I have a question for you: have you ever been mugged inside a Dojo? The answer for most of you is probably a 'no'. Have you ever even been nervous that you MIGHT be attacked while in a Dojo? The answer again is probably a 'no'. But have you ever been nervous that you might be attacked while walking to your car late at night after work? How about when some pushing and shoving starts at a concert and you are packed in tighter than sardines? These answers still may be "probably not" but I am willing to bet that some of you have experienced nervousness. Some of you have even been victims of violence in these very scenarios. So why spend all your time training in a Dojo?
The Dojo does have many advantages but this blog's purpose is to point out the opposite: the Dojo's weaknesses. The big one is that by training in the same environment constantly your brain no longer has to work at identifying the things around you. It already knows how the place looks, feels, sounds and smells. Training in new environments forces your brain to engage on a higher level because it must now account for new stimuli.
Another critical weakness that only training in a Dojo provides is that it is rarely if ever the site of where you will actually be attacked. You should train in locations you are likely to be attacked so that those environments are familiar to you in the context of violence. Your own home, garage, car, the park you take jogs in, etc. Train where you will actually be fighting. Training outdoors is not the same as training inside.
These varying environments provide all sorts of additional chaos that the Dojo cannot provide. One easy example is that all the Dojo mats I have ever been on have been soft and flat. Not all the terrains you fight on will be soft and flat. Some will be slippery, hard, wet, cold, hot, jagged, angled, etc. Train on all of them (as safely as possible of course).
Remember, safety when training is ALWAYS the number one priority, but get out of the Dojo sometimes and train in reality-based environments. Fight like you train and train like you fight is good but WHERE are you training like you will fight? Hopefully in a place you may actually have to fight. Train where you will fight.
I challenge you to find some locations you visit frequently and train there. Obviously, abide by all the laws if you are transporting and/or using weapons. But train somewhere other than the Dojo. Do not live in denial and stay in your safe, comfortable, predictable environment. Violence can and will occur at any time and the resulting chaos will make you very uncomfortable. Become accustomed to this chaos now by training in various environments now. Your enemy does not care if you are in your home, at the mall, in the park, or sitting in your car. Have you prepared to fight in all those situations? The time is now.
Live in the battleground,
The Warrior Speaker Blog is a collection of warrior lessons Alexander has learned in addition to practical information about protecting yourself and all that you deem most personal.