Self-Reflection: Work and Self-Defense
It has been some time since the last when I stopped to look at my life and examine it. I feel a great need of urgency when examining myself, though. I think it’s very important to look at one’s growth through life and be able to write it down in order to see one’s thought processes at a moment in time and see what their mindset was once upon a life. I mean, my old Xanga entries are filled with self-reflections and stories. Sadly, I haven’t been able to keep up with these writings due to time constraints. So, here are two things that have been traversing my mind for a while now, and future Richie, when you read this, I hope you smile and think to yourself, “I remember those days…”
1) My work: I have been working a “part-time” job since about April now. The reason why I put “part-time” in quotations is because I’m not exactly getting “part-time” hours. I’ve been working almost 30-40 hours a week (if a client doesn’t cancel), and also 6 days a week at a time. Therefore, my time for myself is really non-existent unless it’s a Saturday night or Sunday. This has cut down on my time to be with my friends, loved ones, and even have time to do things that I want to do.
This job entails working with children with autism one-on-one. Though the job is definitely rewarding, I have had my patience tested time and again by children who would disobey, scratch, bite, and even kick. At one point, I felt that coming home without a scratch was a little out of the ordinary. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy the job that I do, and I enjoy the experience I’m getting. These kids really need the help, love, and support, and I feel that God has given me the patience and resilience to smile through the tough times. However, I will not lie that I feel drained from the job, and I’m just unsure if this is how being a grown-up should feel: happy and content but lacking in energy.
I have had a revelation come to me, though, while working, and it’s a motivation for me to be stronger and not complain as much. This motivation comes from my mother, who is currently working 2 full-time jobs to support two children whom she still loves with every fiber of her being. This woman doesn’t work 6 days a week like I do. Instead she works 8. For her, not going to work for 12-14 days straight is foreign. For her, not leaving the house by 6 AM and not coming home until after 8 P.M. is peculiar. And for her, not having a smile on her face every single damn day is equatable to the world not spinning. I have seen this woman struggle through a troubled marriage and still stand. I have seen this woman dance even when her legs cause her pain to walk. And I have seen a woman so dedicated to family that she even would sacrifice herself knowing that they would live better.
Bottom line: If she doesn’t complain, I don’t believe I have the right to either. I love you, mom. Thanks for being my inspiration for work and always trying harder.
2) My martial arts training: It occurred to me about 4 years ago now after seeing a PAHM event showcasing Filipino Martial Arts that I wanted to learn FMA. I dabbled in it for two quarters at UCI, and I have been training in Giron Arnis Escrima for about 10 months now. The classes are every Tuesday and Wednesday night, and to be honest, I do my best not to miss them. A week without training feels like an off-week for me. I love the system so much, and I feel empowered with the knowledge I gain from the class. To be honest, I feel that it would be a dream job to become a martial arts instructor someday, much like Dan Inosanto except not with as much expertise.
What I wanted to reflect on specifically was how I felt the other day in class. Now, first of all, I have been told that the paradox of learning a martial art and self-defense is hoping that you will never have to use it. I believe this paradox to be true, because in my class, I’m essentially learning how to kill somebody. We train with sticks, practice knives, and practice swords. If I were carrying a real knife or the possibility of a sword, that will for sure cause damage and massive bleeding if I were to defend myself against someone. Even with a stick, the sheer trauma caused by a strike if placed to the temple of an opponent could knock them unconscious or even worse.
So yes, I’m learning how to kill someone in this class.
Not to say, though, that we don’t learn any empty-handed techniques. We do, and we learn things such as locks and take-downs, arm-breaks and submissions. But this is all beside the point. (To be honest, all this info wasn’t so much for my future self to read, but I just get excited when talking about FMA because I love it so much.) The point is that one of the reasons as to why I’m learning a martial art and self-defense is so that if I do ever get into an altercation, I would prepared for whatever would ensue and that I would hopefully be safe from whatever was to occur.
Now, back to the other day in class. Before this class, I felt that if I were to ever get into a fight or have to protect my loved ones, I felt that I would at least have an idea of what I can do to get out of there safe and unscathed. After this class, however, I had a humbling realization: I’m not ready for that scenario. As a matter of fact, I would probably be crushed. Now of course, you could argue that I’ve only had training for 10 months while others have had years. There’s no way I could feel ready if I were to be attacked. I still need more training.
So, since this class, I have developed a new mindset towards my training: it will never be enough. I someday hope to graduate from this system, but even when this day comes, I will have this mindset: it will never be enough. This isn’t a way to put myself down, but it’s a way to make myself stronger and yearn to perfect what I’m doing. I guess you could ask why I’m learning self-defense now even if I believe it to not be enough and it sounds as if it’s a waste of my time. Well, my answer to that question is that my training is helping me become more aware of my surroundings and what can happen in a fight-situation, and to become more aware of what options I have if one were to arise where I had to stand and fight. Note also, that fighting and endangering myself and loved ones isn’t exactly on the top of my list of things to do when “it” goes down. It is a last resort, for I am preparing myself mentally for my actions if someone were to come at my family, friends, or me.
Bottom line: I will keep training until I am satisfied, and my satisfaction won’t be achieved until I surpass perfection.