When it is time for Unrelenting Violence

Aren’t we supposed to “turn the other cheek” or take down a bad guy with “just enough” force?

Isn’t teaching violence a “bad” thing to do?

As a Self Defense instructor I am put up against these types of philosophical questions daily. It’s a constant tightrope walk between what’s socially acceptable and the taboos of violence.

Unfortunately there is no escaping that there may come a time when one must channel violence to fight violence. This isn’t about war, or ”fighting” for peace with sticks and guns. I’m talking about that one situation that we all fear, the one that makes your stomach churn even thinking about it.

Imagine waking up with a shadow above your bed, and a gun to your head. An intruder is preparing to do unspeakable things to you and your family.

In such situations, we must forget socially acceptable norms and channel our inner violent monster.

Being as close to law enforcement as I am AND from teaching self defense to 100s of victims of violence, I have heard many stories of both victory and defeat.

One in particular comes to mind, and for the sake of privacy some minor details and names have been altered.

In LA a few years ago, a rapist and murderer was targeting women, first raping and then killing them, and local law enforcement were at a loss to find him.

One night, a woman in her 20s was jogging. At night. Alone. With headphones on. (Sigh… limiting your awareness like this is always a recipe for disaster.)

As she was jogging, someone came out of nowhere and slammed her her head against the wall, pinning her down with unrelenting force. He tore her clothes off as the blood ran down her head. In a daze, she had no clue what was happening. Until she did.

Luckily, she had a decent amount of self defense training behind her, and as that training kicked in, she fought back vehemently. The attacker slammed her to the ground and shoved his fingers into her mouth to shut her up. With the force of a pit bull, she clamped down. The attacker, shocked and paralyzed, took off running.

When the authorities finally showed up, she gave them his finger.

He is now in jail.

I have other stories, but they don’t have happy endings, so for now, let’s stick with this one.

See, there are two different types of encounters: social aggression and asocial violence.

I stole this idea from Tim Larkins new book, “When Violence is the Answer.” The book is a great read and a great incentive to understand and embody the monster we have deep within us — to summon him/her when the time is right.

Think Hulk.

Social aggression is the “Monkey Dance” as Rory Miller would describe. It’s a social status situation, just like when two guys at a bar pumping their chest, trying to be “bigger” than the other.

Usually there’s talking involved, posturing, and sometimes even flipping the bird.

The social cues start to escalate and a fight breaks loose.

OR maybe someone’s holding a knife to your throat, demanding all of your belongings.

These are, for the most part, social aggression situations that can settled in a non violent manner.

In fact, I would argue that 99.9% of social aggression situations can be avoided completely.

How? Simple. Use your head! Not your ego.

Walk away.

Don’t go to certain areas.

Don’t cause a stir by eyeballing people.

Use verbal Jujitsu and common sense to talk your way out of a fight.

Avoid violence at all costs.

Ready for another couple stories?

Two similar true stories with vastly different outcomes.

Story 1:
There were two guys on a street corner. Cue the monkey dance routine. They were puffing out their chests and calling each other names. Guy #1 struck the opponent and caused him to fall to the cement. Guy #1 then kicked him in the head, neck, and back. His teeth were falling onto the sidewalk and blood was splattering everywhere. It was absolutely terrifying to watch. No one around was helping. Passersby were filming with their phones, but not getting involved. After the guy on the ground was bruised and battered, his attacker finally stopped. The guy gets up off the floor, shoots out a “F$#@ YOU” and walks away, seemingly fine. The fight is over. Status was achieved.

Story 2:
There were two guys in a bar. Cue the monkey dance routine. They were puffing out their chests, and calling each other names. Guy #1 struck the opponent and caused him to fall down. He hit his head on a stool. Immediately, he started to convulse and died within a minute from head trauma. The fight was over. Status was achieved. Guy #1 went to jail for 7 years for involuntary manslaughter. Guy #2 was dead.

What was the difference between these true stories?

Nothing. They showed the same social aggression scenario. One of them just happened to be luckier than the other.

Could both of these fights been avoided?


Could the guy in the first story could have kept his teeth?


The guy in the second story could have went home to his wife and kids. Instead he’s dead, and the other guy’s in jail.

The moral of the story?

Don’t fight.

Now onto asocial violence…

This is the mother of all fears.

This is the unassuming bad guy that is efficient and articulate.

This is the systematic approach to killing and violence.

There is no talking.

There are no social cues.

Only violence.

This is the attacker who is already in your house, hiding in the closet, waiting for you to fall asleep so he can slit your throat and do whatever he wants to your family.

This is the person who doesn’t seem to have a soul.

They fantasize about violence, and then they act.

These are the people who commit mass murders in movie theaters, concerts, and schools.

There’s no escaping this person.

There’s no talking your way out of it.

There’s nothing you can do except fight for your life.

This is your worst nightmare.

That is when, and only when, you should unleash your violence — your Hulk.

Just like the jogger in the first story. She was pinned to a wall, beat up. Her clothes being torn off. Talking wasn’t going to work. Screaming will only do so much. So she unleashed her Hulk on the attacker. She threw every move she could at him and ended up biting his finger off. She said it was like biting a carrot. Snap!

In these situations, when facing an imminent threat, we must disregard all social training and deliver more violence than we are receiving. We must outperform the attacker. We can’t match them or give less. If they are committing violence on us, we must commit violence back onto them, but more efficiently.

In earlier podcast and blogs, I referred to people with knives and guns as having a “computer” operating system that controlled the weapons.

[Side note: in all of history, a knife or a gun has never killed someone]

Weapons don’t kill people; people kill people using weapons, weather that’s with a stick, stone, gun, knife, rocket, gas, car, plane, boat, or with their bare hands.

All of these options are being controlled by the brain, or as I like to call it, the computer.

Without the computer controlling the weapons, the threat no longer exists.

So, what’s our main objective when experiencing asocial violence?

Take out the computer.

This can be done in many ways that don’t require cutting off one’s head.

Attached to our brain is a mop of nerves running into every part of our body. These nerves are essentially the same material as our brains and even function the same way. But they are primarily the way the brain communicates with the rest of our body and how our body communicates with our brain.

What happens when you accidently touch a hot stove?

You rapidly pull your hand away, curse, and wonder what the heck just happened.

Many times we don’t even feel the pain until afterward. Our nerves just told our body to react and they kept us safe. We didn’t need to process any of it.

That is what we can do to the attacker: To effectively bypass his brain and redirect the computer’s operating system, we need to cause severe damage and injury to his body.

A few ideas include breaking there windpipe, kicking the groin until the balls pop, breaking the knee joint, ankle joint, elbow joint, popping the eyeballs, breaking the jaw, sever the spinal cord from the base of the skull by hitting him really hard in the back of the head.

These may seem a bit violent. Good. They are supposed to make you feel uncomfortable.

But this is what it takes to counter violence.

By learning how to be violent and effectively dismantle a bad guy, size doesn’t matter at all.

I have several stories of small teenagers using these principles to survive violent attacks and live another day.

To sum it up:

We need to do everything in our power to negate social aggression and avoid all fighting. You either go to the hospital, jail, or mortuary. It’s just not worth it. Take the high road and avoid it at all costs.

If we are presented with do my math homework asocial violence, we must do everything in our power to inflict maximum amount of damage back to the attacker. And we must do a better job than them. This is violent and unnatural, but this is how we survive.

Adequate training will give you the tools to use in this type of scenario, so don’t take it for granted.

Train hard like your life depends on it. Because it does…