What we mean by a ‘holistic’ approach

It’s come to my attention that describing our approach to martial arts as ‘holistic’ can come across as a bit ‘new age’ or pretentious, so let me explain what we really mean.

We seek to teach martial arts that are effective at all ranges whilst keeping martial traditions but more than this we include self-awareness, self-protection and self-improvement within our syllabus.

If we are confronted with aggression and our first thought is ‘How can I beat this person into submission as quickly as possible?’ then we are probably asking the wrong question.

In ‘The Art of War’ Sun Tzu states that ‘the pinnacle of martial skill is to subdue your opponent without fighting’ (this is a slight rephrasing, not a direct quote). As the word martial arts literally translates as an ‘art of war’ this quote is very appropriate and to be the best we can be we should aim to develop ourselves so that we can, in many instances, subdue an aggressor without physical violence or in some circumstances without even a harsh word or threat.

With this in mind we look beyond just the physical aspects of combat and our question when confronted with aggression then is ‘what is the best way to subdue this person?’ This grants us much more scope than relying on physicality and challenges us to employ diplomacy, guile, psychology, communication skills and understanding in order to de-escalate a situation. Violence then becomes a last resort and we should only resort to hitting if we absolutely have to, and if we absolutely have to we can hit decisively with a clear conscience. As the great comedian Chris Rock, once said ‘there is always a reason to hit someone, just don’t do it!’

In addition to this we can avoid many dangerous situations with a little fore-thought and common sense. Allow me to expand on this;

We teach that broadly speaking there are two types of physical violence that we could be subjected to;

Predatory / criminal violence and social violence.

Predatory / criminal violence is of course violence with a motive of robbery, sexual assault, gang activity etc.

Social violence is violence arising from a situation / confrontation that escalates into an assault, for example; a spilled pint, ‘what you looking at?’ or taking someone to task over undesired / anti-social behaviour.

Now, the likelihood of becoming embroiled in either type of violence can be greatly reduced.

A general awareness of self, verbal and non-verbal communication factors, the fostering of self-discipline, self-control and a variety of de- escalation techniques / strategies will help to avoid angry confrontations and to diffuse them before they escalate into full blown violence. In addition a positive attitude and demeanour usually attracts like-minded people and ridding your life of negative influences reduces your risk of encountering situations where social violence can occur.

Awareness of dangers and basic, sensible steps to avoid them as well as an appreciation of the thought processes of criminal predators can reduce your risk of becoming a victim of criminal / predatory violence.

I hope this clears things up, please check out the website and get in touch if you have any questions or comments to make about this.

Ant.