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The Ultimate Self-Defense Technique: A Real-Life Story about the Art of Fighting Without Fighting

ViolenceWhat would you do if a big drunk guy walked up to you and wanted to knock your head off?

It happened to one of my website members recently and he called to tell me what happened.

John was standing in a business and talking to someone when a drunk guy walked in and wanted to fight. The drunk was larger than John, and it was clear that he could do some damage.

Like most guys, John's first reaction was to think about fighting techniques. And as the drunk got more agitated, it seemed that violence was about to happen.

Suddenly, John remembered the recent Internal Fighting Arts podcast with my guest, Dan Djurdjevic. In the interview, Dan talked about "flipping the script," and how it got him out of some potentially violent encounters.

When you flip the script, you say something bizarre to the attacker to throw him off-script; to confuse him.

So just as it seemed that a punch was going to be thrown, John said to the drunk, "Did you see the game last night?" 

The drunk looked confused. "What game?" he asked.

"My daughter's baseball game," John replied. "She made her very first out at second base."

The drunk guy didn't know what to do with that information.

"Oh, that's great," he said. "Congratulations."

With that, the encounter moved in an entirely new direction. The drunk guy calmed down. No violence happened. Nobody was hurt, nobody was arrested, nobody went to the hospital, lost his job or got sued.

Bruce Lee once said he practiced "the art of fighting without fighting." Flipping the script is one of the coolest self-defense tactics I've ever heard, and it is something you will want to remember. Imagine a thug's reaction if he wanted to fight and you said something like, "I love homemade pickles. My Aunt Jane used to make great pickles."

When I was growing up, I wasn't the toughest kid, but I beat up a lot of bullies because I was smarter than they were. As an adult, I have not been in a fight because I have been able to avoid them.

As adults, avoiding violence is the ultimate self-defense skill, and we do that when we use our brains, our awareness, and our ability to remain calm. John was able to do that by remembering a lesson he learned on my podcast, and I am very happy to have been a small part of this story.


The Internal Fighting Arts Podcast on Wude - Martial Morality and Facebook Ethics for Martial Artists

KungFuDo you remember how the "Kung Fu" TV show included flashbacks, when young Caine would receive morality lessons from the monks, Master Po and Master Kan?

One of my favorites was when young Caine and another boy were robbed by a bandit on their way to town. They were ashamed as they confessed to Master Kan that they had been fooled by the bandit, who had gained their trust before robbing them.

"And what have you learned?" asked Master Kan.

The first boy angrily replied, "Never trust a stranger."

Master Kan looked at young Caine. "And you?"

Young Caine said, "Always expect the unexpected."

Master Kan turned to the other boy and ordered him to leave the temple. He had not shown the proper character to be a monk.

In 1972, I loved the flashbacks as much as I loved the fight scenes. And the more I watched the program, having grown up in a very conservative Southern Christian household and culture, I realized that the morality presented on the "Kung Fu" TV show struck a chord inside me much more than the stories from the Bible did.

I remember thinking, "What a wonderful way to look at the world."

Every martial art has a code of ethics, or "martial morality." In Chinese martial arts, it is called "wude," pronounced "Woo-Duh." In Japanese arts, "bushido" is the code of honor.

All you have to do is look on Facebook or listen to martial artists talking about each other and you realize that the morality of martial arts is left broken and crying on the training hall floor as martial artists of all styles ignore it while they study how to kick someone's butt or worry whether they can fight an MMA guy.

The new Internal Fighting Arts podcast focuses on wude -- what is it and why it is so hard for martial artists to achieve.

My guests are Jonathan Bluestein and Byron Jacobs, two talented, dedicated martial artists who practice Xingyi. Jonathan, the author of "Research of the Martial Arts", lives in Israel and teaches at the Tianjin Martial Arts Academy. Byron lives in Beijing, works at the International Wushu Federation, and studies with Xingyi Master Di Guoyong.

In the internal arts, which are Chinese, wude includes principles such as:

  • Humility
  • Honesty
  • Respect
  • Courage
  • Trust
  • Persistence
  • Loyalty
  • and more

As you can see if you look at Facebook, there is no shortage of arrogance and lack of respect shown by martial artists who flame and criticize others for reasons that only a good psychologist could understand -- usually insecurity, arrogance, or simply to hurt another person or cause trouble. Most of them see themselves as "concerned for the art."

In this interview, we also talk about the recent "fight" between MMA fighter Xu Xiaodong and taiji "master" Wei Lei, in which Wei Lei was beaten up in about 12 seconds. It has caused an emotional earthquake that has shaken China and the martial arts community. But how does it tie in with wude?

Listen to the podcast to find out.

Listen online or download to your computer by following this link to the Internal Fighting Arts podcast on Wude - Martial Morality on Audello

It will be on iTunes and Apple Podcasts within a few hours.

Apple Podcasts