Thursday, May 17, 2012

The Art of Fighting Without Fighting

This week's post was contributed by Five Town CTC Board Member, Andrew Lesmerises.

One of my all-time favorite movies is “Enter the Dragon,” starring Bruce Lee.  In this movie he’s on a boat with a group of other fighters heading to an island to compete in a martial arts tournament.  One of the competitors is going around bullying the staff on the boat and the other fighters.  He approaches Bruce and asks him, “What’s your style?”  Bruce replies with, “the art of fighting without fighting.”  When pressed to show him a bit of this style, Bruce tricks him into getting into a rowboat to go to an island where they will have more room than on the crowded boat.  Once the bully is in the rowboat, Bruce lets the line out, thereby isolating the bully from the rest of the people on the boat.  He has thus fought the bully without fighting.

At the martial arts school I run, we spend a lot of time dealing with self-protection.  In our classes we teach the “A,B,Cs of Self-Protection.”  This not only applies to bullies and abduction, but also fitness, nutrition and having a positive self-expectancy.  After all, diabetes, obesity, and depression are all very real risks for everyone.  Five Town Communities That Care also embraces the art of fighting without fighting in their work to keep the youth in our community healthy.

We teach that “A” stands for Awareness.  This is both being aware of external dangers, but also being aware of what we feel.  FTCTC uses awareness by gathering data from the youth in our community via the Maine Youth Drug And Alcohol Use Survey (MYDAUS) to find out what risks our youth are facing.  This means that they aren’t guessing or thinking; FTCTC knows the answer.

“B” stands for Boundary Setting.  In our classes students learn how to use voice and body language to keep a safe distance from dangerous situations.  For FTCTC this means that once the risks are known, they can support or implement programs that have been tested and proven (via scientific evaluation) to either lower the risk or raise protective factors that prevent the risk.

“C” stands for Core Confidence.  In our classes students learn de-escalation skills to defuse conflict or confrontation, and only if absolutely needed, the physical skills to keep themselves or loved ones safe.  FTCTC makes sure that the tested programs that they support or implement are being done properly and having the desired results.  You can go to to see some of the data for our community.

FTCTC’s goal is to PREVENT the problems that face our youth rather than to fight once the youth is in the grips of the problem. That is fighting without needing to fight!