Since you’re a member of this group the first thing I’d like to tell you is “Welcome and thank you!” Seriously, I’m glad you’ve made the decision to be a part of what we’re doing here at Lacy Products and Services.
It means a great deal to me that you’ve invested in our work and have chosen to share information. I’m excited to post content and engage with everyone and I want you to be excited about that, too.
One of the things I’d like you to know from the start is that I’m going to be sharing, in greater detail, information about my own self-protection journey, past and present. I’m doing this for a few reasons, reasons I’ll lay out in the first few posts to the group.
Any sound study of any particular topic beings with a “Prolegomena,” or “Preliminary observations; introductory remarks or discourses prefixed to a book or treatise,” to use the Webster’s 1828 Dictionary definition. Consider the first few posts in our group the Self-Protection Prolegomena.
As we begin it’s important for you to know that the process you’re embarking on, or continuing, is a long process that has no prerequisites regarding training, background, or anything else. I had a typical American childhood; that is to say that I played sports, watched TV, played video games, everything the “regular” kid did back in the 1980s.
I wasn’t immersed in the martial arts scene. My parents weren’t descendants of samurai or former martial arts champions. My dad was a farmer and my mom worked various jobs but stayed at home for the first six years of my life. They got divorced and then I did the standard “every other weekend/two weeks in the summer” thing that many kids with divorced parents had going in their lives.
Also, while my dad is a Vietnam veteran (a combat infantryman) he didn’t teach me any “super secret military tactics.” He didn’t teach me to fight. He did, however, teach me a valuable lesson, one that I used on and off over the years. He taught me to not get myself into trouble to have to fight in the first place! It’s surely a simple lesson and the first one I’ve taught many students, even though we have to go farther than “just avoid trouble.”
As a side note let me say that you’ll find that I loathe the word “just.” “Just do this…” or “Just do that…” can make you sound like you’ve thought very little of the problem or the person who has the problem, and it can be dismissive and unhelpful. So along the way recognize that in your own thinking as well as what you see written and spoken. Our language matters and I try to hold myself to a high standard to be as helpful a mentor as I can be.
OK, back to the point of this post. I began my journey to be trained in self-protection by taking a Tae Kwon Do class when I was stationed in Washington, D.C. in the Navy. I wasn’t anyone who needed that kind of training as a part of my job so I thought it would be fun. But after a few classes I found myself wanting something different. However, I changed duty stations and got sidetracked with life, something I know y’all all know can happen.
Fast forward a few years. I'd received my honorable discharge, was knocking around as a civilian, and I went to my first muay Thai class. To keep it brief, I fell in love with muay Thai. I loved the history, the tradition, and the simple efficiency of the techniques. From that instructor I branched out into the study of Filipino Martial Arts (FMA, but also known as Arnis, Escrima, or Kali) and then the concepts that Bruce Lee developed when he created Jeet Kune Do, the Way of the Intercepting Fist.
I studied these things for a few reasons. They worked, for starters. Second, they were easy to learn quickly while at the same time the process could be a lifelong pursuit. Third, they gave me a sense of confidence that I was not ill-equipped to survive street fights.
So even though I’d overlooked the ONE THING my dad taught me about fighting I felt that I was in a good spot to get out of a no rules fight without dying or getting crippled.
While I’m about to come to the end of this article I want to let you know that while you need to be aware that you don’t have to come from a long line of fighters, martial artists, or street fighters, you can learn how to protect yourself and others.
You have to see the need for the skills, a desire to learn them, and the discipline to continue your education. You'll also see that while you begin a journey with one destination in mind it's often the case that the journey takes on new and different elements to cause you to arrive at a different destination.
In the next article I’ll share the second reason from my own story that led to this study group. The reason flowed from what, at the time, led to a series of events that placed me in a position in which I never thought I’d find myself. The next reason was the first domino in a long line of dominoes that had to fall in my life to bring our paths together, and it fell in 1996.
Stick around, y’all. I’m looking forward to getting to know all of you.
Until next time,