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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.
I highly recommend Jeff Cooper's "Principles of Personal Defense."
Check out Krav Maga, a brutally effective Israeli martial art. Also, the saying: "Better to be judged by twelve than carried out by six" comes to mind.
I will have to look into Jeff Cooper's book. It looks interesting. And it was actually a Krav Maga YouTube channel that gave the links to the "know your threat" series of videos. The problem with Krav Maga, though, is twofold. First, the majority of its schools do not participate in sparring. This is an egregious error. Studying techniques and hitting bags is simply no substitute for squaring off against another human being. Second, like many other styles, Krav Maga teaches techniques that are in and of themselves reasonable but which require a level of expert timing that is impossible for the average person to emulate. Try scooting in to the inside of a hook punch some time or knocking the knife out of someone's hand with a single blow. It looks easy if it's a coordinated demonstration or an expert performing the move, but on the street those hook punches come blindingly fast and one miss against someone with a knife could be the end of the story. Remember, the barbarians live in a culture that adulates physical strength. They devote as much time to lifting weights and MMA training as intellectuals devote to studying history or philosophy. The average person, i.e. someone who has not devoted a significant portion of their time to physical training and self defense, is going to be completely out matched. Worse, though, regardless of the style of fighting one studies, a fight in the street is not like a duel. Even if one is not opposing a group to begin with, it can quickly become a group as vermin slither out of the crowds or alleys to come to the aid of one of their own who is being bested. Never assume you're fighting just one person, and one thing I think I've learned is that you should never, ever engage in any sort of grappling or ground work. What works for UFC doesn't work in the real world.
Alertness and removing one's self from situations is definitely the best strategy.
Mr. Cornell, Jeff Cooper was an expert on self defense and firearms techniques. He was also an educated man, decorated veteran (Marine Corps in WWII and Korea,) and patriot. I would recommend all of his books and articles, many of which appeared in Guns & Ammo magazine. I wish that I had been aware of his writings and lectures while he was still alive. If you dig around in youtube, you can find some of his lectures. Cooper riled and inflamed the left with his contempt of street scum and the urban criminal element in the United States. He was from an older generation and certainly was not afraid to "mock the mockers."
The great Jeff Cooper read Chronicles from time to time--I do not know how regularly--and honored us with a letter to the editor. I believe Michael Hill had been trained by him and may have been invited to work with him. I have always nourished a hope that some South-hating young neocon would attack Dr. Hill....but I dream
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