Avoidance: It’s “Self-Defense Technique” No.1

IMPLICIT in the “challenge” event approach to what we would refer to as pseudo martial arts is the idea that face-offs, fights, “throwing down”, and in general looking for trouble is cool, macho, and for some insane reason the insignia of the “real” tough guy — the no-nonsense “fighter”.

This idea is worse than nonsense. It amounts to the embracing of a philosophy and lifestyle (not to mention a theory of technique) that is at very best adolescent, and bothersome to civilized humanity; at worst it is criminal, suicidal, and antisocial.

True enough, the legitimate competition fighter — wrestler, boxer, judo man, kick boxer, competition karate man — understandably and properly never ceases, while active on the competition scene, to look for other competitors against whom he can match his skills. However, there is a big difference between the legitimate sports competitor who issues his challenges to other competitors only, and the scowling, braying ass whose bellowing protestations of “toughness” and “great fighting prowess” are directed at all and sundry, and are intended to provoke even non-participants in his nonsense, as the blustering anthropoid swaggers about looking for a fight.

Two of our loves in life are weight training and combat arts. We have seen the first ruined in the mainstream by idiotic standards and by the use of steroids; as we have seen the latter ruined in the mainstream by the worst possible attitude (presented as desirable by the vested interests who profit from its propagation), and by the advancement of competition skills masquerading as combat skills. Both weight training and combat arts (hand-to-hand military, and self-defense) are now, in their proper and healthy forms relegated to a kind of “underground” where teachers who know what gives continue to push what really works, and that which provides what those who come to these marvelous disciplines are really seeking.

The inherent stupidity of a bad attitude (i.e. looking for trouble) has been demonstrated many times. It got Jean-Claude Van Damme knocked out cold; it got Mike Tyson hospitalized; and it got a “champion” UFC man neatly dispatched by a single blow, at the L.A. airport by — of all people — Richard Simmons!

Please . . . do not get competitive bouts and sparring with practice partners confused with real combat. “Challenge events”, no matter who makes the claim to the contrary, do not reflect that which works and that which is required in actual hand-to-hand battle, and for self-defense emergencies. If this kind of stuff interests you, fine. Just don’t confuse that which it entails with that which is involved in close combat.

Squaring off with another scowling knuckle-dragger is not the same as handling a surprise attack in the street or in your home by one or more felons. Training in skills that win matches is not the same as training in combat skills — and combat is no “match”; it is a battle for survival.

Home invasions do not occur in any “octagon” or “cage” — they occur in peoples’ homes.

Real attackers carry deadly weapons. They attack in pairs and groups. They come from behind, when they can. They thrive on violence and on trouble. They are not hard training athletes; they are dangerous, violent, hateful psychopaths. They do not “schedule” their attacks, and allow you to cancel the engagement if you’re ill or otherwise unready. Real attackers come at you on concrete, rock-strewn, uneven and dangerously hazardous ground surfaces. They attack you without your having a chance to warmup and to change into your “fight gear”, etc. They attack your loved ones, too. They attack in parking garages, malls, restaurants, movie theaters, parks, offices, school buildings, driveways, airline terminals, and so on; and they attack when you least expect it, and —often — are least prepared and in condition to deal with their onslaught. They attack at night and during the day, and they attack in foul, inclement weather, as well as when the sun is shining. They attack when they are young and strong, and when you may be old and not-so-strong. Big felons attack much smaller victims — disregarding anything resembling “weight class distinctions” and fair play.

Need we go on?

Muggers, troublemakers, armed thugs, gang members, terrorists, bullies, rapists, kidnappers, and assorted other bipedal bacterial scum are not competitors. PERIOD.

In real combat you never know who you are dealing with, what his intentions and capabilities are, and what kind of as-yet-unseen assistants and/or weapons he may be employing against you.

The legitimate competition fighter has no illusions about any of this. He does not seek to establish a reputation as a “badass”; he simply wishes to excel in his competitive venue — certainly a legitimate and worthy goal.

Did you ever hear of Chuck Norris or Gene LeBell (two of the greatest competition men in American martial arts history) pushing their weight around? Or looking outside their sporting activity for people to beat? Of course not! Nor did Muhammad Ali ever behave with and amongst others when outside the ring or when not promoting a legitimate fight, as anything less than the gracious, marvelously competent gentleman and fighter that he is. Those three men — Norris, LeBell, and Ali — did great honor to their respective arts of karate, judo/wrestling, and boxing. Parents rightly encouraged their sons to emulate these great sports heroes, because each is a fine and gracious individual, magnificently representative not merely of great competitive fighting acumen, but more importantly, of great CHARACTER. These men disdained anything resembling a “tough guy attitude” off the mat or outside the ring, and each man knew very well the huge differences between hard fought matches, and toe-to-toe battles. We once heard Muhammad Ali respond to a question regarding how it felt to be the greatest fighter in the world by saying, “That’s silly. A little girl could stick her finger in my eye and I couldn’t do anything.”

Sensible, respectable, responsible, legitimate competition people all have essentially the same attitude toward becoming embroiled in unnecessary violence that properly trained combat trainees have:


Only a fool looks for, welcomes, or desires real violence in his life. You can pretty much judge the authenticity of anyone representing himself as a combat/self-defense teacher by how adamantly he proselytizes against looking for trouble, getting into fights, or otherwise courting gratuitous violence.

The punk is itching to throw down. The genuine expert seeks to avoid — to walk away, whenever possible. Interestingly enough, the punk generally gets his empty head as well as his ass kicked when he finally picks the wrong victim upon which to level his bullshit. The expert generally provides the nastiest and most painful of surprises to the troublemaking half-wit who insists upon forcing him to defend himself!

Avoidance is, literally, a self-defense technique.

When you successfully avoid a physical encounter you have, as we see it, won. That is, you have successfully defended yourself against whatever consequences  may have come, had you not avoided that encounter. Those “consequences” remember, could be extraordinarily devastating to you — not merely if you had been injured or perhaps killed, but if you had suffered any possible legal damages. Civil lawsuits, not to mention defense attorney fees (even if you had acted in legitimate self-defense) should you be unjustly charged, and not recognized to have been acting in lawful self-defense by the criminal justice system. Innocent and decent people suffer at the hands of the system all the time. Mafia Dons often escape even minor penalties — while Martha Stewart does time.

You do NOT, unless you are a fool and a worthless troublemaker, want to engage in any violent encounter that can be avoided. Your ignorance of the legal system, coupled with whatever ego you may possess, conceivably might be enjoining you to believe otherwise (as, undoubtedly, many of the mainstream imbecile “champions” and “heroes” of the challenge bullshit would have you believe), but LISTEN TO US! Nothing – absolutely nothing – good can come from becoming involved in a dangerous close combat encounter, unless such an encounter is impossible to avoid, and you must take action for survival and self-defense.

Those who enjoy getting it on in a cage (where, some might feel, these types actually ought to be contained, permanently) or who swagger into the octagon, etc., feeling themselves to be “bad dudes” indulge their fantasies in a relatively safe context. There are no ever-present dangers of being maimed or killed, of being shot, stabbed, stomped, or otherwise mangled. Yet in the real world NOTHING BUT SUCH DANGERS OFFER, WHENEVER REAL COMBAT ENSUES. Legitimate, professional combat teachers and serious devotees of the combat arts know this very well; as do legitimate competitive sports participants who have grasped the difference between that which they do, and that which occurs in hand-to-hand combat. YOU had better grasp the difference, too!

Far too little emphasis is given today in the many so-called “self-defense” programs that are taught, to AVOIDANCE. In American Combato, avoidance is the first “self-defense technique” we strive to rely upon. Our philosophy is:

FIRST, strive to avoid trouble

SECOND, if avoidance is not possible, strive to preempt the attacker’s onslaught

THIRD, if avoidance or preemption were not possible, and an attack catches you off guard, counterattack.

That’s it. It’s legal. It’s moral. It’s sane. It’s sensible. It’s practical. It’s REAL. And, when backed up with the kind of utterly decisive technical doctrine and mindset that we espouse, it is as close to a “surefire means of winning in a dangerous situation” as anyone is ever likely to acquire.

Going to every possible extreme to avoid trouble enhances your use of one of the most critical elements required for success in combat: THE ELEMENT OF SURPRISE. The bacteria that pushes the issue, and who insists upon violence in the face of your refusal to willingly participate in battle never anticipates that, should he initiate force, you will go after him like a wild animal, and that you will stop at nothing to destroy him. The arrogance of the troublemaker becomes his pronounced undoing if and when the individual with whom he is intent upon starting trouble makes it obvious that he himself wants no trouble, but upon being given no choice, becomes a more savage, merciless, and ferociously destructive aggressor than the troublemaker was ever capable of being.

If you have truly done everything possible to avoid trouble, your conscience should be completely clear and you need have no regrets no matter how much damage you inflict upon the scumbag who attacks you.

This works.

Decent, free people in a free nation do everything possible to avoid war. However, once given no choice but to wage war against a determined enemy, those decent, free people, fighting for their free nation, do WHATEVER THEY MUST TO WIN, and they have no regrets about the matter. This applies to individuals, too — as does every principle of warfare between nations apply to individual combat.

While the martial arts mainstream continues blindly along the path of the fool, and physical violence is urged as a source of “pride”, “manliness”, as “martial virtue”, determine to go the RIGHT way; to be sane and reasonable, and truly prepared, while the majority leap into the abyss.

AVOID VIOLENCE. Fight only when you must; not when you “can”.

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