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Yeah, But Can You Fight?

I just watched this video from Clint Smith (See it here - Clint Smith). (Clint is quite the character, and the language is a little RAW, so send the kids to another room and keep the volume down). But he brings up a couple of points I have made many times over the years, and I’d like to discuss them a little more.

It seems a lot of folks (men predominantly) get their noses out of joint (pun intended) when the discussion turns to fighting. Often, some of them make comments to the effect of, “If such-and-such situation happens, I’ll just …..” This will generally be in response to a question like, “If a guy has a knife, what would you do?” Or, “If a guy is charging at you throwing punches, what would you do?” Many of the answers seem to come from very fertile imaginations and border on fantasy!

What I see as the main problem – agreeing with Clint – is that many of the responses come from a lack of experience. Meaning, few of these individuals have never been punched in the face by someone who really means it or have never been in a real, physical struggle for their life. As Clint mentioned, you have a very limited amount of time (20-25 seconds according to some research) before you run out of gas. Age, physical limitations, and physical conditioning all play a part in what you will be able to do. In my case, I’m 65 years old, have two artificial hips and an artificial knee along with bursitis and some other issues with my shoulders. On the plus side of the ledger, I have been active in the martial arts for over 50 years, have fought professionally and I train several days a week. I have learned, as Dirty Harry said, what my limitations are, and I work around them.

Back in the day, my training regimen was quite vigorous. I won’t bore you with the details (some of what we did was admittedly pretty odd) but, on average, I would do at least sixty 3-minute rounds (not including sparring) a week, weight training, running and much more. That’s a lot of activity. Nowadays, I barely eke out 45 minutes of hard bag and mitt work a week and when you throw in some elliptical, kettle bells and biking, time gets crunched. However, my cardio and strength are still good and because of all the work I have done over the years, I can still manage to hit pretty hard.

During all that training, I got smacked around at times by my training partners. But, when it came fight time, I never drew a hard breath, not even when I fought the undefeated light-heavyweight world champion in a non-title fight. I got hit harder in training than I ever did in competition and, in the few ‘street fights’ I was unable to avoid (I worked as a bouncer and have been an LEO for almost 40 years), I only got hit once (on the head with a stick) and the total time for all of them probably amounts to no more than a minute. As Will Sonnet said, “No brag. Just fact.”

Why is this important? It probably isn’t, but I think it clearly illustrates Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf’s maxim of, ‘The more you sweat in peace, the less you bleed in war.’ You need to put the work in to make positive changes and you’re foolish to think it can be any other way. I have said for a long time, ‘Learn the skill, not the shortcut’. Shortcuts have a way of getting you in trouble. Learning the skills (i.e. fundamentals) means you always have a default to fall back on rather than just some trick you picked up somewhere which will disappear under the stress of a physical confrontation.

Go find someone who will ‘roll’ with you; get some gloves and hit a bag or some focus mitts; get someone you trust to spar with and find out what it feels like to get hit. These lessons will be invaluable if you ever find yourself in a tough situation.


Out Cold


The Director's Desk

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