This post was originally written and posted 12/17/12 after the Sandy Hook massacre, but it is apropos after what happened in Orlando this past weekend.
How do I deal with gut-wrenching tragedies? Like the horrors of a Sandy Hook? I train.
I drag my questions, my doubts, and fears - specific and non - into the dojo and compound them, let them gang up on me, and even sometimes, let them win. Because in dissecting their victory, I can best plot a trajectory for their defeat.
Last Friday night, the echo of the massacre still loud, we addressed it, talked about it, trained about it. We broke out the Red Guns and worked through various scenarios using the Sanshin, the Kihon, and henka in our armed and unarmed answers. Most importantly, we group-trained to protect and defend others.
Placing partners in seemingly no-win situations, we crafted viable options for their escape and defense. Bear in mind, when attempting to save someone else, do not count on them to assist - chances are they'll be too traumatized to do much. They may even unwittingly give you away in the process, so in the approach to disarm, one may need to conceal themselves not just from aggressor, but also the victim.
Could we reconcile the crime? Of course not. Some evil cannot be resolved as any tailored answer presupposes the initial question is somehow reasonably answerable. But this highlights the paradox of training itself: memorizing specific answers to questions, like techniques, is not useful when the nature of the question is to continually change. We must instead learn to shape the questions themselves to apply the answers our ability is most able to provide.
So, don't just contemplate horror; that brutal stripping of life often leaves us confounded and inert.
Give your thoughts to the physical: train and teach others to train to protect and defend life.
The post below is non-political and contains no direct solutions, but grants the gift of perspective on such an awful topic: