Please do not watch the following clip of a home invasion if you cannot bear witness to real violence, which is consequentially different from that dramatized in action movies, video games and combat sports. However, if you are willing to examine this appalling incident as an informing opportunity, let us assume the violent act captured below was unexpected and unavoidable — as are most such confrontations.
Most humans are reasonably socialized since youth to not hit or hurt others, yet there are dangerous exceptions who deliberately flaunt this golden rule to great effect. Unfortunately, they often cannot be stopped by other than raw physical means, the very ones they employ and we abhor. The regrettable fact is that criminals can and do attack members of their own species. Our primary, albeit tenuous, comfort is their relative rarity. Though this behavior is the norm among animals, our anthropocentric bias likes to project us as above the natural fray. The immediacy of unprovoked violence precludes psychosocial analysis of the predator, who is better evaluated after his incapacitation. Conversely, success behooves the imminent victim to flip off that inner switch controlling our thoughts, words and deeds of rationalizing civility, for these are irrelevant if not detrimental to survival.
When watching this disturbing situation unfold, we understandably tend to identify with the woman or perhaps her child. This is not because we masochistically want to experience the horror she did, but because of the subconscious power of our status quo education. However, ironically, an effective solution lies in entertaining an unsettling thought experiment. Imagine yourself as the vicious assailant and adopt his strategy. Is he not the one that walks away unscathed?
In no other context does his brutal efficacy warrant emulation but within the realm of actual violence. Invasive manipulation of basic anatomy and physiology is not solely the professional scope of psychopaths and surgeons. Any trained adult can learn to apply it. Similar to surgery, violence is not a final but temporary expedient. We simply must overcome our moralistic indoctrination to reclaim the prerogative of efficiently violent skills from those experts who wield it for any other purpose than Self-Defense. A bold mindset can free our willing bodies to express an extreme range of humanity we usually fear — that of an intent attacker — but for one purpose only. When the single remaining option is to attack or not to attack, to be the attacker or the attacked, what is your existential choice?
I am grateful in this particular instance that neither the woman nor her children were raped or killed, unlike innumerable daily cases against women worldwide. We may enjoy the luxury of leading pleasant lives by conveniently neglecting certain statistical truths. Is this responsible? Perhaps not so in the literal sense of being able to respond, and ideally with a properly trained plan. Those brave enough to peer through the translucent veil of civilization, which insulates us from asocial violence, will decidedly train to rely on competence rather than luck; to deeply trust themselves rather than hope for tardy heroes; to prepare for worst case scenarios rather than pretend all will always be good. Until the last thread of violence is bred out of Homo sapiens sapiens, there is a practical need, if not duty, for everyone to earn at least a solid foundation in functional Self-Defense.
Thank you Sihing for this jarring but elucidating article.
Hello Sihing Paul… This video is just another “common case” of a degenerated society.
I am surprise that you take it “so seriously”
According to my eyes, the aggressor looks quite “over-enthusiastic in his action”… This video is quite strange, especially when we know that “US” administration is spreading more and more “hate and fears” in the Media (they have a special team for that, beside Hollywood Co).
Media are poison, Especially in the USA. The last few cases of “school” shooting and other “Wow effect” so-called terrorist attacks belongs to 1 and only 1 strategy. Paul, if that video is “authentic or not” isn’t the problem. 9/11 is recognized today by the whole world as a scam. A full bag of bullshit. (sign cheques and by the way, cover a hold-up)
The problem is what kind of impact (function) this video will have of the Millions of consumers who have big eyes but something like +/- 3% of their brain left.
Never the USA sold so many guns than this last few month… Every single information released on mass media (especially internet) has a commercial function. Look at the last Tarantino piece of shit movie… What is the moral of such a “cinematographic chef oeuvre”? (irony)
Paul, America has a serious problem… An educational and financial problem…
If you think that this video is “shocking” , you should look at the results of American’s (its rotten administrators) foreign policies in Syria… Just one example of “over enthusiastic action”
I think Sihing Paul has every reason to take the video he posted seriously, as it is a serious situation. It is also a very practical and applicable to why self defense systems such as WingChun are in place. If it is fake or real is irrelevant. Acts like this occur regularly.
You are absolutely right Nathan, the situations you list in your reply are also “very serious” and deeply disturbing, but I don’t believe it was Sihing Paul’s intent to list all things in the world that are disturbing, or those which are most disturbing.
Personally, I find it fueling my drive to train harder and share the power of WingChun with my network when I see a New York Times sponsored headlining video depicting a serious and violent act.
It’s good to reflect on these things, Nathan, but now I will go train Tsum Kiu.
Daniel? Are seriously telling me that you appreciate that video “as a fuel for your training”?
WingChun is among other things a self defense system. A self defense system, by definition is a systematic way of defending yourself in a combat situation – just as the one depicted in the video. I can’t help but wonder how I would react if I were in this poor woman’s position. Of course this video fuels my drive to train.
I don’t understand your criticism of Sihing Paul’s post. If you have a political grudge against the US that’s your problem, and opinion and you are certainly in your right to have it, but don’t use this post as an excuse to rant your overly paranoid ideas… There aren’t too many ways to interpret what happened in this video, it was a terribly malicious attack. What happened to this woman is something that happens in many cities around the world, and not particular to the US or it’s media.. I don’t even understand how you were able to bring up 9/11, this is not a political forum, i suggest you go find one, this is a blog for self defense practitioners and enthusiasts.
Let the “kids” grow-up…
Thanks to everyone for reading, whether you have posted a comment or not. However varied our personal opinions, I believe we are each entitled to harbor them. Hopefully, in their expression, we can follow general standards of mutual respect on this blog.
Despite its historical decline, all scales (individual, political, economic, ecological), types (sexual, physical, emotional, psychological) and bases (gender, sexuality, racial, ethnic) of human violence are at least regrettable and at most reprehensible. I wish it did not exist at all in our relativistic world, but cannot idealistically deny reality as a mature citizen.
To address social, or even antisocial, violence at the interpersonal level, we may attempt negotiation, mediation and de-escalation. But immediate and inescapable asocial violence is the raison d’être of Self-Defense. Thus, my dual mission as an instructor of WingChun is:
The former is the primary intent of this particular article.
The linked video, which I chose as a visual aid, may trigger a range of strong emotions. Despite my opening disclaimer, I apologize if anyone was offended by it. Experience has informed me that students are motivated negatively by fear (of pain, injury, death) and positively by love (of training, progress, community), both of which can be productively transmuted into greater skill and higher confidence.
By the way, I enjoy discussions, even debates, of crucial issues and germane trends apparent in contemporary American foreign policy, digital surveillance, monetary manipulation, military-industrial culture, media conglomeration and gun legislation — especially after a glass or two of Pinot Noir — but prefer to remain more narrowly focused in this forum.
Thank you for another excellent article Sihing.
Vivere militare est.