2014, January 10
Our beloved and totally trustworthy protectors… pshaw
On the 4th of August 2011, an unarmed man named Mark Duggan was shot to death by armed police in Tottenham, London, in the UK. His death was the incident that- added to many previous injustices and ills visited upon the small urban area by those in positions of power- triggered city-wide rioting and looting.
It has taken over two years for an inquest into his death to be completed, and a verdict to be delivered. The details of the case teach us a great deal about how our police force functions, and the verdict tells us a lot about the law, whom the law is designed to protect, and how society regards these things.
Yesterday, the inquest into Mr Duggan’s killing delivered the following verdict: Though they rejected the claims of some police officers that Mr Duggan had been armed at the time of the shooting, they stated that his killing was a “lawful killing”. This has provoked a storm of incredulous protest from Mr Duggan’s family and supporters of his family.
By itself, the verdict merely confirms the current state of affairs in the UK: that it is legal for police officers to shoot someone to death when the balance of probability is that they do NOT pose a lethal threat to the police, or to anyone. Here’s why I say that: Read the rest of this entry »
2014, January 1
Here’s a fantastic way to start 2014; definitively answering the decades-old question, who would have won in a real fight between Bruce Lee and Chuck Norris?
Of course, the more astute martial artists among this blog’s readers will already be certain of the correct answer. But let’s go through the reasoning nonetheless.
In order to answer this question accurately, just as with any question, we will first have to frame the issue accurately:
Point 1: When answering any question about “who would win in a real fight between x & y”, one can only answer with a probable outcome. It’s a fact that on any given day, any fighter could in theory be defeated by any opponent, regardless of deficits in skill-level. Read the rest of this entry »
2013, December 20
Another exposé of no-touch knockout bullcrap has been doing the rounds. In this one, a wonderful group of skeptics attended an “open seminar” by a Finnish pseudo-martial artist named Jukka Lampila.
Those courageous skeptical fool-smokers really did a number on him, specifically by asking a set of very basic questions, by not flinging themselves in the direction of his pats, wafts, prods and pokes and generally not being willing accomplices to his cultish buffoonery.
I could spend the entirety of this post taunting his poor, misguided followers that leap into the air and fling themselves on the floor at the slightest provocation, and metaphorically shaking my head in disbelief that he’s probably still teaching the same nonsense back home, even after this very public experience. But this would not be the best use of anyone’s time, and I’ve already done it so often in the past relating to similar incidents, that it would be redundant.
Instead I’d like to take the opportunity to address two points. Read the rest of this entry »
2013, December 15
GSP seems to be happy that he’s left the sport… but he may have been happier if he’d never gotten into it in the first place.
Most people au fait with the martial arts will be aware that Georges St-Pierre, a man who could legitimately be called the greatest pound-for-pound martial artist the world has ever seen, has vacated his world title- a title which he has held and defended against all comers for the best part of six years- and has taken an indefinite leave of absence from the sport of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA).
Naturally, most of the coverage of this significant event in the sport revolves around a discussion of his legacy, with some folks speculating that the closeness of his recent fights has led him to give up, due to his competition catching up uncomfortably close behind him. Others are wondering how his effective retirement will impact the box office for MMA globally; St-Pierre has been the biggest draw in the sport for some time, after all.
But- of course, and as ever- this is a sideshow to the real discussion that people should be having. The issue is not whether St-Pierre should leave the sport; the question is not how his departure will affect the sport… in fact the more pertinent point of discussion is: whether he should ever have gotten involved with the sport in the first place… and for that matter, whether anyone should.
Read the rest of this entry »
2013, November 4
It is that time of year again: the week of Remembrance Sunday. This is when the denizens of the UK turn out on to the streets to commemorate the British soldiers who have died in war. Those familiar with my blog will be unsurprised to discover that I find the commemoration of only British dead; or only deceased soldiers; or even only deceased British soldiers, to be- if done in isolation and without equal consideration of the civilian dead or even the dead of our official enemies- to be manifestly ridiculous and in fact immoral.
I’ll therefore be wearing a White Poppy aka. the “Peace Poppy” this week, instead of a red one. The White Poppy was first produced en masse in the 1930s, when the manufacturers of the red poppy refused to put a message of peace on their flowers.
Here’s some reasons why I’ll be wearing one, and why you should too: Read the rest of this entry »
2013, October 29
This is the spectre… of EGO!
My first post on this topic examined how one’s ego can drive one into potentially violent situations for no good reason. Hopefully anyone who reads these posts will have the strength of character to recognise their own ego in some of the examples given, and strive to bring it further under the control of their better nature. Because we are all controlled by our ego at times, and our best defence (as is the case across the board) is an awareness that this is happening.
However, the ego has many faces, and bleeds into one’s life with great subtlety and wearing many insidious disguises. In this post I shall examine some of the less obvious ways that one’s ego can interfere with one’s pursuit of safety and security, and look at the consequences of leaving it to run unchecked.
How can one be fully aware of one’s own ego, when the ego’s raison-d’etre is to conceal itself? Read the rest of this entry »
2013, July 19
Here’s a delicate subject. Perhaps the most delicate, misunderstood, loaded subject one can deal with when discussing self defence. The subject of sexual assaults and rapes. Frankly I doubt my own ability to cleanly delineate the issues involved; they are so many and varied and subtle that no self defence commentator has walked the fine line carefully enough to avoid accusations of victim-blaming on the one hand, or to avoid watering down the self defence advice too much on the other.
I for one know all too well that one can be accused of victim-blaming when discussing less emotive topics like wilderness survival or street-attack avoidance… So it’s very likely I’ll be accused of victim-blaming in this case regardless of how cautiously I proceed. With that in mind, let’s begin.
The issue (in brief)
A primer for those new to the subject: Rape’s a crime that is predominantly but not exclusively committed against women. Children are victims a great deal of the time, and lastly and least commonly, men are also rape victims. Rape therefore tends to be regarded as a “women’s issue”, though some very smart commentators take issue with this classification for various reasons. Suffice it to say, the issue of rape has been of very great concern to women, women’s activist groups and women’s self-defence instructors and commentators for some considerable time. Read the rest of this entry »