Martial Arts

Ron Peterson, then owner of World of Self Defense in Minneapolis, with a student, sometime in the early 1970s. Copyright World of Self Defense

I knew Ron Peterson in the mid to late 1980s as one of his students. I also knew the current owner, Ron’s son Steve Peterson, who was 12 or 13 last time we were in class together. That was when I received my Sankyu, or 3rd level brown belt. I’d have loved to keep up, but never found a school as good. That’s World of Self Defense in Minneapolis, just across the alley from my old house. Ron was an excellent teacher. Rather than concentrate on “forms” and strict adherence to nomenclature (other than the names of the techniques) we concentrated on learning, as we would put it, how to “maim and kill.” This has been a useful skill, even without a black belt, as the truth is for some reason, nobody has so much as looked at me funny since I was Ron’s student. Looking for an effective self-defense school? I’d recommend this one.

A lot of Judo, Aikido, and Karate amounts to applied physics. In fact, only Karate can be used on the offense. In Judo and Aikido (this is the one Segall uses in his movies) you use the opponents energy against him. Very cool. Done right, a Judo throw is virtually effortless to execute. And Aikido can tie an opponent up into some amazingly complex knots with a few simple gestures. But there is another part of martial arts that is also important. That is, staying calm. Yes, joking aside, if you can stay calm and keep your head while others are losing theirs, you’re 99 percent of the way to success in winning your battles. The various techniques are physical, it’s true, and the way to do a physical technique as effectively as possible is to relax every muscle that you’re not using. This saves energy, and concentrates the energy you do use in the most useful place for it. This I learned at World of Self Defense, and it has been valuable in many ways.

So, my Liberal, Leftie friends, my advice at this time is to not obsess on what the President and his minions are doing. They have the right to appoint a justice to the Supreme Court if they want to, and whomever they want it to be, it can be. Rather than argue that point, and lose sleep, consider, what is the most effective thing you can do, you yourself, to put an end to all that? Worry about what the next President, even if it’s Biden, is going to do? Worry about the incumbent refusing to accept the results of the election? Ranting about those awful people behind the incumbent? I don’t think so. What you can do is to relax all of the muscles, physical and mental, that you aren’t using, and work to replace the incumbent and his minions. And, remember, ranting about how bad your opponent is, is a big sign of weakness. Strength isn’t noisy, it just acts. So, act. A few suggestions? Join the ACLU, work to elect not just Biden, but anyone you think will overturn the current reign of fear. Post thoughtful and calm analyses, not rants. If you can’t stay calm, I’d suggest simply turning off all media, social and otherwise, for a time. Until your blood pressure subsides, at least.

Sure, the world’s a mess, the country’s going to Hell in a handbasket, there is evil loose in the land. So what’s new? Stay calm, stay strong, watch for opportunities. And above all, vote. Early or on the day, it won’t matter. If you mistrust the mail, drop your ballot off. But vote! You can go back to being a cynical wreck after.