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The Ethics of Stomping
The Violent Creed of a Cowardly New World, Corrected and Annotated on 8/20/18
© 2013 James LaFond
I have been nibbling around this subject in Harm City, Modern Combat, and on the Blog. Finally, I have come across a recent network broadcast seen in a late night diner that will provide a point of departure into the darker corner of my mind. This subject is, by the way, the centerpiece of my fiction, where I really wrestle with it from opposing and neutral viewpoints. This subject is the ethics and actualities of group versus individual violence.
The News Story
In some corner of the U.S., lost in the din of the diner as my attention was garnered by the talking head, a ‘peewee’ football game played out with parents on the sidelines. One boy scored a touchdown for his team, whereupon two boys from the opposing team knocked him to the ground and began kicking him in the helmet. Two of these kicks landed solidly. The victim’s mother went ballistic and the story progressed to the interview and commentary stage. I am certain that no criminal charges will be brought, as children at such an age are incapable of such actions.
Soft Little Jimmy
None of this surprised me. From age 6-11 I was consistently chased, grappled, beaten, humiliated, made to make fun of myself, made to cry, and made to declare older teenage boys my master as my face was pressed into the wire fencing to a yard in back alleys in Loch Raven Village, Baltimore County. One of these tormentors was a man-sized polish teenager who delivered papers for the News American, while I delivered papers for the Sun.
My cousin Fred, a big athlete 4 years my senior, did his best to toughen me up for such encounters. I was, not, however inclined to athletics or violence, being just a dreamy and not-so-bright little boy. Therefore I perceived Fred’s hours of anatomical pretzel-making with me as the raw dough on various grass and carpeted surfaces to be just more painfully heaped humiliation. Although I was not the brightest kid around—I was the brightest kid in my special education class—I quickly discerned two violence templates: the lone terrifying domination by an unbeatable individual; and the lonely confusing domination by a cohesive group, the individual components of which had at least one thing in common, their disapproval and victimization of me.
I was enrolled in football and baseball, I think, to help bring me out of my reclusive shell. I spent my football games on the sideline and the baseball games swatting gnats in left field and striking out. After practice I saw plenty of action, when my teammates would knock me to the ground, place their knees in my soft belly, slap me, punch me, and tell me I was worthless until I agreed.
This continued until I hit an early and most aggressive puberty.
Scary Jimmy
At age 14 I was boxing at the YMCA and hanging out with my friend Rick, who played fullback on my brother’s soccer team. My brother and I did not get along, largely because he was a star athlete. Helping him practice playing soccer in the backyard was an exercise in humiliation as he would dribble the ball through my legs and bounce around like an evil untouchable pixie from some South American nation. My brother was also smarter, better looking and far more popular then I, a 143 pound whack job who trained into the middle of the night fantasizing about crippling grown men in fights in front of their crying families.
I did have some status though, boys as old as 18 feared me. I was a psycho who would stop at nothing to avenge even the slightest insult, and actually snarled like an animal when I attacked people. I had decided when I hit puberty, that I would not justify the actions of those groups who had picked on and humiliated me, by joining one. But that I would become what they feared; that which caused them to band together into groups; a lone predator, someone who savored the whimpering of the enemies they beat into submission. I was a problem child.
Certainly, as a member of the middle school football team and brother to a soccer star [who would go on to become the second highest scoring varsity soccer player in Pennsylvania at only 75 pounds!] some coach or educator would rescue me from myself.
Coach Archie
One day, as I walked through the mall with my friend Rick we ran into coach Archie, also a teacher at the local high school. Coach wanted to speak with me about playing soccer. I responded that I boxed. He reminded me that black men dominated that sport with small brains snuggly protected within massive impenetrable skulls, and that I should involve myself in a white man’s sport, and not football, sport of trailer park idiots, but soccer, sport of cultured Europe.
I admitted to being a terrible soccer player. He admitted to knowing this, and tried to recruit me as an ‘enforcer’. Coach informed me that he only had one good fighter on the team and he would always be detailed to protect my loud-mouthed hard-charging brother who intentionally drew fouls to get penalty shots and was the likely target of ‘side-lining’ attempts by ‘enforcers’ from the other teams. My job would be to stay on the sidelines and go out on the field whenever my brother’s behavior would ignite a brawl. I was then to eliminate my counterpart and ‘side-line’ [not kill, just cripple] my brother’s counterpart.
The animal I had become wanted this like a contender wanted a title belt, like a virgin wanted a lover. But the nerd within, Soft Little Jimmy, was still there; someone I still had to live with before I went to sleep at night. I declined, henceforth being an enigma to this man, who observed me stabbing a classmate on my first day of high school and said nothing, and even discussed me as a psychopath of interest openly in advanced placement history class, after seeing me playing dodge ball. Years later when news came that I had hospitalized and nearly killed a friend for beating up my brother, he was likely sad that I had declined a position as his ‘enforcer’.
By the age of 16 I knew the reputation of football players as gang rapists to be well-deserved, and also knew them to be cowards when alone. As a welterweight boxer of no great ability I reveled in the potent ego-rush that I got whenever I bumped into a lone football player twice my size and glared into his eyes with barely caged homicidal fury as his sniveling soul tried to escape his impotent bucket of muscle through his belly and found itself cornered there.
A Primal Mirror
I have never been surprised since to hear tales of football players ganging up on individuals and beating them. The tales of European soccer hooligans running wild have never seemed anything but predictable to me. In my heart I have always known that team sports build group courage and erode individual courage. As a researcher and writer I have come to believe that this is deliberate. While the primary purpose of sports on a social level is to draw the critical eye of the masses away from their leaders, and into a fantastical realm of intense though contrived human drama, the purpose of team sports for eroding ones’ individuality and cultivating a sense of shared aggression, is very important to the coercive institutions of a hierarchal society.
On my first day of first grade I was crossing Putty Hill and Loch Raven Boulevard to Immaculate Heart of Mary to attend this benign religious institution's elementary school. This was a long diagonal crossing. To my child’s eyes it was like crossing the Red Sea. I only have one other memory of this anxious crossing. I do not think it was the same day. I recall looking back as I made it to the far side. The cars would often wait for slower children after the crossing light had changed, but this was purely voluntary. A tall older girl had dropped her binder and the pages began flying around. She was on her hands and knees cleaning them up as the cars waited [today she would be run over, I think] and I stood, too enthralled to turn away, too afraid to go back and help.
Soft, Cowardly Little Jimmy.
At this very spot, on my first day of first grade, I looked ahead at three adolescent trees that had some partially installed wire fencing around them where the school lot met the sidewalk before the yield. I began to walk through and was promptly attacked by three second graders who hit me, pushed me down, and kicked me. I remember bouncing off of the rolled fencing. Then came Chris, a big loud-mouthed third-grader, pushing them off of me. Chris became my only friend for years, and ever after that incident I never wanted to be part of a group enterprise—and still loathe the idea—but wanted to emulate Chris, a lone actor in a world of violent group activities.
Today I coach a boxer and a seven-person stick-fighting team out of a karate school two blocks past this very spot. I look twice a week at these trees that are now mature as I walk by. I admire the neat shrubbery that the fencing I had been bounced off of was being installed to protect 44 years ago. As part of a team of individual combatants I feel like I have avoided the fate of the shrubs and the boys that attacked me; that I have turned out more like Chris, wherever he may be.
The trees have recently been removed, large maples culled after heavy wind damage in early 2018. Their death brought on a moment of melancholy.
On Stomping
I am involved as a combat weaponry and ‘hands’ expert for various martial arts programs. I write widely on the subject. It strikes me as odd that the self-defense aspects of all of these programs focus on the lone attacker. It is not really odd, as our primal fear is of the lone attacker, the cat that stalked our primitive forefathers as they came down out of the trees. This is, however, totally at odds with our current feral-tribal reality. Fights between individuals outside of a sporting context are so rare in our society that I find myself searching for their occurrence like an anthropologist searching for evidence that a lost language is still sporadically spoken.
Virtually all violence is initiated by members of a hostile group against individuals. The balance is group on group. The primary instinctive concern with all of these actions involves putting the target on the ground and then kicking and stomping. Sixty [I had mistakenly written thirty in the orginal] years ago this behavior was only exhibited to any notable degree by members of violent white gangs. It is now Universal American Behavior.
During this same period football has overtaken baseball as the national past time and boxing has fallen away to an archaic exhibition. Boxing, the sport that denies the dominant actor the opportunity to stand over and beat a downed opponent, has been all but replaced by MMA, where beating a downed opponent is trained for.
Does the fading of non-violent baseball and the rigidly limited violence of boxing, in favor of hyper-aggressive football and the more ‘realistic’ violence of MMA represent art imitating reality?
Could it be that the reality of street attacks being virtually all group actions focused on downing and kicking targets represent reality imitating these combat arts?
Or, are both of these trends merely parallel phenomena mirroring the reemergence in humans of what is essentially chimpanzee behavior? Are we just rats in a cage reverting to our worst type?
Whatever the answer, it is important for self-defenders, survivalists and martial arts instructors to realize that the threats against most of us are essentially that which the boy who scored that touchdown faced: to be attacked by a group, and pushed to the ground and kicked, because you have either accomplished something in life that they have not, or carry a valuable that they covet as a possession.
Why have I never seen a martial arts instructor, in the scores of schools and seminars I have attended, address the very real threat of being ‘knocked over’ by the crudest of means?
Even top NFL players find it difficult to remain on their feet when contact is made by a counterpart. Keep in mind that you, and your self-defense students, are going to be targeted by groups of larger and/or more athletic actors, who have banded together largely to limit their legal risks. Even if you or your student are killed all of the actors in a three-person or more group attack are very unlikely to face serious criminal charges. Social sanction for group violence is nearly universal in our society, while the individual who acts out against the group is universally vilified. [Note the recent outrage at school shootings as "cowardly" acts, an individual attacking group, while news casters and police report group-on-individual stompings as "fights."]
The answer to the question alluded to in the title of this article is that stomping and kicking a downed person is the equivalent of hiding in a crowd with the added benefit that the violent group has now grown in strength by accepting you among its members at the expense of that cohesion-building parody of humanity at your feet. You have arrived, have escaped alienation at the expense of one declared less worthy by the tribe that has just accepted you.
For you members of the "Dissident Right" who are beginning to take up the banners of ‘tribalism’ and ‘masculinity’ in reaction to the deterioration of American society which you attribute to Latino and black culture, keep in mind that this is the form that tribalism takes in the modern world, the shoe to the downed skull, and that the implementation of this ethic as the ‘jump-in’ tool used by black and Latino gangs to develop cohesion was borrowed wholesale from white police departments and white [skinhead and biker] gangs.
The only logical conclusion to the enforcement of neo-tribal ethics in a postmodern society is an individual who lay helpless beneath the feet of a pack of apes wearing bloody shoes. I don’t know why we are in such a hurry to devolve, because in Harm City, and on your local suburban gridiron, we are already there, devolving into apes intent on wiping out the remnant humans at our feet.
Stomping is a most understandable value in terms of culture building I suppose. So be a good citizen, watch football, practice your ground-and-pound, and support your local boot party.
Postscript
I used devolution as a description of our postmodern sissy tendency to stomp out a lone individual, a sure sign of deteriorating masculinity, such as a recent attack by three men on one man in a Baltimore County bar men's room. However, after viewing this article five years after writing it, the trend towards total pack violence in our society, with individual violence limited to certain perversions like rape, spouse-abuse, child-beating and also ritual combat, is now comprehensively in place, with less than 5% chance that you will be attacked by an individual in a major urban center.
What has occurred, almost immediately after our society embraced pack-attack violence [cops are now arresting with 5-on-1 rather than 2-on-1 odds] as it's street-level ethos, is that gigantic corporations are no singling out individuals with dissident opinions for economic oblivion. This is evolution, not devolution. We are becoming social insects...
...SWEET METEOR OF DEATH!
The Violence Project
An Omnibus Volume of James' First Two Books
Nice Day for a Funeral
Why You Don’t Get Laid
the man cave
The Viking Hammerlock
eBook
america the brutal
eBook
wife—
eBook
sons of aryаs
eBook
spqr
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orphan nation
eBook
crag mouth
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the greatest boxer
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the fighting edge
Erique     Oct 30, 2013

Really liked this one, J. Really thought provoking. Some parallels for me with my early experiences. Weird to find that I'm going through my "Scary Jimmy" phase now, at 33. As if I don't have enough to intimidate random passersby with without my constant, gleeful recounting of my weekly combat sessions.
James     Oct 31, 2013

Thanks for the props. By-the-way, my next article is title Stabbing Erique. Enjoy.
Bran Mak Sworn     Aug 20, 2018

It's amazing to me how much of our early story coincides. Being picked on, beaten, with a nerdy cowardly side that turned to almost sadistic violence on the singular level.

Did you ever seek out fights or violence? That was my problem. I compensated for my anger and hatred with aggression despite not being a gifted fighter. I found out quickly as you did that without a crowd most individuals crumpled under sheer will and aggression.
James     Aug 21, 2018

I'll use this as an article starter and post it soon.

Thanks.
LaMano     Aug 20, 2018

As I read this, what immediately came to mind was Orson Scott Card's "Ender" character, a young, talented boy who was the target of aggression and beatings from his older brother, his schoolmates, and his military school fellow cadets; beatings both from individuals and from groups.

Young Ender developed the philosophy of "I'm not strong, fast, or much of a fighter, but if you attack me, I'm going to keep coming and in the end I'm going to hurt you so badly that neither you nor anyone who knows you will ever attack me again. I'm only going to fight you ONCE!"

In the series, this habit made him the ideal commander to destroy the invading aliens, and it worked.

Of course, in the modern movie based on the book, this philosophy was not shown in a "good" light. I, on the other hand, hope to be able to use it to protect myself and my family if I ever need to, and I have never hesitated to make threatening individuals believe it.

So far, so good.
James     Aug 21, 2018

Thanks,

I really liked Orson Scott Card's early work and never got to his Ender series.
Bob     Aug 21, 2018

The law of the jungle is a misnomer.
Bob     Aug 21, 2018

"Mischievous boys in a city" sounds like MSM-speak for minority incidents.

etymonline.com/word/gang
Bob     Aug 21, 2018

There's something hardwired and cross-cultural in why people hate hyenas and respect or love the lion.
James     Aug 21, 2018

I totally agree, Bob.
Dan Bagrov     Aug 22, 2018

"Boxing, the sport that denies the dominant actor the opportunity to stand over and beat a downed opponent, has been all but replaced by MMA, where beating a downed opponent is trained for."

I knew I hated MMA back in 2013. Not into sports or TV but confess I got pulled into the hype around Ronda Rousey at the time, watched an event at a bar. In one of the male fights leading up to the Rousey bout, one guy goes down to a head kick and immediately the other guy is on him, splayed over his torsop beating his face in with hooks, while the guy is unconscious from the kick. The ref let it go on for 7 swings maybe, he just wouldn't stop the "fight"! It was so unproductive, so pointlessly viscous. This is a sick factory farm we live on.
James     Aug 22, 2018

Not only do we find this distasteful and disgraceful but consider the lack of utility implicit in training to beat a downed opponent where legalities are concerned after a successful defense.
PR     Aug 23, 2018

I was thinking of buying a video made by Red Zone Knife Defense and saw that it was geared towards a martial arts studio where you partner-up and work on the techniques. Then I remembered all of the violent encounters you describe as many-on-one where one guy might have a weapon such as a knife or gun and there's no way to identify who it is beforehand. Like you said, far more martial-arts training needs to focus on defending yourself from packs. Lifting weights definitely helps. So does all of the stuff you do, but it will never be taught in a martial arts school. The only other defense is to pull out a weapon like a knife or screwdriver and start killing as efficiently as possible as the pack approaches you using footwork to keep them lined-up such that one is blocking the others as you stab. This, of course, could land you in prison if any survive. DON'T TALK TO THE COPS if you successfully defend yourself in such a manner.
WellRead Ed     Aug 24, 2018

The phenomenon of groups ganging up on a lone individual is an old one and was common in North Dindustan in the 70's. The victims of said attention generally divided into 4 categories; those who moved to the suburbs and were thus spared the horrors of Dindu violence, those that made friends with the Dindus in the hopes that they could avoid more violence, those that were perpetual victims and had a long, painful existence while simultaneously harboring a deep, intense, hatred for Dindus, and, finally, those that accepted that the only way OUT was THROUGH them. Those that chose this path (and, realistically, the last 3 choices could all be made by the same person) came to the conclusion that one did not have to beat a group. One only had to survive long enough to seek out revenge against one of their number and then beat them so severely that the others would recoil in horror at the thought of provoking another vendetta.

To arrive at that point, the lone actor had to believe that there was nothing too horrible to inflict upon an attacker; gouging eyes, biting off an ear, squeezing testicles until the screaming drowned out all other sound, even the lowest Dindu feared the loner that had arrived in that place in his mind.

One thing Martial "Arts" schools neglect to teach is this: When someone makes the decision to initiate violence against you, what happens to them from that point forward is their own fault.
James     Aug 24, 2018

Excellent point, WellRead Ed,

The certainty that one will be sought out for maiming or death by the target of Dindu violence is the best self-defense against the inception of such violence.
Bob     Aug 24, 2018

@ PR:

I bought that video. I'd advise you to save your money. Check out the knife assault collection and analyses on this site:

youtube.com/playlist?list=PL586FF51A65F9D84C

Very humbling. No choreography.
Bob     Aug 24, 2018

Doesn't stomping with hard shoes come under the classification of aggravated assault? A self-defense stomping plea sounds like something the prosecutor would lick his lips over.
James     Aug 24, 2018

Case law on using the shoed foot to kick or stomp a downed defender in the head goes back to the 1930s in the USA, with one circuit court judge citing Jack Dempsey. Since at least the 1970s, some law enforcement use of lethal force guidelines have cited a downed police officer being kicked in the head as justification for shooting to kill.

This is almost the only way someone dies in an unarmed street fight, #2 being the head of a falling KO victim hitting pavement.
Bob     Aug 24, 2018

@ PR:

I'm assuming you've read LaFond and Pentecost.

amazon.com/Put-Down-Take-Out-Techniques/dp/1626545049
Bob     Aug 24, 2018

@ PR:

I've got this Carl Cestari video; it's realistic and not panglossian.

youtube.com/watch?v=ZNvOKbHVOiE
PR     Aug 24, 2018

Outstanding Bob, thank you.

There is so much Bullshido out there, it's hard to separate fact from fiction.

Anyone a fan of Rex Applegate who wrote one of the original Marine Corps field manuals on combatives?

brushbeater.files.wordpress.com/2018/06/kill_or_get_killed.pdf
Bob     Aug 25, 2018

@ PR:

Yep, I'm a fan of all those combatives exponents, Applegate, Fairbairn, etc..

I recommend Cestari's "Old School" series DVDs. He was eclectic, not hung-up on tradition, and with real, ugly experience. Police, army, and after a manslaugher sentence, prison, where his previous training would have been fully tested. His protégé is Clint Sporman, who runs training programs. Honest and knowledgeable is my impression.

youtube.com/watch?v=z_yNc6PnFvk

The only thing I don't agree with the late Cestari on is hand-conditioning. I think soft-tissue damage and arthritus arise from smashing hard surfaces over long periods. Better to build up muscle bulk and tendon strength by working the hand, à la guitar player/rock climber.

I like Kelly McCann (aka Jim Grover) and recommend his DVDs too. Again, combative, pre-emptive mindset.
Bob     Aug 25, 2018

@ PR:

Here's another good, succinct combatives manual. (Again, I don't agree with this Asian-style hand-conditioning)

tinyurl.com/ycrx9f93
Bob     Aug 25, 2018

@ PR:

One thread that binds all these exponents is non-signaling; any blow travels the least distance possible to the target and must not be loaded up. Bodyweight compensates for the lack of distance. Shock, surprise gives a winning edge.

youtube.com/watch?v=wdPP0TmqKiU
Bob     Aug 25, 2018

I should also say that fighting is set in a precise cultural and political milieu. It will reflect and augment, to a large extent, elites' values and priorities:

chinesemartialstudies.com/2016/01/29/the-exotic-feminine-and-dangerous-how-the-yellow-peril-set-the-stage-for-the-cultural-appropriation-of-the-asian-martial-arts-1902-1918
Bob     Aug 25, 2018

Admitedly O/T, but interesting in the light of the contemporary multi-ethnic colonization project, is the way the British used Sikhs, both as physical enforcers and as a psychological tool, to subjugate the ethnic Chinese in the colony of HK. (Sikhs were used against other ethnic Indian groups in British India, too.)

chinesemartialstudies.com/2014/01/20/through-a-lens-darkly-20-ip-man-confronts-the-indian-police-officer
PR     Aug 25, 2018

Bob,

THanks.

Almost any type of conditioning done in a gradual way will give benefits without pain problems.

That last link was highly ironic because now there are pictures on the internet of Londonistan where no British people are to be found and the Chinese will have to come to the UK to re-Christianize it. What a difference 100 years makes. Right now, white people are the invisibles living under global Leftist Empire. How will it be different in 100 years?
Bob     Aug 27, 2018

I always wear sturdy leather shoes/boots. Sneakers can't deliver the same painful point or edge kick.
PR     Aug 29, 2018

Hey Bob,

The Cestari series looks great but is there advice for dealing with multiple assailants? Now that I'm reading James' "The Violence Project" and my own experiences have taught me that in most survival situations, the assailants will have a numerical advantage.

The new Marine Corps' combatives manual starts off with footwork, which is probably essential to dealing with multiple assailants.
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