Self-defense should not be about teaching you how to “go the distance” in a street fight or how to “teach someone a lesson” and certainly not about being a bully or attacking others when unprovoked. You are learning what to do in case you are attacked, how to gain that momentary edge over your attacker so you can get away or find people who can help you.
As self-defense and kickboxing have become a huge part of my personal training sessions it was no surprise when I received an email from a guy requesting self-defense training. This time though the client had sinister reasons for wanting to learn these skills!
Chester showed up for his first training session, complete with back, knee, shoulder and elbow problems! So teaching someone self-defense with these issues is pretty difficult, if it’s just to learn out on interest, or for fun, then fine, but when you consider the speed these moves have to be performed at to be effective, then any hope of using them to truly protect yourself with is pretty slim really. But he said he always wanted to learn self-defense out of interest and use as exercise, so that’s fair enough and we set about teaching him the basics first.
Well without sounding rude, this guy was incredibly slow on his feet, and at 67 why wouldn’t he be? But for exercise it would work fine. After a few minutes he started asking questions like “What move would work best if I wanted to really teach someone a lesson?” I tried to explain that’s not the idea behind self-defense, and there’s no way I could possibly answer that simply because you can’t say what you would do if attacked, once the adrenalin kicks in and takes over then anything could happen, also certain moves would work better than others depending on the angle you were being attacked from. He said he understood but still continued to ask me similar questions regularly.
Nearly every session Chester made several references to two old classic movies, namely Dirty Harry with Clint Eastwood and Deathwish with Charles Bronson, which actually happened to be two of my all-time favorite movies so was more than happy to discuss the action scenes with him and relive these classic movies, and it certainly helped make the hours training session go by very fast. As these movies were about getting the bad guys, there’s a common theme here, and it got me thinking…
I started to realize this guy wasn’t thinking of using these moves as self-defense, but rather using them to attack someone! Out of curiosity I asked him exactly why he really wanted to know these things. He then went into great detail about a school reunion coming up next year that he needed to be prepared for. Apparently he had several scores to settle, and that was his real reason behind wanting to learn these moves.
Now this is a really crazy situation, this guy has held a grudge against so many people, some for over 50 years! He had a list of names, and went into great detail about who did what to him and what year it happened. Now he plans to teach them all a lesson during a school reunion! Slight problem though, he’s so slow if he ever tries to use these moves for real they’ll see it coming long before he even gets close to doing any of them!
Thankfully though, it seems he was just venting and liked to talk tough, he stayed training with me for almost a year, actually leading up to the school reunion, then strangely enough, never even went to it! I guess he realized he had no chance of pulling this off even if he was serious which I don’t think he ever really was, as he never got any faster at all!
He quit soon after saying his injuries prevented him from getting revenge on all these people from the past, but the next school reunion they’d better watch out! He claimed he’d be back in training for that. As that was another five years away I didn’t get too excited about the chances of training him again. Quite a character though that’s for sure.
So, after reading this can you relate to this guys mentality? Or do you know someone this story could be about? How many people could honestly say this is wrong and they wouldn’t act the same way?