Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Christmas parties, martial arts and "Stuff"

As it's my personal blog.....

Every once in a while someone brings this old chestnut up, and I thought it was probably about time I aired my recollection....

A few years ago we were out on a pretty serious "Northern" christmas party which had kicked off at lunchtime and gone on well into the evening. The attendees were from a wide variety of backgrounds: our own company, a company we were working with lots at the time, and associated friends and customers of both groups. As the day wore on, one of the party became increasingly agitated. This was, as is always the case, a perfectly nice person who was carrying a bit too much personal baggage at the time and had too much to drink. I can say this, because I can become a morose so-and-so after a few beers, and alcohol affects different people in different ways. Alas, in this case, the beer manifested itself in outward aggression. Initially, this exposed itself as simply trying to pick a fight with two separate people. When it became apparent that nobody was going to give into that kind of thing the mood changed somewhat and we'd gone from slightly charged to grabbing someone (Not me I hasten to add, I only got involved at this point) by the throat with one hand and grabbing a bottle with the other. What followed can only be described as a brief scuffle which ended with my holding onto this person and exchanging a few words. After a few moments I let go and everything was fine. Apologies were exchanged and all was well with the world. No fists were involved, no mention of operating systems (Was made all day long actually), and no real drama.

Some people I know have a huge lack of understanding of the martial arts, and I wanted to take this opportunity to say how proud I am, of the people I train with, in the past and now, and in fact of who I am, and my actions generally. I might be romanticizing a little here.... Firstly, when it came to it, the guy probably wouldn't have glassed anyone. Just after picking up the bottle he might have thought, WTF am I doing, and then let it go. I have to say I think there was a substantial amount of red mist by that point and I don't know what would have happened if he'd been left to get along with it. The way I see it tho, two people were protected that night, especially the aggressor. Besides the obvious criminal implications of what might have transpired, I can't imagine the employers involved could have allowed anyone with a violent crime behind them to continue working in an educational setting.

Whilst I'm on a roll.... Here's a story seldom told before

Many years before, in between my hapkido and taekwondo days I was walking through town, and heading towards the then underpass under arundel gate in the town center. As I walked towards the steps a couple in front of me got to the top of the steps and turned away, opting instead for crossing the road. Hmm... So I headed towards the steps and rounding the corner found four young males standing over a motionless body. It did, in fact, look like a pretty serious mugging. Nowthen, the reason I got into MA in the first place is that my mouth sometimes runs on its own and gets me into potentially silly situations. So I asked what was going on (Well, sorta). It later was explained to me that this is what had really happened........

These five chaps had been to a funeral and gone out to send their friend off in style. In the late afternoon they stopped for burgers on the moor and headed to the next pub. At the top of the steps, one of the five had taken a tumble, bashed his head and was in fact choking quite properly on his half swallowed McDonalds (I was already a veggie by thiis point, but it only re-enforces my conviction ;)). When I got to the bottom of the steps the chap was a beautiful shade of blue, and his mates were in a frenzy. A couple of pats on the back and a little encouragement got him going again, and although still out of it, alive and well at least.

Ok, it's nothing that anyone else wouldn't have done. However, firstly, I'd obtained my first aid qualifications as a direct result of my MA training. At some point, anyone who's serious about training realises that bad things can happen, either in training, or in real life, and if you're serious about protecting yourself and others, you better know what you're doing when it comes to helping people. Secondly, although I would have shouted from the top of those stairs anyway, I was able to do it with some confidence and authority.

So I get a bit disappointed when people make fun of these situations. To my count, my MA training has probably directly saved 1 life, and possibly stopped two serious injuries and two people from trouble with the authorities, as well as minor "Conversations" where someone was sent on their way happy. I've simply walked away from just as many when possible. I've never yet hurt anyone, and I've stood up to people who actually wanted to do me harm, and allowed them to continue along with a different perspective. I don't know what other people would do in the same situations, but I'm pretty happy being self-reliant and knowing I can depend on myself to do the good stuff, and the bad stuff as needed. I'm proud of these achievements, even if people trivialise and caricature them just for effect.

As they say... Talk if you will, walk away if you can, run if you must, but if all else fails; defend yourself

Bah.. End rant.

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