Aggression, confrontation and fighting

I’ve spent a lot of time wishing that I was stronger, quicker and better at fighting.

On the few occasions when I’ve stood looking another man in the eye and listened to him growl a threat or a warning or heard others warn me off getting into a fight with somebody I’ve been told that they’re harder than I am and that I would lose the fight, that I shouldn’t get involved.  They seem to know that I’m not an experienced fighter and that I didn’t grow up fighting like so many men seem to have done; everybody seems to assume that everybody is harder than I am.

There have also been a small number of occasions where I’ve been in fight situations or been faced with the prospect of them and remembered nothing of any techniques that I’ve learned and my mind has been completely blank; I’m like a rabbit in the road startled by car headlights.

Naturally this makes me feel a bit insecure about myself and I have questioned my masculinity as a result, and this has affected my pride and self-confidence.  I don’t like confrontation and the only time I feel confident about my chances is if I’m shadow boxing in my bedroom or if I’ve been drinking; both of which are false confidence, especially in the case of alcohol.

In my view, confidence comes from knowledge and in fact I’ve been to a few martial arts classes to get knowledge over the years and picked up a few techniques which I’ll probably never use.  I did read a great article about fighting today though – How To Actually Win A Fist Fight – written by Joe Peacock. Some highlights include:-

  • In a fight you will get punched and it will hurt a bit, although you won’t notice this so much because you’ll be pumped full of adrenaline
  • Confidence is a must, even if it’s faked for the benefit of psyching out your opponent
  • Keep moving around your opponent (but not dancing)
  • Punch straight and don’t try any of the stuff you saw in the movies unless you are highly trained
  • Breathe
  • Don’t take things too far unless you want to be jailed or sued
  • Don’t be afraid to lose, you earn respect if you stand up for yourself even if you do lose.

I think it’s important to note another piece of advice I’ve been given in the past – you are far more likely to win the fight if you are in the right.  This supports another common sense bit of wisdom which is don’t ever start a fight, but make damn sure you finish it.

A strong punch is also important (I was told that if I was punched then I should punch back harder) and can be affected by physical strength, how you punch, your balance, distance from the opponent and of course your intentions.  This pistol shrimp seems to be doing something right: –

To be honest, the last time I had a fight was when I was at school, so I should probably just be grateful for that and not worry so much that I don’t stand up for myself, instead avoiding confrontation by talking my way out of situations, even when this means forsaking my own pride in order to give ground to people I knew were in the wrong.  Yet I don’t seem to be able to stop thinking about whether or not I should stand up for myself more, what I should do and what the consequences of that might be.

Will there be retribution or revenge for example?  Will I get into trouble with other people who sympathise with my opponent?  Or will my opponent simply let things go and walk away after I defeat him (assuming I did defeat him)?

For all this fighting talk, the only times that I’ve been faced with confrontation are usually a grown up version of a playground confrontation; somebody puffs up their chest and snarls or growls because I have said or done something to provoke them or they feel that their pride may be at stake.  I forsake my pride so that they keep theirs and I get out of the confrontation, and I do this automatically (assuming I haven’t had a few too many beers).

In my opinion, anger often comes from fear of a loss of control over a person or a situation; although I have no idea why people get angry over something that is said.  Why get proud over words, especially if they don’t affect you or your situation?  At any rate, people growl and snarl and make threats in order to dominate and psych out other people; it’s the human equivalent of an animal making itself look big and scary so that the opponent backs away, cowed and therefore controlled.

The knowledge of how to do this effectively, under what circumstances, how far it can be taken and – if it is successful – that it has worked and the opponent has been intimidated successfully becomes a source of pride and removes the fear of failure.  Perhaps then, the reason why people get angry over perceived slights or words is simply because they fear losing pride.

What is pride?  Some would say it is confidence, false or otherwise, deserved or undeserved as the case may be.  As I mentioned earlier – confidence comes from knowledge.  In this case, that knowledge is used to control somebody else (and supports my philosophy that knowledge provides the power to control).  Certainly we are all by various degrees afraid of losing pride and act to avoid it as much as possible, so it must be important.

Pride comes before a fall – and nobody wants to fall.  This would explain the need for some to intimidate and threaten others in order to get their own way.  For example, a bully is somebody who intimidates and threatens others in order to control them; if they achieve their goal then they have the knowledge that they are the biggest and strongest person amongst their peers (and presumably have first dibs when it comes to picking the most fertile mates).

If a bully is stood up to successfully and/or defeated by somebody then the knowledge they had is taken from them and they are left with the absence of confidence brought about as a result of the lack of that knowledge; what of their future now that they’ve been knocked off their perch?

With any luck, they’ll just walk away with their tail between their legs, and change their behaviour for the better.

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About TheImaginator

35 year old sciolist living in Tokyo. I like swing dancing, Twitter word games, writing, using Stumbleupon.com, reading, and watching movies. I write stuff on my blog occasionally.
This entry was posted in Philosophical musings and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Aggression, confrontation and fighting

  1. vespa3012 says:

    Very thoughtful exploration of confrontation! Reminds me of an article I read recently: http://www.samharris.org/blog/item/the-pleasures-of-drowning

    I also enjoyed your collection of quotes, especially the one from Lao Tzu. Have any of them inspired writing you’ve done?

    • Thank you, I just read that article ‘the pleasures of drowning’ and found it very interesting.

      Regarding the quotes, I’ve just collected them over the years and then posted them all at once on my blog. I found the one from Lao Tzu after watching ‘The Iron Lady’, where Merryl Streep’s Margaret Thatcher quoted her dad as saying those words to her.

      I haven’t used any of them as inspiration for my writing as yet – but now you’ve given me ideas!

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