Within the Anticiv milieu, you often hear of violence, or more broadly, force. Whether it’s the machine’s violence against the wild or the subjugation of the individual. The violent methods of the police or insurrectionary counters. From acts of sabotage to animal/earth liberation. Confrontation and resistance are not unknown amongst those who oppose civilization and its mechanisms. Martial training and martial minded-ness can very well serve those who seek not to serve others.
“warlike, of or pertaining to war,” from Medieval Latin martialis “of Mars or war,” from Latin Mars (genitive Martis), Roman god of war.
Martial arts, therefore, are arts that are “war-like,” and pertain to the bloody, Roman war god, Mars. This definition has little value anymore. Much ideology in the ‘martial arts community’ lends itself to something entirely different. From principles such as “discipline” and “respect” painted on walls (I’ve seen it firsthand) to obligatory bowing, or even reciting mindless vows to national flags draped from ceilings. All sorts of forms of indoctrination litter the “martial” arts world (I will cease using anymore quotations pertaining to the misuse of the word martial; you get it). Within the dojos, studios, gyms, schools, whatever you wish to call them, you’ll see a multitude of doctrines that revolve around things such as morality, humanism, obedience, authoritarianism etc. Moralism, such as the nonsensical Bushido principles that dictate the practitioners every action. Things like Benevolence, Justice, Respect, Duty, blah, blah. Bushido, as it is today, was not known in Japan’s warring era(s). These forms of indoctrination are not conducive to one being war-like. They serve only to tame and act as a barrier both intellectually and physically. Those who have deconstructed mankind’s constructs will surely see these compulsory values for what they are. Humanism, although rather prevalent, can be a bit more obscure. At times, I’ve been taught to do things that were entirely dangerous to my physical self in order to cause less harm to a would-be attacker. I’ve seen techniques that were entirely ineffective be demonstrated merely because it’s ‘nicer.’ Plenty of different schools also do all sorts of nonsensical community building. Not community building as in an immediate, familial community. But a ‘community’ as defined by local government. And, to no surprise, plenty of instructors have fallen prey to profit and prioritize financial gain over martial efficacy.
All those things, in and of themselves, are in no way martial, or war-like. They are merely a continuation of the status quo. A subjugation of the individual to conceptual matters that genuinely have no affect on one’s own martial aptitude. While these things are shitty and unfortunate, they are by no means inherent and are mostly found within traditional styles and self-defense type establishments. That sort of tame-ness would not be very beneficial to those who oppose those exact values. However, the anti-conformist, whether ‘active’ or ‘inactive,’ could still find worth in martial training.
I feel the need to state the obvious. Martial arts are in no way an end-all. With the mass amount of bladed, blunt, and firearm weaponry, hand-to-hand training is only the shallow end of the pool of violence. But that by no means makes it pointless. First off, not every gun-toting, Facebook weapon sharing gun-nut is going to actually shoot someone when it comes down to it. And not everyone playing with a butterfly knife is gonna slice you. More often than not, it’s just chest puffing. Not that some won’t. But people like to project their sense of self via social media and hard talk. It’s the techno-industrial man’s equivalent to beating their chests and making themselves appear intimidating, or trying to. Martial arts aren’t just hand-to-hand, although that is the focus of this essay. Training in weaponry is also important for those seeking to be a well-rounded martial artist.
Now, to it. This piece is written for a certain group. For the nihilists, anarchists, egoists, pessimists, and anyone else with a wild, rebellious spirit. If it were meant for the dogmatic trainee with no concern for realism or efficiency, well, it wouldn’t be written beyond “visit nearest dojo.” I listed the non-attractive elements within a vast amount of martial arts schools so that those unaware are now aware. Differentiating bullshit from real shit is paramount when it comes to martial training. I’ve mentioned some of the bullshit, so what is the REAL shit?
By far, the most important thing when it comes to martial (remember, “war-like”) training is martial efficacy. Does it work? There is only one way to find that out. TEST IT. Or as many martial artists put it, “pressure test” it. Try your particular techniques, footwork, mechanics, whatever, in an actual pressured environment. In a manner that gets the adrenaline flowing so that you can see if you can perform whatever it is under pressure. Most traditional schools do not do this. They’ll show a technique performed calmly, slowly, and with compliance. And it will continue to be trained in that manner. Nonsense. Start slow and progress. If you cannot perform a technique outside of a cushy, air-conditioned school with compliance and low speed, don’t expect to be able to use it when it counts. Get with your buddies and get some gear (gear not being a necessity but a means to reduce damage to one another). If you care for them, you’ll probably already respect them enough to not go full out and cause them long-lasting damage. But it’s important to pressure test. Do things that are unorthodox. Make up drills and scenarios. Get each other’s adrenaline flowing. Shout, push, simulate actual street confrontations. If you’re training for a particular scenario, train that scenario. Concerned about a state-sanctioned figure physically attacking you? Perhaps with a baton, pepper spray, or attempting to detain you? Fucking train for it. This will lead into desensitization, to some degree, to particular conflicts. Effectiveness is by far the most important thing to martial training. If you want to be war-like, train for that kind of war. No overly-principled school will ever amount to real-world training.
While I consider effective training to by far be the most important, it’s not the only thing worth consideration. Physical conditioning is also important. Conditioning can be either physical endurance or literally training your body to be able to deal with violence. Many martial artists and fighters, for example, will strike hard surfaces repeatedly to actually strengthen striking surfaces. Muscle development can also be important in that regard, among many others. Do you have to be some ripped, athletic individual to be effective? NO, not at all. This is merely one consideration and being in shape, for obvious reasons, helps. Another, is mental conditioning. I earlier mentioned desensitization. Being able to more level-headedly approach a nasty situation is of great value. Some people freeze or flee unnecessarily in panic. Having that mental fortitude is priceless. How? As above, realistic training and conditioning yourself for these situations are important. If you plan for violence, prepare for it. Simple as that. All these things will help develop self-confidence. When you trust yourself to handle a situation, without it being prideful or fake confidence (often instilled by many schools), chances are you’ll handle it better. Gain real confidence by real training. Egotism doesn’t help, either. Be real about your training and yourself.
Now, all that being said. That is my experience and is by no means universal. Always be skeptic. There are individuals out there with no intentional training, and little experience, who can handle themselves fine. It pays to be prepared, though. Truthful, effective training certainly cannot hurt an individual as far as preparing for violence. If it physically hurts, good. You’re doing it right.
Some people may be wondering why I’ve only really been referring to martial arts training in terms of schools and haven’t really spoken on just training with friends. There are very specific things that are important, and are rather universal, for continually effective results. Some things simply cannot so easily, if at all, be learned by a group of friends with no martial training. Look no further than the cringy video of a group of antifa training. Not only are they mechanically awkward and functionally inefficient, but you can see where this clingy, ideological based training often gets you. Anyone can ‘choke’ someone out, but are they functionally blocking their opponents airway, or cutting off their carotid arteries? Anyone can throw a punch, but are they doing so in a way that generates proper power, hurts their adversary, and causes them minimal damage? This is not meant to discourage people from grouping up with their friends and training. I always encourage that. What I’m saying is there are some things that need to be learned in-depth, and not simply made up of guesswork. That being said, if you can’t or simply don’t want to pursue any sort of formal training, there are options. The internet has many in-depth tutorials. I learned the basic strikes, mechanics, and footwork of boxing by watching a Freddie Roach DVD and training on a heavy bag with shitty boxing gloves. When I went to formally train, I didn’t have to correct anything I had learned from those videos, so they clearly had value. The main thing is, again, train honestly and with intention.
Being a martial artist doesn’t mean you have to be some jocked up fanboy with tapout tees or have an obsession with whatever culture from which you’re learning. Remember, war-like. If you think a war god is smiling upon you, you’re probably doing it right. If you’re training for simple self-defense, train for that. If you’re training for real, potentially fatal violence, train for that. The latter is much more serious and I am by no means a professor in violence. Understanding things like the dynamics of violence, confrontation, situational awareness, reading threats, pre-emptive attacks, motor skill degradation, weapon retention/handling, and so much more are only a small part. Reading up on violence and real-life situations can help. Also, don’t always get hung up on looking at violence as either recreational or as a matter of self-defense. That can be rather restrictive.
Another thing that is majorly important, regardless of any situation, is your instinct. If it’s kept man alive during the reign of the saber-toothed demon and terrifyingly dangerous megafauna, armed with nothing more than some pointy sticks and arrows, it can now. Ideological attachment serves absolutely no purpose in survival. I’ve written more on that here. Your gut will sense danger far faster than your conscious mind. Listen to it. Who is going to win? The idealistic man with too much nonsensical knowledge, or the savage one going with team instinct and aggression?
Hopefully this has laid out some sort of framework for those wishing to pursue some sort of martial-ness. I’d also like to recommend some literature/authors that I’ve found of interest. Remember what was mentioned earlier. Some of this literature will contain conceptual matters that are of no relevance. They do, however, touch into the psychological / physiological aspects of violence and martial training. Ignore the self-righteousness some portray, take what helps, and ingrain and implement it.
-Rory Miller (specifically Meditations on Violence and Facing Violence, but I’m sure there’s more)
-Geoff Thompson (anything pertaining to Fear and martial arts by him seems to be valuable. Real life practices and considerations)
-Lawrence A. Kane and Kris Wilder (Little Black Book of Violence has many statistics and examples of violence that are noteworthy. Gives you plenty to consider. They have a newer, larger version (I’m assuming) called the Big Bloody Book of Violence. I imagine it’s more of the same material)
-Gavin de Becker (The Gift of Fear is a book that explores survival functions, instinct, etc. Very informative)
-Miyamoto Musashi (Book of Five Rings is the strategic book written by this swordsman who lived, dueled, and warred during the feudal era of Japan and contains plenty wisdom)
I’ll attempt to update this as time goes on. Remember, be skeptic and analytical.
As always, stay Savage as Fuck. Stay Rude as Fuck!