To Fight or Not to Fight: That is the Question

Violence, like sex is a modern taboo. We acknowledge its existence but refuse to speak of it objectively in polite society.
We actively discourage any display of it, as it seems to reflect a primal or primitive aspect of human behaviour that we are so far above in our age of enlightenment and increased intelligence.
From the time our young are old enough to understand our direction, we inform them that violence is bad, violence never solves anything and that violence is a sign of a lack of intelligence.
I have a problem with this.
You see, I believe that all the signs point towards fighting and violence being an embedded aspect of human behaviour and that by suppressing this, we are creating problems that are currently echoing through every crevice of modern society. Let me explain...
If a person were to examine the behaviour of the young of any animal, they would find that the young will instinctively fight on a regular basis to develop and enhance survival skills that will serve them well in later life.
Look at some young kittens or puppies and they will play fight. The will roll and grapple, they will strike and they will "gently" bite each other. All of this will usually take place under the watch full eye of Mommy cat or dog, who will, should one of their young display a little too much enthusiasm or loose grasp of the purpose of the exercise and become over aggressive, give them a gentle tap to show them who is boss and put them in their place.
This occurs throughout the animal kingdom. Young bear cubs, baby primates, even Dolphin calves.
Why do us humans believe that for some reason, our young should not be afforded the same?
In my opinion the reluctance of humans to allow their young to express themselves in this manner is in fact suppressing a natural instinct that we are all born with, it is ingrained in our DNA, we would not have survived as a species, not to mind have risen to the very top of the food chain without it.
In our modern world of Ipads, smart phones and TV on demand, we seem to have forgotten, at least on a psychological level, our place in the world. We are animals, always have been and always will be, therefore the same laws of nature apply to us as to any other animal.
Historically, through the evolution of our species, we have been required to fight for survival, this is where the saying "survival of the fittest" has its roots. However because of the superior human brain, we have developed technology, machines and devices which make our work and our ability to survive easier.
We, in essence have changed the rules from "survival of the fittest" to "survival of the most adaptable". This of course has great benefits, more food, less hunger, most of us don't need to worry about where our next meal is coming from, but, and it's a big but, we have re-shaped our place in the world, taking away the need for us to develop and hone one of our most primal survival instincts - the ability to fight.
Because of our superior intellect, we rationalize that we are above animals, superior to them and that we no longer need to display the same traits that other animals do.  
When little kids begin to wrestle and play fight in the playground, we intervene and scold them. We condition them into believing that fighting is bad. I am not talking about kids kicking the crap out of each other, I have two sons, I wouldn't like to see that done to them or to see them do that to others. I am talking about play fighting and testing their abilities against their friends, give and take and usually with a smile on the faces of both sides. Sometimes it ends in tears but that is good, that helps to set boundaries and tame egos, it teaches control and respect.
What affect does this have in the long term?
Here is my opinion.
I believe that this could possibly lead to societal problems in later life. Why? I hear some ask. Because it suppresses something that has evolved for as long as mankind has existed and suppressing natural instincts can only lead to problems in the long run. Kids grow up not understanding violence, not understanding how to deal with interpersonal conflict, especially when it escalates to a physical confrontation. Sometimes, somewhere down the line when that kid grows into a young man (I use men as an example as they are more prone to episodes of violence than women, again a pre-disposition from our evolution) and they find themselves in a position where violence is the only answer, they either freeze because they have been conditioned not to fight or their adrenaline response is so overwhelming that they cannot control it and use excessive violence sometimes resulting in unintentional homicide.
Some people may find my opinion incredibly offensive, I understand that as it is again a product of social conditioning. I do not believe for a second that "violence solves nothing" , if someone is swinging a baseball bat at you or trying to stab you in the face with a broken bottle, the only thing that will prevent that from happening is, you guessed it violence.
As a matter of fact, the democratic society of the western world relies heavily on threats of violence or force in order to keep citizens in line. Don't pay your taxes, they force you to pay them or else they will send their enforcers to come and take you by force (violence by another name) and put you in prison.
Fighting is usually the activity that is associated with violence, mention violence to an average Joe and I can guarantee you it is a fight that will flash through their brain. Violence isn't just fighting, there are many, many levels.
At the lowest level there is manipulation. Think of bullying, that's a form of manipulation, most common amongst kids in schools which could be another indicator of the perils of suppressing play fighting  or horse play in children, manipulation also exists in the adult world. In workplaces for example there is almost always a personality who seeks to dominate others, forges alliances with workmates in order to shun, ridicule or belittle someone else - this is a form of violence.                                        
With these type of people, we all know that if you "put it up to them" they will usually back down, quite often protesting as to how unreasonable and over reactive you are.
I have heard people say so many times that they are pacifists, which means they oppose violence in any shape or form. I don't believe this for one second - if pacifism truly existed it would mean  that that person would do nothing if they or a loved one was being attacked - I don't buy that.
In truth, we are all fighters in some shape or form, we are all capable of violence but we can re-define violence to fit in to our own self perceptions. You cannot change nature, you can suppress it, you can hide it, you can deny it, but it's always there.

About the Author:
Brandon Clifford is the founder and Chief  Instructor at Krav Maga Combatives.
Coming from a traditional martial arts background, Brandon began to train in Krav Maga in 2001 after a particularly violent encounter while working as a door man in Central London.
In 2005 he completed the 150 hour instructors program with the International Krav Maga Federation and began instructing Krav Maga in the greater London area.
Brandon has also trained in BJJ with Roger Gracie academy and in Mixed Martial Arts with London Shootfighters, competing at both amateur and professional levels.
Brandon has a long background in frontline security, having served as a team leader in the Rapid Response Riot Squad in the Prison service, 20 years experience as a doorman and 15 years working as a close protection operative working with many A list celebrities including Jay-Z and Will Smith.
Currently, Brandon resides in Northern Spain and runs a Specialist Security Training company, IST-Academy along with running  intensive Krav Maga boot camps in Spain and monthly seminars in the U.K.


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