Sticks and Stones May Break My Bones but a Knife Will Always Cut You
Growing up in Southern Appalachia fighting came as natural to us kids as did skinny dipping in the creek. By fighting I don’t mean that gentleman stuff where you put up your dukes and say “Okay Jim lets settle this like men.” Oh, no. I’m talking a primal form of combative behavior that would scare a gorilla. When I was a kid, usually, our fights began with name calling and cursing then progressed to the rock throwing stage after which we closed with one another and used sticks and when the sticks had broken it became fist and foot city. As I said it was very primal, very violent and driven by survival instinct. We didn’t have to be told what to do, it just came naturally. Something to the effect of: “There’s my enemy, here’s this rock, presto projectile weapon.”
One of many things, that I frequently notice when training in a karate dojo is the lack of weapons defense or worse the over-stylized, very unrealistic approach to weapons defense that gives one the impression they can over come an armed opponent, but in truth actually gets them killed. Such exercises are usually performed in two-step manner, much like ippon-kumite, with one person slashing and the other defending. It all looks very artistic, but is as far from a real assault as me going bass fishing and assuming it’s one in the same as trying to catch a great white shark. I mean, hardly ever in the dojo do you see someone grabbing the other person by their collar and stabbing as fast and furiously as they can. Maybe it because the defender didn’t whisper something like “Hey Jim, I slept with your wife last night.” If that were the case then we wouldn’t have any problems with realistic self-defense training, but then again most dojos wouldn’t be able to afford the insurance. Listed below are 6 things you might want to consider before fooling yourself into believing that you can fight an armed opponent.
- Fear all bladed weapons. A Boy Scout knife can kill you, never mind the latest fighting knife with all its bells and whistles. Broken bottles, sharpened sticks, beer can openers, anything with a sharp edge will hurt you.
- Projectile weapons are commonly used. Humans have been throwing rocks at one another since we shared tree limbs with our monkey cousins. The Greeks threw rocks at one another in the Iliad, so what’s the difference know? Beer bottles, chairs, spitting, etc, etc. It can and does happen when the primal instinct kicks in. So beware.
- Blunt instruments (sticks, clubs, chairs, etc) are part of our genetic make-up. Every since we left our monkey cousins, climbed down out of the trees and developed thumbs we’ve been picking up blunt instruments. It’s still the same today. Even in the computer age we’re still dragging our knuckles and using clubs to fight with.
- Always assume your attacker will have a weapon. This sense of fair play, fighting man to man, is a karate-ka’s fantasy. If someone is really intent on hurting you they’ll use a weapon. You know a knife, stick, rock, or my all time favorite the pickup truck. Or else they'll blind side you with a beer mug as does happen in many a favorite bar.
- Forget all the fancy disarms you’ve learned because they don’t work. I know, it’s a shame you can’t get your money back, but that’s another topic. The best defense against a weapon is to get the hell out of Dodge, or where ever you may be. Yes, there are tactics, techniques and strategies that work, but the best way to learn them is from a qualified instructor and through realistic drills.
- KISS is the word where fighting a weapon is concerned. Keep It Simple Stupid. Develop a handfull of techniques that you can use in any circumstance, instead of a finishing, beginning, middle, monday, tuesday wenesday, spinning backfist-hook kick, dufflebag full that you only practice once a week.
Now, were did I lay my pet rock…I know its here someplace.