Way back in the days of my youth I practiced a martial art called Aikido. It’s an unarmed combat system based on Japanese sword fighting. The word Aikido means the way of harmony.
Which is lovely, but honestly it’s not the most effective system in the World.
So a few weeks back, after a long break from martial arts, I started learning Krav Maga. To tell you its the system invented and used by the Israeli Defence Forces probably tells you as much as you need to know. Suffice to say, it is effective – and a bit scary.
In fact, my background in International Relations, means I get the jitters about all things IDF, but that’s another story.
All of which has led me to study and reflect upon the nature of self-defence and martial arts and inevitably to do a little internet research. And yes, surprise surprise, there are some right nutters out there.
But it’s pretty easy to sort the wheat from the chaff. There are lots of teenage boys out there who want to be, or think they already are, ninja well-hard types. And then there are a whole load of older guys who start talking sense.
The sense they talk is simple – avoid violence. Avoid the places it happens, the people that start it, and fix the things in you that stop you from avoiding violence.
Geoff Thompson, for instance, rights a good book called the Art of Fighting Without Fighting. He tells a story of black belt who asked him what to do about a guy that kept staring at him in a local pub. Geoff’s answer? Go to another pub.
This is the first rule of fight club – Don’t. Violence is unpredictable, stupid, irresponsible and will ruin your life.
Do not go there unless you have no choice – and I mean no choice – this is the only defense legally and morally. Forget your ego, your out-sized sense of injustice or the samurai code of honour.
Do not try to reclaim the night, save your wallet or protect your god-given rights to a piece of road.
It is not worth it. Be a real man: run-the-fuck-away.