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Posts Tagged ‘Self Defense’

Kung Fu in Action

Friday, December 12th, 2008

As Kung Fu students we train our bodies for many reasons and while these may be different for every person, self defense has always been a big part why I train so hard. I don’t believe in fighting and certainly think walking away or running like a scared first grader is the best line of defense against violence but in some situations that option is not available. When you’re out with your family you simply can’t run and leave them behind. This is a situation I found myself in that running was also out of the question.

As I was driving home one day I began coming up behind a larger vehicle hauling some equipment. The road was several lanes so I leisurely pulled into the left lane to pass them and not cause any kind of traffic jam. It was such a nonchalant move I didn’t even pay attention to who was in the vehicle or what they were doing. That was until the vehicle suddenly accelerated and pulled up beside me. At that point I realized there were several people in the vehicle and they all began shouting and waving their fists (and fingers) at me. I didn’t pay it much mind, I was in a smaller vehicle not towing heavy machinery so I accelerated and thought it was over.

Next thing I know, the vehicle changed several lanes, pulled into oncoming traffic and moved up to my left. Now I understood this was serious, the passenger was leaning out of the window and screaming at me. Suddenly he threw some kind of bottle out of the window and into the side of my car. At this point I’m dialing 911 on my cell phone when the driver makes a hairpin swerve into my lane. He would have hit my car had I not been able to swerve into the right lane. The movement was so forceful I actually spun out several times in the intersection loosing my phone in the process. Because that stopped me and they were traveling so fast, they were gone before I had come to a stop. I pulled into the nearest parking lot to check my car, tires, and shorts. I leaned down to look at a tire when I heard a loud crashing noise only to see the attack vehicle slamming through the curb of the parking lot. It came to a jolting stop and the driver shot out of the car like he had been ejected. He was running at me full speed and I knew I had no time to turn and run, try to open the car and get inside or do anything but prepare for the worst. When he was about halfway to me the other doors swung open and three other guys jumped out of the vehicle and started running towards me. The situation had taken a very serious turn but all I could focus on was the first guy. I knew I had to drop him quick enough to discourage the other attackers and give me time to prepare for them.

As he approached me he drew his right arm back and lunged in with a powerful straight punch. This was probably 8 years or so ago and I hadn’t learned a whole lot of Kung Fu but had been working on the Sup Sae Lo form and the first thing that my body did was go right into Sup Sae Lo #3. My left arm went up with the block and redirect while my right arm punched straight into the attackers face. I was in a very solid forward stance and could feel the solid connection but immediately my body went into the forward push kick and hit the guy in the lower stomach. He crumbled like a leaf and hit the ground hard. I backed up a few steps and got set for the three attackers. As it turned out, the three attackers were trying to stop the guy or were deterred by the scuffle, either way they grabbed the first attacker off the ground, shouted how crazy I was and took off. It took a few moments to understand all that had happened but I was interrupted by my cell phone from under the seat. It was the police making sure I was ok, since I had dialed 911 but then lost the connection.

All in all, I came out without a scratch and lived to go home and live another day. Personal protection is a very serious thing that needs serious attention, but one must not mistake self defense for fighting. I only did what I had to do and what I had trained to do, nothing more, nothing less.

Remember when you’re training to take it serious and work hard at your techniques, but know that using your training is a rare occasion and not one to look forward to. Have fun while practicing and work hard!

Soldier 101

Tuesday, November 18th, 2008

Lots of people have asked me what’s the craziest thing I’ve had to deal with since TKFF opened its doors. The following is probably it…except for the time I spoke with a ninja, but that’s another story.

It was the perfect Friday afternoon. Not too hot with a great spring breeze. I had an hour before instructing the next class and I thought I would enjoy my lunch outside. I had no idea that danger was lurking outside the door. I grabbed my sandwich and headed out back. The air was thick with fresh honeysuckle. One bite later, Elizabeth, our office manager walked out. She looked very disturbed.

“I really think you need to get up front and see what this guy wants,” she said. Her body language told me not to argue, so I sighed, took another quick bite, and went to meet our visitor.

“Hey, you the main instructor?” The visitor stood next to the front desk. He wore a faded camouflage shirt, baggy commando pants, and scuffed brown boots. His black greasy hair covered his eyes. With his arms folded across his chest and his head tilted to the left, he was trying to look intimidating. I thought he might fall over if he leaned any more. He also had a friend with him, a bean-pole of a guy wearing a purple shirt with the word “nasty” on the front. He was standing glued to the wall.

“Yes.” I said, still thinking of my sandwich.

“Yeah, I train with X (I can’t remember the name) and I did a tour for the U.S. Army. I’ve also trained with Chuck Norris’ boys.”

“Great, how can I help you today?”

“Say, look, I’ve been all over town and I’ve put down all the instructors.” He moved away from the counter and turned toward me. “That’s what I do, man. I go from school to school, challenge instructors, see if they got anything for me.” He started poking his thumb into his chest and began to strut. He looked like a drunken rooster. “So far nobody’s touched me.” Now he was doing a horrible version of an Ali dance. “I know 101 ways to kill, man. Got my skills from Uncle Sam, in the jungles.”

Again I said, “Great, how can I help you?” I was hoping this wasn’t going where I thought it was.

“I don’t see how that mantis bug stuff you do deals with real combat.”

OK, now I’m really upset. My lunch hour is slipping away, my sandwich is getting soggy, and my empty stomach is groaning at me while I am listening to this lunatic!

I grabbed a brochure off the counter. “Why don’t you come back Monday evening at 6:30 for our open class. That will give you an idea how mantis kung fu works.” I walked over, handed Soldier the brochure, and was on my way to the front door.

“See, all I gotta do is send my elbow into the throat.” Now he was shadow boxing. “So, I mean there’s no way you can handle me. I exterminate bugs.”

Before I reached the door, Soldier rushed me. I stepped to the side. His fist sailed passed me. I shot my left leg out and swept him off his feet. Soldier hit the floor hard. His partner, Mr. “Nasty”, just stood frozen to the wall with his jaw gaping open.

I looked down at Solder, “What are you doing?”

“Oh, man, just testing you. How’d you do that?” he asked, getting up.

“It’s time for you guys to leave.” I held the door open and Mr. Nasty quickly exited.

“No hard feelings, man. Just messin around.” Soldier regained his balance and charged again! I couldn’t believe it!

I ducked his punch, grabbed his shirt, twisted my waist, and threw him again, only this time out into the parking lot. I closed the door and stood in front of it. My heart pounded my ribcage and the rush of adrenaline burned my stomach. “If you come again, you will be hurt. Then I’m calling the police.”

“It’s cool, I’m gone. Some moves you got, man.” As Soldier and Mr. Nasty were walking off, he shouted, “You the man!”

Watching them walk away, I recalled some stories my Sifu told me that happened to him in the late 60’s and 70’s. In those years, lots of crazy people challenged instructors. I had thought those days were gone but Soldier proved me wrong. So, all martial arts instructors beware. The Soldier still lurks about and he knows 101 ways to kill.

* Side note. Since Soldier’s visit, I’ve replayed that day in my mind repeatedly and thought of several ways I should have handled it. I hate that it got physical, but I learned from it. As a result, we implemented new policies into our curriculum as to how to deal with whackos. We call our deterrent program Soldier 101.