A friend of mine requested this article, and I could not be more happy to write on this topic. In many ways, modern culture has rendered obsolete the concept that the militia consists of all male citizens between fifteen and fifty. The need to know how to fight has been relegated to soldiers and policemen–the professionals. However, back in the 18th century and prior, martial skill and some familiarity with weapons was a must for any man who did not wish to become a victim. A man needed to defend his community from all manners of foes, ranging from wild beasts to predatory government officials. While a man in the modern world will not likely have to deal with either of these extremes, it still behooves a man to condition himself through martial training.
The purpose of the Second Amendment has been forgotten by all except the most conservative. Target shooting, hunting, and even personal defense were not on the Founding Father’s minds when they drafted it. Instead, it was intended to enable the average citizen to resist a tyrannical government. Impossible for this to occur in modern-day America? Perhaps, they thought this impossible in Germany, China, Russia, and other places in the 20th century. With our own government taking to itself more and more powers and creating laws which flout Constitutional procedures, can we really be so sure that a tyrant shall not try to place his boot on the necks of freedom-loving Americans in the near future? Thus, one cannot encourage enough the study of that weapon of the free man–the rifle.
I have written above that self-defense was not the prime consideration of the Founding Fathers when they penned the Second Amendment; however, many people exercise their right just in this way with good cause. Surprisingly, those who need a weapon most to defend themselves, the denizens of crime-ridden urban environments, often endure the most hurdles in exercising their right. Very often, they need to substitute traditional martial arts training for concealed carry. But, concealed carry and keeping a gun for home defense may prove of use even to those who live in safe neighborhoods. Who knows when a James Holmes may strike? For this reason, it is an excellent idea to keep a gun for home defense and an honorable responsibility to carry a weapon concealed. The handgun may be used in both instances, while the shotgun makes for the best home defense weapon there is.
Yours truly could end there, but I think that training with firearms, even though the best weapons available to civilians, stands incomplete without traditional martial arts training. People get lazy, there are times where it is inconvenient to carry concealed, and certain places prohibit firearms. Thus, training in karate, krav maga, aikido, judo, etc. are highly advisable for those who want all around proficiency for self-defense. Even training with melee weapons as in Historical European Martial Arts, Philippino martial arts, or traditional Japanese swordsmanship may prove useful. First, they teach one to gauge the reach of melee weapons, they eliminate excessive fear of them, and show how these weapons work, which will pay off greatly should one be caught unarmed against a bat or knife wielding assailant. And, few varieties of training can force one to keep a cool head under extreme stress as sparring with sharp swords, as is done by advanced practitioners. Furthermore, traditional martial arts training is more fun than body building and therefore motivates one more to keep a fit body, which is an advantage in all kinds of training.
But, that brings me to a final point about traditional martial arts vs. firearms training: traditional martial arts tend to be more group oriented than learning how to shoot. This is unfortunate, because shooters often have much they can teach each other. To this end, it would be worthy effort to establish gun clubs, which would also expand one’s familiarity with various weapons since one could try out fellow members’ guns. After all, it used to be colonial law for everyone to practice shooting after Sunday services. Could we not replicate that in modern times?