From Here To There

By Glenn Catania

Completing a mission can sometimes be very dangerous. Besides "that which does not kill you makes you stronger," another great quote has always been "the thinking that got you here is not the thinking that will take you there." What the heck am I talking about? A very simple idea: making it home safely. This is our ultimate goal isn't it?

In this world we live in, unfortunately there are people who are not all as good as we would like them to be. My teacher has always said, "If you are in a bad situation, the first thing you have to ask is 'how did I get here?' As martial artists we train so as not to fight." What does that mean? Your awareness should have helped you recognize a potentially bad situation ready to occur and allowed you to avoid it.

We are not psychics (at least not all of us), but many times if you just listen to yourself, you will find the map leading down the right path. No, not always, but more often than we realize. Surveys of muggers and robbers in which the criminals are shown pictures of potential victims find that most of the criminals pick out the same people to prey on. Why? Sometimes body language, eyes or facial expressions, or even the way we dress may communicate more to those around us than we realize.

The thing to remember is that dogs don't only attack other dogs that look afraid, they also attack dogs that challenge. Having worked in some very difficult areas, a good rule to follow is this: never be afraid, but never forget where you are. There will be places you have to be in, and there is nothing you can do to change that sometimes. The key is to blending in as if you were always there. If you look unworried and just trying to complete your task, people tend to leave you alone.

Just because the world is sometimes a scary place does not mean we have to bow down to it. People tend to pick up on these feelings. Bigger is not always better in a potentially dangerous situation either. The thinking might be, hey, if we take out the big guy first, the rest will fear us, and resistance will be futile. Acting big or tough will not necessarily make you safer, but good awareness will. Remember who you are and give everyone their due respect. It will make it much easier to get from here to there.