When violence is the answer

I love my dojo.  The teachers are, without exception, top quality and, also without exception, they are just about the nicest people you’ll ever meet.  Oh, one other thing:  without exception, they’re pro-Obama and anti-War.

What this means is that you have people who dedicate their lives to teaching fighting, and who believe passionately in personal self-defense, but who are ideologically completely opposed to the notion of national self-defense.  They believe that, at the personal level, if one can’t defuse a hostile opponent quickly, one should subdue that opponent with swift and overwhelming (although not necessarily deadly) force.  However, they believe that, at the national level, there is never any justification for a nation to go to war.  War is evil.  Bush was an evil war-monger.  Obama is good because he is the bringer of peace.

(And no, I haven’t talked to them about Obama’s decision to conduct a temporary, mini-Surge in Iran Afghanistan.  [Editor’s note:  Was that a Freudian slip, or what?]  Indeed, I never talk politics with them at all.  I just listen to their conversations and read their bumperstickers.  I’ve learned that, when it comes to politics in Marin, direct confrontation is never as effective as small asides that cause people to think.)

I always wonder when the cognitive dissonance between my teachers’ personal passions and their politics will finally become overwhelming.  They’d probably be helped if they ever saw this Steve Crowder video:

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  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com/ Ymarsakar

    They believe that, at the personal level, if one can’t defuse a hostile opponent quickly, one should subdue that opponent with swift and overwhelming (although not necessarily deadly) force.
    They don’t realize that they live in a bubble. It is not they who determine whether people will die. Murphy does. You can try all you want, using bombs or nukes, but Murphy can always come in at the last second and make your target live and make their attacker die instead. This is called chaos, aka fog of war, or unpredictability. To a certain extent, yes, the more force you use and directed in a certain fashion can mitigate or increase the chances of whether someone is hurt or killed. But you live in the real world, and people in the real world who are adults should have recognized long ago that they can’t control reality simply by wishing it was so. They can’t control reality even if they work hard as hell. Always, always, there is the chance that all your hard work will evaporate, regardless of your work ethic, quality, or virtues. And always can the evil, the misbegotten, the sexual predators and murderers be elevated above the deserving. In America, this is true with Ayers and Simpson and Edward Kennedy. In Ages past, it was true for almost all of the ruling elite.
    They live in a bubble. They don’t understand how the real world works. Is it the fault of Chrysler dealerships that donated to conservative causes that they were the first to be nationalized and told to give their client list to the Democrat competition who performed poorly but had the political ‘juice’ in Washington DC? Did they fail at “defusing a hostile opponent”? It’s complete bullshit. You can only hear it from people who live in a bubble, safeguarded by better people than they are.
    These arrogant children of aristocrats always believe they are perpetually protected like the gods of old.
    I always wonder when the cognitive dissonance between my teachers’ personal passions and their politics will finally become overwhelming.

    There would be cognitive dissonance if someone believed in the training methodology of TFT and peace at any cost, but these people at your dojo don’t train to fight. They train to communicate and talk.
    There are a lot of myths in the martial arts work, and some of it don’t even need to be associated with Asian mysticism or round about ways of handing down knowledge. This particular myth is that because you train in a dojo, spar, learn techniques of kicking and punching, that this teaches people to fight as in war. In war, if you don’t fight, you die. If a dojo does not train under that single all inspiring premise, then it’s not training to fight. It’s training to communicate, essentially talk and be diplomatic.
    This is why I say your dojo comrades don’t train to fight, Book. Instead, they train for social diplomacy and communication. And since social diplomacy and communication is exactly what they prefer to see on the national level, there is no cognitive dissonance at all, really. The beliefs synch together. They really do, Book.
    Ask your dojo sparring partners or instructors what the SOP (Standard Operating Procedure) for dealing with knives, bats, and guns are. Nine times out of ten their peers will say that it depends on the weapon what technique you will use. Just as 9 times out of 10, the Leftists will say that it depends on what our enemy is doing, before authorizing ‘adequate’ force but not overwhelming force. They want to sit and wait until they see the weapon before forming the decision to deal with the enemy. They want to be ATTACKED FIRST, before responding. How is that any different for wars between nations and non-nations vis a vis the dojo? Not very different at all.

    Even though there is a higher risk of being dead if you wait to be attacked first, the Dem drones nonetheless refuse to reconsider. The reason being is very simple. They rely upon the dominant military supremacy of the US to ‘absorb’ hits. So long as they aren’t threatened personally, it doesn’t matter to them that a position of defense puts the US military at greater strain. So long as their precious lives are not depreciated by additional risk to the US military’s members, who have families themselves, then in their minds, why not have the military adopt a defensive stance if it will give fake liberals cleaner hands?
    In the average field of martial arts, with some bare exceptions, the practitioners rely upon their individual superiority in terms of strength, speed, or endurance to offset the disadvantage of ‘reacting’ only. This doesn’t work all that well in the real world, but even if we discount this, that quality of superiority only exists for the martial arts practitioner, nobody else. If you are going to wait until the enemy strikes first, and then you can react with a clear conscience, then what happens when the enemy attacks somebody that can’t defend themselves? The damage will already have been done. And the same is true for the rest of the world, when the US military is prevented from going to the rescue of innocent children and women because of political restrictions on engagement cooked up in DC. I suppose so long as DC is protected, it doesn’t matter what happens to the rest of humanity outside the borders of the US.

    The philosophy of martial arts is very elitist and aristocratic. That, by itself, is not inherently negative. It’s also adapted to the bubble and not the real world, which is negative. It’s not designed to pro-actively defend the defenseless, but to reactively ensure that one’s own hands are clean with no regard for what happens to the lives of others.

    This would only be of cursory mention if it didn’t actually get people killed. People that thought their knowledge and training prepared them for real life, when it didn’t and they found out the hard way. In terms of body count, the Left’s philosophy has killed far more than any specialization that could be generated from the practices of martial arts, real or imagined. Of course, when you combine Leftist philosophy with martial arts, you get a very nice synergy. You would think that such practictioners would be conservative, wouldn’t you. But often they aren’t, because martial arts is not philosophically geared to either Total War or the defense of the innocent through justice and solving real world problems.
    The military isn’t totally conservative either, statistically. It is only statistically greatly conservative the closer you get to front line MOS classifications, like infantry. The more Air Force, the more Navy, the more fake liberals. Then there are military lawyers, JAG, and military doctors, which are often taken from a civilian setting and not naturally predisposed towards combat. And it is combat which decides all, for that is the reality to which the military must conform to. Some branches have a greater luxury of playing pretend, so they get people like Hasan. Playing pretend when the reality of war confronts you, however, has its consequences. And any military force that doesn’t adapt to such consequences, but instead ignores it, are ultimately wiped out in the eyes of history: literally, that is.
    Martial arts exist in the US not to protect the US Constitution, its citizens from domestic or foreign enemies, nor is it to defend the single use or the user’s family from the predations of outlaws, criminals, or evil men and women. Martial arts exist in the US as a social sport that must parasitically rely upon the protections of the US military and law enforcement branches to initialize and maintain an atmosphere of teamwork and competition within rules and boundaries. Thus it can conduct strikes without injuring each other, and the rules ensure that an even playing field exists between opponents. It is useful to kids and adults to the extent that soccer is useful to kids and adults. This wasn’t so in the past for much of martial arts was taken here from practitioners interested in using it to increase the combat prowess of US soldiers or the self-defense capabilities of women post 1950s. But those people are gone and have been replaced by… you guessed it, people with their heads stuck in clouds.

    They believe that, at the personal level, if one can’t defuse a hostile opponent quickly, one should subdue that opponent with swift and overwhelming (although not necessarily deadly) force.

    Give me one example of a technique or reaction they believe to be ‘overwhelming force’ and I’ll tell you why it isn’t.

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com/ Ymarsakar

    Philosophically, your dojo members have their metaphysics screwed up. This is assuming their epistemology is even half way functional, which is probably not the case given their political upbringing and indoctrination.
    By changing the metaphysics (what we recognize as real or illusion) one can drastically change the ethical system by which people judge their actions as well as the actions of others.
    This is very simple to see in philosophy. Much harder to observe and distinguish when we apply it to the real world in terms of politics or such things as martial arts. But not impossible, either. Metaphysics and epistemology decide what ethical system is considered valid by a single observer. If you don’t think something will work, your view of whether it is right or wrong will shift compared to somebody that does think it will ‘work’. Remember that.

  • Oldflyer

    Book, are you sure they believe in self-defense?  Or are they simply devoted to a “trendy” sport and fitness program?
    I remember reading some self-defense expert comment that the martial arts are not appropriate in a real fight; there the answer is to fight dirty.  And he taught lethal dirty tricks.

  • Tonestaple

    At a jewelry store near my office, they were hawking “peace tags” which looked like sterling silver dog tags.  You could have the message of your choice engraved on it, maybe something from this or that appalling John Lennon song.  This being Seattle, I so very badly wanted to go in there and get one of those things and then insist that it be engraved with “Peace through superior firepower” on one side and “Be polite. Be professional. Have a plan to kill everyone you meet.” on the other.  If I had enough money to burn, I’d do it just to see the look on the faces of the silly people working there.

    (This is Seattle.  Odds are extremely high that this would deeply offend just about everyone in town.)

  • http://bookwormroom.com Bookworm

    Oldflyer:  Definitely real martial arts.  It’s the mixed martial arts kind, that has stand-up, grappling, and jiujitsu, plus basic and less than basic self-defense.  All of the male teachers have war stories about the street fights and bar fights they’ve been in, and how they used the techniques to defend themselves.  These are definitely people who see these are real world skills.


    There really is a Santa Claus, you made my day…“Peace through superior firepower” on one side and “Be polite. Be professional. Have a plan to kill everyone you meet.”

    Must go order a bumper sticker now.

  • Mike

    Thank you Tonestaple I copied and saved that to a word document named quotes.
    Ymarsakar a great post on martial arts and social sports. I can’t remember how many times I have forced myself from doing what I learned as one of Uncle Sam’s Misguided Children.It’s illegal do do that.

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com/ Ymarsakar

    All of the male teachers have war stories about the street fights and bar fights they’ve been in, and how they used the techniques to defend themselves.
    Write one of those stories up and I’ll definitely make the case for why they’re operating under false premises.

  • http://northstarmartialarts.com/blog1 Scott in SF

    Anyone interested in this question should read:
    Meditations on Violence by Sgt. Rory Miller.  I bought a stack for my students.
    His Website is here, he’s got a new book coming out which is a citizen’s guide to police violence (no official title yet.)
    Self delusion is the norm in martial arts classes.  Self-defense, as we understand it, is an American political-legal concept, it did not come from Asia.  On my blog I’ve written a hundred entries about the actual roots of martial arts.  Before the 20th century in China fighting, religion, acting, dancing, singing and the ability to recite history were all one subject.
    Be especially wary of what you are training not to do.  Be aware that in an assault, moral people are all likely to freeze–that goes for Marines, prison guards, housewives, teens, and trained martial artists too.
    Martial arts really should be understood as a form of daily exorcism.
    Here is a great article on the unique issues of teaching women to fight!

  • UncloudedFall

    Funny vid post!
    In answer to the final question you pose, the answer is never. It is a mistake to think that the co-curriculum of approved spirituality is found only in TMA circles. Even when you enter into the (by comparison) very small world of combatives, you find it. Granted some there find this offensive and state that what they are teaching is the application of effective violence, and that they view it as no part of their syllabus to instruct a student on their spirituality, beyond ensuring that such instruction is not being sought out in order to facilitate a criminal act.
    Why does this occur and and with such frequency  in the broader self defense community? I suspect the answer lies with the appeal of the left itself. The power of seeing yourself as a better person, and by extension, others as lesser people. As why so many need this? You got me there. At one point I put it down to a disbelief in God, which then gave someone the go ahead to self assume such power over others. I have since encountered individuals who I am convinced believe in a creator and yet, self assume the power of being a better person themselves.

  • JKB

    I’ve been reading this self-defense writer’s website.  On the page linked, he discusses the “violence never solved anything” crowd and how to deal with them.   His suggestion is to force them to prove their absolute statement rather than you contradict it.  But near the end he comes those who take this stance’s hidden agenda:
    The more you keep on coming back to this idea, the more you will reveal a fundamental contradiction in their thinking … namely that violence is okay as long as they are the ones doing it (or controlling those who are, e.g. the police).

    That of course is the real issue.  Violence for your teachers is okay as long as they are the ones doing it, just not the evil Bush.
    Unless your instructors’ street and bar fight stories include a chapter on the criminal investigation and civil suits that followed, I’d be skeptical.  Especially as to whether they actually used the moves in fighting for your life situation, i.e., self defense.
    [having trouble embedding the link.  Here is the website:

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com/ Ymarsakar

    I listened to a speech yesterday, and a politician who I really respected (disagreed with on almost every issue, but respected) lost my support. He made the statement that since he had written letters to the families of war dead and seen some of the coffins delivered that he knew “first hand” the cost of this war. It was delusional and profoundly disrespectful. Profoundly disrespectful gets used as a whine a lot. That’s not what I mean here- to know the names but not the smiles or touch of the people in the coffins; to compare watching and writing from safety to wondering if you will get a call tonight or if the incoming alarms are real this time is not only profoundly disrespectful for those who are in danger. It is also profoundly disrespectful to the very concept of truth. There is no parity of experience between those who watch and those who do. Only the most self-absorbed of the watchers can even pretend that there is. I had thought that this man was far, far above this. One of my budding heroes is hollow.
    I think we all know who he is talking about here.

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com/ Ymarsakar

    Btw, I thank the individuals that have presented such useful links on violence here. As a lowly student of the great equalizer, violence, these are very interesting material to one such as me. I need not practice their particular field of training or fighting, to get the benefit of wisdom. For if wisdom is true, then it applies to all human endeavors, fleet or fowl.
    <B>only in TMA circles</b>
    What are TMA circles?
    <B>I have since encountered individuals who I am convinced believe in a creator and yet, self assume the power of being a better person themselves.</b>
    Using Aristotelian virtue, conforming your behavior to a higher standard in such a fashion that you train yourself to act instinctually better and to instinctually desire the better things in life, is not a bad thing. It is only a bad thing, if in this process, you adopt the arrogance and full sin of character vices. Of course, sin is a Christian idea but no less applicable here.

  • http://northstarmartialarts.com/blog1 Scott in SF

    Like Rumsfeld, I despise all these acronyms and never use them myself but– TMA is Traditional Martial Arts, CMA is Chinese Martial Arts, JMA is Japanese Martial Arts, IMA is Internal Martial Arts, KMA is Korean Martial Arts, MMA is Mixed Martial Arts, BJJ is Brazilian Jujitsu, and it goes on and on…
    My own view on the superiority trip is influenced by Daoism.  If you set off on a trancendent religious path, that is, any path of self-perfection, you are a ripe candidate for a superiority trip.  There are two ways to avoid the superiority trip:
    1.  Subordinate yourself to someone or something you think is more powerful than you are.  This doesn’t always work because you can actually do both at the same time, but at least if you are saying talk to my friend Smith and Wesson you don’t believe you are Smith and Wesson.
    2.  Lighten up.  Even while attending Harvard, you always have the option to remember that you are just an empty bag of flesh like the everybody else.  The purpose of some religious rituals and rites is basically to get you to regularly lighten up.  Daoist meditation is a good example.
    I believe that martial arts can be practiced without the desire to dominate, without worshipping superiority, and without knowing for sure whether any of it is of any value.

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com/ Ymarsakar

    The TFT instructors are very humble. More so than the SCARs guru and originator Larkin used to work with.
    In both situations, what judges something’s worth is reality or the field. If it works, it should work in the field, and if it works, then it must contain truth that cannot be ignored based upon style or original preferences.

    There is an objective standard for judging the efficiency of TFT member’s skill set, retention, and teaching ability. In MMA and BJJ, which I am regularly familiar with in terms of people’s use of the acronyms, there is a lot of talk about competition, throw downs, or fights. To prove you are good, you must fight. Tim Kennedy, of the Army’s MMA division, is a case in point. Sometimes you fight to get pts and be declared the winner, other times people fight for the finish, without regard for points. Still, because there are rules, your victory is invalid should you break them. So while the ending isn’t entirely predictable, it is also not entirely chaotic either. THere is some order, artificial human order, impressed upon the circumstances.
    Scott in SF, what did you think about the link JKB provided, specifically in terms of the ramifications of social vs asocial violence?

  • http://northstarmartialarts.com/blog1 Scott in SF

    I didn’t understand the link from JKB.  I practice and teach martial arts because it expresses something about my true nature.  I don’t really care if it works in some lab, bar, street, or prison intake counter.  I don’t really care if people like it enough to clap either.  But I do teach it as performance and medicine.  Games are fun, and games need rules.  Dominance and submission are the meat and potatoes of comedy and tragedy both.  To the extent that violence facilitates that dance, it is a dangerous sometimes life threatening social activity.
    There are evil people in the world and if they decide to attack it is usually because they have all the advantages.  Yes, it is possible, sometimes, to respond with martial prowess, but an experienced evil person is probably going to do damage to you before you figure out what is happening–if you ever figure it out.
    As far as demonstrating prowess goes, I love it.  It is dance, it is art, it is beauty.