by John Perkins

I have been asked what the difference is in training for a duel and a real life attack.

Basically a duel is a planned event where there are some rules and expected behavior involved with what will happen during a conflict. Sometimes a duel is not planned. In this case a person may have some martial arts training like karate or boxing or has training in ring style fighting. Here you may encounter a person who may wish to fight for some psychological reason and attempt to have a contest in the street to see who is the real man. This kind of person can be seen at your local bar after a few drinks or after he has been hanging out with his buddies and may be bored or in some kind of drug induced state of mind and wish to do combat with
whoever he feels would suit his needs. Here is a situation that can go south fast.

The first rule of engagement with this type of moron is leave the scene as soon as you have picked up on your radar that one of these or a group of these sad creatures is in the vicinity. The last thing you need is to start fighting for no real reason and be suddenly surrounded by the meatball's idiot friends. This is a no-win situation. If you beat him his friends will stomp you into the dirt. If you loose to him generally the friends will proceed to stomp you into the dirt.

A real life and death attack can occur almost anywhere and anytime. You will not be the one who gets to choose the conditions of the attack.  A serious prison trained monster or psychopath will attack when you least expect it. He is not worried about his macho status he just wants you dead. He will always try to get
you by surprise and he will usually have a weapon and one or more friends helping.

These would-be assasins depend on trickery to get you into range. You could have the best competitive fighting ability and end up as lunch for a determined killer.
NO ONE IS IMMUNE!!!!  The only weapon that you have for this type of animal is highly developed awareness.

I know of one high ranking police officer who is trained in many forms of hand to hand and grappling arts. He has been in Kung Fu movies. He is Asian and in tremendous shape. He was taken off guard while he was talking with a female officer. The attacker was a mental case who should have been in lock up but the state felt that if he would just stay on his anti-halucinogens he would not be a threat to others. THEY WERE WRONG....

While standing around and having a friendly conversation at a local outdoor eating
establishment the non-english speaking psycho said something incoherrent to the high ranking officer and since the officer ignored the nut the nut attacked with fists of fury. Luckily the officer survived. The female officer offered no assistance. She was in shock at the sudden and intense attack. Had the officer, who is very trained and considered a master fighter, been on his guard he may have been able to prervail in this situation. To the officer's credit he has won citations for bravery in much more potentially deadly altercations. But he was ready for them.

Armed attacks often occur without warning and without the weapon being shown before the attack. Here it is very important to keep yourself away from potential situations. Do not travel where bad guys hang around. If you see trouble coming toward you leave the area. Even if you are armed you don't want to bet your life that you will be quicker on the trigger. The legal rammifications alone are not worth the trouble. You don't need to test yourself on the street.

Recently in NYC we had an incident where a serious fighter who was from Russia and skilled in striking and grappling got himself killed. No, they did not catch him off
guard. He actually went out to look for the bad guys because they had earlier attacked and mugged his wife. When he confronted the bad guy who pulled a gun on him he simply knocked the gun out of his hand and dropped the bad guy to the ground. Unfortunately the bad guy's girlfriend grabbed the gun off the ground and shot and killed the Military trained Russian super fighter.

Some of my students ask me why I always carry a knife and a gun. I state that it is for the unexpected situation. I also state that I may not be able to get the weapons into play before I am attacked. I remember one situation when I was a teen. I used to carry a refrigerator handle in my pocket which acted as a Yuwara stick with points on both ends. I was watching a melee in the middle of Broadway in front of a movie theater when I and a couple of guys were thrown into the middle of the fight by a car that hit us from behind. It was done on purpose. I found myself with a well known brawler who was a former wrestler choking me from behind. It was a particularly hot and sticky day and I could not remove his choke hold quickly enough before his buddies would begin to stomp me. I drew out my handle and simply slammed him in the head a couple of times. He went limp. I was able to get to my feet and move to a safer location. I left the area just as I heard the police sirens. I found that the brawler was taken to the hospital and had a fractured skull. I don't know if it was the result of my refrigerator handle or someone else's boots that caused the actual bone damage.

Remember: A serious street psycho will usually have a weapon to fight with. If you
think that you are going to just get him into a submission hold and simply just put on the handcuffs before he cuts or stabs you or even shoots you, you are dreaming. If you think that you will go to a battlefield and be able to mount an enemy combatant without at least getting cut up, you are sadly mistaken. You must know not only bare-handed martial arts but the use of weapons as well and be ready to use them under the most difficult conditions. Training for anything less is just a sport or just an art. Both are great undertakings but will come up short when a real attack comes along or a duel gets out of hand.

Take care and keep your eyes open, JP

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