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Self Defense/Does your mentality when training affect how you will interact with people outside of physical violence and how likely you are to blow up.


In the Karate Kid, members of the Cobra Kai were not only harassing Daniel Russo but also bullying other kids and doing  other trouble such as vandalism and trespassing. The Cobra Kai was espousing a "no mercy approach" where students are being taught to literally do things that can seriously injure or even kill a person and get you locked up. Not only that but the instructor Kreese was encouraging aggressive behavior including bullying people weaker than you are and when Miyagi confronted him and asked complained to him about Kai students ganging up on Russo and causing other trouble, Kreese (in front of his whole class) merely scoffed telling MIyagi straight up that Russo deserved getting his ass kicked and its his fault for being a pussy (which inspired Miyagi to enter Russo into the tournament).

In fact this is a recurring theme throughout the franchise where enemy dojos took the same "the strong eat the weak" mentality Kreese was espousing and brainwashing his students  with and its primary this mentality that Russo and later Julie unintentionally got into scuffles with other schools. And just like the Cobra Kai students, the other rival antagonist dojos had no-good students who were committing crimes beyond mere bullying and beatings such as Chozen (who was swindling local farmers by using a hidden weight on the weighing scale to purchase and sell goods that were rip-off prices), Barnes (who committed robbery, theft, blackmail, and even vandalized Miyagi's recently opened store), and Ned (who was leading the school JROTC to bully other students outside the ROTC club in a Group Monkey Dance).

Miyagi on the otherhand not only instilled the mentality of "avoid fighting and only use physical force as last resort" into Daniel, he also taught him skills beyond fighting and was teaching him the values of work ethics, self-restraint, kindness, and humility in his philosophy behind martial arts. As a result, Daniel  gradually developed into a strong boy of a virtuous noble heart. By the 3rd movie, he lacked the aggression  and angst he had at the start of the first movie that typically are expressions of a traumatized victims.

So I am curious about this. When I was younger, I attended a dojo similar to Cobra Kais and I was often eager to get iinto fights. In the few fights I got into, I often went overboard with dangerous injuries to the neck and hitting someone on the ground and all that illegal stuff. However I got expelled from school and I left the dojo and martial arts for like a decade because I was so angry and blamed them for my expulsion.

Now I recently got back into martial arts but my motivation is now mainly to lose weight and get fit. Not only have I made progress with the approach I use (mainly developed with exercise and techniques specifically for cardio and strength training) but with my certain goal towards losing weight (rather than training for fighting like back ten years ago)  and my approach committed towards almost entirely on fitness, I no longer get into trouble.

In fact it was making me scratched my head like WTF "whats up with this shit!" because I simply lacked he aggression to start shit with others and in fact my mind often felt so tired during days I didn't work out and had to go to work or some other place in public. I could not understand it but I felt as though even since I got back into martial arts m mind felt too tired to do any physical aggression.

But when I watched the Karate Kid series and note the aggression and bullying attitude of the Cobra Kai and other rivals as well as Daniel's development into a nice guy despite receiving truly dangerous martial arts training that could seriously cripple someone (thanks to Miyagi's emphasis on avoiding using force as last resort and cultivating virtues like humility in his style of training), I can't help but wonder if my aggression was due to the "cobra kaiesque" and cultist mentality the dojo I was enrolled years ago was espousing. I mean I'm not lying when I was doing things like punching people out of a mere comment to show them I had no tolerance for the weak and all that stuff. However with my approach now mainly to improve my health, I just feel like my training is sapping away my energy so much I have none left for macho aggression.

I am curious whats the cause behind this? Is it because of the mentality I now have behind training?

You always said how you train to do techniques will show in the actual dangers and sloppy mechanics from sloppy training will be revealed while proper training that instill excellent mechanics will show just how devastating martial arts are. Does the same apply to the mentality you take in training and how you will interact with other people socially as well as how prone you'll be to violence? Or is my observation on the Karate Kid and my personal anecdotes utter BS? Or is it more complex than this?

That's a real chicken and egg kind of question.

Does aggressive training make you aggressive or does it normalize aggression?

The answer is thought to be yes. In hypnotism/psychology there's an old standard that you can't hypnotize someone into doing something they're not already prone to do.  (Since proven untrue in the absolute sense, but you really have to destroy who the person is to do it.) Generally speaking though that kind of training enhances preexisting aggressive tendencies.  It can often result in an individual giving him/herself permission to act out.

When you're young you have lots of energy and few coping skills. When you get older you have -- hopefully more coping skills and less energy.   

Also something that is beginning to emerge from studies of violent people is contrary to the mythos that was so popular, violent people don't suffer from low sel-esteem. The most violent tend to be those with extremely high self-esteem and limited abilities and coping skills. In other words, if you're not a teenager anymore ...

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Marc MacYoung


Street self-defense, crime avoidance and personal safety


I grew up in the streets of Los Angeles in 'situational poverty.' I have dealt with criminals and violent people all my life -- both personally and professionally. I have written 15 books and 6 videos on surviving street violence. I was originally published under the name Marc Animal MacYoung. (Animal was my street name). I've taught police and military both internationally and within the US. I've lectured at universities, academies and done countless TV, radio, newspaper and magazine interviews. I'm a professional speaker on crime avoidance and personal safety. And I am an expert witness recognized by the US court system. My bio is at My abridged CV (Curriculum Vitae) is at

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Read "In the Name of Self-Defense" the streets don't give a Ph.D in scuffle.

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