Tips from Tim Larkin
During self defense training, you learn that there are stark differences between competition and killing. And yet, when it comes to making the distinction, I’ve found that some people have a hard time differentiating one from the other.
A common comment I hear from competitors (whether in boxing, karate or mixed martial arts) is that they do indeed “step into the ring to destroy their opponent.” While I do not doubt their drive or sincerity in that matter, I do think we’re suffering from some miscommunication here: They are using the word “destroy” metaphorically, not literally.
Literally destroying a human being means you kill him. When you metaphorically destroy a human being you beat him, best him, and dominate him in such a way that the contest appears embarrassingly one-sided. Those are two very different things. So how does this seemingly black and white comparison get so muddled?
The confusion arises from the idea that killing is just “competition without rules” — a notion that could not be further from the truth.
Let’s be clear about something: When someone is busy trying to murder you, your best bet for survival is to kick your self defense training into gear and kill him. If that sounds harsh because all the glittery sugarcoating and padding has been stripped off, then so be it. That’s what we’re really up to when we stop pussyfooting around the issue.
Killing is no more just “competition without rules” than competition is just “killing with rules.”
On the surface, the two ideas can appear similar — a punch is a punch, after all — but the motivations, goals and end results couldn’t be further apart.
Digging a man’s eye out of his thrashing, screaming skull is a very different thing from trying end the bout with a KO. Crushing a throat is not the same as scoring points. Tearing out a knee is not the same as an agonizing submission hold.
I do not intend this to disparage competitors — believe me when I say I would not like to end up in the ring with you, as I lack both the skills and conditioning required to compete. My goal here is to get your head focused on what matters in self defense training and in violence.
If you compete with a murderer and he “wins,” you die. If your life is at stake, you literally cannot afford to compete. You only ever want to compete with other competitors, in the ring.
In violence, you have to literally destroy — rupture the eyeball, crush the throat, tear out the knee — so he can’t function normally. You deny him the opportunity to compete with you when you cause the first real injury.
Just as no sane person would dream of killing in competition, in violence, you maximize your chances for survival by keeping the competition out of the killing.