Monday, November 19, 2007

Fighting for Your Life

If you are an average American, unless our social fabric disintegrates (or you frequent places where violence happens), you will probably never find yourself in a situation where you are fighting for your life. I've been in some potentially life-threatening situations, but I've never really had to fight for my life. I have been in a number of situations, however, wherein I could have been injured by someone out of control.

My point is that the two different kinds of situations require different kinds of responses, hence different kinds of training. If it's kill or be killed, root hog or die, then your reactions must be immediate, simple, direct and brutally effective. It's a question of what you are willing to do to protect your life or the lives of your family, neighbors, etc.

Some people think that in fighting for your life, if something is simple, it won't work. But it's the complex, fancy moves that usually fail in real-life confrontations. Stopping a deadly attack might be as simple as jamming a finger in the attacker's eye -- simple & effective, BUT . . . . messy & psychologically repugnant. Could you do it?

Perhaps it's a gift of Providence that, for those defending themselves, the most lethal methods are the easiest to learn. Now, I'm not about to discuss methods of killing in close combat in a public forum. The information is out there, but I'm pretty selective about who gets it from me.

Nevertheless, killing or crippling an opponent "ain't rocket science." On the other hand, gaining control of someone who is not an imminent threat to life and limb requires practice and mastery of technique. No matter how irritating it is that your drunk cousin is draping himself all over your wife at the family reunion, you really must not handle him the same way you would the mugger/rapist in the parking garage.

In this respect, most martial arts are taught backwards. First they teach the techniques which require years of mastery. Then, after you have your first or second degree black belt, they teach the "secret killing techniques." They may do this to make sure only people of character learn the really dangerous stuff.

Here's the priority I would recommend to the Christian Martialist for learning the different kinds of technique:
  1. First priority are the simple, brutal, fighting-for-your-life methods (the chances that you'll need them are slimmer, but IF you need them your life depends on knowing them);
  2. Second priority are the joint-locking techniques for control of people who are either a nuisance or a potential danger, but who pose no immediate threat to life or limb;
  3. Third priority would be "fighting techniques." Here you practice striking and kicking that results in a level of injury somewhere in the gap between #1 & #2. Most martial arts spend 95% of their time and effort in this area.

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