The Return of the Barbarians
by Vince Cornell
My son has started karate classes, and I have taken the opportunity to dust off my old gi and start working out with them at the same time. This renewed interest in hand-to-hand self defense lead me to some research on the internet, mostly through a few YouTube videos. Obviously one cannot learn any substantial self-defense over the web—nothing substitutes for the practice of punching someone and being punched by someone—there are interesting videos of ideas, techniques, and scenarios that are worth pondering. One channel provided some video footage called "understanding the threat". In general, the video encourages people to take the attitude that violence should be avoided and recommends quick attacks combined with fleeing as the best strategy. It offered footage of actual street violence to explain why sparring in a dojo, while useful, is not a good representation of the real threat in the street.
I have to confess that, cynic that I am it was still disturbing and shocking to see the real life barbarians and their savagery. Reading about these attacks is not the same as seeing them occur. I recommend everyone take some time to seek out and watch a few of these videos (usually made from people's cell phones or security camera footage). It's horrifying, but it helps one better understand the monsters that are now roaming freely amongst us. These things, for they are not men, see nothing wrong with blindside attacks on women. They will punch women in the head and then stomp on their faces when they fall on the ground. They will gang up 5 against 1 unsuspecting elderly person without hesitation, and they will not stop hitting and stomping after the person is knocked out. There is no concept of honor, courage, justice, or fairness. They dance and brag when their gang beats a single, unarmed victim to death. They are strong. They are fast. Very fast. They do not give warnings. They explode into violence.
I try not to live in fear, but I try hard to be always aware of my surroundings, especially when I'm in the city. If anyone who resembles a thug is even within eyesight, I try always to know his location and where his hands are. If one of these thugs gets close to you, say within 3 feet, it's a good reason to inconspicuously look for a way to open that distance. If a group of these thugs enters a place, it's not a bad idea to leave.
I would say keep your powder dry, but avoidance really is the best strategy since the "law", will side with the gang of brutes if given the chance. Being the next "Zimmerman" will wind up doing as much damage to you and your family in the long run.
If you have a family, it is your duty to protect them. Researching the enemy will help you understand the threat. Making sure your family understands the enemy, in age-appropriate ways, is also vital. It's not like the movies. There will be no mercy. It is not civilized men we face but an ancient savagery that, while small in percentage now, once threatened whole continents with its wrath and is looking to do so once again. Bravado must give way to prudence. I used to struggle with the idea that it was cowardly and dishonorable to run from the fight. Among civilized men, I still think this, but if you're facing a bear or a pack of wolves the wise and the brave alike should take to their heels.
That is what we're up against. Know the enemy, and keep your head on a swivel.