I had to preface this article with a note this time. I wrote this over a week ago knowing I was going to travel and planned to post when things had died down and we were settled for the month in Charlotte. I had already ran it by my husband and it was good to go, but needed some minor tweaking. We showed up in Charlotte late last night and started the first five hours this morning of the Instructors Training Course with Fit To Fight Republic. I am so glad I marinated. I find in life that things tend to fall together in the strangest ways and times. During the speaking portion of this class I found myself laughing and just even more inspired as I listened. Occasionally I would look over at my husband and would smile because some of the points in this article were basically on the same lines of what Ryan Hoover was saying, only he was more elegant on the fly with it. Ironically our coach Aaron Kimball wrote a very heartfelt post that I read two days ago and I purposely waited to share because it was so relevant to this. (Will be reposting that shortly as well…) So with that being said here is last weeks article with some updates.
Thomas Cochrane was a early 19th century Scottish Naval Officer that is arguably one of the most influential strategists that not many people know about. Most of his life is riddled in controversy, but the most notable things are his maritime inventions and his consistency of battle wins over the course of a 67 year service when the odds were constantly stacked against him. This guy was literally asked by the Peruvian, Chilean, and Brazilian Governments at different times, to take over their underdog fleets and help them win different wars of independence. And he did, triumphantly. This was after he managed to take a crappy ship when he served with the French, and successfully use it to all its non advantages. He was cunning and smart; flying different flags and oftentimes taking the element of surprise by just diving right into the fray. He was known to think several steps ahead of the game by using what little resources he had in unique ways. Whereas history wants to mark him as just someone chasing cash, if you read over his letters to his wife, children, friends and countrymen it sketches an entirely different narrative in my opinion. Yes gold was a goal, but something much grittier had a hold on him; passion and an innate desire to want to continue improving and prove to himself that he could.
Ironically his bluster and bravado, it seems was only in battle and letter correspondence. Several people note that when they met with him in a live setting he was a much more subdued person in personality than what one would think when you read about all his contentious political issues with the French and other governments. Many were surprised by his quieter nature.
One of the more memorable things that I have experienced in training was not a physical thing at all; it was a wake up call. Last September a couple of men in our Extreme Close Quarters Concepts Class had just finished up their evolutions. This is basically live pressure testing situations in training that is as close to actual opposing force as you can get safely ish. These scenarios were set up as everyday things a person who would be carrying might encounter and in this particular scene one of the guys ended up questionably shooting his SIM round into the other person ending the fight. At the end of this Craig Douglas asked how many of us thought this was a justifiable shoot? Three people raised their hands. “How many think it was unjustifiable?” Four people. “How many are unsure?” and we all shot our hands up. He then went on to explain that there were 21 2nd amendment supporters in that group and if only three people were sure it was justifiable, four against, and the rest had no idea; what did we think a jury of our peers would think? It could be very likely they would not be 2nd amendment supporters and they might have no concept of that kind of violence. There are so many things to unpack in that statement and it literally changed the way I viewed carrying. It also gave even more weight to something that was already heavy, but even more it made me think from a different perspective in gun culture and those training others in marital arts.
Don’t be a Richard, it doesn’t help the cause.
Gun culture is the worst. There, I said it. Seriously everyone has an opinion and I have honestly never seen more people so, “my way or the highway.” Actually I would literally compare gun culture to mommy blogs because they are about the same in that nobody wins and everyone is a terrible mother. It seems there are hardly any articles written without condescension and it is incredibly sad. “You don’t like that holster, gun, pro dry firing, not pro dry firing? You are an idiot, let me show you my ways in the most lofty manner I can think of.” Gun culture commenters are worse.
Now someone can take this and say I am sensitive, thats cool, but me being sensitive is not my point. We are losing a 2nd amendment battle currently and if you are like this to anyone showing interest or anyone NOT showing interest, you are not helping, you are a hindrance. That person you corrected six times about a clip vs magazine when they were asking you a question is going to be the jury of your peers. So the odds aren’t in your favor when they decide prior, hey the gun community is full of a bunch of Richards, why would I want to learn more about that.
Also note that I said this about someone NOT interested. Rhetoric of condescension verses explanation and showing is an impediment and we need more people interested, invested, and learning safely more than ever.
One of my cringe worthy moments in my life, and there are a plethora of them, was speaking to a former Optometrist boss of mine about laying hardwood floors. We were renovating a house we owned and he asked if we did the flooring ourselves. I very haughtily said, “uh, of course.” In my brain I was thinking yeah we have laid tons of floors, but how I said it was awful. He was new to home renovations and his facial expression showed slightly that he thought my statement very arrogant, however he was much more gracious about it in his response. Being the best boss I have ever had it sucks that to this day I still think back and wince. I could have sat and explained home renos like he had explained to me so so so many times about all things eyeballs. He was a teacher, I was an ass.
Everyone has to start somewhere and if someone walks in to your gym that doesn’t look, talk, or act like you, don’t assume, pull them in. Self defense is a basic human right for everyone. Self defense is a basic human right for everyone (unless you live in Jersey apparently, then nobody can defend themselves…..No seriously look up their laws, insane). Be open and share because that step to ask about firearms/fighting is honestly a hairy one. It is intimidating and if someone you deem wouldn’t normally be that person interested reaches out, and you make them feel like a fool, that’s one less person on that jury that is going to understand. They chose not to go forward because why would they want to belong to such a cultish community that can’t break something down in a peer manner when it comes to using a tool made to take life.
This goes for martial arts trainers too. Now I am not talking about the whole lets coddle them like Care Bears in pillows. I am a big fan of the break em down, build em up mentality and fighting for your life IS fighting. But not everyone that walks in that door is military mentality/MMA bound and for some just to peer through the front glass took every ounce of courage they had so maybe gently let them know we don’t use boxing gloves on the speed bag. (By the way this is something I didn’t know a year ago…) I have been blessed to have met/have awesome trainers, but I have met crap ones too.
Everything about fighting is uncomfortable so attempt to meet people where they are at not drive them away. One of the best lines in regards to this was something I heard today from Ryan Hoover, owner of Fit To Fight Republic, “At the end of the day we are talking about punching people in the face.” He mentioned how for a majority of people they had already taken several uncomfortable steps just walking in the front door of your gym. They have already fought a battle with themselves by being there so just be kind. What he was saying was one of the reasons I started Healthy Buffalo in the first place, “The majority of people that need what we do are the least likely to walk in.” Let that sink in if you are a martial arts gym owner. If your goal is to raise the next up and coming fighter, awesome, I have no issues with that focus; but if you are wanting to truly make a difference in self defense and save lives then look at how to get more of the types that need it the most in the doors and KEEP them there. Meet them on their level and understand the fight they already overcame by just walking in.
The thing you have to question to yourself is why? Why are you even teaching/commenting in the first place? If its about passion because you love something and you want to share then you are on the right track and will show in kindness (or in gruffness) but not in disrespect. You will have this desire that you can’t help but give to others, it’s a driving need and force inside of you. But if you have to tear someone down, poke fun, or make them feel like a fool for their lack of knowledge then it is arrogance and is not about the cause of your passion, its just about you and your pride.
There is a difference between a teacher and a critic, be a teacher. Just because someone doesn’t get a word right doesn’t mean they are an idiot, remember when you were a kid and getting splinter removed was scary? Now its nothing Just me? Huh…
Thomas Cochrane was in charge of naval fleets in no less than three countries fighting against the odds in an almost 70 year career. He was never above learning more and constantly sought out how to make things better, this is the mark of a teacher. A person who doesn’t think, my way or the highway, but someone who is not too proud to say, hey this could be better lets test it out. We need more people in our ranks. We cannot sit here and complain when 2nd amendment things are voted down when our gun culture is how it is. We must be part of the solution giving people a reason to continue to learn, not a reason to say they aren’t interested anymore. When a teacher has the thought process of, I am always learning and the person learning under me is always learning, it tends to make you benevolent of others just starting out. You don’t think you are a god. And if Thomas, with all his naval accomplishments of turning around several countries winning underdog naval fleets can manage to keep an in person persona of a humble but progressive figure, then you can manage to not be a Richard by lumping people into groups with absolutes. Turn your passion into saving lives.
#selfdefense #bekind #2ndamendment #dontbearichard #passion #recruitment
Also this is an actual book below..... it’s entertaining so if you need more reading material....
In 1845 Emmaline Shaw tried to divorce her husband Daniel Shaw in a Connecticut court citing intolerable cruelty. She had been severely ill and apparently Danny boy couldn’t restrain himself enough to let her sleep it off and he forced her to do her, “marital duty.” Yep. He raped his wife constantly while she was sick. A real winner huh? Being desperate enough to pursue this in court, because it is not likely she would get anything out of the divorce outside of poverty, she still lost. The insane part about this is that intolerable cruelty charge was not addressing the rape, it was speaking of his verbal abuse to her and her children. The rape wasn’t rape because they were married. The courts denied it claiming that she was physically unharmed from his verbal abuse (never-mind the rape….) and there is not much else historically written about her.
We so often think of women’s suffrage from a “protesting winner winner chicken dinner, we got the vote standpoint.” We rarely understand and view it from a legal standpoint; what it meant to not be recognized as a legal person with rights to their own body. With that we don’t comprehend exactly how much these women risked in their lives. We envision these women as just historical figures that protested in long skirts and then, “boom,” we got the vote in 1920. We lack the recognition the basic mental guerrilla warfare that these ladies enacted. It wasn’t just about the vote it was about being recognized as a fellow human.The odds were not just stacked against them, they didn’t even have odds. It was so much this that women had to pick and choose for the long game. They had to look 20 plus years into the future, think outside the box more than anyone around them; at the same time worry for their own possible safety of being chucked into an insane asylum because their husband/father decided he had had enough of her girly games. Or even if he didn’t want to be that extreme he could just deny her right to see anybody. He was, after all, legally master of his home and he chose those that associated with those in his charge.
Early suffragists like Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B Anthony, and Lucy Stone were tactical pioneers in rights to a woman’s body, unfortunately they barely saw any fruits of their labor. Lucy would advocate for the vote while Elizabeth geared her efforts towards, “the Marriage Question,” or rape inside of marriage. Lucy could agree with them in private but had to make the tough decision that to be adamant publicly about marital rape would pull the efforts from women getting the vote, therefore she was not necessarily a loud champion. She couldn’t detract away from something so foundational as having the right to cast a ballot. She knew once that was secured then the sky was the limit. It did not keep her from supporting her friends. Lucy once spoke about her friend whose husband basically would not get off her in a letter to Elizabeth. We are talking sickness, pregnancy, right after birth, nursing. All. The. Time. He didn’t care, her body was his. All different women, all different causes, all parts to the same tree, their love for their fellow ladies.
There were several men that supported these suffragists. John Stewart Mill, a philosopher and member of Parliament stated in 1869 the simple fact that the view of women is as low as an animal. “However brutal tyrant she may unfortunately be chained to,” men had the authority to, “Enforce the lowest form of degradation of a human being, that of being made instrument of an animal function contrary to her inclinations.” Redefining Rape
These women had everything to lose, but they did it for the love of women and future generations of daughters and granddaughters. They certainly didn’t do it for posterity, hell in my video I mention we don’t even know the first name of the wife of famous Parisian swordsman Pierre Vigny. She was a catalyst in women’s self defense and we literally only know her as Miss Sanderson. The thing about these ladies is that they all had a cause and a purpose near and dear, fighting the battle on all fronts.
I hate the reference women are given as a bunch of hens cackling. I get it and will even laugh or make the joke myself, but the idea behind it is that we are all a bunch of catty gossiping chickens. I reflect on all these women who came before us, all they risked, and how strategically they went about this and I am so humbled. Then I hear that phrase and wonder if we are doing what we can to pay homage to their sacrifice and fight.
When I first started Healthy Buffalo it was about getting women in the door for self defense. I didn’t care where they started, I just knew if they took one step they would keep going, the positive spiral up. I saw so many women being swept under the baseboards in marital arts because there wasn’t anyone there to point out that yeah, it really sucks coming out of that comfort zone, here is what I did that helped. I wanted to make it better for these ladies, the ones who needed self defense the most, but were getting overlooked.
In an antebellum world Elizabeth, Lucy, and Susan had to be a tribe. I look at the women backing me and I am in awe. I have bounced so many ideas off my, “Home Tribe,” that I know they dread the Tuesday phone call of me forcing them to listen to my new article; or talk me off a ledge when I don’t want to post something because of fear or embarrassment. It is not lost on me that once it is out there, it is out there forever. These women support and give constructive criticism and none of them are necessarily fighters in the physical sense, but they understand a different side of what I am trying to portray. One of the biggest privileges of my life was to watch my two older daughters grow from being angry teens to adulthood and now they are two of my best friends (Tuesday phone call crew). I have a friend that is the positive reinforcement when I want to quit, another that’s in corporate business who constantly rattles off amazing ideas, my mother, sister-in- law, and sisters (one who always helps me smiling with the kids, none of this would be possible without her) who always support/share my posts and it is humbling because they believe in my cause.
I also have my warrior TCB tribe and the reason I mention these ladies is not only because they support as well but because they are all so different. I remember thinking after a few conversations, I have nothing in common with these ladies and I was right, I mean outside of training, we really don’t. It’s funny though how 2-3 hours twice a week of a physical breakdown tends to create cohesion. I am talking a spectrum of a yogi who says zen things I don’t really understand, a fifteen year old that can kick the a** of most men I know, a strong man/woman competitor, a former career protestor with a sweet face, (don’t let that fool you), a boxing mother of four, a personal trainer, a woman with rheumatoid arthritis fighting the pain each time we train…. The list goes on and scatters ages. Here is the thing, I haven’t known the women in the latter tribe that long, a little over half a year at most. What draws us close is the support, a mutual small interest, and then a stretching of seeing things from a totally different perspective. They have laughed at my kids, corrected them as well, listened to me pour out my heart on foster care, and then we roll around all willy-nilly on the mats hoping for some semblance to BJJ. I mean it helps that we are punching things most of the time too….
I realized a couple years ago that if I truly wanted to make even a minor difference in women’s safety that I had to bust through that haze of small judgment and meet people where they were in life not just when I was teaching. I am not saying I was rude or anything prior, but I definitely had no issues saying in my head, yeah we have nothing in common and aren’t likely to be friends; then go on about my day. I recognized this prejudice in myself and about faced. Had I not, I wouldn’t love and know the absolute blessing of my TCB gals as well as several other important ladies in my life.
I basically now force everyone to be my bestie. I want to be THAT person for women, their support; I want to encourage my daughters and other women to be that way as well. We must stop tearing each other down and start building each other up, then we get to step back and watch all of us grow. As I have been poured into by the precious women in my life I want to pour into others. Kindness instead of a write off. It saddens me to think of how many awesome ladies I may have written of just because their cause wasn’t my cause.
Healthy Buffalo was about getting women interested in getting out of their comfort zone on safety and the goal hasn’t changed. The great thing about getting people interested is that it’s a pretty broad topic…. I mean I just did a video on Victorian self defense with hatpins….. next week its on a muzzle loading derringer. It’s the takeaway that’s important. Sometimes the topic is heavy, sometimes you deal in it with humor, dark or light, and sometimes the topic is statistical and informative. It’s not always doom and gloom. It’s broad and reaching.
These warrior women in our history fought fear in a cage and were able to free their daughters and granddaughters and generations. They used their cage to sharpen and plan and play a long game and they won. It’s incredible.
Last week a friend from my TCB tribe gave every lady in our group a belated Christmas gift. It was a key necklace with a word on each one she had personalized for us individually. Mine read, “Fearless.” I actually cried about it on the way home because I don’t feel fearless most of the time. I bluster through with humor and hope for the best, I hem and haw and then while cringing I go for it; most of the time feeling like a fraud. But that word on that key meant to me to keep going. I may not feel fearless, I know those women faced with the entire world stacked against them for women’s rights did not feel fearless, I know most likely none of us feel fearless, but don’t let the cage stop you. Use it.
#warriorwomen#historyofwomensselfdefense #fightlikeavictorian #fightlikeamother#womensupportingwomen #selfdefense#fearless #blessed #kindnessmatters
Author- Christun Erwin
"Thank you for your words. They make an impact and its important that, human to human, woman to woman, mother to mother... you know that you make a difference, even to those you never knew your words" -Krystal