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Boxing and Predation
Compared to Karate and Confrontation


Last week three wannabe thugs tried to drive me off a sidewalk by fanning out and coming at me shoulder to shoulder. I shouldered through, ready to butt a shoulder into a solar plexus so that I could compromise one enemy while cutting through and turning on the other two.

As I recounted this, my roommate, a long-time karate instructor, objected, asking why I did not stop and make them reconsider their rudeness or force them to flow around me, or face off for combat? This is what he does at the YMCA when inattentive and disrespectful basketball players fail to notice him or give the proper courtesy.

We were looking at this situation from two different arts and two different reference points, actually three arts: boxing, karate, and weapons. I was considering the use of my beer cans and my knife, and their possibly being armed, against which both boxing and karate are functionally ill-suited.

In his situation, as an instructor at a facility being confronted by the rudeness of attending youths, my street predation attitude would disrupt the Orwellian patina of civility he functions beneath and get him banished far beyond the pale. Furthermore, as a karate instructor, he practices a purely confrontational art form developed in a highly structured hierarchal culture in which elders were honored without question by youth.

In the YMCA hallway, in the locker room, on the dojo floor—in industrial Japan—his art has the answer.

But, in Urban Blight America, in the Harm City hunting matrix, where elders are prey and youth are predators, facing off according to karate doctrine and demanding civility of strangers are both counterproductive practices.

Both he and I have the ability to KO teenage punks with ease and at will. His art demands this as doctrinal to personal defense, and hence sets him up to become the karate version of George Zimmerman, if he cracks open some oppressed face with his karate fist. Likewise, the traditional Asian-based confrontational self-defense model—similar to a Cheyenne Dog Soldier staking himself to the earth—puts him at the mercy of escalation of force with guns, knives, reinforcements—an uncle in conversion van—etc.

At the YMCA, stopping and standing, is a good way of reminding those uncouth youth, distracted on their cell phone, that they should show some courtesy. But on the street, in a city where police are being pressured not to arrest violent offenders and to not use handcuffs, fists, chokes, joint locks, tazers and firearms when they do, we are in a predatory setting where standing and demanding civility is simply an invitation to surround the old man, pick up some road tar, garden bricks and discarded malt liquor bottles, and send out the flash mob summons via the net.

By way of contrast the boxer is in the gym to avoid this kind of thing, not prepare for it and is taught never to knock these fools out unless his life is in danger and to avoid confrontations with unqualified combatants, who, as soon as their friends start dropping like flies in October, will either call in reinforcements, draw a weapon, or call the police. Boxing may be modified for street use, but the boxer knows that by so doing he is taking his art out of context and possibly bringing disaster. I know three boxers who have been shot for KO’ing thugs on the street. I know two karate people who have likewise been dealt with.

So, when you walk out of the ring and are invited into dangerous situations, look for an exit strategy, minimize the damage you do to individuals and maximize the number of individuals you damage, in order to take them out of the lying witness pool and put them into the fight in the eyes of the law.

Most importantly, in survival settings, do not alter your behavior in response to a threat, and do not confuse a threat as mere incivility.

The false ethos of proxy enforced civility and the civilization that cultivated that bankrupt notion are dead—and good riddance, for it was a lie all along.

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