We really have gotten desensitized to the actual outcomes of what we do, and cowardice is forcing many of us who have been blessed enough to learn this art to only think of combat as a life or death fight… and the only option is to kill or maim. This is the problem I have with martial artists who shun practice fighting. They are so far away from friendly contests, that they only know one way: to talk of death and “me-or-you” fights, and since they never practice-fight, if they were ever faced with the choice of a less-than-lethal fight or a killing, they would choose the killing. This is the thing behind so-called “blade experts” and “blademasters” who don’t address a self-defense situation with a neighbor or a challenge match with another teacher. Talk of killing and you might not have to fight. But get forced into a corner, and if you choose to fight, you’ve only prepared for one thing.
We must think of the consequences of our arts should we ever have to use them. Will I go to jail? Will my opponent die or suffer permanent injuries and damage? Could I accidentally kill him? What if I go too far? What if my student accidentally kills someone or is too immature to discern between actually defending himself or taking a fight to an inappropriate level? We or someone under us could end up in the “small yard”…
This post reminds me of all “The World’s Deadliest Style/Fighter” types out there. The reality is that killing somebody barehanded is hard, otherwise many of us would be dead by now. All the talk of death strikes and secret killer techniques is a big bluff designed to impress students, to make any potential challengers think twice, and to avoid actually having to apply your techniques in training or competitive fighting because they’re “too deadly.”
I’m reminded of a “Cobra Kai” type chain of schools in California, practicing kung-fu (They were kenpo schools, but since kung-fu was the rage, they were suddenly Chinese schools teaching kung-fu.). The students talked in awed tones of “She foo” as they pronounced it.
Shefoo Billy Bob had so much chi he could make the hair on your head stand on end! Sheefoo Billy Bob once dropped Bruce Lee on the streets of Seattle, in seconds (Poor Bruce never saw what was coming!). Look out for Shefoo Billy Bob’s secret nerve strike that would paralyze your entire arm!
Don't Mess with the Cobra Kai!
I suppose the most diabolical part of it all was that Sheefoo was a deadly, deadly, deadly kung-fu killing machine, even though he appeared to the uneducated eye to be a mere redneck.
But let us say for the sake of argument that you really do have the world’s deadliest fighting style. Let us imagine that every strike hits like a .44 magnum on a cricket. If you carry a knife, you are quite capable of killing, even with zero training.
Now reread the post above. Or consider the case of a former co-worker of mine, whose adult son had a psychiatric disorder. My friend found himself in his house confronting his own son, who was threatening him with a knife in the middle of a psychotic episode. What do you do, kill your own son?
When I taught high school in Fresno I broke up some 13 fights by my count. Again, eye gouging and neck breaking were not acceptable options.
GM Estalilla’s father was called in when two brothers were fighting inside the house –with machetes! Clearly, the goal is not to go in and stop the fight by killing them (assuming it’s that easy, especially if you’re fond of death strikes that don’t need any practice). GM Estalilla’s father was able to break up the fight successfully without anyone getting hurt.
Here’s an idea: Maybe your role as a martial artist and a warrior isn’t to go around killing people (although it may come down to that), but to help maintain order and to stop or prevent violence.