We are the products of the quest for balance in our lives

Vince Blog, Off The Mats, Self Preservation

In a recent insightful conversation with my wife, among several other interesting things during the discussion, she noted that the CMD program wouldn’t be what it is today if Rodney didn’t live in Johannesburg. That observation gave me pause and I imagined for a second that if Rodney lived in a Florida retirement community full of 80 and 90 year olds 25 years ago, would the CMD Program resemble anything like what we have today?

Much of what we think and how we carry ourselves on a daily basis is very much influenced by where we live and our exposure to our surroundings. Would you agree with that? It’s no surprise that many self-help gurus advocate that we should seek out the company of the people we most wish ourselves to be like, be it successful entrepreneurs, philanthropists, or successful individuals in a particular field. We absorb and become a percentage of who we hang out most with. We start to assimilate. Just as much as our environment shapes us and moulds us to find our balance within the communities we live in. It’s not a good or bad thing, it just is but the choice remains ours alone.

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If you lived in a low-risk crime community your needs and training focus would be much different than if you lived in a war zone. Our needs would change dramatically based on our daily experiences but the physical aspects of personal safety are just the superficial ones. How about the safety of our families and loved ones? Property security? Identity security? The list goes on. If I lived in a war zone I’d try to get kitted out with a protection vest, helmet and do my best to secure enough supplies to get out of that area as quickly as possible. Dressing fashionably would be low on the priorities under such circumstances. If I lived in a retirement community, my immediate concerns would be securing communication channels and medical care rather than securing military surplus.  Survival and safety concerns will need to be adapted to the situation.

Living in a large city with all the big city problems I have to be prepared for many urban issues that come with this privilege. There is public security that help maintain law and order and there are also private security as well as personal security but that comes down to cost, convenience and how much of your personal space you are prepared to sacrifice. Nowadays it’s quite common to see individuals walking about with several personal bodyguards in tow. The majority of public and private security is good and effective. Things are generally peaceful and crime-free however when speaking to most people in the city they are more wary of crime and personal security more so than our Singaporean neighbours for example.

This isn’t to say that we let our guard down, in fact, even in some of the most peaceful countries like Japan and New Zealand, there are instances of crimes and strong presence of gang culture where violence, serial killers and sexual predators are present. They don’t make it to headline news often as tourism generates huge incomes for these countries. No where is really “safe”.

I’d wager that the CMD program today would be a lot different if the origins and impetus that helped to shape it during the formative years had a different setting. It seems all the most effective combat arts were derived, developed and refined from necessity; of survival, and over time, influenced by peace time and gentrification, evolved into sport and other forms of preservation of tradition or similar entities.

The point of this is to be able to form some idea of effectiveness and purpose of the martial art that we are currently practice. If the martial art in question was intentionally developed for ritualistic combat (think MMA or similar combat sport) that is one step closer to reality than a martial art practiced with the intention of preserving a certain cultural tradition, i.e. this stuff worked once upon a time so let’s keep doing it. Things change, times changes things constantly therefore our actions to constantly find our balance in the community we live in has to change. Being present, mindful and having actionable directions. When it comes to a matter of personal safety there isn’t time or place for indecision or second-guessing. You have to know and do what it takes to get you home safely today.

The pedigree and raison d’etre for the CMD is thus purely function first, with a positive philosophy for life. Walking the talk proves the methodology is effective, robust and scalable. The program was born from a place that required it to work well and over the years it has grown into the program as we recognise it today, combining the most effective elements of the mental game, punches, strikes and the grappling elements that will emerge in a defensive situation.

I’m an advocate and trainer of the CMD Program and proud to represent this initiative and method. I support what it stands for and what it’s objectives are: to educate and empower people, to help them be better persons, to express these skills via a positive, healthy outlet, to develop and refine the skills that were derived from actual situations of personal defense for a safer and better community. I recognise that the CMD program originated with a sense of purpose and function  and with that knowledge it carries a heavy responsibility and requires a healthy mindset. If you would like to learn more please register for a free trial class.

In servitude and openness,
Vince Choo

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