Matt over at Ikigai has posted a couple of interesting blogs this month, both of them showing good examples of what I would call “real-world martial arts”, or instances where previous martial arts training resulted in a swift resolution to an act (or perceived act) of physical violence. The first one concerns a home owner who is being threatened by someone chucking a wobbly outside his house:
There are a few comments I want to make on this one, though I’m sure it’s entirely arguable if I have any legitimate reason to since I’m still a young gun when it comes to martial arts training 😛 I’m merely adding to the discussion 🙂
First up, I was extremely surprised and impressed at the home owner’s patience with the aggressor and the restraint he demonstrated throughout the ordeal, including the moment he chose to defend himself and bring the confrontation to a conclusion. There wasn’t outward aggression, he wasn’t itching to fight back, he was calm and collected, even when the aggressor started causing damage to his property or started shoving him around. The fact he concluded the confrontation with a single punch and didn’t follow-up with excessive violence is also extremely important, as it shows the level of self control that a combination of martial arts training and personality quirks can create in a confrontation like the above. As Matt notes, he’s done all the right things from a legal perspective and it would be unlikely that any reasonable juror or judge would consider his actions unnecessary in the circumstance.
In addition, it was great reading through all the responses Matt received from his post, as there are plenty of people that join me in reading his blog with far more experience than yours truly! The common points raised in terms of warnings or criticisms are that he let the aggressor get too close, which meant that if the thug was carrying a weapon of some sort, it would give the victim less chance to effectively defend himself. Another point raised was that action should have taken place sooner, particularly once the aggressor started damaging the property.
I think both of these comments are very important to consider, and as a martial artist, are definitely ones I’ll be taking on board. Personally, I have no idea how I would react in such a scenario – would I react sooner? Would I have let the aggressor get that close to me? Could I have concluded the confrontation with a single, clear strike? I don’t know, and maybe that’s the unsettling part to the equation for me, personally. I can only trust that my demeanor and martial arts training will allow me to approach this kind of situation with a degree of control that only the most appropriate measures take place.
The second I want to share is from a “candid camera” prank gone awry – Matt’s given it a neat summary so I’ll quote form his blog:
This clip comes from a TV Show somewhere in Belgium. It is a candid camera program that annoys people in obnoxious ways (standard affair really). One fateful evening the show decided to visit a mall and harass local shoppers. The ‘host’ proceeded to throw a net on a man, taunt him, and then run away. Unfortunately, to bystanders, it looked as if he was either robbing or accosting the local shopper. One bystander in particular didn’t take kindly to that kind of criminal activity.
That kick was, seriously, amazing stuff. The fact that he was able to perform a standing roundhouse kick like that without it even affecting his balance despite the amount of oncoming energy and still managing knocking the guy flat on his back – wow, I’m very impressed.
While the guy’s heart was in the right place, this demonstrates the reverse side of self defense, even if in this case the action was meant as the deed of a Good Samaritan rather than pure self-defense – despite the best intentions, there were apparently legal consequences for the martial artist’s actions. I guess this raises all sorts of questions that the hypocrisy of contemporary society paints for us – people bemoan the lack of community assistance when someone is physically threatened or in need of assistance, but at the same time, people are afraid to assist in case (a) they get injured, or (b) the legal repercussions that may result from what they determine to be a community service, even if they meant well. I’m in no way endorsing vigilante violence, but it’s a difficult line to walk today when it comes to assisting someone in trouble, but being worried that you won’t be rewarded by trying to help, rather, you’ll be putting yourself in a situation where you’re punished for your assistance.
If you’re interested in reading through the original posts Matt wrote, the one featuring the home owner is here, whilst the crazy-awesome face-boot is here. I’d highly recommend you check both of them out, not only to get Matt’s even-headed perspective on both of them, but also the great discussion that followed. I was thinking about jumping in, but by the time I got around to reading them, discussion had fallen off, so I figured a blog post might suffice 🙂