My boss and I got to chatting the other day. He is a 5th Degree Black Belt in a Korean style of karate. He teaches at a college in the area and does a lot of seminars. Our HR department conned him into teaching a self-defense class for one of our annual in-services. He had stopped by to see if I was signed up for that class.
I have over seven years of martial arts training. My foundation style is Korean Tang Soo Do, and I have colored belts in Chinese Kempo, Japanese Isshinryu, and have studies several other styles. I never did earn a Black Belt in any style. I told him that I wasn’t taking the self-defense class. I told him that we should be teaching a self-reliance class to the group too. He asked me to explain, so I posed a question to him. We have had a lot of blizzards this month and it is possible that at some point we could get snowed in at work. If that happens how are we going to get fed, sleep, and take care of daily needs? He thought about it a minute and responded that maybe we should have something in place for such an event.
My response was a second question. “Can you defend me in a street fight?” Oh course not he replied, unless I am with you, and beside, you know how to defend yourself. Exactly I said. It is called self-defense, not everyone defense. It is also called Self-reliance, not everyone reliance. I explained that I kept enough food and stuff in the truck to last me from two to four days. I had a good sleeping bag and could shelter back in the maintenance shop for a while and be comfortable. I doubt more than a few other people could do that. As the security and safety director he should be pushing for people to have their own preparedness supplies in their vehicles so that if something happened they would not be a burden.
I could see the wheels turning behind his eyes. He of course suggested the vending machines for food. I asked him if he thought a candy bar and Hostess cake were good enough for a dinner and what about those that didn’t manage to get one out of the machine before it ran out or broke down? At certain times of the day we have well over three hundred folks on the complex. It is hard to convince people that they need to prepare, as I am sure you well know.
My boss’s first thought was how to take care of those people, not how to teach them to take care of themselves. Self-reliance is becoming more and more scarce in our everyday thinking. He thinks about self-defense and encourages it for people but not self-reliance. We need to get people to be a little more self centered; it isn’t always a bad thing.