Lies to Bleed For...

This article considers the following for young adults out looking for fun in all the wrong places:

Myths Your Parents Told You
Street Myths
Dojo Myths

It might seem strange to some of you but I have met young people who can’t wait to go out and get into fights. Usually these come in two flavours; the young and naive martial artist and the young but often not so naive, untrained but rowdy kid, I mean "young adult."
This isn’t so much for the kids themselves as for the parents. Why? Because, you know as well as I do that no teenager thinks he is a kid any more and not one will listen to old farts like us!!

So, if you are a parent, grandparent or just involved with a teen or young adult who is testing himself out, point him over here if he has any interest in the (dark and deep voice-over) voice of experience!

And if you are a young adult, dragged to this article under duress, don’t sweat it. There may be something here for you to consider. Or come back when you are tired of your time in the hospital or jail cell - winning hurts too, you know. Since it is you I want to reach, it is to you that I will speak. Ahem…

Myths your parents told you:

1. Just be nice to them and they’ll be nice to you.
Remember this one? Didn’t work in the sandbox either, did it? Or in the cafeteria?

Hey guys - let me speak to your parents here for a bit, ok? Thanks.

Why the horse puckey did you teach this to your kid when you knew it was totally inadequate? It did not work for you when you faced the bullies in life and it will not work for your kids either! The message should be, “Be as nice as you can until the time comes to be not so nice.” You can’t take your child’s independence and awareness of the situation from him! Help him to understand the difference between "nice" and "not nice" and then let him practice and make mistakes, yes?

Ok, rant mode off.

Be warned, there are people out there that interpret your niceness as weakness and naivety and therefore will either terminate you just for the fun of it or jack you up. That nice guy may just be setting you up for a sucker punch.

Nice is good but it isn’t enough when you don’t know the rules, the players or the action. A good teacher can save a lot of learning the hard way but every teacher has his price that you must pay. That older guy who warns some punks to leave you alone may just be grooming you for his own criminal purposes.

Lesson: Don’t be naive and waltz into places you can’t handle. If there is anything about the place that gives you pause, listen to yourself - it is your brain trying to keep you alive! Fade into the room, step sideways to get your back out of the door and casually look things over. Take your time.

Variation 1.a Just Ignore Them, and they will leave you alone.
Ignoring a fox locking onto him is not going to do a rabbit any good at all, now is it? Rabbit just means ’victim’ and even tough guys get to be victim sometimes. Tough can be beat by sneaky and nasty. Puffing yourself up to scare off any predators around will be seen for the false bravado it is and alienate you from those who might otherwise be inclined to help is it goes sideways on you.

If your disguise is cool and the scavengers and predators of society can’t tell right off whether you are a victim or a warrior in disguise, they will interview you. They will move into your space, stand in your blind spot, crowd you or make conversation to put you at ease. They will surround you and blind side you. If you don’t know what a Blind Spot* is, (because your tournament opponents were always ordered to stand straight in front of you and to bow before they attacked) or don’t notice them moving on you because you really are ignoring them, then you really are a victim just waiting to happen. If you relax during the vocal part of the interview, you are a victim.

Take a hint from Behaviour traits that get cops killed: Long known, still ignored; an article that first appeared on  The very first trait is pertinent to our discussion, emphasis in bold is mine:


1. Friendly.

This adjective was frequently used to describe the murdered officers, along with "well-liked," "laid back," and "easy going." While a friendly demeanour "does much to promote a positive image for the officer and the department, overly friendly behaviour at an inappropriate time" can backfire, the researchers warn. That mind-set can lull you into a sense of complacency," lead to the granting of dangerous favours or accommodations, and "might be misinterpreted by an offender as potential weakness - a sign of vulnerability."

A savvy officer knows it’s often useful to appear friendly as a conscious strategy, but you "never should let down [your] guard, because no one can know what is in the mind of another person." The subject you’re dealing with "may be contemplating [your] assault to effect an escape."


The old joke (or is that, "joke, joke, wink, wink"?) comes to mind: "Be courteous to everyone you meet, but have a plan to kill them just in case."

So if being ’nice’ and ignoring don’t work; that is, they don’t convince the scavengers and predators that you are not their next meal, what might?


You scope them as in “to get them in the cross hairs of your cannon”; Scoping is not glaring or sneering which will just get you into a fight for a different reason. Scoping is a message sent by a look that says, “I see you. I have your number, I know your games and I can handle it. Then you look away. A scope/check slide is between equals. A scope /pin is for scavengers that you are confident that you can handle (or at least are willing to try) and lasts just a bit longer than the check so that the message is a short, unemotional, “If you want me, try me. I’m not going anywhere.”

Of course you may be blowing it and get pounded for challenging someone with a rep to make or a low self esteem hair-trigger type who needs to fight everyone to find all those he can beat. Better make sure that your scope doesn’t carry any hidden fear or worry messages in your body language or you just may have to prove that you really are tough.

If you look down to break eye contact, you lose. “I’m a victim in disguise sign just popped out of your head for him to read. Slide your eyes sideways and scope the rest of the room. Glaring, staring or sneering are not scoping, they are showing your teeth. If he is not impressed, he may just feel you need a lesson in manners. Better to scope and leave him guessing.

A bad old Chinese general named Sun Tzu wrote (hundreds of years ago) that we should only fight battles that we can win and no one has said it better yet. Everyone knows that some years and practice are necessary to make you really bad so don’t try to bluff out of your league. Practice on your friends.

So you see a very bad person giving you a long hard look. If you have back-up, you may be able to hang around and enjoy the scene but keep him in your peripheral vision and follow his moves. Watch him without looking at him. Martial artists call it to look at nothing and to see everything. By using a soft focus you can increase your peripheral (sideways) vision up to about 200 degrees.

Remember the movie Little Big Man where Dustin Hoffman’s sister is teaching him to be a gunfighter? She tells him to make snake eyes. This was her way to soft focus and gain peripheral acuity because the peripheral vision processes fast movement better.

Red Alert:

If bad guy slips out while you are getting up to leave, go to Red Alert. If you feel safe when he leaves because he’s gone, you just got yourself some free flowers as he may just be moving the scene to a more private place. Do yourself a favour and go out the back way which you checked out before hand. Or stay. Or leave with a group. Acting unaware can bring an attack upon yourself and paying too much attention can cause the same thing but for different reasons.

The other thing you have to do in the real world outside your house and home is to show respect. Something like 60 to 70 per cent of non-hospitalizing assaults on young women by strangers happened when the young woman in question was followed home and pushed or slapped by strangers pissed off over her aggressive and rude driving.

Most young males are pounded for rude body contact on the sidewalk, giving the wrong person the ’punk bump’ as you pass. The street will make you pay for rudeness until you get tired of it and mellow out. Being on a skate or a bike is no guarantee that you won’t get called for buzzing the citizens either. Two Gold’s Gym heavies I knew saw a skater buzz some folks and though he had enough sense to avoid them, they took the two steps necessary to hip check him. He bounced off one into the other, then into traffic. Tough lesson.

*Blind Spot: one blind spot is behind the corner of the jaw, under your left the ear which the mongrel in front of you will hit with his right fist when you look to your right at one of his boys who just got your attention by yelling or swearing at you. Hint, hint.


2. Just stand up to a bully, and he’ll run from you.

Some guy is giving you the eye or some lip so you stand up to him. “Bullies are looking for victims, not a fight,” is current social wisdom. What they don’t tell you is that bullies may in fact be motivated by fear, insecurity and other manifestations of low self-esteem but they are also very practiced at being themselves, They have spent years perfecting their style at home and school and bars. They practice knocking down those who stand up to them every day.

How many times do you get to practice standing up to a bully?

The internal chemistry of the street is a lot different than in the dojang. A dedicated bully knows his stuff, and has no scruples about fairness. Just because he’s a jerk doesn’t mean he’s stupid. Also, I’ve talked to a lot of street people and just about everyone of them has had martial arts training some time or other, and all have a weapon.

If you obviously outclass him and he’s in your face, is he bluffing or does he have a secret weapon? They have people stand up to them all the time and they have their backups in place whether it’s a punch dagger, steel toed Docs or a back-up buddy. Are you ready for that? If you do take on a jerk, win or lose, you must know that it is not over yet. You suspect that if you lose, it hurts. (Do you know that winning hurts almost as bad?)

Losing has other costs you may have to pay. If he hangs where you hang, he just might make a career out of wrecking your fun and face in front of the ladies. If you can’t win, must you give up and eat his crap for the rest of your life? If he is seriously knocking you, you must choose on how you take the pain, because hanging where this kind of jerk can have at you is guaranteed pain. The pain comes from fear and your feelings of cowardice if you don’t fight, the juice of anger at yourself for letting him get away with it, or it comes from standing up to him and taking what comes. Even staying out of his way has some pain to it.

Surprise folks, standing up to him may be the best thing to do but not because he will back down.

If he learns that every time he messes with you that even if he beats you he must really fight for it he will sooner or later shoot his shot on easier targets. Make him work for his fun and it may not be worth it to him. The physical pain of being trashed is, to some people, less than the pain of feeling inadequate.

Of course you don’t want to try this on a crazy or a gang-banger who may just feel that he has to kill you to save face.

Now, if you win, it ain’t over yet, either. He’s got something to prove now and he won’t care if it’s fair. A carload of drunks in your face can seriously ruin your whole evening, no matter what you see in the movies about trashing a whole gang with one super-kick! Being hunted by a pack of jackals because you stomped one of them may sound like ultimate cool but the pay is bad and the down time only able to eat through a straw and piss through a tube is the pits.

In some places these things are taken care of by a shotgun as you leave your house so add up the profit / pain ratio. It is fairly easy to take a punching without getting more than a few bruises on your forearms, (if you practice) and everyone may just go away happy. Then it may be really over. Replying to some jerk later in revenge is a sure way of signing up for that never-ending but oh so much fun game of escalating violence!

Variation 2.a. Stand up to or beat the leader of the group and the others will run.

Time to die, folks. Most deaths in fights not caused by weapons are caused by a group stomp on a person who has gone down. Every group leader has his lieutenants who will back him up or tie you up for him to take out. Taking on a group is nonsense if you have any other choice at all. I hope you haven’t put your training on hold and reached a pack a day yet, because it is time to get out of Dodge! Running will spread them out so if you have to fight you have a better chance at one to one. Did you let them surround you? Oh dear, too bad, so sad.

Variation 2.a.i - only cowards run.
Yeah-right and only kryptonite can hurt you. Get out of there pronto. Wiley Coyote may be as smart as a doorknob but it is Roadrunner’s speed that saves him. (Actually I hated the Roadrunner, what a clean-cut, suit and tie type jerk. I always wanted to be able to rewrite ol’ Wiley into a gourmet roast-runner meal.) If you don’t want to be a roast-runner you had better learn how to outrun a car and how to go over tall fences without slowing down, which can be done if you know how and practice, practice, practice. My friend Animal tells how in his book: Street E&E: evading, escaping and other ways to save your ass when things get ugly.

Just remember, never run home! Family is always protected. This rates right up there with the #1 rule for girlfriends; never grab my elbow! Speaking of girlfriends and running in the same breath here; don’t. Don’t leave them that is. Bad form. Uncool. Bad, bad, bad. You never leave your own when you cut out; you must always take them with you. If she’s not prepared to fight or to run then why are you playing the role? Remember, this is the ’stand up to them’ section.  If she can’t back you up then you back up before it hits the fan. Way before. Really. No fooling here, guys.

3. The police are there to protect you.
The police are there to protect the system as a whole but can do little to help any one part. They clean up, listen to the lies and put away any identifiable bad guys they can. Your problems are small stuff unless you get snuffed, which isn’t likely anyway. If they can’t keep Mr. Bigg safe at all times, how can they help you from getting a broken nose? Strutting your stuff, being a jerk and smart mouth and depending on: “I’ll call the police!” to save you is dumb, dumb, dumb.

If you want safety out there with the big boys then you have to do it yourself - lift weights for strength, wrestle for stamina, train your martial art for balance and timing, and practice your moves. Practice soft focus, practice broken-field running at night, practice sizing up the players without giving yourself away (i.e. is he tough or bluff, has he experience, where is his knife, his back-up knife, has he boots or runners, is his lady holding a weapon and ready to back him? etc. etc.) The jerks and bad guys think of this stuff and practice, why don’t you?

What the police can do is to help you defend yourself if you get in over your head. They can put on the pressure that may take the hit out of the sting. They know who’s who and may be able to step in if you are being hunted. They can’t act without info but if you are facing death or destruction, they may be able to cool the flames or move a serious player to a back burner.

Variation 3.a. The cops are your enemies.

Just as silly as hoping a cop will save from your own foolishness is thinking that the cops have nothing better to do than dust you off for being alive. Man, they will let the jackals do that. Playing silly bugger with the police, harassing them for fun and frolics can get you in their scope. If the nasty boys decide that you must go, no cop will do a favour for the one who spends his time giving them trouble. Street enemies are enough, why make enemies of the cops just to show off? Even career criminals don’t make it personal with the cops because it is just too dangerous. If you aren’t planning an anti-cop lifetime, don’t start or you may not be able to quit later.

4. Always back up a buddy, even if he’s wrong.
It depends on what you call back up. If he expects you to play his game with him and he wants to rassle gators then you can say no. Suicide is not in the buddy contract. If he gets jumped then it’s different, you fight your way clear together. But if he’s knocking down the hornets nest for fun, don’t stay unless you think it is fun too.

If he’s drunk then try to haul him away before his ’targets’ start to pay serious attention. If you can’t get him away, then it is your call as to whether you will take a trashing for trying to save his butt or whether you just might be able to help. It is your call and no mere acquaintance has the right to force you to clean up his garbage for him just by calling you brother.

True brothers is different but most steeters are quick to ’brother’ you when they are in need but won’t be there to back you up. A true brother will not let you growl in the face of the wrong jackal or will take you out himself with less injury to keep the pack off you–sort of like not letting you drive if you are drunk. If he is not a real brother but it is still low key stuff and not costing you any teeth yet then help, but as soon as you can, drop this guy, especially if you carry the bruises from fights he started but couldn’t finish. This way you salvage some honour and some teeth.

Sun Tzu also wrote in 500 BC, “The best general is not the one who wins a thousand battles but the one who avoids a thousand battles.”

If all you do is fight someone else’s battles because he has a big mouth and hides behind his black belt buddy, ain’t something wrong?

5. It’s a free country, I can do what I want.
Other ways of saying this are: “If you believe in yourself you can go anywhere and do anything,” and “Trust your feelings and just go with them.”

Surprise, guys, (ladies included), your feelings, desires and motivations don’t mean a thing to anyone else out there but you. They are not the definition of reality or of right or wrong, and they shouldn’t be, either. Who made you God? Sure your feelings are rampant and important and your hormonal desires are a forest fire but if you expect the world to lay at your feet so you can indulge your little self on them then you are so immature as to be a social liability to those of us who are still sane!

Why is it always some manipulative son of a monkey tailed furball who screams at me that he has a right to abuse me because it is a free country? If you are free to start the game by your rules then they are free to finish the game by their own rules and if that means getting you out of their face by sending you on a vacation in the bandage ward then it is your own fault that it will cost your friends so much in flowers, if you have any friends.

Only the utmost immature selfishness is so foolish as to claim that our political and religious freedoms allow someone to act like a jerk without paying the price. Learn now the easy way or later the hard way but if you play in public you had better learn to fulfil your desires in acceptable street ways or someone will pin your ears back and swallow you whole.

Not everyone who beats on you is victimising you; some just may be trying to get your attention to save you from someone much worse. A sparrow was freezing to death in the snow when a cow shit on him. Amazingly the warm pile brought him back to life and he started to sing and eat the seeds he found. A cat going by heard him singing, dug him out and ate him. Moral of the story: not everyone who shits on you is an enemy and not everyone who digs you out is a friend. (And also, if living in shit is getting you what you want, don’t sing too loud about it, cats are everywhere!)

Another point about this is that feeling right does not mean being right!

Feelings lie to you all the time. Feelings are chemical by-products of life depending on when you ate last, what you ate last, and how are you getting along with your lady or at work or being out of work, etc. You use feelings to justify doing what you know you shouldn’t do, but if ’feeling like it’ makes it right, then anyone is justified to do anything to your scrawny butt they want to. Why should you get to be the only one that can do whatever you want because you feel like it?

Believe this guys and get a grip, don’t trust your feelings–use your head and control your feelings and make decisions that will get you where you want to go or someone bigger and nastier has a surprise for you.

Variation 5.a. If you believe in yourself then you can go anywhere and do anything.

This sounds cool if all it means is that you should develop your abilities to your best and go with what you know but it is constantly used to justify the most blatant selfishness you will ever hear.

Take your skinny little butt into a bar and grab the best looking lady in there and just have a reality check on whether your confidence and five of years training will make you superman. Being confident is more than being rude, aggressive and nasty. In fact, most aware people know that nastiness is usually a cover for a lack of confidence and they feel real secure in giving you a lumpy street lesson in politeness.

Just make sure that you are not believing in a fantasy of competence, sometimes called a false sense of security, and are not underestimating your adversary or the victim of your selfishness.

If you want to play hardball then you had better learn how to catch. The Wild West is not the only place that you will always meet a faster gun sooner or later.

6. ————————: are all cowards and can safely be abused.

Fill in the blank from your personal hate list. How about some of these:
Fags, fat people, old guys, long-hairs, W.A.S.P.S., blacks, the minority of your choice, shrubs, low-life scum, maggots, rag-heads, yuppies, tree-huggers, jocks, homies, rappers, skates, wannabes, suits or hats or bitches - take your pick. Did I mention hippies?

This is ’go ahead and make my day’ time, folks. One steeter to go down under 250 pounds of weightlifter-bouncer started with his hands empty and landed on his back with a knife in his hand, working on cutting off the guy’s ear. No judgement here on right or wrong, just a mention on how little can get big real fast.

Just because your bigotry doesn’t allow you to even think the thought that they might beat you doesn’t mean that they can’t!
More on warriors later but

Variation 6.a What you see is what you get, is applicable here.

Don’t you believe it. Warriors come in all shapes and sizes because it is the spirit that counts, not the body. Try the same stuff on a Sikh that you get away with on a turban wearer from a different culture and you’ll be eating two of your own small, round body parts for h’or d’oeurves.

Warriors also come in disguise.

Just as every outlaw biker isn’t necessarily the toughest person when alone, neither is that older gentleman or young woman always going to be an easy target.


Because of my karate / self defence connections, I learned the details about a rather brutal case in town here.  Two young (late teens) kids had a habit of picking fights with strangers on weekend nights. The survivor was a big kid of the ’happy puppy, just having fun’, type of follower. His partner had a much more serious edge to him and was labelled a trouble maker. Big kid thouht it was all fun and games.


Tough guy had recently had the tip of his nose bitten off in a scuffle. They were in a local Vietnamese fast food place when tough guy decided one of the other patrons was "looking at his nose funny." These strangers were two, middle-aged, slim Asian males. As usual the fight started with a verbal confrontation with no chance of retreat, until tough guy swung.


Big kid later reported that he saw his friend swing and that suddenly he had a knife in his chest. He thought he was about to die. He attacked the other male and was suddenly on the floor looking up into the guy’s eyes with a knife pressed into his neck, 1/2 inch away from death. He had already been severely cut but he lived to tell the story although he was a changed individual who had "grown up" in that instant that his friend died.


The man who killed his friend? A local restaurant owner, a business man, a non-victim in disguise.

Street Myths:

1. No one rats.

This rule is broken so much that the only suckers who believe it are the wannabes who are hoping to get a rep. Of course no one (read, very few, really)   rats out a real brother but it is amazing how quickly family ties are disowned when it is convenient.

To be precise, what I am talking about here is the fact that if you take on some guy who wants to rearrange your face and you whip him, the fun is just starting. The kind of predator low-life that is the first to start trouble is also the first to go to the cops when you end it. Being street tough is not enough if you are not street smart enough to protect yourself from this little game.

Don’t trash a jerk in front of hostile witnesses or the judge just might hear, "Honest you honour, we wuz just askin’ him the time and he went ballistic on us." Move to a place where witnesses can say they saw him attack you. They should also hear you say loudly and clearly, "Leave me alone. Touch me and I’ll defend myself. I don’t want to fight," or something like it. This allows them to be your witnesses if he tries to run the police at you for beating him. If you can’t do this then some people suggest that after you pound him, you take his drivers licence as proof that you have his name and number and can deal with him if he goes to the cops. I don’t suggest that you do this because it is illegal and because you may now be entering into that no man’s land of escalating violence. Just be aware that the "no one rats" rule won’t apply if you trash someone.

2. A good freak-out or berserk will trash anyone.

In a fight, this is the "I just shut my eyes and wail" crowd. For ’wail’ you should read, ’flail.’ They don’t seem to fight much, probably because they know how limited this kind of fighting really is. Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t claim that a personal non-martial arts style of hand to hand is empty crap because it doesn’t have an Oriental name. A practiced street fighter uses the same old stuff martial artists uses; kicks, punches, trips, grabs, eye pokes and teeth in the ear stuff. (Hey, do you think that Tyson might have read this??)

A freak-out artist that just flails and does not use fighting stuff is severely limited and won’t trash my granny. Now, if berserk is a measure of the emotional content of your style, if it means that you only drop A-bombs, that sounds better. But what do you do when your brother is into some serious jerk behaviour that you must physically stop, are you going to A-bomb him? Not everyone you need to get physical with deserves a broken nose.

I train martial arts so I am prepared to try to handle any hassle with less trauma, not more, or at least only as much trauma as I choose is appropriate.

The other thing is that the fighter who can use his emotions and control his adrenaline output can achieve two things a berserk can’t do: he can endure and outlast by not shooting his total wad all at once and he can keep control of the finer aspects of fighting like balance and timing which seem to be the first to go when the adrenaline hits.

If you are going to fight you should do some boxing, kickboxing, wrestling etc. or some serious long term training in a martial art. Say what? You’ll just run away? Fine if you can, if there is no one being left behind, if you are not surrounded. But how far can you run? Do you know or did you used to be able to run? Are you a pack a day man, now? If your hangout is getting to be a rough place, start running for your health. The bad guys practice their stuff on you, don’t wait till it’s serious to start your practice, get your training early or stay to home or someone’s gonna jack your ipod and phone!

3. No one has the right to dis you or tell you what to do.
You are rough and tough and can take care of your own-yeah. If you really believe this one then can I have your stereo after the funeral? Right or not, you will be insulted and put down and scorned and heebie-jeebied until you want to puke or carry a cannon. Puking is better. The street doesn’t owe you anything much less respect. If you can’t take it, leave it or start your trash and get a rep. Just be careful because more than a few biters and growlers have been put away by a knife in the night by smaller but nastier scum bags. I know that not one martial artist gone on the street thinks he is scum but believing in yourself won’t keep you alive if you attack the wrong person over an insult, real or imagined. He will think you are scum at that time, and that is what counts. Just because someone is being shitty to you doesn’t mean you have to mow them down.

Remember the lesson from suburbia you learned when you were twelve - don’t mow over the dog dump!! It explodes in your face if dry or gums it all up if fresh. You step in it and stink for the rest of the day and if the mower bag plugs, it gets all over your hands when you pull out the grass.

Sometime it is better to just go around and ignore it.

4. Buddies don’t rip off buddies.

Bothers don’t (usually) rip off brothers but buddies do it all the time. Get my drift?

5. If someone calls you out and you go, it is a consensual fight and not an assault, so you can legally trash them.

Well, maybe, depending on the judge you get. If weapons become involved, you can bet that ’consenting’ suddenly disappears as a defence. If you severely hospitalise the guy causing permanent damage then more and more judges are following the line that even though he consented to fight, he obviously didn’t consent to blindness, losing a kidney or a lung or permanent facial scars etc. so you get sent up. A new case lately put the winner in jail because he kicked the guy and it was obvious to the judge that the guy had only ’consented’ to a fist fight. Of course the police may have already had a sheet on the winner and were looking for a way to send him up.

More important is the thinking of the police who were called by bystanders when it hit the fan. If the cops hate you already, guess what. If they know you as street cool and it seems consensual and under control, it may not even ever go to court. Don’t forget the bystanders all heard you trying to cool the guy out and not fight, right?

Be very careful that your message that you don’t want to fight does not talk yourself into a submissive role; just act, don’t internalise it or they may jump. Make it plain that if they jump, you are ready to handle it.

6. I’m safe if I ’look’ street.

It’s not true. If someone is looking at you and drooling, guess what–you just became a civilian. Statistics show that over 90% of assaults come from people just like the victim - the same social class and style, the same economic level and the same race. That means that

* street people (including rappers, skaters, wannabes, jocks etc.) prey on other street people (including rappers, skaters, wannabes, jocks, etc.) and

* being a street person won’t save you from street predators.

7. A firearm is a perfect equaliser on the street.

Sometimes written as: "God made men equal, Colt guarantees it."

If you carry a firearm and do not train how to use it, experienced shooters will tell you all you have is an expensive club. (Assume for the rest of this point that I am speaking to someone who no training and no inclination to get a concealed carry permit and be legal. I am, in fact, not anti-firearm.)

Let’s be realistic - how many situations need to be solved with guns where you hang? I know there are inner city cultures that only give respect if someone is strapped but is that true for you? Weigh the profit of carrying for these very few non-necessary occasions or just for bragging rights, against the cost of being busted for possession or carrying concealed. If the street knows you habitually carry, then any time someone wants you down, they just crime stopper your little butt away. Don’t scorn, it happens! If you give people that kind of power over you, you don’t get to cry for momma when they use it.

Really scary Variation 7.a. A firearm makes me superior.

This guy makes a great case for the above mentioned use of crime stoppers, (hint, hint, hint - )

Do you really believe that he will only wave it around to prove how much better he is or will only use it on enemies? Suddenly this upstanding dude, this righteous brother has in his very hand your life or death. With no work, just - dead. Do you trust him that much? Time to take a vacation until his karma catches him because you don’t want to share it, that’s for sure. Hang somewhere else, this guy’s a statistic, dead before his time.

If he’s so gonzo that he’s packing, then the chances are that someone is going to be shooting at him sometime soon. With the current statistics of 3 bystanders going down for every punk that was being aimed at, you don’t want to be anywhere near this guy.

Dojo Myths:

So you are a young black belt, willing to test yourself against anyone who seems to want a piece of you. Have you ever considered that some of your dojo training might be a lability to stranger on stranger ritualised combat? That you might have picked up some attitudes that will decrease the likelihood of success in a random fight with that pushy stranger? Let’s look at some ideas, eh?

1. People face off before fighting.

No they don’t. They tend to lead with their major weapon and the telegraphing of kuhrotty stances is left for beginners. They work your blind side, sucker punch, sandbag and gang up on you - they don’t play fair, they excel in the ancient style of Win Ning by Chee Ting. If you need fair, go hang at a mall, dodging shopping carts.

2. It’s over when you deck him.

No it’s not. It is just beginning. Now it gets fun, with escalations of violence, weapons and his homies coming to the rescue. If you deck him, don’t stop till he is o-u-t and then you leave, fast - don’t pass go or collect your two dollars off the table. Hang somewhere else for awhile.

Learn how to make friends in all the street communities. Not only is this more fun but safer too and it allows you room to live and breathe when one group wants to hang you out to dry.

3. Winning the fight wins the battle.

This is not an away tournament - these people live here. Revenge is real. Real nasty. Does it feel exciting to be hunted? For awhile it may but it wears on you, especially if they catch you, then you really wear it. The message? Stay alert.

4. Non-martial artists can’t fight, since they don’t train.

Sounds familiar doesn’t it? Never, never underestimate your adversary.

5. Fights are fun, you get to show off your cool stuff.

I know that if you believe this that I can’t change your mind but I know that a change is coming. I just hope it’s not too painful. Beware the Vietnamese curse: "Doom on you, dojo punk!"

So, if you stop believing in these lies, is there anything more? Yes, a little thing or two.

Sun Tzu also wrote:

1. Know the enemy and know yourself; in a hundred battles you will never be in peril.

2. When you are ignorant of the enemy but know yourself, your chances of winning or losing are equal.

3. If ignorant of both your enemy and of yourself, you are certain in every battle to be in peril.

Know Yourself
Don’t lie, scam or bluff yourself; tell the truth and live the truth. If you aren’t the world’s toughest, don’t sweat it and don’t pretend. Choose who you want to be in five years, then pay the price, do the work, spend the time and money and go learn how to be that person. Set goals and go for it.

Don’t pretend before you make it. Don’t make fantasy plans to save yourself if it hits the fan in your face - be serious and truthful about what you can and can’t do.

This includes, Know Your Territory; where can you run; where are the bottlenecks exist to slow down a group pursuit and string them out; where are the fences you can and can’t get over without slowing down; where are the local bad watchdogs, etc.

If you hang in the same place and someone starts a repeating pattern of hunt and destroy on you, you can plan your escape route and stash likely objects along the way to pick up and slow them down. A 2x4 windmilled into their shins works pretty well as do garbage can lids and bottles to throw. Just make sure that your efforts to slow them down don’t slow you down. Have you ever tried to throw a bottle behind you while running full speed? Why not? Your town isn’t that bad yet? Great, but getting ready for it before hand costs a lot less than getting caught not prepared.

Also included in "know yourself" is Know Your Friends. Can you trust them to back your play? Can you train them so that 5 small guys know how to swarm and take down one tough guy? (Don’t try it on two.) Will they learn code signals so you can co-ordinate your moves when it is getting tense without giving away your game? If you want to be able to fight as a group then you must practice. Didn’t you just know I was going to say that? And be careful here - some victims come unglued at their first success and suddenly self defence is murder and you are guilty too.

Know Your Enemy
I mean get his address, phone number, car plate, shoe size and anything else that might come in handy when you are trying to tell someone who messed you up. His lady’s stats too. And parents. Where does he work? Learn what weapons he favours and his favourite carry. Learn how he fights and his dirty tricks. Can you cause him to pound on another mutual enemy and study his style?

I once faced down a serious tough guy who was a total stranger to me because my sister who was with me knew he was out on parole for assault. He had started to harass us because he was convinced her boyfriend had ratted him out. She let me know that if I took him on he’d go down for sure no matter who won because - wait for it, folks, it’s funny, the cops all hated him.

Here I am in town for less than 10 hours and I got this jerk by the shorts! He kept woofing at me and buzzed us a few times so I figured he was building up his jam to take a run at me so I called over a beat cop. He was grinning like the coyote with a roasted road-runner on his plate when he saw who I was disturbed about. Bad guy was asking me politely not to charge him so I let him leave. I soon went back home a thousand miles away but a few months later there he was again, hanging in my favourite bar halfway across the country.


I guess it was cool because he ignored me, at least he never looked at me like I have never been not looked at before. If it came to dance time, this guy would have killed me in 2 seconds flat and eaten my sister for lunch. I hadn’t started training yet but I started soon after! We’re alive and well because I was able to use someone else to fight the battle I couldn’t handle myself, and I happened to have serious info on the jerk.

If your problem case has a hair-trigger temper, (don’t they all?) then you should be able to keep him busy fighting others by a careful rumour campaign, let them do your work for you. This is called subduing your enemy without fighting and is the highest skill in all martial arts. Also, fight his mind if his body’s too strong, hassle his boss at work until he gets fired. Have a female friend phone his lady and ask for him. Run this guy.

Now we must discuss, "who is my enemy." Everyone not your true brother has the potential to be an enemy. If you prepare your info on him and he stays cool and solid, what have you lost? If he gets bent and ripped at you some sad day, you may just be ahead of the game. This is for you to call but don’t just ignore it. Experience will prove that street loyalties can change real fast, especially if dope is a strong part of the scene.

Just don’t forget, it takes a lot of practice to beat a fighter at his own game - fighters are often pack animals and every fighter sees himself as a great warrior, not a jerk. A lot of warriors become soldiers for the training or an expansion of their desire to help from home to country. Then some of them lose their perspective and come home angry fighters, abusing others. Very dangerous.

Your rights without the strength or power to back them up are just so much hot air.

Who do you want to be in five years? Tough guy? MMA winner? Black belt? How can you get there? Are you willing to pay the price? Then go for it and good luck.

So there you have it. There’s more but I’m tired and I know you aren’t listening anyway.

Shameless plug:
Parents and other responsible adults, check out my book recommendations list and buy buy buy so you can leave them lying around or give them away as presents to your young rascals - and I get some support for this site at the same time! Win - win, eh?