Sunday, December 14, 2008

Original Stories Coming Soon

Hey all. I know I usually post an original story of some kind on mondays, but my new job is making me crank out 60-70 articles a week, so anytime that I'm not working is spent asleep at this point. My days off are pretty much spent trying to help out around the house to make up for not even seeing the rest of my family on weekdays. I've got a really good idea for a story and I've already gotten each scene description worked out and written, but it's quite a bit larger than usual so I might not be able to showcase it for a month or so if I'm lucky.

In the meantime I'll still be posting self defense articles that have saved my bacon more than once. It's a pretty varied group but I find that it's best not to allow oneself the complacency of focusing on one single martial art. I've not had any formal training save boxing and wrestling, however many of the techniques which I've outlined have been very useful additions to my repertoire and kept me alive more than once. I know that there are many people out there who have had better training; military, martial arts instructors, police, etc. But since I only ever fight to defend myself and my property I'm not likely to run across anyone who's had formal training either.

I'd like to take a moment to explain the importance of the defensive mindset. Many people who find themselves accosted for one reason or other are not prepared to act, nor are they willing to admit that the other person may attempt to do them harm. As a result they keep speaking when the time for words has past. It is critical to be able to recognize the point where words give way to action. If you can do that then you will be prepared to react to an opponent's attack. My own personal style runs toward allowing an opponent to do all the work. They yell, bellow, charge, and throw a punch or kick. If you're expecting it you can move out of the way, latch onto the offending limb as it passes, and shatter the joint with minimal force. If weapons are involved or drawn one must be pro-active. You're best bet's to get out of the situation alltogether, but if that's not an option one should immediately attack, focusing on breaking the joints or collapsing the windpipe.

I live in one of the southern states which has very lax laws about what sorts of weapons may be legally carried. When I was younger I carried a bowie knife on my hip as it was a good deterrent against most people who would think I was an easy target, being 6' 6" and 250 lbs probably helped a bit too:) However once I began to study various forms of martial arts I realized how easily a large heavy knife like that can be taken away or used against me. I thought about it for a bit and decided to go with a push-dagger. They are small, easily concealed, and difficult to be removed from your possession as there's no handle to pry from my hand.

The first push dagger was a little plastic handled razor about 2 inches long from end to end that I kept on my keychain. It served it's purpose when a man tried to carjack me when I was on my way to take my graduate school exams in Orlando. I'll tell you about that one at a later date. But the knife became chipped and blunt from general purpose use over the years. When I went to look for a new one a very interesting design caught my eye. They're called Hide Away Knives and the link to their site is embedded in the title. They're incredibly sharp and good for both slashing and stabbing. Essentially it's like having a talon in the place of your thumb. The really cool part is that with the loop that you stick your fingers through the knife won't fall from your hand if you open your fist. I've worn it while I was typing and not even noticed it was there. I typically keep it in a cross draw sheath on the opposite side of my belt so I can slash at an opponent's throat as soon as it's in my hand. Of course I hope I'll never have to use it, but it's better to have one and not need it than need one and not have it. I also tend to attract crazy people for no reason, meaning I've had more than my fair share of insane encounters.

In any case my new knife just paid for itself last week in an altercation that could've gotten ugly. I was in my car, a rickety old 95 Ford Escort with better gas mileage than most other cars I could afford, and was at the intersection leaving the supermarket with a load of groceries. Across the road is a drug store with an oddly shaped parking lot through which one must pass three stop signs before you get to the main road. I was just turning left when a brand new cream colored sedan (chrysler maybe?) comes barreling through all three stop signs and turns right, directly into the lane which I was about to enter. I was already in the middle of the road. I pull up short to avoid slamming into the side of the sedan, which means I'm heading down the oncoming lane playing chicken with a Jeep Grand Cherokee. The sedan was doing me no favors, slowing down and speeding up intermittantly so I couldn't get behind him or nose ahead of him.Finally I gun my engine and blow past him right before I slam into the oncoming Jeep.

The Sedan starts honking it's horn and tailgating me for less than a quarter of a mile until we hit the next four-way stop sign which leads into my neighborhood. When I get to the stop sign the guy in the sedan behind me pops out of his car, mad as hell and cussing at me. He runs up to my open window (I've got no AC) grips the driver side door and starts screaming at me. He's raving and ranting, practically frothing at the mouth. This guy's maybe on the wrong side of 40 with jeans, sleeveless teeshirt, beer gut, but big enough that he could prove problematic. He keeps yelling things at me like "What did you think you were doing?! Do you have any idea what my car cost!?" and things along the same vein.

I realize I'm at a severe height disadvantage with how low my car sits and it wouldn't be hard for him to get the leverage to yank me out of the car. I don't know why I didn't just drive away except I was fairly certain he would've just followed me and then been a threat to my family at home too. From my last experience in Orlando when I was subject to an attempted carjacking a police officer was kind enough to inform me that my vehicle is legally treated as an extension of my home. In Florida if someone breaks into your home, you've a legal right to kill them if you wish. The same goes for one's car.

Each time this guy paused for breath between verbal assualts I said in a clear voice "Get your hands off my car". I was doing my best to remain calm and so was giving him verbal warnings not to trespass on me or my property any further. I was also taking the time to watch his eyes and thinking of what I would do if he reached in at me.

As I expected his eyes narrowed and dipped to focus on the point which he was going to attack, my chest I think. Sure enough his hands come in the side of the window as he makes a grab at the front of my shirt. I just knew my luck was bad enough that we try something, so my hands were already near my lap where they could be raised quickly. I grabbed the back of his right wrist in my left hand while reaching for the push dagger at my hip with my right. I braced both my feet against the side of my door and heaved as hard as I could toward the passenger side of the car. I caught him off guard and just about his entire body above the waist was yanked in through the window of the car.

This guy's gasping and spluttering, unable to quite come up with new insults yet, too outraged or surprised that I was ready to fight back. I took the opportunity to place the point of my nice new dagger against the soft point of his neck right over the corotid artery. He stiffened when he realized there was something cold and sharp pressing into his neck and the color drained from his skin right before my eyes.

I'm still civil to him, but use my authoritarian tone of voice which has been known to cause small children to spontaneously break into tears. "Sir. Not only did you break multiple traffic laws in an attempt to cut me off, you have the gall to blame me for your own terrible driving. You've attacked me on my own property and there's not a thing Florida law would do if I slit you open from ear to ear. I've got things to do today and I'd rather not have to give a statement or clean your blood off these seats. For that reason I'm going to let you up, you're going to back away from my car, you're going to get in your own car, and you're going to leave."

He carefully nodded his head. I reversed my hold on his wrist and shoved him back out the window, which he was only too happy to do. I would've said his eyes widened when he saw the push dagger in my fist for the first time, but they were already as big as dinnerplates. He tried to walk back to his car as if nothing had happened, but his legs were shaking so hard it looked as if he were trying to dance. I took a few extra turns on my way home to make sure he didn't try to follow me, and haven't seen him since.

I realize that my actions were harsher than many people would say was required, however the best way to avoid an actual bloody conflict is with an overwhelming show of decisive force the second your opponent begins to attack. If he had grabbed me and dragged me out of my car, he might've had time to kick in my ribs or crack my skull. I may or may not have survived, but the only way I would've gotten out of it at that point was if I had permanently and irreparably injured him. This way he gets a scare and walks away without so much as a scratch.


Joilene said...

You're a miracle worker. I've been looking for years for some strong, emotional reason not to hate the topics of martial arts and self defense. Outside of movies, I've had nothing but bad exposure to either...people who let their tempers out and shut their brains up, while using their "skills" innapropriately. I'm not above having a favorite pistol, but with this post, you've taken the road block down for erasing a nightmare.

Thanks for proving that self-control and knowledge are worth more than bitterness and testosterone.

Christa said...

WoW! The reading I've done so far on your site makes me want to come back and learn some more. I have wanted to learn more self-defence, and this seems like a good place to start.
My home(s) has been broken into multiple times, though only one time has an intruder entered when some one was home. We have had other threats and scares. Most in our area don't understand the need to defend themselves, and find me strange, but oh well.