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I've stopped knives that were coming to disembowel me

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I've dodged as someone tried to put an ax in my skull

I've fought screaming steel and left rubber on the road to avoid death

I've clawed broken glass out of my body after their opening attack failed

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The streets were my home, I hunted in the night and was hunted in turn


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The postings on this blog are my interpretation of readings, studies and experiences therefore errors and omissions are mine and mine alone. The content surrounding the extracts of books, see bibliography on this blog site, are also mine and mine alone therefore errors and omissions are also mine and mine alone and therefore why I highly recommended one read, study, research and fact find the material for clarity. My effort here is self-clarity toward a fuller understanding of the subject matter. See the bibliography for information on the books. Please make note that this article/post is my personal analysis of the subject and the information used was chosen or picked by me. It is not an analysis piece because it lacks complete and comprehensive research, it was not adequately and completely investigated and it is not balanced, i.e., it is my personal view without the views of others including subject experts, etc. Look at this as “Infotainment rather then expert research.” This is an opinion/editorial article/post meant to persuade the reader to think, decide and accept or reject my premise. It is an attempt to cause change or reinforce attitudes, beliefs and values as they apply to martial arts and/or self-defense. It is merely a commentary on the subject in the particular article presented.


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[Self-Defense] Size, Strength and Age

"There are many elements that will influence how much force is necessary. The size, strength, health and sometimes the age of the threat matters, as well as your own size, strength and age." -  Chapter 1: Legal and Ethical; para 1.1.3 Facing Violence by Rory Miller

How many of us actually take this into consideration when attacked? Did you actually know when you applied force for self-defense that this also would influence whether your actions would be judged legal vs. illegal?

This also promotes just how important it is for anyone teaching or learning self-defense to get the knowledge and apply it to your practice and training. You may have assumed that these type of things don't matter; mistake.

Example, there was an article not long ago about a woman who was standing in a parking place so as to hold it until her boy friend could bring the car around the block to park. This is not an uncommon action by many in big cities especially when parking is a premium. Anyway, while the  boy friend was going around the block another man pulled up and told her to get out of the way. The woman explained, etc.

To shorten the story the guy got out of his car and apparently decked her. He claimed that the woman attacked him first. She was knocked out and he was arrested. She was about 120 pounds and he was about 215 pounds. She was a small person and he was about 6' 1 or 2". The age was not mentioned so we don't know how far apart their ages were.

Here is where I would have added to the "Size, Strength and Age" the word "gender." I do believe that "gender" would also be of high consideration in a self-defense strategy.

With out any additional information I would "assume" that in front of a Jury those twelve folks would see both parties, if she lives, and say, "Hm, small woman, big man; stronger man vs. average strength woman; age makes no difference; woman vs. man?"

How can a man who is obviously much larger and stronger with a definite advantage as to perceptions and social behaviors to be of greater ability who applied his greater ability against one with less using force that is apparently much greater than necessary to defend, if it was actually defense against her say, slapping him, could not be guilty of assault?

So, you can readily see that size, strength, age, and GENDER do matter. I don't think I could "articulate" anything well enough to overcome my actions and convince a jury of twelve that I was justified in putting a woman in the hospital for a parking space! Right?

p.s. considering the story I used for an example, the need to train and practice to control the monkey brain seems really critical for at least the male species. I say this because in the story above it seems that guy is using the self-defense strategy in desperation because it would appear he allowed his monkey brain to run the show resulting in the assault on the woman. Monkey Brain Training, yea, sounds good to me.

Bibliography:
Miller, Rory. "Facing Violence: Preparing for the Unexpected." YMAA Publications. New Hampshire. 2011.

3 comments:

SueC said...

Hi Charles, I think gender is an important consideration in self-defence but not necessarily in the way you describe. Sure, the average woman is smaller and weaker than the average man but there are some great big hulking women out there who would have a good go at decking a man! Likewise there are some small, weak men who may be as vulnerable as the average woman. So these issues just relate to size and weight.

I think the real gender issue is one of psychology. Women can be disadvantaged not by their size so much as having a higher fear factor, less aggression due to having less testosterone than men, less experience of violence than the average man and being socialised to be more trusting of people and basically being taught that its not ladylike to fight.

Gender is definitely an issue, it's just not necessarily a physical one. What do you think?

Charles James said...

Hi, Sue: Remember, posts like this are very general yet your points are valid.

Your view as to the crux of the issue as psychological is right on. Women, generally, have to deal with those social issues your raise.

Generally, men and women physically have a disparity in favor of the male yet not exclusively. :-)

Good comment, thanks!

John Vesia said...

It's true that as a martial arts adept you have a legal (and moral) responsibility to avoid physical conflict if at all possible. The thing is, confrontations usually happen so fast there's no time to think. If I stand there and start mulling over the possibility of a lawsuit or some other legal ramifications while some punk is trying to boost my wallet, I'm done. Obviously getting into a fight over a parking spot is utterly stupid. That one had a bad ending, it happened here in New York a few months back. Sadly, stories of this ilk are not that uncommon.

There was a story a couple of years ago concerning a busload of American senior citizens visiting Costa Rica. A robbery was announced by a young local with a gun who boarded the bus. One of the tourists, a seventy-something year-old, grabbed his much younger adversary (who had a rap sheet), put him in a choke hold and killed him. He was questioned by the authorities, witnesses corroborated his story and he was free to go.