Violence and Martial Arts

I’ve just finished this book about Martial Arts and the relevance and application on Violence, titled ‘Meditations on Violence, A Comparison of Martial Arts Training & Real World Violence’ by Sergeant Rory Miller.

The interesting thing was just weeks before I found this book in the library, I was, myself thinking about the difference between martial arts and self-defence. and I came up with a few distinctions which puts things in perspective, for me at least.

Martial Arts

  • a proper school of thought about fighting, with history and lineage
  • happens in a specific time and place, e.g. dojo, basketball court, gym
  • a systematic style with hierarchy and structure
  • the ‘opponents are known and has train with each other for years
  • there are rules and safety impediments
  • there is an economic transaction

Self Defence

  • opportunistic, happens without rhyme or reason
  • happens anytime anywhere, where the perpetrator finds most advantageous and opportunistic
  • no system, no style, operating purely on a violent, snatch and grab scenario. Win/Lose, Lose/Lose situation.
  • usually results in injury, to one or both parties. long-term recovery from trauma is necessary
  • opponents are not known, capability and numbers are not known, weapons are not known, intent are not known.

so how?

well, there is no silver bullet to that kind situation. Even for martial artists. those who can tell you how to handle an ‘armed’ situation cooly and confidently are likely to have never faced such a situation before. Experienced and realistic exponents will know that with such an odds stacked against them, with so many unknowns. the best our martial arts experience and skill can do is to get us out of dodge alive and as quickly as possible. Our martial arts skills does not even the odds against such unknowns, it merely improves our survivability marginally. Let’s be realistic. 

Being a martial artists does not automatically qualify you to defend yourself in a violent situations. So in this peaceful, loving  City state, we have all seconded our personal security to the State. so when violence do erupt, we are left gasping,’ How can that possibly happen?’ we are left wondering at the brutal level of the violence, in disbelief. Well, that’s a reality check for all of us.

Thoughts after reading the book, Sgt Miller made some sense, some info was duh! More importantly, he does not wax lyrical about how to manage threat. being a Corrections Officer for more than a decade, he has seen his fair share of violence to know that there is no one single self-defense approach to handling violence. He tries to write the book in a balanced manner, but the self-righteous side got better of him, so predominantly he writes from the ‘victim’ point of view.

I read it from the ‘predator’ point of view. ‘victim’ or ‘predator’ is just labels we use. both these roles exists in use and we can be the monster and angels all the same. so to deal with predators? act like one. to handle a violent situation? be violent. Predators don’t hunt predators, they hunt preys, so if you can present yourself as a predator, chances are predators will pick on an easier target. So in times of brutal violence, let’s not waste time talking about it, or talk our way out of the situation. There is no hero bullshit or hip throw, wrist lock combo, just roll over the bad guy with maximum effect and run like hell when there’s a chance to, being a martial artist endowed me with aerobics qualities, so run and run like hell, put distance between me and the threat. if the violence can’t reach you, the violence can’t hurt you.

Then again, that is hypothetical. I now risk waxing lyrical, because I have never encountered a violent situation before. who knows? I might shit my pants. Who knows? I might ‘overkill’ the bad guy, break the poor fella into two parts, where I could have run away?’ That is the million dollar questions to the million and one ‘what-ifs FUBARs out there.’ All my martial arts training does for me now is to have to good sense to not get myself into such a FUBAR situation. AVOID SECLUDED DARK PLACES. that piece of advise is so common until it is commonly ignored.



About Who is Randy Lim

This blog is about the journey and experiences in my life as an Aikidoka. With close to 20 years in the arts, I'll make comments and judgements based on 2 principles, E&E. Experimentation and Experiential reflection. please enjoy, and comment freely.
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