2014, January 10
Posted by on
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 more of this post
2013, December 20
Posted by on
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 more of this post
2013, December 15
Posted by on
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 more of this post
2013, November 4
Posted by on
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 more of this post
2013, October 29
Posted by on
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 more of this post
2013, July 19
Posted by on
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 more of this post
2013, May 12
Posted by on
Cover illustration for A Brave New World, used without permission
As perhaps the greatest exponent of intellectual self-defence in the world for the past fifty years, Noam Chomsky holds a special place in the hearts and minds of those who truly wish to escape the modern version of the net of psychological manipulation that has been cast over the minds of mankind by the wealthy and powerful since the dawn of civilisation.
Like any great martial artist, (albeit an intellectual martial artist in his case) Chomsky has a laundry list of victories over foes that apparently overmatch him. Periodically I will explore some of Chomsky’s greatest battles, and analyse his keys to victory.
Unlike the physical techniques of an Anderson Silva however, Chomsky’s techniques cannot be used both for good and for evil; they can only be used for good: They are only useful for uncovering the truth and promoting peace between others. This is worth bearing in mind.
Chomsky vs… the “Brave New World” of the Behaviourists
There were several very influential dystopian novels written in the twentieth century. Most people will have heard of “Nineteen Eighty-Four” by George Orwell, which- thematically- dealt primarily with how a right-wing society might attempt to exert thought-control on a population by changing the way they use language, maintaining the fiction of continuous war, and promoting the belief in an authoritarian panopticon… “Big brother is watching you”, wherever you are, and whatever you’re doing. Read more of this post
2013, April 9
Posted by on
Image by unknown author, used without permission.
Good readers, step right up! Listen if you will to the tumult of supine, servile, utterly vomitive tributes to the recently deceased Maggie in the mainstream media today.
Marvel at the astonishingly convenient forgetfulness of myriad toffee-nosed hacks as they trample riotously over the graves of the British manufacturing base, public services and- literally- working people in their rush to praise this dear departed demoness; wonder at the sheer gall of the crypto-fascist swine that form orderly, oinking queues to take turns stepping into the spotlight and raising a glass to their moral and political idol… Thrill to the sight of roving gangs of neo-conservatives slapping down any dissent or deviation from the party line!
In the news today, Margaret Thatcher, former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain (from 1979 to 1990) has passed away. Bereft of life, she rests in peace. This, is, an ex-premiere. Read more of this post
2012, December 25
Posted by on
This cat would be safer if it saw a mouse staring back at it from the mirror
There’s an old saying in Ireland: “Many a man’s tongue broke his nose.”
A typically dry witticism, and also quite true; saying the wrong thing can get you seriously hurt.
Many people have stampeded towards an avoidable violent confrontation for no better reasons than: to have the last word; to let another person know how annoyed they are; to belittle another person or simply to posture and present a “front” based on bravado.
But this post is not just about keeping your mouth shut. It’s about the larger problem; it’s not just what one says that can get one hurt, it’s everything one does. Excessive eye contact can make other people aggressive; Rushing to catch your train and barging into another pedestrian could result in anything from a few harsh words up to a brawl; Read more of this post
2012, February 18
Posted by on
This is not a bee.
In an old blog entry on the subject of Steven “Runs Like a Girl” Seagal, the martial teacher and commentator Steve Morris noted that the secret to the success of liars like Seagal is that they are able to convince people of their ability, despite the fact that they lack ability. He stated:
“their greatest talent does not lie in what they get paid for doing, but in their ability to get people to believe that what they do is for real and what they say is true.”
This is the art of the mimic. In nature, a mimic is something which has- through the process of natural selection- evolved over countless generations an uncanny similarity to another thing, be that thing an inanimate object, a part of a plant, or another animal. This similarity offers protection from predators… Or disguises the mimic’s dangerousness, depending on the type of camouflage employed. Read more of this post