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 Post subject: WAR STORIES
PostPosted: Thu Jun 10, 1999 7:00 pm 
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Joined: Thu May 27, 1999 6:01 am
Posts: 71
Location: LOS ANGELES
Dear Sensei Van Canna,

I was wondering if building a new thread (or an entire forum!) around everyone's real-life brushes with violence and crime would be worthwhile. Everyone I know has at least one story to share from either their own confrontation with danger, or from witnessing someone else's. My hope is that through hearing stories from all across the country (or perhaps the world!) we can all begin to see the general patterns of what works and what doesn't work off the mat. How did the attack begin? What movements and tactics stopped the situation? Which made the situation worse? What happens when a knife is pulled? What's the best way to use your voice? What made a fight go to the ground? How do groups fight? Ever been in or seen a carjacking? A mugging?

My hope is that people will share their stories without fear of being chastised or second-guessed for what they may have done or not done. We learn more perhaps, from "failures" than from "victories", so everyone should feel comfortable coming forward. And a story doesn't have to include ninjas and flame-throwers to be deemed worthy. Even the SIMPLEST stories, the type where perhaps a mere "look" prevented an attack, can teach a great deal. Although I am nowhere near being a "street hardened" fighter, when I reflect on these questions, I have a surprisingly large file of thought-provoking tidbits from real-life. Don't we all? If so, let's pool our experiences and help one another debunk or confirm the "truths" of self-defense. I think it would be a fantastic resource.

Respectfully,
PHIL


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 Post subject: WAR STORIES
PostPosted: Fri Jun 11, 1999 2:49 am 
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Phil-san

You are most welcome to this forum because you have hit the proverbial nail on the head !

Your suggestion is indeed the most valuable key to the development of a tactical mind ! I have tried to elicit this type of participation in the past , but to no avail !


Lt. Strong writes that the fundamental principle of surviving violence , is mental , not physical , but mental preparation consisting of " reliving" real life experiences of others and mind-setting the various sensible programmed responses learned in the process ! He writes that the subconscious mind controls most of our first reactions during all types of crisis and that it [ the subconscious ] is far from irrational at the moment of truth !

All the techniques of doom we learn and practice in countless superworkouts / seminars /styles -- from a variety of teachers , pale in comparison to this most fundamental truth which most budo-ka hide from while ensconced in their " lineage cocoon "

You wrote: "Although I am
nowhere near being a "street hardened" fighter, when I reflect on
these questions, I have a surprisingly large file of thought-provoking
tidbits from real-life. Don't we all?"

Well said . Phil , and thank you for your quiet candor ! You could teach us all many lessons of life with your thought provoking questions ! You have my respect and encouragement !

< let's pool our experiences
and help one another debunk or confirm the "truths" of self-defense.
I think it would be a fantastic resource. >

Yes , thank you Phil !

Peace ,

------------------
Van Canna


[This message has been edited by Van Canna (edited 06-10-99).]


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 Post subject: WAR STORIES
PostPosted: Fri Jun 11, 1999 10:08 am 
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Joined: Thu Sep 17, 1998 6:01 am
Posts: 2071
Location: Boston, MA
I won't go into a specific story but I will give a some observations, having fought in a group and against groups.

Against a cohesive group, the fight rarely if ever will be one against one. None of this "tough guy" business about calling one out and slugging it with that one person. That "privelege" or opportunity may be afforded - some times -- if the individual is really known by the group. The general truth is if you decide to take on one from a cohesive group, you will have take on to the whole group. This seems like "common sense". But I can't tell you how many times (because there were so many occaisons this happened) I've seen some supposedly "tough guy" deciding to give it a "go". Generally, they went down, got stomped, maimed or killed

I think some of us can fall into this "tough guy" trap because we train, we spar, we take on the world -- one on one, mano a mano. Do yourself a favor, don't go there. I was part of a cohesive group and we stomped more jerks than I can literally remember. Our unspoken but very real motto is if you fight one of us, you're fighting us all. So the tough guy who thought he can make an example of one of us to frighten off the rest of us always thought wrong because part of the motto is you never leave one of your own behind.

Also the more the group fights together, the more cohesive the unit. The unspoken communication within the group is thing to behold, almost telepathic in nature. Each member of the group seems to almost to know exactly when something is going to go down and what to do when it does.

Not all people together are groups. But when you encounter one, you better be armed if think you are going to take it on.

david


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 Post subject: WAR STORIES
PostPosted: Fri Jun 11, 1999 11:44 am 
Allen

The lone 'tough guy' who singles out the leader of a group and figures out all he has to do is take him and the rest of the group will flee has been watching too much TV.

------------------
Allen - [email]uechi@ici.net">uechi@ici.net</A> - <A HREF="http://www.uechi-ryu.org[/email]


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 Post subject: WAR STORIES
PostPosted: Fri Jun 11, 1999 6:57 pm 
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Joined: Thu May 27, 1999 6:01 am
Posts: 71
Location: LOS ANGELES
Dear Sensei Van Canna,

Thank you for the kind words. And for the phrase "lineage cocoon"- HA!


Dear David and Allen,

Thanks for diving in- I'm learning already. First, I hadn't considered the possibility of encountering a "cohesive" group, as opposed to the stereotypical gaggle of passive guys with one big-mouth "leader". I'm also surprised to hear that calling one guy out for a "fair" fight isn't always honored. I guess ten paces and turn is out of the question, too, huh?

When fighting a group, as with any fight, hopefully we all look to escape first. (The next time you go jogging, think of it as a kata demonstrating your favorite technique!) When escape is not possible however, and fighting a group is inevitable, what then? Is there really anything you can do to survive? We've all heard the "hit the leader first" strategy. If the group isn't cohesive like the wolf-pack in David's post, then I guess it's better than nothing- I mean, you've got to do SOMETHING, right? But what about the cohesive group?

The best advice I've ever heard, (keeping in mind that the odds are against you no matter what, but again- you've got to do SOMETHING) is to 1) hit first and keep moving, 2) fight one person at a time- no "four direction" striking, 3) stay out of the middle, and 4) vital areas, vital areas, vital areas- this is not the time to impress your spouse with a display of sophisticated ankle locks!

For the more easy-going types, I have one other bit of info. I'm a big believer in trying to use the voice to control someone if I can. Telling a lone attacker in a firm voice to "stop" can give the quick picture that you're not an easy target. But, from what I've seen, a group doesn't work that way at all. A couple of months ago, my wife and I were confronted by a group of punks as we were getting into our car. The "leader" had his hand in his jacket pocket, clearly suggesting that he was armed. As he made a line for me, I had time to utter three commands, hoping to change his mind. He didn't even blink. Fortunately, with a foot to spare, my wife pushed me out of the way and we hurried back into our building. (Yes, I had forgotten my "jogging kata"! And yes, I bought her an ice cream cone!) In a group attack, I feel that peer pressure and ego are multiplied CONSIDERABLY, making it foolhardy to try and talk your way out of it. So, run if you can, or else take a quick breath, look for a weapon, and hit first...
it's on.

I also HIGHLY recommend working with your spouse and children to prepare for such a circumstance. Make sure everyone's on the same page. You don't want to run and leave your kids behind, nor should you let your kids run while you try to "hold them off". Your best chances are if you've all trained to either run as a unit or fight as a unit. The idea that it's your role as the "martial artist" to protect everyone is lunacy. In fact, don't be surprised to look up while you're on the ground wondering why your masterful kiai didn't scare everyone away, to see your "untrained" spouse making mincemeat out of somebody with a bag of groceries!

Any more real-life stories about fighting, or seeing someone fight, a group out there?

Best wishes,
PHIL


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 Post subject: WAR STORIES
PostPosted: Sat Jun 12, 1999 5:55 am 
I don't have any words of wisdom for handling gangs but a comment of Phil's:

"I also HIGHLY recommend working with your spouse and children to prepare for such a circumstance. Make sure everyone's on the same page. You don't want to run and leave your kids behind, nor should you let your kids run while you try to "hold them off". Your best chances are if you've all trained to either run as a unit or fight as a unit."

brought to mind a portion of Marc MacYoung's video "Safe In The Street: How to recognize violent street crime." (There is also a book). In this he points out how often the macho male tells his lady to run and stands firm to "hold them off". Only to look up from the ground to find that his lady refused to leave him. Nice loyalty but it makes his sacrifice for nothing. A good suggestion to get everyone on the same page.

Rick


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 Post subject: WAR STORIES
PostPosted: Sat Jun 12, 1999 1:46 pm 
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Joined: Sun Sep 27, 1998 6:01 am
Posts: 317
In Sensei Mattson's first book, the seminal "Way of Karate", he tells the story of the Indian prince who performed the 'experiment' of testing martial arts movements on slaves and war caprives until he had learned which worked and which did not. Supposedly, we are the heirs to this rresearch. Still, it is useful to hear others' real life experiences. When I sit on the Dan test board I often ask candidates, during the karate knowledge portion of the exam, what they believe works for them and what does not. Interesting to see how reluctant some candidates are to admit that certain movements do not "fit" them... as though they would flunk the test if they said they did not have confidence in their nukite finger strike, for example. Interesting also that the more experienced ( that is, street-experienced) fighters have no trouble discarding impractical techniques. Also the important point that strengths and vulnerabilities are individualized... a very big man needs to know how to use his size to advantage, a small person needs to know not to get into a strength contest, etc. I am all for a review of real life experiences, as long as it does not become a brag-fest. (Recall the Code of Ethics we worked on several years ago; it is inappropriate to brag or boast of actual injury inflicted, because we don't want to set up a goal in the minds of younger students that they should strive to outdo each other in this area). Might be hard to overcome the natural need for pridefulness, but I would also like to hear about what did not work.

------------------


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 Post subject: WAR STORIES
PostPosted: Sat Jun 12, 1999 6:59 pm 
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Joined: Thu May 27, 1999 6:01 am
Posts: 71
Location: LOS ANGELES
Dear Everyone,

Thanks for the contributions. Any more real stories about the dynamics of fighting a group out there? Surely someone else has seen SOMETHING worth mentioning. C'mon- think back! Even the most "uneventful" story can teach a great deal.

In the meantime, what about fighting someone with a knife? I have thankfully never had to fight a knife, but over the years, I have seen knives pulled on three different occasions. Surprisingly, in all three incidents, THE KNIFE WAS NEVER USED, only brandished! On the other hand, I have a friend who was stabbed (along with two police officers), but amazingly NEVER SAW THE KNIFE! From these experiences, I have come to believe that if an attacker REALLY wants to cut you, you won't know about it until it's too late. It's similar to those scenes in prison movies where someone is suddenly "shanked" without warning. But, if someone backs up, pulls a knife, and starts waving it around, they're probably just trying to scare you, and have no intention of actually using it. So, until I hear more stories, I will continue to treat EVERY attacker as if he were armed- just because I can't see a weapon, doesn't mean it's not there. And at close range, a knife fighter can whip out and use a knife just as fast if not FASTER than a gun. (Ever see the video "Surviving Edged Weapons" with Dan Inosanto? Yikes!)

Okay everybody- your turn. Have you ever had to fight someone with a knife? Have you ever SEEN a knife used in a fight? (And don't forget those "fighting a group" stories- or how about a group with a knife? :-)

Best wishes,
PHIL


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 Post subject: WAR STORIES
PostPosted: Tue Jun 15, 1999 2:52 am 
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Joined: Thu Sep 17, 1998 6:01 am
Posts: 2071
Location: Boston, MA
Folks, sorry for posting and disappearing. I was out of town for several days.

J.D. No secret with dealing with a possibly hostile group. As said before, be aware and avoid. Sometimes the shortest route is not a straight line. See a possible hostile group in your way, walk around in a quiet confident manner. Get into with someone in a bar/club who turns out to be part of a larger group. Exercise discretion over valor (or stupidity) and get out of there with quietly and confidently. Staying around for few drinks is akin to a challenge and the challenges grows on them with a few of their own drinks.

If one can't avoid and is momentarily trapped, use blast and pass or hit and run. Again, one is not going to try to take on a group but to remove an obstacle to escape. Animal MacYoung has a whole book on "Street E(vasion) and E(scape)" tactics -- pretty good ones too.

The lack of avoidance often comes down to machoness and stupidity. Like I said before, it's a disease and a potentially fatal one. Over the weekend, I met a FMA guy who told me of nearly having a fatal case of this disease. He got into a p*ssing contest with three guys at the bar. Stayed around and had his drinks (he also said he has a tendency to be a "mean drunk" when some one irks him.) When the left the bar and got into his car, the three guys showed up with their car blocking his way. He got out of his car and approached the three guys. The closest guy to him started to come out of the car and the FMA guy kicked the door on the guy's hand and leg, likely breaking the hand. A second guy came around the car and the FMA guy hit him with several punches and crunched him with an elbow to the head. That was the last thing he remembered. He woke on the pavement with big lump and a matching headache. The FMA guy considers himself lucky. He could be pushing up daisies now. His take on the affair. Sh*t happens and anyone can go down no matter how good. He also doesn't like to drink, except with friendly folks around him (doesn't want to raise the "mean" factor) or go to bars/clubs anymore. True to his words, he never came out with us.

Regarding knife fights or fights with knives, PHIL, it happens. Another reason to stay out of a physical altercation if you can avoid it. One may think of fighting empty hand but the other guy may have a different idea. (BTW, retract your sanchin hand position if you face a knife lest you want lose both hands...use your feet and movement.) Yes. I have several friends who were unfortunate to be stabbed but fortunate to still be alive today.

A young FMA guy I've been training with told me he once got into a blade fight with someone. He was walking and eating a slice of pizza when a druggie/homeless guy asked him for his slice. My training partner said no and the street guy punched him. My friend punched back. The street guy all of sudden had a straight razor in his hand and slashed. My friend saw just in time to get back a little and got sliced across the hip area. He pulled his blade, parried the next slash, went in and countered slashed to the guy's midsection. He didn't bother looking since he knew he connected. He took off running for four blocks, stopped, looked at his bleeding hip, covered it with a shirt, and then proceeded to upchuck everything in his stomache. He went home and stayed in his house for a week with recurring flashbacks. To paraphrase him, ain't no "glory" in it. He doesn't carry an edge weapon anymore. Said he just doesn't want to. This is coming from a man whose skills with a weapon is quite apparent in my training with him.

Over the weekend I was training with Frank Ortega of Tirada Tirsia. Another very skilled practitioner. As in a past seminar, he was peppered with questions about his "real life" experiences. His answers were consistent. When it goes down, he said one can never can tell what will happen. Suffice to say he has scars to show for those experiences but consistently declines to talk about any specifics. It seems some folks are just into it and want to live (fight) vicariously.

Paul G. I understand the concern about telling "stories" with the intent of boastfulness. Some of my stories are graphic but I am pretty consistent in relaying the message that you don't want to go there unless you really, really are forced to, as opposed to really, really finding a rationale to do so. It's fine line. I am not going to second quess. Let the individual figure it out. If one finds "glory" in going at it -- hey, FINE, enjoy it while one can. But I fall with most of the that expressed above, "ain't no glory in it." I KNOW I try my best to avoid it these days.

david


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