“I just spoke to a mom who is saddened that no martial art or self defence club in my town will take her kid because he’s got Down syndrome... Of course, I told her bring him to us, we will look after him, but she got some pretty hostile responses… fuck these people.. what the fuck is up with some people? Lucky they don’t have a disabled kid hey??”
Needless to say, I understand and empathize with his frustration. Most martial art schools today also market themselves as ‘self defence’ being one of, if not the main benefit of learning their art or system yet this woman was not only turned away from these schools/clubs but she was also insulted and ridiculed.
Strange behaviour coming from places which profess teaching self defence and martial arts. At first, I was astounded by my Team Member’s message, it infuriated me for a moment but I pondered the paragraph and the predicament and came to a couple of possible reasons as to why she was greeted as such…
First of all, a victim is someone who is perceived of as vulnerable in one form or another, there are of course other types of victims but generally, speaking from an average civilian’s perspective, victims are those that are perceived of as being vulnerable. Women, children, elderly, disabled, passive non threatening looking individuals, etc. then of course, one has to also factor in occupation (law enforcement, nurse, cab driver, CEO?) but we’ve already stated we are generalizing here and talking about general population.
Of course, this shouldn’t matter, because a solid self defence system worth its salt which can efficiently be taught to those perceived as vulnerable would work wonders in the more capable’s hands such as law enforcement officers, soldiers or anyone who humbly puts themselves in harm’s way to protect others… of course…not.
Eric (left) & Rich (right) teaching Eric's kids self defence.
Herein lies one of the issues. Most of these systems are not applicable to those that are normally perceived of as vulnerable but are more geared towards the athletic, strong male. The systems in question probably require some form of brute strength, are power based and oriented around knocking the opponent out with powerfully and well executed strikes and blows, or require a certain degree of mastery of techniques rendering these systems or arts obsolete to those who would really need them.
This of course gives birth to insecurity and insecurity manifested by someone who is supposedly teaching the highest form of personal security creates a dichotomy. This internal battle gives rise to the ego, the ego kicks in defence of itself, its pride, its titles, its belts and the like and all sense of the higher self that would normally prevent a human being from lashing out and hurting another by insulting a mother’s disabled child unfortunately… comes out.
This behaviour naturally is supported by the other egos around them for the same insecurities which plague the original man who responded as such in question, also infect the rest who look for guidance, a place to belong and learn from and so the behaviour propagates and we have only 1 out of most clubs in a neighbouring area teaching self defence who will not only train but look and care after the boy with down syndrome instead of categorically refusing him and belittling her for it…
Another possibility is each of these people who answered the phone also had to deal with a disability or another in their families, perhaps they have a sibling or child themselves, or maybe a parent and it is something they couldn’t deal with. Perhaps even they themselves had a disability to contend with growing up and they were treated as such and so after possibly battling and surpassing their disabilities, they replicate the way they were treated to hide that fact, possibly even denying it to themselves. Perhaps.
Of course, those guy at the other end of the phone could’ve simply been all assholes as my team member suggested…
The point is, we’ll never really know what prompts someone, especially in a supposed ‘enlightened’ industry, to respond as such to a mother looking for self defence lessons for her unfortunately disabled child but we can indeed theorize based on acute behavioural and psychological concepts as to why… if you have other well thought out theories, please feel free to share and reply below… remember, your replies are moderated, keep it polite and informative, even if you disagree, you’ll be taken more seriously that way, considered even… :`)
Thank you to our Team Member who will remain anonymous as this is not about us vs them or who teaches better self defence but a glimpse at the power our egos have over us as well as inside human nature at work, who I know will do astounding work with the child.