an even better bonus!). I started Sept. 5th as a Programmer/Analyst with NECX in Peabody, MA.

Grousing and complaining in the background does no one any good. All that is accomplished is sore lips from flapping in the breeze. Don't get caught in the easy trap of feeling sorry for yourself. You are Martial Artists and you can be anything that you want to be. And you have been trained by the finest Martial Arts instructors in the world who have shown you how to build the personal confidence in yourself to make your dreams come true. Of course, first you have to have a dream, or plan. Then (as the Nike ad says), "Just Do It!". Let me hear your story of success. Tell me how you used our Art to make your life better. Tell us all. We all need to hear constantly how our members succeed on a daily basis using the skills they learn in class.

My congratulations to Diane Boria and Joanne Vigue of Sandan David Shaw's York Street Self Defense Club for obtaining their Pending Black Belt in August. Diane and her husband Paul have been long time regulars at my school (along with many other fine members of Sandan Shaw's including Joanne when she has had a chance to visit). Diane has been kind enough on many occasions to take deck at the Rose School for us as well. My best wishes their continued success, and advice to "watch your back"; There are a bunch of hungry Brown Belts ready to run right over you if you stop to rest!

I would like to address an issue that I call "reactive self defense". Fortunately, most (if not all) of us do not leave our homes and walk into a combat zone on a daily basis where we must be prepared to instantly spring into action at the slightest hint of aggression against us. For the most part, we can concentrate on the Art of Karate VS just the self defense part. Our environment allows us the luxury of living without constant fear. This is good. But it can also work against us when we do have to act. It is so easy to forget that our very lives may depend on the skills that we are learning, and that our ability to interact without fear with our fellow neighbors on a personal level depends so much on our physical self confidence. So, how do we stay sharp and yet keep "off the edge"?

I believe the key to this is the same that I have taught many of you in your Basic Meditation where we speak about "recognize the irritation, and then return to the meditation". As people, we all have certain basic characteristics. We all have fears. We all limp when our leg is hurt. We all sneeze when our nostrils get irritated. We all blink our eyes when startled. These are natural human responses; we "react" to all of these events. Is it wrong or a sign of weakness to blink when someone throws a handful of quarters toward your face? Hardly. That blink is a natural reaction.

And this brings us to what "reactive" self defense entails. We must admit that most of the time, we are going to be "surprised" by an attacker VS having the opportunity to get ourselves geared up and ready for combat. Combat will be sprung upon us without warning, and we must be able to "react" efficiently to it. When I teach self defense (and the way I want you to teach it, by the way...) is to admit that we are going to be surprised by our attacker; that our natural human instincts will be to react away from the attack rather than our more egotistical view of our ability that we could respond immediately to the attack with an attack of our own. Sorry. That will just not happen. Someone will throw a surprise punch at our face and we are going to blink and turn away from the blow. It is what we are trained to do now that will determine if we can effectively turn this surprise into an effective response. Our response to an attack must include the reaction to that attack as the first part of any action we take. If we do not do this, then we are trying to go against some very core human instincts. And we will fail miserably if we do. We must never try to meet a force with a force. Force must be met with flexibility. Only in this way can we launch an effective response of our own.

When you train, train realistically. Do not train like Hollywood actors who have a script that shows them how everything will work out. We do not know how things will work out. That is why we do not fight unless we absolutely must: the chance, no matter how slight, that we will be seriously injured is not worth the risk of the fight. We do not fight unless we have to, but when we do fight we must be willing and capable of going all the way. There is no prize for 2nd place in a fight. There are no runners up in combat. Only winners and losers. If you expect to use your skills to win, then you must train yourself for how you will really react in a real combat situation. You will be scared. You will get hurt. And yes, you will blink your eyes when the punch is thrown. Train to sharpen yourself to react to your reaction; not to react to the attack. You know nothing about the attack, however, you know a whole lot about yourself, and you can learn more. That is what our study is all about, anyway, isn't it? As Lao Tzu said, "To know oneself is to know the ten thousand things." So, to defend yourself naturally ("reactivity"): know yourself. Know how to make a smooth and effective transition from the natural reaction away from the attack that you most likely will experience into an effective counter attack.

In our art,
Grandmaster Peter M. Rose

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