Through a series of unfortunate events, surviving two decades in a violent, volatile, crime-ridden neighborhood and one particular incident where I had two guns pressed into my head, I realized something: what is taught and practiced in a dojo, doesn’t really translate to the street.
Reality isn’t so neatly packaged.
For 17 years after the gun thing, I sought out, researched, practiced, studied, read, and trained with some of the scariest, most intelligently dangerous people on the planet. I formulated a program and taught private clients how to survive violent confrontations.
No. Not fairy tale “self-defense”. Real life violence is ugly, brutal, bloody, injurious, fast, painful, unexpected, and mentally, psychologically, and emotionally incomprehensible in real time. I taught violence. I taught war.
It’s a dark atmosphere and teaching this, living in that realm, can take its toll. But, I was good at it; good at delivering knowledge, wisdom, insight, and instruction in such a way that they got it. They felt it, adopted it, and embraced it for real.
One of my clients, an Air Force Intelligence Specialist wrote this on my behalf; “I spent one month under the instruction of Rob Wilson prior to a tour overseas. I would personally recommend attending his instruction to anyone seeking to learn reality-based personal defense as effectively as possible.”
The day before he left, he asked me, “What brought you to teach war?” Hmm. I wasn’t expecting that. After some quick mental inventory, I replied, “It’s because I love peace.”
And he said, “Then why don’t you teach peace?” And he left. Mic … dropped.
There’s a line in the movie, Hotel Artemis, where Nice (that’s her name), a highly sought-after female assassin says, “You can’t pick what you’re good at. This is what I do.”
There are guys out there, some whom I learned from, who make their living teaching tactical violence. It’s who they are and I’m so happy they exist. Not great at parties, but when evil happens, they’re your best friend.
For me though, my client’s question punched me in the chest. I love peace, but I was living in the yang. I felt it and people around me started to feel it too. If I love peace, why not live in the yin? And so, here I am.
There’s a thin line between war and peace, love and hate, yin and yang. Actually, the line is only perception. There is no physical line, but a sharp transition between the darkness and the light in a continuous swirl, with a bit of one inside the other. You know the symbol.
Back to Hotel Artemis: When Acapulco, played by Charlie Day, offered to hire Nice to use her dark skills to protect him, she replied, “That’s not what I do”. What a shame. Maybe we can’t pick what we’re good at, but we can use what we’re good at for good.