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Thursday, October 21, 2010

Tried By Twelve?

The night before my wedding, Marcus shared with me some egregiously bad "self-defense" videos that he found online. I won't bother finding them or linking them, because that's hardly the point. You can find a thousand videos of the same kind all over the place. Techniques that require the bad guy to remain completely compliant, assume you can do one thousand movements to his single movement, and so on. Bad, but sadly, not really shocking (in that I've seen plenty of similar stuff from other sources).

What stuck out while watching these techniques was not how bad they were for Fight #2, but how dangerous they also were in Fight #3.

Quick Recap: One of the things we talk about in the PDR system is how any fight can really be broken down into three fights. Fight One is You vs. Yourself. Fight Two is You vs. The Bad Guy (this is the place where your physical training, if you have any will come into play, for better or worse). Fight Three is You vs. the Legal System.

Yes, the Legal System. Because when physical violence occurs in our society, the law usually gets involved. How much the law gets involved will depend on a number of factors (where you are, who is actually involved in the altercation, how badly were people injured, how many witnesses were there, etc...). And when the legal system gets involved, you will be asked to explain why you did what you did. It's quite possible to "win" Fight #2, and lose Fight #3 badly.

What brought this up?

The self-defense vids in question had some very...interesting...naming conventions. The one that stuck out the most, to me, was the "Dance of Death".

I'm not making that up. I couldn't.

Now, stop and think about this for a second.

Imagine you're involved in an altercation. Could be a road rage incident, bar fight, attempted mugging, or whatever. You successfully defend yourself. Actually, you beat the hell out of your assailant. He's going to eat through a straw for a month. He might never hear correctly out of one ear. He's been so thoroughly humiliated and beaten that he's decided to become a monk. Then the cops ask you what happened, and you proudly tell them about how you hit this guy with the "Dance of Death".


How well do you think that's going to go over in court? If the guy you fought happens to have a good lawyer or two, how well do you think that defense is going to go for you? How well will you do in fight three.

The popular adage among many self-defense instructors is that it's "better to be tried by twelve than carried by six". That viewpoint certainly has some validity, but that's no reason to cripple yourself during Fight Three either. A loss there can be as devastating as a loss in Fight Two.

Just something to think about.

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