Frank T Bird
Reasons I never Fight (anymore)
I grew up in the North of England, no stranger to a scrap or two. But these days, fighting is a much higher risk game.
Jason Bourne loves a fight, but his fights are organised like some kind of violent excel spreadsheet.
But Jason, well, he is a trained assassin, you might say. That's why his fights are like that.
It doesn’t matter. Fights don’t happen like that. More often, they end up on the floor with either guy (or girl) unable to move cos they are too knackered.
Watch a UFC fight. Half the time, if you switched on, unaware of what you were watching, you might mistake it for the Ultimate Loving Championship.
There is much more hugging in real fights. Fighters are huggers.
When I was eighteen, I worked as a labourer on the outskirts of Liverpool.
There was a man who worked with us called Jimmy Babbs. Jimmy was a quiet man. He was small and slim. He had barely any teeth left.
No one would pick a fight with Jimmy.
It wasn't like people couldn’t overcome him physically. It’s just that Jimmy was mentally capable of doing anything.
In other words, he had no moral boundaries in a fight.
To effectively throw a punch, you must want to hurt the person. If you don’t want to hurt them, your mind holds back the power.
Personally, I always wanted to try and stop fights. I was never that great at the offensive fighting style because I had too much care for people. I couldn’t unleash my full energy because I felt too sorry for the person on the other end.
Although that sometimes changed when I got hit first.
Jimmy Babbs had no problem with hurting people.
He would use his teeth like a pit bull. He would bite off your ear or your nose as if he was biting into a steak. He would use his long fingernails and jam his fingers right into your eyes sockets. He would push your eyeballs into the back of your head. He would use glass, bricks, or whatever was close by. He was a very resourceful young man.
I spent a little time in the British Army (non-active), and my section commander was a guy from Newcastle. Let’s call him H. He was powerful physically and had served in many conflicts around the world. When I met him, he was in the middle of a court case. A man in a fish and chip shop had randomly felt up H’s wife in the queue. In response, H bit the man’s nose off and crushed his testicles with a table leg.
In the nineties, people like me learned to fight from playing Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter or from watching films like Bloodsport starring Jean Claude Van Dame.
These things are all very poor teaching materials, I must admit.
Occasionally you would find somebody who knew Karate. But it seemed to me karate techniques were more of a burden in a fight than anything (Although I have had run-ins with Karate guys, and they never really ended well for me.)
Most people I knew that were good fighters were boxers.
When someone was a good boxer, and you fought them, you would know about it.
So, when you got in a fight back then, you knew that the other guy wasn’t necessarily out to kill you, and even if they wanted to, most didn’t have the skills or knowledge to do it.
The odds were stacked in your favour if you could at least protect yourself.
It’s a different world today.
The internet has made fighting a horrendously bad idea for people like me still trying to practice leg sweeps like Sub Zero or Chun Li.
The level of the average fighter has gone up dramatically.
I used to go out drinking in St Helens. I was queuing for a kebab one night (Why are takeaways where so many fights seem to happen?), and a guy started insulting my friend for no reason whatsoever.
Having never done Karate, I still squared up to him in a Karate stance.
It turned out he had done Karate.
He kicked me in the nuts harder than I have ever been kicked in the nuts in my life.
If something like that happened these days, I would focus on getting myself and anyone with me out of there as quickly and cleanly as possible.
Because everyone out there now has an opportunity to learn Wing Chun, Brazilian Ju-Jitsu, Muay Thai and a million other fight techniques.
It is easy if you have the passion to know these things well.
It would be nice to think that with these ‘mystical’ techniques came some moral training. But sadly, it’s not like that. See Karate Kid original for more research into this concept.
If you square up to someone outside a Fish and Chip shop these days, you might still meet a Jimmy Babbs who will eat your face off. But if the person you meet is prone to violence, there is also a good chance they have done at least some kind of training.
They might be able to put you in a chokehold and suffocate you or king-hit you, so you drop to the floor dead as a doornail.
Fighting was never a good idea. But these days, if you like your life, you should probably avoid it at all costs.