Your Concept of Violence

What do I mean by “your concept of violence”?  Well, every single person has a different thought process of what violence is. And when they go looking for a self-defense or a martial arts gym, they extrapolate that into what they’re looking for. There’s a reason why karate, jujutsu, krav maga, kickboxing, kung fu, exist – they all exist for certain reasons, because everybody has a certain view of violence.


I want you to understand that your view of violence might not be what’s actually happening and it actually might be more extraordinary than what actually happens.

Hollywood is the biggest culprit for this. Everybody thinks that Jason Bourne movies are how people really fight, and how violence really is. I can get my head smashed into a wall, and I can have a sexy cut, but I’m totally fine and I can keep fighting! Violence causes damage, violence will get you hurt, violence will make you take time off of work, it’s as simple as that.

You have to understand that your concept of violence, and what you’re trying to accomplish, absolutely has to line up with what you’re training. Because if you don’t believe what you’re doing, you’re never going to do it. And it’s better to do something that’s maybe not perfect for the environment it’s in with full confidence, than it is to do something that is perfect half-assed, because you don’t believe in it.

So, when people come to the gym here, I automatically ask them: Why are you here, what drew you to reality-based self-defense, and why are you taking this class?  If the answers don’t match up, I send them on their way. I know it’s hard to lose clients, especially when you’re a new gym, but the thought process of just getting everybody in the gym means you’re going to have a low retention rate. Nobody’s going to stick around. What if a guy comes into your kung fu school and he thinks violence is MMA? He’s gonna hate it there!  I’m not saying that kung fu is bad or MMA is bad, I’m saying that his thought process on violence is not going to match up with the thing that you’re showing. Your concept of violence is very important.


You need to understand, as a consumer, what you believe violence is. Now, if you’re looking for “I don’t want to get hurt, I want self-defense” – then define self-defense. Do you think self-defense is “a guy looks at my girlfriend and then I bro up and I fight him”?  Because then MMA works for you, right?  The ground stuff’s going to be comparable … you don’t want to land on the concrete, but it’s still going to work for you.

Is your thought process for self-defense “I need to get to my gun, because I carry” or “I’m in an open carry state”, or “I’m a police officer / military / duty bound”?  Then your system has to address that. You’re not going to want to walk into an empty-hand karate school and realize that you’re learning a system where you can’t use your gun.

Figure out your concept of violence, do your research, get your facts, and then find a gym that makes sense for what you want to do.


Randy King


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