Joined: Jan. 2006
I'm going to spam you with stuff I wrote for my livejournal a while ago:
Violence is about hurting people. There can be problems with this, apart from the obvious one that hurting people is illegal unless done in self defence.
Moreover, if you let your emotional desire to hurt them overtake your thinking, you’ll just end up rushing in and lamping them, with little skill and science, which might not be your intention, nor be very effective. (Yet this seems to work well enough for lots of people)
Better surely to learn how to hurt people properly first. But the question is how exactly? In martial arts lessons you learn control, and a great deal of practise goes into using this control. Sparring training teaches you to do painful moves in a way that voids hurting your partner, but one criticism is that you can then become too used to holding back, not following through properly.
It’s why things such as full contact karate were invented. (In my opinion it’s not that much better, since if you are doing the karate properly, they you’ll be hospitalizing your opponent every bout [or else you’re not doing karate, you’re mincing about waving at them], so obviously they are just holding back their blows, like everyone else. Although training in actually being hit and not freezing is always good, it gets up my nose how at least one practitioner of “full contact” karate I am acquainted with will denigrate other forms of karate without acknowledging the inherent and to my mind gigantic limit in his own form)
The impression I get (From tv, books etc) is that what really counts in a fight in real life is intention. If you have two people, one who really wants to fight and hurt someone (Assuming they aren’t totally mad or on drugs, and are reasonably aware) and another who doesn’t, the likely outcome is that the non-fighter will make some feeble and half hearted effort at defence when the offensive chap rushes in, and then will get decked. Case closed, attack wins, bloke has the vor, initiative, and also the drive to carry it all out. Vacillating person lost. If you’re in a situation you don’t want to be in, very few people will say “OK, I am stuck here, lets get it over and done with right now.” Most people will hesitate, try and find a way out of the potential violence before it happens, even although in some cases this will not help.
Now, before a certain section of my readership possibly gets up and says “But we’re violent, violence is commonplace, everyone should be prepared for it”, I would refer you to games theory, anthropology, actual British history not what you read in some places, and their own experience. (And mine. Only personal violence I have faced so far was at school) Violence is not that common, and ourselves and other animals have evolved complex ways of minimizing it whilst carrying on our lives, so it takes weeks of training in the army to get you ready to take someone else’s life.
Being prepared for violence takes time and effort, and many people have other things on their minds. So being non-violent is good and valid. Its what I am. Honest!
(Ok, just because I’ve done various forms of martial arts for a few years, and have a hankering to learn advanced sabotage using household chemicals, doesn’t mean I’m violent. I have attacked no one (since school, and I was provoked, and I think I didn’t really hurt them.))
So, I say, in order to win a fight, you have to want to hurt your opponent.
This desire to hurt can be sheer rage, anger, emotional strength, however as pointed out above, this can limit your effectiveness. Even better if you actually control your rage and funnel it into doing violence properly. Mind you, it all depends on whether you actually want to kill them or not. To judge by the murder cases that come up in court, many of them were not intended to be murders. OK, the neds kicked him 15 times in the head, but if they had really wanted to kill him, one stomp on the neck would have been enough. This sort of thing makes me wonder about the kind of idiot that does end up murdering people. There seem to be some cold blooded assassins, but many others are on drink or drugs, and thus not in control of themselves in any real form, and therefore kill someone in the longest most inefficient way possible. By contrast, the ideal sword duel should be over in a couple of seconds. Same on the battlefield. Kill one, step, kill another. So here we have the idea of efficiency coming to the fore, rather than emotionally battering someone. But of course in that sort of fighting you are doing it for emotional and egotistical reasons (“He didn’t show me any respect”).
So, regarding violence, we have various kinds applied in different situations, from a mugging to the battlefield. This adds to the complexity.
However, to me there are times it is amazing that more people don’t get hurt or killed. When I was doing Aikido, they had a self defence lesson once, just for a change. At one point I was partnered up with a newbie, and they told us to go over all the vulnerable places on someone. I worried my partner by pointing out , well, I’ve lost count, but there are dozens of places you can hit or twist people to hurt or kill them. Yet you don’t need to know all of that to actually hurt someone, just the desire to do so. But knowledge of these places to hit and hurt people would make any violent attack you do much more effective. Think how vulnerable your throat is. Then there are teenagers with knives who just don’t know what they are doing so kill people without really trying, because the human body is actually rather vulnerable to sharp weapons.
Which is where training comes in. With appropriate training, you should be able to prevent someone from hurting you, even if they want to. I’ve had a few years of Karate and Aikido, but never used them. Being over 6 feet tall and sort of average broad shouldered and avoiding eyeing the wrong people up seems to have stood me in good stead. That and avoiding dodgy places and people. But that aside, all I can say is that it takes months of training to get you to be any good at something like this. It is not something you can pick up in a few hours, you have to train your muscles and mind, and also get psychologically used to the idea of hurting someone.
So last year, for various reasons which most of you will know about, my anger got bigger and a bit less controlled. Now I know that if I unleash it, and now I can, in the correct time, I will smack someone about. No control to not hurt, just power straight through them. Its kind of nice to have this feeling of rage hidden inside that you can access given a few seconds, but its not very helpful when your trying to spar painlessly with your friends. Because in the haste to hit them first, its easy to slip the control by accident. Fortunately no one was hurt, and I now have proper control over the urge to win and hurt.
How to avoid problems with neds and other unsavoury characters
1) Be over 6ft tall, male, and maybe 6ft wide as well.
2) Move well, with certainty.
3) Don’t dress too oddly, otherwise they will be tempted to take the mick.
4) If you are dressed oddly, eg reenacting, make sure there’s lots of you and they know you all have a carload of weapons and know how to use them.
5) Avoid areas of town with neds
6) Avoid times neds are likely to be around.
7) Cultivate looking at people in the right way.
Now, option 1 is not open to everyone. I’m 6ft 3.5 inches, although only 11 stone, but when wearing clothes that is not so obvious and probably helps me look a lot more intimidating. I’ve had 2nd grade teenage nedlets go “Awright man” when I jog past them on the canal towpath, and despite walking through some unsavoury parts of Manchester, I never seemed to have any trouble. In the book “Guards Guards”, Pratchet’s character Carrot walks to Ankh Morpork and has no trouble, due to bandits leaping out then apologizing for bothering him. Seeing as he is described as carrot shaped, that does not seem surprising. Now, this will not work all the time, especially not on nutters, but you simply have to learn to avoid them, or deal with them some other way.
Option 2- walk and move under control, so that you don’t look like you are drunk or anything. Drunks are easy prey if you want some fun. But if it’s a choice between a drunk and someone whose walking along easily, looking round them, then they’ll probably go for the drunk. Confidence is also important. If you walk confidently, they wont bother you, but if you try and make yourself small and inoffensive and look a bit scared, again you’ll be easy prey.
Option 3- If you do dress up, it helps if you carry a sharp wit and use it often. Some of us are better endowed with this than others, unfortunately. I tend to think up a good answer next week some time, and would rather just pull out a blaster and distribute a few megawatts of energy between them all.
Option 4- Even then it doesn’t always work, the hard core neds will try and steal the weapons. But there are many stories of people in kit and carrying weapons looking scary enough that locals hold off from having a go. Not to mention your neighbours, who after seeing what goes on at your place, decide never to annoy you in case they end up on a stake in the back garden.
Option 5- Easy to say, harder to do until you know a town. Edinburgh for example, there are places that people congregate after pub chucking out time, so you should avoid them, yet these places are fine during the day. Then at some times of day places are haunts of skateboarders and Goths and suchlike, both as far as I am aware fairly harmless. (But then I am tall and walk like I mean it) There area also places like graveyards that jaikies and drunks like to congregate, even during the day, so it is not necessarily advisable to go into them without a bit of care.
Option 6- Also takes a bit of learning. Now, nutters can be found at all times of day, that’s one of the reasons they are nutters, but like neds, they are more common in the evening. Although you might meet one at 7am because he never went to bed. For example, when I was in Manchester, walking to Karate at 10 in the morning on a Saturday, there was no one on Oxford Road. Early Saturday morning there really aren’t many around, and those there are will be dragging themselves back to their own bed. Tea time and early evening you wont get too many either. Afternoons they will be hanging around shops and suchlike, but then in the evening they will be around a favourite haunt outside a pub or in an open public place.
Option 7 is quite hard to explain, and is by far the less obvious point to make. People don’t really like being looked in the eyes too much, but they will check there for emotions and how much attention you are paying them. So if you want to intimidate someone it is recommended to look them continually in the eyes. This is often a sign that you are dealing with a nutter, and nutters should be run over with your car, or shot using a sawn off shotgun, in order to prevent them having an opportunity to actually do any damage. So running or apologizing is probably a good idea if faced with a nutter. (Running is usually a good idea in all cases anyway)
Anyway, most non nutters will glance at you, then look away elsewhere, for example see how people avoid each others gazes in crowded trains. Except of course for neds or teenagers of all stripes out for a good time. They will use their gaze to try and dominate the scene. Now, if you can catch their eyes the wrong way, ie you look up, see them looking your way, and panickedly drop your eyes, they’ve won. They may later single you out for special attention of some sort. If however you can hold their gaze in a neutral fashion, and not be intimidated, they will back off. (Unless they’re really after a fight, in which case, sorry, wrong option. Remember this is all situation specific. Street smarts take time to learn)
Now, this neutral I’m not bothered gaze should also be used when dealing with unknown adults. I’m thinking of the kind you meet in rougher parts of town, they are higher class than neds, probably have a job and a wife/ girlfriend, and at the upper age group will have grandkids etc. They appreciate being taken somewhat seriously, so simply looking scared by the bloke in the leather jacket and shirt does not make a good impression. They wont attack you for looking like a wimp, but in many circumstances, simply treating them as an equal (Assuming you are similar age/ money whatever) is always good, and you never know, one of them might be the local crime boss, and making a nice neutral, strong but not aggressive impression on him is definitely a good start.) is the best way to go. I’m talking about a gaze which looks at them, holds the eyes for split second, then moves on, especially when you are looking round somewhere. No aggression, no reaction from looking at them, you just note their presence and move on.
This is kind of linked to character and presence. Some people have it, and they will dominate a room or a situation. A short middle aged woman who is not allowed to belt them can still control a class of schoolchildren with character and presence. Essentially if your character is stronger than your opponent, you can force them to back down. One way is to slag them off in a way that they cannot respond to.
Feel free to add other suggestions. It is also important to note that being a ned is as much a state of mind as a socioeconomic label. The only murder I have heard of in Balerno’s history (Balerno being the middle class suburb I grew up in) involved nice middle class lads. OK, they weren’t that nice, but it is important to remember that trouble can come from anyone, so you have to become more street smart.
It’s also fun telling people that I work in Bellshill. Bellshill has a bad reputation, but its not that bad really. Not everyone at work has a criminal record, just a few of them.