Respect for Life
by Andy Dominey on February 22nd, 2016

I know this is a cliché but 'with power comes responsibility’. Just because you ‘can’ hurt someone, doesn’t mean you should. In fact, the more power one possesses, the more respect they should have for the affects that power can have.

So you’ve been attacked, you’ve broken the freeze and you have assaulted the persons body and mind. They are stumbling backwards as you rain blows upon them becoming more confident and more powerful with each blow. What separates you from them? Attacker from victim? Simple…respect for life.

When someone attacks you (I’m speaking here of a proper attack and not someone shoving you in a rock concert) they are doing so for a reason. That reason may be that you have something they want or they may simply be attacking you for their own perverted pleasure. Either way, you are not a human being to them. You are an obstacle that stands between them and their end goal. As such, you are treated no differently than a tree standing in the way of the creation of a road, you are crushed then rolled over.

However, being the initial victim and acting to reverse the situation, put’s you in a unique (and powerful) position. YOU get to choose whether this person lives or dies. It’s YOU that makes the call. If you are a martial artist, you’ll already have the weapons in your possession to cause serious injury or even death, in the form of your hands and feet. It’s what you choose to do with them that ultimately defines you as an individual and as a member of the human race.

What right do we have as martial artists…scratch that…what right do we have as human beings to choose whether someone lives or dies? With power, comes responsibility.

That said, there are many different circumstances during which violence may ensue and many different ways to act. We should, however, ensure we act appropriately in these circumstances. For example, if someone hits you from behind with a bare fist, in most cases, it would not be appropriate to smash them across the face with a bar stool then jump on their head when they fall to the floor. This is the choice you have to make. This is the power you have to control, his is the life you must respect. Him, the attacker… the man who you just put in the hospital. He was a nice, quiet guy until someone he knew spiked his drink with whiskey. Now he’s going to the Emergency Room instead of home to his wife and kids…he might not make it…with power, comes responsibility.

‘But how do I know what is appropriate'?’ If you have trained for many years and you are proficient in techniques that can maim and kill…you’ll know. You’ll know because along with showing you the killing techniques, your teacher has been guiding you along a path of self improvement and discipline that will manifest itself when you need it most.

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