Monday, February 11, 2008
"You're Not an Ape -- Use a Tool!"
On a good night, maybe ten or so players show up for our silat class. Enough to fill Cotten's three-car garage. Some of these are newbies, most have been around for a while, a few for a very long time.
I fancy that I can give any of them enough to worry about, hand-to-hand, and if I were a betting man, I'd put my money on me to win, did push come to shove. Yeah, yeah, it sounds egotistical, but like Grampaw Sonnet used to say, "No brag, jest fact." As I see it ...
In the awful remake of Godzilla a few years back, they ran a series of teasers in theaters before the movie came out, and my favorite was wrapped around the phrase "Size matters."
Of course it does, else flyweight boxers would be stepping into the ring and beating heavyweights, and that doesn't happen. It's not all about size and strength, skill can void a lot of that, but with skill on both sides being anywhere close to equal, the itty-bitty guy is usually at a disadvantage. Note: I said "usually."
There are two women in our class, smallish people over whom I have nearly a foot in height and sixty or seventy pounds in weight, and one-on-one barehanded against either, I believe, he says euphemistically, that the match would, ah ... favor me. One is only a year or so deep in the stuff, so I'm bigger, stronger, and more skilled. The other knows as much as I do, probably more, but her skill is not so much greater that it offsets mine and my size in combination.
However, were either of these shrimpy women holding a knife, I would not like my chances barehanded against them so much. At the very least, I would expect to pay for a victory in my own blood and ethilon suture material, things that are not at the top of my list of Fun Things to Do.
The point here? If you are a non-martial artist and you want to protect yourself, get an equalizer. Sharp steel is harder than flesh; unless you came from Krypton, you ain't bulletproof.
A knife or a gun go a long way to offsetting unarmed skills. A gun and a knife are even better.
Of course, a good martial artist is apt to be proficient with such things, too -- any who claim that they are streetworthy who cannot reliably use a stick, knife, or gun -- or all three -- is fooling himself. Guns are the rocks of our times, and the first tools past rocks and dull sticks, were pointed sticks, followed by the earliest incarnations of the axe and/or knife, so they've been around almost as long as we have. There is a reason for this -- the knife is as useful a tool as there is.
You don't have to be a expert to use one. If you have sliced a turkey or a carrot, you know which end goes where. Some small training is all you need to be able to deal with anybody short of Bruce Lee. A little bit more, and you could filet a Bruce-equivalent like a catfish and deep-fry him.
Just my small bit of useful advice for the day ...