So we are back to that hypothetical million dollar scenario.
“What to do when we encounter baddies?”
Well, this question, I guess has been romanticized to a degree where it is no longer romantic anymore. But it still is! Why? Because, in an act of violence, the players present will be most existential. We all feel most alive, and ‘in the moment’ when we are faced with dangers, of the potential escalation to a life threatening situation, it appeals to our primal instinct and plays havoc on our fight, flight or freeze response. Of course, if we ‘win’ the violent encounter and live to tell the tale, there will be, not to mention the chest banging, ego boosting, bravado talk and story telling later.
Well, here is a chair-borne expert’s take. Then in this case I would have already dis-credit myself, then again what the hell.
If we are met with a violent situation, or a situation when there is a potential of escalation towards violence, here is what I would do, play the victim.
Play the victim, qualifies me to be somewhat discounted from all my action of violence thereafter. Say, if I met with a burly guy and gets into an argument, my first take is to get out of the argument, apologize, whatever. Roll over, play dead. De-escalate the matter. Violence is violence, it is senseless, and at best one of us might get hurt, at worse both. So, peace, bro.
If it boils down to punches, then take a few hits. Or at least learn to take a few, and protect yourself from hits that might disable your ability to engage in combat later. Well, if the attacker stops the attack, well, ok, then the matter de-escalates. We can talk about handling the trauma later in this discussion.
Well, if it goes into overtime and the blows keeps coming, then choose an appropriate, surgical violent action to stop his action. If you have a decent level of combat training, martial arts training, you will always have a CHOICE. Choose to stop the act of violence towards you, by hurting him sufficiently to stop him, not to kill him. That is where the fine line ends.
From the point of escalation to the act of violence, play the victim. Back off, so that alibis can credit you to avoiding conflict, and the other guy escalating the conflict. Of course, keep saying things to find a solution, and to fight is the end of all peaceful solutions. Get the witness on your side. Get them to say ‘ He started it!.’ and not you. so socially, you will err on the safe side.
Of course legally speaking, who hits first is generally the wrong party. I’m no legal expert, but if my witness can testify that I was attacked first, despite of my attempts to diffuse the difficult situation, then I think it would favour me, if we go to court. Play the victim, and of course, do not provoke the perpetrator.
The other side of the matter, the deeper aspect. Ok he provoked you, called your mother names, even pushed you, and you smacked him. He felled, knocked his dumbass head on the concrete pavement, and dies. Like it or not, you just killed someone.
For me, if they learned that I am an Aikido ‘exponent’, dooms on me man, the press will have a field day. Imagine the headlines “Martial arts expert kills man.” Even if I was playing the victim. And thinking even deeper, the man I so unwittingly, but skillfully killed could have an expecting wife, is certainly someone’s son, or daughter. Could be an uncle to a young boy, and your choice of violence, ended his life, over a matter that would be vaguely remembered 20-30 years down the road. And me, now branded a killer, despite of all my protests. I, am a father of 2 young kids, I am a son-in-law, I am a valuable team member at work. And now, my wife, have to go back and answer to her dad, my father in law, what had happened. Imagine, my dad in law, have to face his friend, and the friends asked ‘Eh, you son-in-law killed someone?’ If you hadn’t watch ‘Con Air’ starring Nicholas Cage, go and watch it. The main character, a US Army Ranger, went to jail for the killing of a man, in a bar fight. When he was incarcerated, he missed his daughter’s birth, growing up and all. Is it worth it over a bar fight?
An act of violence will always potentially rob us of our ability to act, and forces us to react. But we are trained, as martial artist, we are trained with a reasonably high level of ability to kill or seriously maim a person, do we really want to do that over a clash of ego?
And we must remember, this era, well at least where I lived in, is not the wild, wild west. Things don’t get sorted out over a gun fight. Disputes and conflicts have a place in the court of law. I get a black eye, I get ‘traumatized’, I get the best damn lawyer and sue the bastard to for his panties, the point is who, gets persecuted, make sure it is not me. I’ll let the law of the land work in my favour. Violent act will end, it always does, then comes the messy long recovery, make sure your perpetrator pays hell for the ‘damage’ they did to you. Make sure they pay hell for the trauma they cause you. If these people are found illegal in their acts of violence towards you, they will get a criminal record, and that stays with them for life. You? your bruises will heal, life goes on.
Of course the caveat is this, if my family is threatened, then the matter is totally out of the context of this discussion. If my life is threatened, and there is a credible clear and present danger, then act in a manner to decisively cease all life threatening attacks immediately, even if it means killing the attacker. Skirmishes we can handle, life ending attack is another matter altogether, and we need to discern that, of course, how do we discern that? We are back to the start of our hypothetical million dollar scenario again.