A Real Encounter

People are always asking me to share stories of my self-defense experiences. I worked in a psychiatric hospital as a Recreational Therapist for several years and had tons of real-life experiences while there. Many of those I can only make brief references to and often do in my adult and teen classes. I want my students to know they aren’t just learning based on theory but on reality.

Even before any of that, I had the occasional self-defense experience, being a little brother, the smallest cousin and a young man with a strong sense of right and wrong. While in college, I heard about an acquaintance of a friend who kicked his crazy girlfriend out of his car while it was moving, hurting the girl pretty badly. We all knew this girl was a little kooky, but in my mind, there is no excuse for that type of behavior, especially for a man. Chivalry and all that. Take her home, drop her off at a friend’s house, but don’t try to hurt her.

I didn’t seek the guy out, but I let it be known what he had done to my circle of friends and voiced my opinions that a man should be a protector of women, even nutty ones. My hope was it would get back to his family and they would straighten him out. It did get back to them, but apparently, it sparked a different reaction. The guy shows up at a party I was attending. I never drank and of course all my friends who did drink thought they were in for a show and were really egging him on as he came in the door.

The guy starts by calling me every name in the book, I just stand there. He acts like he’s going to hit me, but he is so far out of range I don’t even react. Finally, he says “Just because you have a Black Belt doesn’t mean I can’t take you.”

I calmly reply, “Being a Black Belt means I already have…” I started to go on but he charged me with a wild swing at this point, I simply parried his punch and stuck my foot out, he tripped and fell. He quickly rolled over and looked up at me, I think he thought I was going to continue to fight him while he was down there. I continued, “Achieving a Black Belt is something few people accomplish. It requires internal strength, a sense of resolve and high moral character. Even if you beat me in a fight, I’ve still won because I have those things, and you have proven you do not.”

I’m not sure how much he heard because everyone was shouting and my friends were grabbing him and helping him to the door. The lesson still sticks with me. It’s really not about being able to defend yourself, it’s about knowing yourself.

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