Quite a few years ago I read an interview with an actor that was burning it down in Hollywood. He was featured in quite a few action movies with some fairly epic fight scenes. This actor, as the star of the movie, always won the fight regardless of the odds. This was all well and good as entertainment but somewhere along the line the actor began to believe the hype. In the interview the actor talked about his wife receiving love letters from her fans. The actors response was that he wanted to write these fans and tell them, “you’ve seen my movies haven’t you? That’s me in those fight scenes. I’m actually doing that.”
Once I was able to stop shaking my head it occurred to me that this actor was similar to a lot of us. Untested, and unchallenged, he wrongfully assumed “beating up” stunt men paid to take falls and make him look good equalled skill. He, like all of us, really needed to get punched in the face. When it comes to self protection skills we need to have been hit. We need to regularly put ourselves under pressure, have someone trying to tear our head off and know we can deal with it. We have to learn that which doesn’t kill us really does make us stronger. The more comfortable we can be in uncomfortable circumstances the better we will perform when the chips are down.
There’s really only one way to know what we are capable of, if we can take a hit, stay on our feet and throw a shot back even harder. We have to BE about it. This is simply a search for the truth, do I have what it takes? Am I able to do what I think I can do? There really is no other way. We can delude ourselves like the actor, thinking untested skill equates to actual skill or we can test ourselves regularly and KNOW our capabilities. Of course the punch in the face language is any test that involves opposing wills. We can encounter the same challenge on the mat in any Brazilian JiuJitsu academy or Judo dojo. There is never any shortage of folks willing to toss us on our head or choke us out in their own quest for the truth.
Do the work, be ruthlessly honest with yourself. Train intensely, train intelligently and be dangerous.