(photo: miflick)

It is not always necessary to fight in order to win. The self-confidence that you will gain through learning a Martial Art and incorporating the strategies in this book (series) will allow you the flexibility of meeting challenges in a wide variety of ways.

When I was 19, I had the ironic fortune of putting to use the famous strategy “to win without fighting” as taught by Sun Tzu, author of The Art of War.

It seemed to be another typical Wednesday night in Los Angeles, California. I was at my martial art school. It was around 11 o’clock and I had just finished my advanced stick fighting class, changed clothes, and was heading across the room from the office to lock up for the night.

Trouble with a Capital T

But, before I was even half way across the floor, I had the pleasure of watching six gang members waltz in with “we mean trouble” clearly written on their faces and evident in their body language. I sensed danger (of course it didn’t take a lot of Spidey sense to do so). Instead of doing the sensible thing, (like calling the police), I proceeded to cross the floor to greet my late night visitors.

Controlling my fear, I brought myself to act as I would with any other possible client or student visiting my school and gave them the benefit of the doubt.

“Can I help you?” I asked.

“We want to fight,” one of them answered as the others agreed in cluttered unison.

“Great,” I thought, my previous assumption now certified. I tried to continue a casual business-like conversation while observing the group. They didn’t appear to be carrying any weapons, at least in hand anyway. I thought about what I might do if I needed to fight. I considered the chairs and how I might use them. I played out a few ideas in my head and asked myself questions like, “Who could I throw into a display case?” But I was really hoping (internally praying) one of my students would return and help bring some control to the situation. Perhaps break up their focus.

Come back on Friday. That is when we spar and you can fight all you want, I said. That should get me off the hook, I thought, using the one line strategy that usually takes care of the typical cocky trouble maker.

We want to fight now, was the reply and they began to move a little too close for my comfort. I had to think of something fast. There didn’t seem to be a way to back out of this one.

Okay.” I replied, I’ll go put on my uniform.

The command gave them little room to argue, and I walked back across the floor to the lockers to change my clothes. I did so with occasional glances in the mirrors that stretched across the school’s wall. I could see if they were under control. I was hoping they would eventually just leave if I took my time changing. No such luck. When I finished putting on my pants, I had an idea. I grabbed a piece of paper off my desk and walked back to my possible adversaries with an attitude of control, shoved it in the biggest guy’s direction, and said, Sign this.” This action interrupted their pattern.

Why do I need to sign this?” he asked.

I finally had a little control. “It’s a waiver; if I break your leg I don’t want you to sue me.”

My words began to form in their heads and it took them a second to come back with a response.

“What makes you think you could break his leg? one of them questioned, snickering at the possibility.

Standing my ground, I replied in a humorous manner, Of course, you’re right. It could be his neck. Or his arm. If you want to fight, sign the paper.” By now they were stuttering; they had to make a choice, it wasn’t the usual process they were used to and they were confused. I had disrupted their plan of intimidation and therefore gained control.

One of the members moved forward and with a motion of his fist (as if to say he was tired of this nonsense) he said, “What if I just punch you and knock you out?”

This was my big break. I noticed how his body moved when preparing a punch and I remarked, “How exactly would you throw a knockout punch?”

They were now baffled and certainly not used to these types of questions. He tried to describe his lethal ability, but instead was revealing to me how little he knew about combat. I interrupted his attempt and went on to share with him the dynamics of a knockout punch. I explained how his punch would be unrealistic and what type of angles you would use in order to maximize a chance of putting the brain into unconsciousness. Then I took a risk and started using him as an example by taking control of his body (something I am used to doing in class with my students). I continued to explain the many facets of close quarter combat to the group.

I got closer to my volunteer and explained primary striking areas, moved his positioning around, shared the aggressiveness of my own physiology, and demonstrated how to control his body and immobilize his possibilities. I have to admit that when I start to do this I actually begin to hunger for a little combat. But I wasn’t about to let my cocky nature risk the control I had worked hard to gain. The rest of the group was now concentrated on the lesson I was giving. They were not only entertained, but their guard was down and previous negative plans were being replaced with questions, curiosity, and interest. They had gone from a rowdy gang, to a focused class of students. They were showing respect and began to change their vocabulary. Being a part of this transition was an experience I will never forget.

By the end of the display, they were no longer looking for a fight, but instead they were apologizing for their rudeness and lack of respect in my dojo (training hall). They commented on how they thought this was just another one of those unrealistic schools that knew very little about combat. What could have been a very challenging night, ended with smiles and handshakes. I went into the situation with as much positive force as I could muster in what appeared to be a very negative situation.

The punches and blows that helped me to survive this situation derived from a creative mental strategy. I had confronted them with an imaginative technique they had no defense for, and I overcame the battle without having to resort to strikes and kicks. By matching their energy and desire for combat with techniques, I built rapport and was able to lead them to a different state of mind. I can’t say how the situation would have ended up had we come to fists, but I had no desire to find out and was glad that another avenue was found and violence was avoided.

Winjitsu Work Out

Think about a time that you could have used the strategy talked about in this chapter of winning without fighting. Did you notice that in this scenario, I also used the strategy outlined in Lesson 44?

About the Author RICK TEW

I will do the splits for you too. I provide edutainment events that help you to be a Ninja in what you do. I offer Martial Arts Therapy Retreats on Samui Island in Thailand. My unique Winjitsu Mind-Body system of coaching inspires you to BE more fulfilled and to DO more to KickStart your ideas.

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