It’s all fun and games ’til someone loses an eye”  – Mom

I was meeting with one of my business associates the other day. We were hashing out the schedule for the coming year and elaborating on the requirements for the new ARCS Train the Trainer Program. This program allows clients to expand their skills, even achieving the status of Trainer/Coach in the ARCS Self Defense & Combatives System (a level of fighting education unavailable until now).

One of our associates had difficulty comprehending our clear-cut definition of when to use violence as the solution to a dangerous problem. For us it’s simple, the situation needs to be criminal in nature and “life-or-death serious”, meaning… if you don’t take action you are going to be harmed.

This dude kept bringing up various social situations where someone is verbally (even mildly physically) aggressive but where the physical threat is unclear. In other words, at this point, you’d be hard-pressed to fight for any reason other than to “teach him a lesson”.

So let me share with you a story that a friend of mine once told me about. It is a great example of the dangers of “teaching someone a lesson”.

Seems his older brother (while not at the trainer level, still an excellent fighter) had a roommate who caused numerous problems for the other 3 in his house. Apparently, the problem child (we’ll call him ‘Joe’) was a large guy, and both verbally and physically aggressive. The other roommates had nominated my friend’s brother (let’s call him ‘Tom’) to give ‘Joe’ his walking papers.

Although *much* smaller than ‘Joe’, ‘Tom’ was confident that with his extensive fighting training he could easily handle the situation.

As ‘Tom’ explained to ‘Joe’ that he needed to move out, ‘Joe’s reaction was to get verbally combative and use his larger frame as an intimidation factor.

As he moved closer, ‘Tom’ felt it was time to let him know he wasn’t intimidated and met him with a knee to the groin and a short punch to the jaw. ‘Joe’ doubled over and moved away from the strikes, but he was still standing because ‘Tom’ hadn’t followed up his strikes since he was only half-heartedly “teaching Joe a lesson”.

What happened next was a nightmare.

Wondering if ‘Joe’ was all right ‘Tom’ moved closer, but ‘Joe’, now in a violent rage, charged and knocked him viciously to the floor, then jumped over his body and began repeatedly kicking him in the temple with his heavy work boots.

The end result: ‘Joe’ was arrested and ‘Tom’ required numerous MRI’s just to ensure he had no lasting brain damage.

This is a perfect example of why, in a violent threat, there can only be one response… and it’s never an attempt to “teach someone a lesson” or simply as an ego boost.

If you are not prepared to leave the other guy in a non-functioning state, you are not committed to the fight. You’re just playing with social violence. But in a truly violent situation, the other guy IS going to be committed to REALLY hurting you.

In this case, ‘Tom’ used violence to “teach a lesson” and ‘Joe’ responded with a lethal attack. You can never know a person’s response to violence. If you use it to “teach a lesson” (i.e., treat violence as a game) you may very well find yourself missing an eye… just like Mom said!