Thursday, October 27, 2005

No second place winner

In a fight, there is no second place winner. Bill Jordan wrote those words more than 40 years ago, and they were as true then as they are today.

I’ve been involved in the martial arts since I was 5, and unfortunately I’ve seen more than my share of very serious fights.

Last week some guy was making threatening moves towards me after I beat him rather badly at poker.

I just looked him straight in the eye and said firmly, but quietly, and in a dead monotone “If you throw that punch I will kill you. There will be no fight, I will get up out of this chair and I will kill you. I’m not kidding, I’m not playing, I’m not exaggerating and I’m not bragging. If you throw just one punch I am going to kill you. Now turn around and walk out that fucking door right now”.

And he did.

He looked into my eyes and he KNEW that if he even moved an inch towards me I would kill him without even thinking twice, and that certainly saved his life.

Given the vagaries of the legal world, it probably saved mine as well.

I'm a very easy going guy. I will take an enourmous amount of abuse without fighting. I will take everything up to and including some physical contact if I believe that the contact is simple bluster and I can be sure there is no attempt to gain advantage, or make a hiddne attack, and that I can be sure there are no weapons in their hands.

I don’t fight unless it’s life or death, because every fight IS whether you want it to be or not. If he had thrown a punch I wouldn't have just hit him back, I would have taken out his throat, or his ribs, or his eyes, or broken an arm or a leg. If he kept coming (and some of them do for some reason, long beyond the time they should give up) or one of his three friends got involved, I would have broken his neck, or cruchedhis windpipe, or just taken out my knife and killed him with it, and them too if they moved in to the fight.

You fight until the threat is neutralized, or until you can retreat beyond the range of the threat. Nothing more, nothing less. I don’t fight to win, I don't fight to kill, I fight to stop; and if that means killing someone, then that is what I will do.

Once a grown man has thrown a punch that is it. It’s not “jsut a fistfight”, they are trying to kill you. I have seen too many fights end with someone dead, or near to it, intentional or not. An adult fight isn’t like in the schoolyard, every fight is life or death and you had better treat it that way, or your going to be the one they carry out.

Make that decision right now, not when your life is on the line. Make that decision that you will do whatever it takes to stop the threat, no matter what; or you WILL be the one they carry out.