Thursday, September 10, 2009

Knowing Your Limitations

Marko Kloos, the Munchkin Wrangler, hit yet another one out of the park with his essay, "A Vote For Gun Control Is A Vote For Thunderdome:"
Every martial art that involves direct unarmed hand-to-hand fighting has weight classes. This is done because a bantamweight boxer will get his clock cleaned by a heavyweight ninety-nine out of a hundred times. Sending a 115-pound fighter up against a 220-pound fighter is simply not an even contest, because the heavyweight can deal (and absorb) much more powerful punches.

Let me repeat that little factoid: even a trained fighter in prime shape has no realistic chance of winning an unarmed fight against a heavier opponent.
Of course, in the comments there were plenty of martial artists claiming that's just not true. They have seen the little guys beat the big guys, over and over, or done it themselves. Okay, fine, but they all seem to use the dojo as the source of their proof.

As Sgt. Rory Miller pointed out so well in "Meditations On Violence," real-life attacks bear no resemblance to sparring on the mats. Or fighting in the steel cage, for that matter.

I have training in empty-hand, but that doesn't make me any bigger, younger, or sounder than I already am. That's 5'4" tall, mumble-mumble years old, with plenty of creaky souvenirs from a misspent youth riding and falling off horses. Sure, I can throw the 6'5" and 300 pound uke around just fine when uke cooperates with the exercise, but if uke declines to participate? No freakin' way.

Now substitute a pack of street criminals for uke in that image . . .

The best thing I've learned from my empty-hand training is my own very real limitations when deprived of effective tools for self-defense.
The truth is that criminals who make a living threatening injury or death for the contents of a cash register or a wallet won’t be greatly handicapped by any laws that prohibit the carrying of guns. They carry them anyway, but as I’ve pointed out, they’d still tilt the favors in their odds even if the magic gun control fairy could make all the guns go *poof* overnight. Gun control is tossing their intended victims into the ring with them after forcibly disarming them…to make sure the violence doesn’t escalate.
Violence wasn't invented along with firearms. It's been around as long as the human species. Massacres and atrocities have been perpetrated on the weak by the strong for thousands of years. Julius Caesar didn't need guns to kill a million people. The machete was the primary weapon of the Rwandan Genocide in 1994.

As an old-West poem praising the Colt revolver supposedly said, "Be not afraid of any man, No matter what his size, When danger threatens, call on me, And I will Equalize."

As Marko has stated elsewhere, "People who argue for the banning of arms ask for automatic rule by the young, the strong, and the many, and that’s the exact opposite of a civilized society."

Rule by the young, the strong, and the many. None of which I happen to be. No matter how hard I train.

I will still train, of course. There is a place for empty-hand skills in anyone's defensive toolbox, just as there is for the stick, the blade, and the gun.

Just so we know, really know, their limitations. And ours.

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