Saturday, September 3, 2011

An Open Letter... the man who wanted me to teach him how to defend himself.
Everything I said to you was true. There is little I could teach you in two hours at a nightclub that would adequetly prepare you for your situation. I don't know the four fingered palm walking death punch. In a professional career, there has never once been a manuver or technique that worked out like I had planned it. Nothing works as it is taught in a dojo or gym. If I had tried to teach you an armlock or a kick or proper knee technique, it would likely not have had the result you wanted.
I told you that your best defense was probably to walk away. Keep fifteen feet between you and your opponent, and you'll probably be all right. The goal of a fight, as I told, you, is to endevour to ensure that your opponent cannot hurt you. If he cannot come close to you, you will have won. Or, as Abraham Lincoln is reported as having have said, “I should prefer to defeat my enemy by making him my friend.” Use that. Talk your way out of it. Find a compromise that you can both live with. Is whatever triggered the fight worth shedding blood over? Is it worth dying over? Is it worth killing over?
If it is, then you are in a much darker place. I asked you how commited you were to this; you told me that you were, that you'd do anything. Are you willing to go that far? Are you willing to decide that a fight is inevitable, and so to win at all costs? Would you strike first? From behind? With a weapon? Are you willing to set aside all concept of 'fair play' to get what you want? Can you set aside human restraint? Could you take the eye? Could you stand to feel bone shatter beneath your hands? Could you rip out another thinking being's jugular? With your teeth, if you must? Are you so driven by your demons that your only desire becomes to rip out a man's liver so he can watch you eat it before he dies?
I offered to refer you to some of the local schools that I think well of, but you told me you didn't want to live like a monk. All of the best fighters I know and have known do. Fighting is no simple matter, nowhere near as simple as it looks. To be ready to fight at a moment's notice means commiting your life, your mind, and your soul to it. Combat is the ultimate game, the ultimate contest. Strength, speed , coordination, endurance, stamina, toughness, balance, finesse, you will need all of these. You can't afford to sacrifice any, and you will have to strive to improve them all as much as you can find within you to do. You'll have to become a person who welcomes exercising in 90 degree heat, someone willing to do leg exercises until you feel like you can't stand up. You have to be willing to work through fatigue, through pain, and through injury.
Once you are here, you can begin to learn to fight. You can learn techniques and manuevers, not with an eye to executing them well, but to understanding how they're supposed to work. From here, you may begin integrating an understanding of how your body moves, and what you can do with it. Many things will begin to make sense: “When the enemy expands, I contract. When the enemy contracts I expand.” At that point perhaps I can teach you what little I know; how to move in straight lines to reach your goals, how to push opposition out of your way, I liken fighting to playing chess: develop your weapons, use them to take apart your opponent. Flow around opposition, turn your defense into an attack and your attack into defense. Drive at your enemy before he believes it's possible.
To the extent that you dedicate yourself to learning to fight, you will be darkening your soul. “He who strives with monsters must take care not to become a monster; know that when you gaze into the abyss, it also gazes into you.” Are you ready for that? Be prepared to lose everything you hold dear on one bad night. You must be willing to let go. One who fights to keep something is vulnerable; attachment becomes a weakness. Your destiny will be to end up a red smear across a stretch of pavement somewhere; you will have to content yourself with the question, “did I die well?” Your blood, your life must be meaningless to you; your question is “how many of the bastards can I take with me.” Your concern will not be to live through the night, it must be “will what I hold dearer than myself be safe?” Choosing this path will not take you to Heaven, but your consolation in Hell must be that you gave your all for what you believed in; that, because of you, others may in their own time reach a Heaven of their own.
There are dogs who grow up to be constant companions, loving and friendly. Then there are dogs trained to rip the throat out of anyone making a false move. Short of a very undeerstanding show of friendship and faith, the latter are put down if they live past their prime. The choice before you is the same one Achilles made: a long life in comfort and obscurity, or a quick death on the fields of Illium. The choice is yours. Do you still want me to try to teach you to fight?


A relevant quote:

Somewhere out there is someone who had loving parents, watched clouds on a summer's day, fell in love, lost a friend, is kind to small animals, and knows how to say "please" and "thank you," and yet somehow the two of you are going to end up in a dirty little room with one knife between you and you are going to have to kill that human being.

It's a terrible thing.  Not just because he's come to the same realization and wants to survive just as much as you do, meaning he's going to try to puncture your internal organs to set off a cascading trauma effect that ends with you voiding your bowels, dying alone and removed from everything you've ever loved.  No, it's a terrible thing because somewhere along the way you could have made a different choice.  You could have avoided that knife, that room, and maybe even found some kind of common ground between the two of you.  Or at least, you might have divvied up some territory and left each other alone.  That would have been a lot smarter, wouldn't it?  Even dogs are smart enough to do that. Now you're staring into the eyes of a fellow human and in a couple of minutes one of you is going to be vomiting blood to the rhythm of a fading heartbeat.  The survivor is going to remember this night for the rest of his life.
Can you do that?  Do you want to do that? Don't mistake suicidal ideation for courage, or a frustrated sense of purpose for commitment.

Googlebombing for a cause:

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