War is not, and should not be, sporting

I’ve been thinking today about unmatched combatants and a combatant’s willingness to take hits in order to win a fight.  I think about the former often because, when I do jujitsu, I am an unmatched combatant.  I’m usually the only woman in the adult classes, which means that the people (i.e., men) with whom I’m rolling are 8 to 14 inches taller than I am, and outweigh me by 40 to 90 pounds.

Interestingly, these men, all of whom are nice, thoughtful people, are more scared of me than I am scared of them.  When we face each other before rolling, I look them in the eye and say, “Remember to give only about 50%” and, with those words, some of them just collapse in front of me.  They are so afraid that any move they do will hurt me that they do nothing at all.  Instead, they just kind of lie there, which isn’t fun for me or for them.  It’s only the strongest black belts who have sufficient control to give me a run for my money without hurting me.  I optimistically assume that the black belts have some fun with this careful grappling, because they get to focus on skill, rather than strength.

I had the same experience of being an unmatched combatant back in the day when I used to play tag football.  My specialty was sacking the quarterback.  After the snap, I’d just charge him.  (It was always a him.)  Invariably, the quarterback in these informal games would react as if a mosquito was attacking him — he’d back off quickly.  Had I been bigger, I know he would have gone forward, because he wouldn’t have worried about hurting me.  As it was, seeing me buzz around, the guy’s instinct (and this was true for whichever guy was quarterback) was to retreat, not attack.

Interestingly, I’m also an unmatched combatant when I end up in a class with teenagers — boys or girls — who are much closer to me in weight and overall size.  While the grown men are over-controlled, the teenagers are under-controlled, especially the girls.  I’m strong, agile and reasonably skilled, but I also have the slowness and slight rigidity of someone several decades older than these teenagers.  These kids don’t understand slow, their joints feel no pain, and they have cat-like flexibility.  I’m much more frightened of a 110 pound 15-year old girl than I am of a 180 pound 40-year old man.

There’s actually a point to these ruminations about unmatched combatants.  In the examples I’m giving, I am talking about sports combat.  People want to win, but they want to have fun, and it’s no fun when you hurt your friends.  Even the teenagers don’t want to hurt me.  They just have a very limited understanding of what will hurt me.

Problems arise when foolish people (by which I mean Lefties) try to apply the rules of sportsmanship to war.  War is not about winning for fun, it’s just about winning.  The fact that a war may be asymmetrical doesn’t mean that the larger power has to handicap itself to give the other side a fair chance.  Certainly, the winning side shouldn’t engage in sadistic massacres, but that’s not because sadism and overkill are unsportsmanlike.  It’s because they are (a) an unnecessary waste of resources and (b) morally bad for the bigger army.

After adjusting for necessary force and moral decency, the bigger army should do whatever is necessary to win, and it should do so without regard to the other side’s weaknesses.  When Lord Wellington reputedly said that the Battle of Waterloo was won on the playing fields of Eton, he wasn’t talking about fair play.  He was talking about the brutal field sports public school students used to play, in which no quarter was asked or given.

Part of this willingness to do whatever it takes to win in true combat means a willingness to take the hit.  One of my favorite mil bloggers, America’s 1st Sergeant, wrote a wonderful post about dealing with bullies, a necessary life lesson for him because his father’s military career meant that, as a boy, Am’s 1st Sgt, was repeatedly tested by the bullies at a series of new schools.  He learned, very quickly, that you’re going to get hurt taking on the bullies, but you’ll get hurt worse if you immediately acquiesce.  Bullies do not believe in sportsmanship.  Or, if they do, the only sports that interest them are blood sports — with you being the one who bleeds.

Gunnery Sergeant Ryan P. Shane shot while trying to rescue fatally wounded Marine at Fallujah

What the Leftists conveniently ignore or forget is that it’s not size, but intention, that makes the bully.  They believe that because America is the biggest force, it is the bullying-est force, and that it must yield to smaller forces in asymmetrical warfare.  That Americans fight to win in a legitimate defensive war against a culture dedicated to world conquest, and do not fight simply to destroy, torture or convert, is a subtlety that eludes the Leftist elites, who root for the smaller, more brutal Al Qaeda or Taliban forces.  At the same time, the Leftists cannot stomach the fact that our troops, recognizing the nature of a fight with a bully, are willing to engage, even if it means taking very painful hits, because that’s the only way to win.

Leftists are bullies, that goes without saying.  But the American elite believe in a bloodless bullying that involves hectoring, embarrassing, humiliating and disempowering those who are ready, willing and able to take the real fight to the real enemy.  It’s rather sad that the Leftists reserve their savagery for their first defenders, while demanding that these same defenders hew to completely irrelevant rules of sportsmanship that have no place on the field of battle.

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  • Wolf Howling

    Book – 

    I hold a 3rd degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do.  Right before I earned my 1st degree – and I was getting very fast by then – I ended up fighting a female blackbelt who weighed about 80 lbs less than me.  I started out the fight worried about hurting her.  By the time she gave me a busted lip to go with the busted nose, I was swinging for the fences.  She was so ungodly quick I wasn’t able to touch her.   Ten minutes later, I watcher her spar the then middle weight PKA champion and do much the same to him.  

    At any rate, the moral of the story, at least for me, was never to fight small women in front of any onlookers.  Interestingly enough, my son learned much the same lesson sparring some of the female Olympic hopefuls when he trained at the Olympic facility for a few weeks.

    As to the remainder of your post on bullying –  I agree with all of it, but would only add that I am truly enjoying watching Gingrich standing up to it from the left, whether it be the race card from Juan Williams to the CNN moderators questions on his ex-wife.  The only way to stop bullying is to beat the bully.  They usually have a low threshold for personal pain.


    Full contact sport, Sadie style 😉

       all-out Tong War 

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com Ymarsakar

    The term “combat sport” is utilized to provide more glamor to sports. It’s the same as any other sport, with rules of fair play and equality, but the practitioners wish to remind themselves that “their sport” came from a war or martial “background”.

     Men have little interest in competing with women. They win nothing if they win. And they lose much if they lose. They can even lose much when they win. Or win status when they lose.

    Teenagers are naturally rude, crude, and uncoordinated. The males are generally more playground centric than the females, with the exception of gymnasts and cheerleaders. But the females have an especially difficult time, in their teenage years, of coordinating hand movement to leg movement, or doing so while they’re talking.

    Males sometimes have the opposite problem, where they stop paying attention to somebody’s words and lecture modes, and divert their focus on pure physical senses.

     As for the Leftists, they are allied with Islam. People forget about this but they were de facto allied with Islam from 2004-2008. And still are if you pay attention to their behavior and reactions on Iran, Syria, Libya.

     Do you expect something different from them when you are fighting their allies? Why would anyone expect something different?

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com Ymarsakar

    I also trained with a teenage girl as well as teenage boys in high school.

    My reactions to both were similar. We were doing an application of irimi nage, from a position where you feel something sticking in the small of your back. You turn around and apply irimi nage after trapping whatever is sticking you.

    This then results in the other person falling backwards on their back. In both cases I reflexively caught both of them, before they hit the ground. We were on mats and these individuals, presumably, knew how to fall safely. The thing is, my reflexes do not make such “assumptions”. My world view is that anyone I cause to fall like that, ends up with a broken skull because I’m pile driving their head into the concrete earth. Since I’m not intending that to happen, I was going to make sure, by my rules, that it didn’t.

     I did a poll or survey of other martial artists. They don’t have this reflex. They either train with safety and cooperation in mind, where they assume the technique is safe or that the person can ensure their own safety while falling. Or they assume that they are attacking evil doers and thus do not need to assure the safety of the other person. This is a result of both a lack of physical control and mental imagination. They cannot imagine a situation where they would attack, but would not wish harm to the other. That shows a clear and deficient part in their life experiences and imagination. The other reason is that they lack the control and understanding of the consequences of attack techniques, so they don’t know how to control the effect of them. They don’t think about it. They can’t do it. So they don’t.

    At the time it was easy to tell myself that I was simply going easy on the girls, because they showed a certain lack of overall body cohesion and comprehension. Then I realized that anyone else I wasn’t sure about, falling in that manner, triggered the same reflex.

    The only other time I have seen this was with a Bagua Zhan and internal art master demonstrating a technique on a student, but lacking the confidence that the student will be safe afterwards. I have not spent nearly as long training as that individual, yet I have some of the same reactions and reflexes. Whereas other martial artists that trained for decades longer than me, cannot even conceive of why such a reflex would be useful.

     There are 3 different things at play with what Book trains in. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Judo. Jujutsu. Three different lines and specializations. BJJ focuses on “rolling”, ground grappling. This in Judo is called newaza, though Judo specializes in throwing from a standing up start first. Jujutsu is a more basic application of Judo, and came before Judo, which utilizes hard and soft strikes, throws, and grappling (jack of all trades, little specialization). Jujutsu came first, Judo became an advanced form of Jujutsu and was called Kano Jigoro’s jujutsu early on, and BJJ came as a result of a student of Jigoro’s traveling overseas to fight in Strong Man competitions and spread his sensei’s style.

    This basic history should perhaps help the novice understand a little more of what Book describes here with her training. Currently, I have a zero accident record, with no injuries or unnecessary pain resulting from my application of techniques. The same cannot be said for those that have been training more than me. Even in the time I’ve been with them, I’ve seen one major incident and several minor incidents with shoulder locks. They certainly lack my medical understanding of joints, even though my instructors only told me to study anatomy in order to increase my destructive accuracy and comprehension. Some of the adults even say, the ones with a wife and children, that they get nervous and anxious during randori and that’s why they do techniques at faster speed. I’m younger than them, but much calmer. I don’t consider half speed “randori” to be something to get anxious over. And it’s not because I’ve done it before either. It’s simply because I’ve felt real mortal fear and been in situations that demanded fight or flight. In age, they out rank me. In experience and calmness, I have more than others. 

    Some of the best fighters on the streets, without any formal training, are recognized as belonging to the smallest individuals around.

     P.S. Btw, from questions I’ve asked, it looks to me that BJJ is one of the more gender discriminated styles around. With only 1 woman per every 30 men in the class, perhaps NOW or other feminist groups should start “regulating” such for the benefit of “social justice”. Have you ever asked your fellow Marinites at the gym on this, Book? It’s mostly because even some men dislike wrestling, and close contact, with other smelly and sweating guys. Women tend to find such positions even more mentally intimidating. This should give you a clue as to who Book really is, even as she says she is afraid of physical things and lacks physical courage.


  • http://lookingforlissa.wordpress.com lookingforlissa

    Just came back from my first Krav Maga class. The other guys were terrified to touch me, with the exception of the instructor who was demonstrating (to me, and ON me) eye gouges, throat strikes, groin and thigh hits etc. I figure once I spar with them a little more they’ll get used to it :)

  • Danny Lemieux

    And that, Book, is one of the reasons that I will not help Lefties. I will not help people who refuse to help themselves and I will not help people who are agents of their own destruction.

    I was in NYC recently, visiting #1 daughter-who-works-on-Wall Street. She took me to Zuccotti Park, where a small group of earnest-looking ’60s retreads were dancing and strumming old protest songs “…ain’t gonna study war no more…blah, blah, blah” (Look Ma…I got on TV!). They were tightly surrounded by a deep throng of “journalists”, snapping photos, filming, doing sound recordings and such. Around the event, stood another cordon of New York’s finest maintaining security at taxpayer expense. 

    One policeman overhead my snarky comments to my daughter about the event, laughed, and subsequent engaged us in a great discussion. This man, old and wise, could put it all into perspective. To sum it up, “They can protest that way,” he observed, “because it costs them nothing”. Looking around at the incredible bubble that constitutes NYC, it is hard to escape the fact that virtually all of the city’s astounding social culture and wealth, viewed by New Yorkers as a God-given entitlement, is funded by the very Wall Street financial community these protestors disdain and is guaranteed by the blood, sweat and tears of America’s fighting men and women who have largely kept the wolves of war at bay for us and a good part of the rest of the world. 

    But, let me end on a positive note. Interesting but not surprisingly, while the putz media swarmed around a small group of goofball and ultimately irrelevant protestors (maybe 1-2 dozen) acting up, they studiously ignored what I considered to be the real photo op of the afternoon. At the famed Wall Street bull, there was a line about 1-1/2 blocks long of people waiting patiently and civilly to have their picture enthusiastically snapped next to our premier symbol of capitalistic vigor.  

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com Ymarsakar

    I thought about responding to the Krav maga topic, but to save time I’ll just give a link to an article that says something similar to what I would have.


  • Jose

    “Problems arise when foolish people (by which I mean Lefties) try to apply the rules of sportsmanship to war.  War is not about winning for fun, it’s just about winning.”
    Very true.  Hemingway said “Once we have a war there is only one thing to do. It must be won. For defeat brings worse things than any that can ever happen in war.”

  • Danny Lemieux

    I, together with Ymarsaker, happen to believe that General Tecumseh Sherman was right: war is hell, so make it as short and brutal as possible so that it achieves a clear conclusive victory. After victory is achieved, then is the time for compassion and reconciliation. Conversely, if you don’t get your enemy to admit total and abject surrender, they will forever come seeking their revenge.

    General Otis Howard was a highly effective general in his pursuit of the Nez Perce indians. He fought them to their ultimate defeat, although he greatly admired them. Only after victory was achieved did he become an outspoken advocate for Chief Joseph and his tribe.


  • 11B40


    One of the major challenges to our military is “de-civilizing” our now enlistees.  I was raised by a father who, when I had made my First Holy Communion, at seven years of age, began his teaching that “We don’t war on women or children”. Initially, that pretty much referred to my big sister and those younger than I, but my father’s commitment to repetition worked well.

    Growing up the in Bronx of the ’50s and ’60s led to a fair bit of scuffling for which, somewhat to my mother’s disapproval, my father provided me with an adequate set of skills. Playing a lot of unorganized (no referee) basketball provided opportunities to discover what I would put up with and what i would not. My Catholicism seemed to need a lot of work in the “turn the other cheek” category.

    Our family was fortunate enough to have a summer home about 60 miles to the north where I learned to hunt and was introduced to firearms of various calibers and gauges. I never experienced any qualms about shooting animals, large or small. Fenimore Cooper’s novels had pretty much led me to accept it as a manly art.

    When I became eligible for an all-expense-paid tour of sunny Southeast Asia, I quickly realized that just as everyone is not meant to play basketball, not everyone is meant to play infantry either. Part of my survival strategy was to congregate with those who were and avoid, as much as possible, those who weren’t. Tourists was how I saw them; they were in the war but not of the war. There were tasks that they could handle and tasks that they shouldn’t be allowed to handle was how I saw it.

    In that regard, I came up with the following orientation parable for my new soldiers:
    Two young riflemen were having the age-old discussion about how to dispatch those who would oppose them. One was a “head-shooter”, the other preferred the “center-mass” (torso). The head-shooter asserted that if you hit him, he’s done. Center-mass guy liked the larger target area. As they were going back and forth, their Platoon Sergeant came by. “Hey, Sarge,” called out the head-shooter, “where do like to shoot the bad guys?” “In the back,” he replied.

    As many as you can, as often as you can, anywhere and any way you can was the thought of the day everyday. The current fixations on the laws of war, rules of engagement, respect for other cultures, and video supervision of combat operations are nothing more than the good intentions paving the way to you know where. They are integral parts of the hollowing out process that our military has been subjected to since the early ’70s which, in turn, is part of the hollowing out process to which our country and culture is being subjected.

    That old gray mare ain’t what she used to be.



  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com Ymarsakar

    To the Left, war is a way to get rid of their enemies and make a profit at the same time. Have you realized how much money Democrats re directed to their fiefdoms as a result of holding the soldiers and their funding hostage in Iraq war or even the Vietnam war?

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com Ymarsakar

    Danny mentioned something that can be connected to lack of intent. No spirit. No guts. No determination. No heart.

    When someone that is demoralized and lacking in spiritual fiber and virtue, tries to do something, what are the chances they will fail vs someone who is truly dedicated to the cause and commits everything they are to the success of the mission?

    So the Left ends up with a bunch of piss poor hippies, drug infected rapists spreading their infection in the hive they’ve transplanted in parks they illegally occupy, because the Leftists and Democrats think they are entitled to success without putting in the effort or taking the risks. They treat war the same way.

    They don’t want to put everything into winning the war because they think they can get all the benefits of the war, without the risks. They don’t want to work at it because they believe they can tell you to die for them: they don’t need to sacrifice a dime.

     This is what lacking in moral fiber and character results in. All kinds of “unexpected disasters”. Or what’s it called now, “unintentional side effects”. With the Left, it is intentional. Their Lazyness is intentional. Their Evil is intentional. 

  • JKB

    Along these lines Army to cut training for trigger-pullers.  No doubt, however, they will get increased instruction in anti-bullying and hate speak, especially as it might be applied to the enemy

  • http://lookingforlissa.wordpress.com lookingforlissa

    Ymar, thanks for the awesome article! In general, I prefer men who are reluctant to hurt a woman to those who look forward to it; it’s only a hardship during training.  They were all very nice men and I truly think that once they see I won’t break it will get better. (And if they find that out by applying insufficient force and thereby allowing me to land strikes, them so be it.)

  • MacG

    Speaking of the Arts I just watched Gina Curano in Haywire – liked it.  Granted it’s a film but I think her MMA skills show through the choreography

  • Mike Devx

    Ymar said in #12:
    Danny mentioned something that can be connected to lack of intent. No spirit. No guts. No determination. No heart.  LWhen someone that is demoralized and lacking in spiritual fiber and virtue, tries to do something, what are the chances they will fail vs someone who is truly dedicated to the cause and commits everything they are to the success of the mission? 

    While Ymar is commenting about the Left, his comment reflects on how I feel about Romney.  My fear about Romney is that he lacks the fortitude and the spine to truly confront the statists that control all of Washington D.C.

    That when the going gets tough – and it will – Romney will lack the fire, the drive, and the spirit to fight them.

    I’ve questioned the commitment of ALL of them – our Presidential contenders and even our crop of “revolutionaries” who marched into Washington with the 2010 elections.  I continue to question them all out of personal disappointment.  But with Romney, my concerns run even deeper…

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com Ymarsakar

    Lisa, no problem.

    Btw, it’s not just graft and bribery going on at DC. Democrats in charge of defense prioritized their own interests, including Murtha and Diane Feinstein, by jump shooting their own family and friends to the top of the military contracts list. At the same time they use political attacks against the military industrial complex to hurt Rumsfeld and Cheney and Bush, while benefiting at the same time from their opponent’s weakened positions.

    Evil isn’t just what people find in Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter. Evil is actually pretty complicated, as complicated as the human heart.

    If you don’t “feel” anything after understanding the truth, you’re no good to the cause. In this sense, feelings are a very accurate barometer of where people stand. Both for good and for evil. 

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