Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Sudden, Unexpected Violence

Early yesterday morning I had a bad dream before I woke up. I dreamed I was in a building with military guys and we were pinned down by sniper fire. I awoke unsettled and made tea and turned on the news: Over twenty shot dead at Virginia Tech. I kid you not, it took a while for the parallel to sink in. Don't know what to think, perhaps there is a collective conscious that we tap into at times.
Nearly every violent event I have been in has been sudden and unexpected. One day when I was about eighteen, I picked up some beer (of course I was underage) and auto parts and was headed up to our car club to tinker with my '70 Cuda. I rounded a corner and a big Lincoln was stopped in the road. I honked. I looked at traffic that prevented me from going around. I honked again. Boom-- both doors flew open and a huge Samoan looking guy and his equally scary girlfriend came rushing up to my window screaming at me. I reached over and grabbed a big wrench I had in the car and got it ready in case they reached in. The woman yelled "he's got a knife!" and the guy went to his trunk and pulled out a huge bumper jack and swung it towards my car. I jammed it in reverse and burned it backward, pulled into traffic and zoomed around him. As I passed, he smashed out the passenger window. All I wanted to do that day was work on my car and have a few beers. Now I found myself on the sidewalk with a huge guy wielding a bumper jack coming towards me, and I got ready to fight. In an instant a cop pulled up and seperated us. The cops believed my story, clearly saw the evidence but I was out a window and they didn't even try to arrest him. Sudden, unexpected violence.
The other day one of my friends looked down. I asked what was up and he told me about his friends in Seattle. They (three friends) had gone for a late night hamburger and were in a drive through. The guys behind in the next car kept messing with them in some way. The driver of my friends car got out and a hassle insued. Everybody was out of both cars and the friends got the worst of it. One was stabbed. The other was hit with a hammer. The third wanted to settle it until the other guys chambered a handgun. End of fight, trip to the hospital next. Sudden, unexpected violence.
Now I've been in my share of fights, some of which I probably started. But that is very different from these other types of violent encounters, where weapons are involved and people really, really get hurt.
While most of us who train in martial arts have an edge in a scenario like this, there are times when we must swallow our pride and simply walk away. However, when our back is up against the wall and there is no other way out, we gotta' turn on the predator, the wolf, or tiger, and fight like hell.


uchi deshi said...

i think the best thing that martial artists learn is that they don't have to prove anything.

Walk away, but be prepared if you're cornered.

Hand2Hand said...

I once had a t-shirt with a picture of a hand holding a gun on a cowering ninja.

It read "Ninja, shminja! You can't karate chop a bullet."

That is so true. When I was 18 and had nearly eight years of training under my belt, I learned how true that was. That was when two guys tackled me and their buddy held a .38 to my face demanding my money.

I just said, "It's in my pocket."