Without Writing

The art of writing without writing… about fighting.

Tag Archives: Self Defence

Urijah Faber’s Trouble in Bali – Learning Self Defence from a Champion

Is a world-class fighter automatically good at defending themselves from harm? No!

Is a world-class fighter automatically good at protecting themselves from violence? No!

On May 16th of this year, the incredibly dangerous martial artist Urijah Faber fought the incredibly dangerous martial artist Frankie Edgar at UFC Fight Night 66.  In this excellent fight we discovered once and for all whether Edgar’s fantastic sense of shootboxing timing and peerless cardio were up to the task of defeating the durability, veteran experience and whip-smart submissions of Faber.

They’re both ex-champions of the highest calibre. To me this was one of the most interesting matches of the year, and the best match that either fighter had been involved in since Edgar’s (debatable) points defeat at the hands of Featherweight champ Jose Aldo in February 2013.

On watching this fight my mind was drawn back to Faber’s style and his history. One well-publicized incident stands out as a worthy topic for an educational blog post: We’re going back a way here; back to the late noughties. In approximately June 2006, whilst on holiday on the island of Bali, Indonesia, Faber was involved in a serious street brawl in the popular tourist night-spot, Kuta.

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Mark Duggan’s Death and the Inquest Verdict

Our beloved and totally trustworthy protectors... pshaw

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

Empty Force and Empty Promises

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

Rape and Self Defence: How to approach the issue

untitledHere’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

Kill Your Ego… Before It Kills You (Part 1)

This cat would be safer if it saw a mouse staring back at it from the mirror

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

Tyler Fielding’s Attack on Victor King: Mainstream Media Uselessness

This poor man was badly assaulted. How can others avoid his fate? The press ain’t tellin’.

On the 22nd of December, a sixteen year old boy named Tyler Fielding of Redruth, Cornwall in the UK, was found guilty of  the attempted murder of Mr Victor King, a man in his fifties. Fielding, the court heard, kicked and stamped on Mr King, causing serious head injuries and damaging his trachea to the extent necessary to cause suffocation. Mr King was found lying unconscious in the street by a passer-by, and only survived because paramedics assisted his breathing at the scene. According to the press, the violent, murderous little thug will be sentenced in January 2012.

End of story,  one might think.  But no! This story reveals so much about the counter-productive nature of the mainstream press and their dismal, dismal role in contemporary society, that I simply couldn’t let it pass without comment. And, if the details of the crime published in the press are accurate (there’s no guarantee that anything the press publishes is correct), the case itself presents a simply excellent self-defence teaching opportunity. Read more of this post

Skillfulness and Unskillfulness

Buddhism has long been associated with the Chinese martial arts. There is an old legend (often wheeled out erroneously as a fact) that some of the first organised forms of Chinese martial arts were born when a buddhist bodhisattva (a person who has totally dedicated themselves towards seeking enlightenment and liberation) from India came to China and taught the monks of a temple called Shao Lin (Mountain-forest) the rudiments of buddhist breathing meditation.

This prototype “Chi Gung” or “Energy work” became the basis of the increasingly demanding physical workouts for the monks, which (so the legend says) evolved into martial forms of Shaolin Gung Fu, which then evolved into various southern and northern styles of Gung Fu, and were re-worked and exported to other nations such as Indonesia, the Phillipines and Japan. Read more of this post

The Power and the Story and the Lack of Recognition of Steve Morris

It’s about time I dedicated a whole post to Steve Morris. Not because I’m one of his fanboys, (of which there are few enough, despite his obvious ability and outgoing personality) but because the case of Mr Morris illustrates several points about the martial arts as a whole, and yes, even some points about human nature as a whole.

Some background: Mr Morris is the quintessential martial artist. By all accounts he has studied more martial arts than most people have ever heard of, in places most martial artists have never visited. (Despite the art they’re studying having originated there.) Read more of this post

Sofos strikes back… against illness

Sidney’s in the press again. I wondered why he had been so quiet for so long. Apparently it was an enforced absence. 

According to this “human interest” article published in a local London newspaper this very month,  Mr Sofos recently had life-saving surgery to correct a heart problem. Some of the article consists of Sid thanking his cardiologist for saving the aforementioned life of Sid. (all credit for spotting this fantastic literary farce goes to one Mr Peter, who kindly commented on the original Sofos article on this blog) Read more of this post

Boundaries… and Honesty

This post will discuss personal boundaries, self-worth and the importance of honesty in both areas.

The great martial artist and martial philosopher Bruce Lee was fond of saying that martial arts are all about “expressing yourself honestly”, and also “not lying to oneself”. And he was right on the money.  The discipline of being honest with oneself and honest to others is key in the proper application of martial arts in all potential settings. Read more of this post