Sam Harris: What Martial Arts Have to Do With Atheism

toshiro_copyAn interview with Sam Harris about self-defense and the seduction of faith

by Graeme Wood – THEATLANTIC

Sam Harris is best known as a vocal opponent of religious faith. But he is also a student of martial arts and armed self-defense, and a practitioner of daily silent meditation.

In the May issue of The Atlantic, Graeme Wood recounts the experience of learning meditation and Brazilian jiu-jitsu with him. Harris is finishing his next book, Waking Up: Science, Skepticism, Spirituality, about self-transcendence in the absence of religion. Following their encounter, Wood caught up with Harris to discuss violence, faith, and meditation.

Would you rather be attacked by one person with a knife, or several unarmed individuals equally intent on killing you?

Both situations are invitations to a track meet: You want to run. One of my teachers, Mark Mikita, specializes in knife fighting, mostly derived from the Filipino martial arts, and one of his teachers told him: „If you train with me for ten years, and someone pulls a knife on you, and you just turn and run, then your training has been successful.“ The problems of a knife and multiple attackers are similar, in that they rarely end well for a person who is alone and unarmed.