Violence is a Language

Big Sky is proud to have Gus Bottazzi as part of our new “Defend Yourself Training” program (DYT). Gus has been working with our DYT Coaches, preparing to launch this new program, sharing his skill and experience, and is a valued member of the Big Sky Team. Check out this guest post from Gus…

 “Violence is a Language”

I was training a private student who is entering medical school in the coming semester. As we were training defensive measures involving an attacker grabbing him by the shirt, he hesitated on countering my attack. He smiled and said to me,”I see myself as an instrument of healing, not pain.” I wish the world was so easily constructed that you could “elect” to be one or the other.

In the almost 35 years that I have been training martial arts, I’m constantly amazed at people’s hesitation on inflicting pain and damage onto someone who is most certainly about to hurt them. I do understand that violence is never the preferred route, but, as Tim Larkin famously said, “Violence is rarely the best answer, but when it is, it is the only answer.”

Self defense should always begin with the awareness of one’s surroundings, as well as the knowledge that not being in the path of possible trouble is always best. Absent that awareness, the next best currency we have is verbal de-escalation. Talking our way out of a confrontation is certainly not as good as not being there at all, but is still a far cry better than getting into a physical duel.

When all else fails and physical contact is inevitable, then we must understand that violence is its own currency or language. An attacker has no respect for words, compassion or reason. Trying to convince them that “they don’t have to do this” is futile. They are incapable and/or unwilling to care. The only response that will impact their thinking is, quite literally, physical impact. This is the language you must now use to communicate with them. It needs to be direct, harsh and unapologetic in its delivery. You may not have wanted to start this type of “conversation,” but it’s now up to you to end it.

I appreciate all the philosophers on social media who say that “violence is the language of the ignorant” or “violence is the last refuge of the incompetent”. To be clear, I also prefer to never be forced into a violent situation. If, however, the situation happens, you do not want to be either “ignorant” or “incompetent” in the only language your attacker is prepared to listen to. This is why we train.

It is better to train self defense and never need it, than to need it and never train it.

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