You always need to take the legal environment into consideration when discussing matters of self-defense. Failing to do so could see you prevailing in an altercation yet losing everything you fought to protect.
Some legislative regimes dictate the average citizen has a ‘duty to retreat’ when facing a threat while others affirm a right to “stand your ground”. Knowing which rules will be applied to your case could make a world of difference in the aftermath of a confrontation.
For those of us that understand the real purpose of martial art is to uphold human dignity, rather than mere self-defense, the whole notion of a duty to retreat is just absurd.
Granted your situational awareness needs to incorporate time and place into the calculus. If you’ve been asked to leave from someone else’s property then, of course, you are obliged to depart without quibbling.
Further, what I’m offering here is philosophical and decidedly not legal advice. The world, and especially the politically perverted legal systems prevailing today, is completely divorced from the standards of justice. Everyone should strive to avoid getting involved in the politically controlled and bureaucratically managed courts to the furthest extent possible.
There’s a long way to go before sanity, consistency, and probity are restored to the so-called justice system. It’s a lost cause. Don’t go looking for justice there or from anyone involved in it.
However, standing you ground is a principle embedded in the foundation of basic rights. If it is your ground of course you have an unassailable right to stand on it and anyone that encroaches upon that right is the aggressor. If, indeed, it is your ground you have the right to repel that encroachment and seek compensation for the offense.
Right now, these principles are under constant attack. Even in a ‘stand your ground state’ you’ll still get dragged through the mud and have some heavy bills to pay just for upholding what should be the common sense standards of justice.
The real battles going forward will continue to be ideological. The public square, discourse and dialogue, is the field of engagement. Politics, and legal standards, are downstream from culture, after all.
Rioting, vandalism, and generally bad behavior in the name of changing the law is just foolish, a waste of time, and an unnecessary liability. Don’t do it.
However, there are people that want you to feel the duty to retreat, to feel small, and submit to the designs they have for your life and everything you have. Staying silent is how they win.
This applies at all levels and dimensions of life, not just in the arena of combat or politics (but I repeat myself).
Protecting what you have and pursuing the good life takes courage when so much around you appears to be trending against the standards of civil discourse, social cohesion, and common purpose.
In fact those you would expect to be guardians, allies, and exemplars in preserving liberty, so that you can pursue your happiness, oftentimes turn out to be ‘decepticons’. Sun Tzu had it right, all war is based on deception and, a la Clausewitz, war is politics by other means.
The politics of envy is ascending and it is a reflection of prevailing cultural attitudes. You can see it in popular opinion just as frequently as those seeking or holding public office.
Perhaps there is someone in your life discouraging you from taking action to protect or advance your interests.
Perhaps that someone is you.
It’s pretty easy to fall into the comfort zone of staying small, not speaking out, or settling for less. Sometimes it appears that seeking a retreat in a faraway place or going on an extended sabbatical is the solution.
I’m tempted to do that myself at times. However, today we affirm the right to stand our ground. Stand in the fullness of who you are. Respect your preferences and honor your choices.
Running away doesn’t solve anything and eventually you’ll run out of places to hide. What’s more, wherever you go you’ll take the retreating, defeatist mindset with you.
That is what really needs to be fixed.
Having the fortitude and courage to rise above conditions requires practice, just like training in a martial art. It takes consistent effort.
Perhaps, some time in quiet reflection, a retreat if you will, is a good thing. Yet once you collect yourself and steel your resolve it is time to get back into the action, building the life that you want. This is the warrior’s path.
It’s OK to retreat for a time, if that is your choice. We can call it a tactical pause. Just don’t get stuck in thinking you can hide from your problems. At some point they’ll find you and have that much more momentum.
P.S.: Guided mental imagery is a powerful tool for shifting your mindset. That is what the Rise Above track is all about. Develop your own “immovable” determination just by relaxing with some headphones. Check it out, here.