Restraint versus none

Postby Wushuer » Fri Sep 05, 2003 10:21 pm

Another two cents from this camp I'm afraid.
First:
What possible difference does it make why YLC and YBH chose to teach the princes? I must be missing something because I don't see very many imperial princes in my classes for it make on iota of difference one way or the other at this point in time.
Second:
This entire statement:
"Using the other's energy against them" and "using as much energy as is used against me" are not necessarily the same thing. The first leads to the opponent shooting themselves in the foot, so to speak, the second, unfortunately adopted by groups, can lead to endless retaliation.

I beg to differ.
I always use every iota of energy that my opponent gives me right back to him when in a real combat situation. Why? Good question. Because in order for me to be in that situation I was attacked. My response mirrors my attackers use of energy because he chose to attack me with that much energy. His fault. Sorry about his choice but HE made it. I have to assume he wanted to do that much damage to me, so I let him see just how it feels. In push hands or sparring this is different, or even just a drunk friend who got too boisterous. A stranger though who attacked me...........? That's his own problem.
Endless retaliation? From whom? Why?
That part needs explaining.
Wushuer
 
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Postby Michael » Mon Sep 08, 2003 8:22 am

David,

From what I have read, the Yangs taught the Manchus their art--though watered down it is said---because they were "asked". They had quite a reputation. Also from what I know of the time, it was not "polite" nor "wise" to refuse the "powers that be". If they had, it is possible that there may not be a Yang style today.

I am only guessing, but to refuse could get one in serious trouble and what could be a better way to gain greater recognition and esteem for the family and its style. I expect that there were mixed feelings and desires and on the subject---but no one will ever know.

"I have been at late arguing for restraint in application...." Yes, showing restraint can be admirable. I understand your feelings on the subject. And we like to think that to use less violence may end real conflicts just as well as "overkill", and that maybe can be termed more "civilized".

Fights should be avoided by talking your way out of further trouble or to get the heck out of there if you can before things get out of hand. Violence should be the last resort. I have to ask you if you ever have been in a "real" fight? Have you been hit or kicked with viscious intent? I hope that you never have had this experience, or ever will.

"Restraint" in theory it is fine but in reality it does not work that way, You fustrate an "animal" that wishes to do you harm, you will just anger him more. If you are really, really, really good maybe it won't matter. If you are not, every exchange increases the likelihood that you get hurt, that you lose. Do you know if you can take a punch? If you find that you can't or you do not recover from it quickly, you could be in big trouble. They will finish you off. I doubt if an attacker wins he will show you "mercy". If he did have that trait, he probably would not have attacked you in the first place.

I have never had to deal with any "deadly" intent. I have dealt with some drunks and some "tough guys". I had one drunk sucker punch me in the face three times over about a half hour. He would hit me, say *%&&^$ and leave. I know I can take a punch. I did not see any point in messing with this drunk. I wasn't hurt and I didn't want to get kicked out. NOw that was restraint. Then he came back a fourth time and hit my girlfriend at the time---I think he missed me. Well then things changed. A jab or two and it was all over---had not trained in TCC at that time. So what did my restraint accomplish by not dealing with him the first time? The inevidable, was, well, inevidable.

I could give other examples of drunks etc. but you know when a slap will take care of it or if more is needed. But when their eyes are clear and the drool is not running down their chins---so to speak--you can't take chances. I do not recommend using anything but what is needed. As Wushuer says, if I feel that intent to do me great bodily harm in the energy they are sending my way, I would be foolish not to give it all back to them. If he ends up on his face with a dislocated shoulder or something, I consider it "restraint" not to drop on his back with my knee, or finish it with a "punch down". It is NOT a punch to the knee in reality, but a punch delivered to a prone opponent.

I say this with all possible respect, who is going to retaliate, the guy who you can walk away from because he can't follow you, or the guy you humiliated by just "pushing" him around a little?

I do admire your feelings on the subject, it shows a good nature, but sometimes how we would like things to be is not what comes through the door. I hope you never have to find out how much force IS "necessary".

As far as Yang style having no thought as to the "well being" of the adversary. I would say that as a "style" that it is true about Yang style and most others. We are talking about a martial art, by it's very nature it is violent and can be very, very deadly. Restraint, mercy or no mercy is up to the individual, the situation and often depends on the attitude of one's teacher. In "old days" much talk was heard about a teacher choosing students only of "good character". This I take to be concerned with not teaching some pretty deadly skills to bullies and thugs.

My best
Michael
 
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Postby DavidJ » Mon Sep 08, 2003 8:16 pm

Hi Wushuer,

You wrote:
> First:
> What possible difference does it make why YLC and YBH chose to teach the prince I must be missing something because I don't see very many imperial princes in my classes for it make on iota of difference one way or the other at this point in time. <

I'm asking what the Yang family's stance on these issues are. What YLC taught the princes, and *why* he taught them might give insight into the answers to these questions.

You also wrote:
> Second:
> This entire statement:
"Using the other's energy against them" and "using as much energy as is used against me" are not necessarily the same thing. The first leads to the opponent shooting themselves in the foot, so to speak, the second, unfortunately adopted by groups, can lead to endless retaliation. <

> I beg to differ.
> I always use every iota of energy that my opponent gives me right back to him when in a real combat situation. Why? Good question. Because in order for me to be in that situation I was attacked. My response mirrors my attackers use of energy because he chose to attack me with that much energy. His fault. Sorry about his choice but HE made it. I have to assume he wanted to do that much damage to me, so I let him see just how it feels. In push hands or sparring this is different, or even just a drunk friend who got too boisterous. A stranger though who attacked me...........? That's his own problem. <

You have framed the response two ways: one using his energy, the other using the same amount of energy. You have also put it in the context: if the attacker uses lethal intent you would give a lethal response.

I am pointing out that you framed it two differnt ways, and I was also pointing to the consequences of the second way *in many situations* in the lethal context you gave.

You are deciding ahead of time to kill someone based on your judgement of the situation. Do I really have to point out that your judgement may be faulty?

Second, I mentioned the idea as used in groups. It is known as "an eye for an eye."

You asked, >Endless retaliation? From whom? Why?
That part needs explaining. <

The easiest way to have a group of people hunt you down is to kill one of their group. Your reason for doing it wouldn't matter to them.

Suppose something happened and you thought a loved one was being attacked with lethal force, and you killed someone. Then one of his buddies, who agrees with your philosophy, kills you, then a buddy of yours kills him, etc, etc, etc. And soon you have situations like the difficulties that lay between the Israelis and Palestinians, or between local gangs with their drive-by shootings. They all think they are right and only doing to the other what was done to them.

Historically, many tribes all over the world have taught their young not to kill because their enemies would not restrain themselves if there was killing. Someone had to draw a line. If it wasn't drawn, the consequences were terrible to *both* sides.

Is this any clearer?

Regards,

David J


[This message has been edited by DavidJ (edited 09-08-2003).]
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Postby Michael » Mon Sep 08, 2003 11:23 pm

David,

I don't know about Wushuer, but I see where your question is coming from more clearly now.

In my post above I was stopping short of "lethal" techniques. I do think however that a broken arm etc could trigger the same kind of retaliation you describe. I think that whatever action one takes in overcoming the opponent the possibility of retaliation exists. I don't know that one can never really exclude that possibility if one defends oneself.
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Postby Wushuer » Tue Sep 09, 2003 5:33 pm

Yes, I deliberately posted that as two different meanings. You seem to have understood that and followed it to the logical conclusion. I can't say much more on that.
No, I can't see how you could point out that I have decided to kill somone based on my perception of their intent, mistaken or not, as I have not. I have never attempted to kill anyone, they tried to kill me, at which point I used their actions againt them and if that results in their death then I can not be responsible for their decision.
Anyone who attempts to kill me or my loved ones has given up their right to live and there will be no regrets on my part if that is the outcome of their decision. It's really quite that simple. You have obviously not read my posting very carefully to have missed the point so entirely.
I do not go out and try to find people to kill for the fun of it. I only use lethal force against an opponent who has deliberately attacked me, who is unknown to me and is trying to kill me beyond a shadow of a doubt. Under those circumstances, what choice do I have?
In case you're wondering, it is crystal-clear obvious to you when you are facing an attacker who is out to kill you. You won't be able to miss it when it happens, trust me. There is no other vibe like it in the world.
You question my ethics in this type of situation, but I have lived through "kill or be killed" situations more than once in my time on this earth. Did you catch that reference? I have LIVED through them. In other words, I have succesfully defended my life on more than one occasion against an attacker whose intent it was to kill me and I'm still here to talk about it.
Have you?
As you have stated previously that you have not, how can you question the moral decisions at that time by those of us who have?
Until you have been in the situation where you must decide to either take your opponents life or let him take yours...
Don't even consider attempting to dictate or question the ethics of those of us who have, because you don't have the experience to try.
To settle any troubles to you mind on the subject, despite my best efforts none of those opponents died. No I have not killed another human being in self defense.
It must be that my martial arts just weren't up to snuff, because I can tell you honestly that they did not live due to any mercy on my part. Fortunately for them, somehow they lived through the stupidity of attacking me with lethal force and lethal intent.
Do I regret that they lived? No. How could I? I never intended to kill them in the first place, I was simply reacting to their attempts to end my life and therefore meant them no harm then or now, I simply did what I had to do. If the outcome would have been different, had they died, I would still not regret it. The choice to engage in a potentially lethal encounter with me was their decision, not mine.
Kill or be killed is a reality in this world, one I have faced, and I know deep in my heart that my decision at those times was appropriate and would be repeated in future encounters of the same type whenever necessary.
After you have experienced this particular event in your own life, then I will want to hear from you on the morality of killing an opponent who is trying his best to kill you. Until then, you simply aren't qualified to discuss it with any authority.
Sorry, that may sound harsh, but it is true none the less.
As for the fear of retaliation staying my hand if the situation arises...
I have not feared it in the past, will not fear it in future. During an attack on me in which I am fighting for my life the LAST thing I'm going to be thinking as I take the life of my opponent in self defense is "Gee, I wonder if this guys brother is going to try and kill me now?".
Do you see where I'm coming from here?
In a combat situation if I stopped and took that much time to think, it would become a moot point. By the time I got to "Gee, I won....", I'd be dead and it wouldn't matter anymore. I will have failed to defend myself due to fear of a possible future action against me. That is not an option that I am willing to take.
If someone attacks me, tries to take my life and dies because of it and then their brothers and cousins and friends try to kill me...
Then I will have another battle for my life with another attacker at that time and I will kill him if I have to as well. More surely this time because I'll KNOW up front what his intentions are. Again, no regrets on my part if that's his decison, he made the decision, attempted to follow through on it and is now engaged in a life or death battle with me. If possible, it'll be his life that will end and I will not regret it for one instant.
I can only take life one battle at a time and try to live through THIS one. Future battles are not a consideration at that time. Fear will not be either.
I understand the idea of "retaliation" by a group due to a perceived wrong, I simply refuse to allow it to enter into my mindset when forced into fighting for my life.
In other words, I'll worry about his buddies when I'm faced with them.

All that said. I know from personal experience that you cannot show restraint or fear of future retaliation in the face of imminent death during combat. To do so is to render the entire idea of self preservation moot.
I train martial arts to protect myself, my life, my property, my loved ones. If that means I have to kill a temporarily (or permanently, who knows?) insane attacker who is trying to kill me to get them to stop, then so be it. This is a decision they made by attacking me with the intent to kill me, I did not force them to attack me, they chose to do it on their own. No guilt can or will be ascribed to me.
I do not practice quilt making, I practice a martial art. The death of an attacker is a consequence I am prepared to deal with if that person attacks me with lethal intent. My attacker makes his choice, I have to then make mine.
The ethics are clear.

Do not assume from this that I am a red handed reaver intent upon death and destruction. I am so far from that persona as to be as close to diametrically opposed as possible. I do not relish or crave the idea of taking anyone's life. I do not seek out conflict and have been called "coward" too many times to relate as I have turned tail and walked away from brewing fights. In non-lethal encounters I have never harmed an opponent more than they attempted to harm me, and most often I have not harmed them at all, rather simply taught them a short, sharp lesson in pain and let them decide on their own that I'm not worth the trouble. In the several altercations in which I was certain I was fighting for my life and tried to finish it quickly and logically, fortunately my martial arts weren't quite up to the task. Do not take that to mean that I did no harm, because the resultant damage was severe, but fortunately for my opponents none of them died. Or unfortunately when you consider that the last two should still be in jail for assault with the intent to commit great bodily harm not less than murder for quite a long time to come.
If my take on self-preservation makes you squeamish, I'm sorry for that but I will not apologize for it or change it. It has served me well so far and I can see no real reason to change.
You'll need to do a lot more convincing, with a much clearer ethical reasoning, than you have so far to get me to even consider making a change in my approach to whether I will defend myself and those I love with a lethal repsonse if it is forced upon me.


[This message has been edited by Wushuer (edited 09-09-2003).]
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Postby DavidJ » Thu Sep 11, 2003 8:06 pm

Hi Michael,

I think Yang Lu Chan wanted to increase the physical fitness of the Chinese people and figured that by working from the center of government enough interest would be generated, and he might eventually get the whole country in shape.

***

I agree with what you say about appropriateness.
I know of an incident where restraint was shown and the attackers thought the restraint came from weakness. A few days later they attacked again and they all ended up in the hospital. All that the restraint did was put off the date of the hospitalization.

We're talking about using no more force than is necessary to successfully defend yourself - I agree that each situation is different and has a different requirement.

Concerning not teaching bullies and thugs. This is indeed part of the overall idea being dicussed here. As a surgeon is to never use his skills to harm, the same is demanded of warriors. Let me make this clear.

A surgeon may learn how to remove a kidney, it is for the purpose of saving someone's life, but if he or she was to use this skill on random strangers against their will, to sell their kidneys for profit this would be doing the harm spoken of in their oath "Do no harm" even though he or she may claim that they're trying to save the life of the person buying the kidney. The question, "is this appropriate?" is always there.

With tai chi chuan I believe the same ethic applies.

Regards,

David J

[This message has been edited by DavidJ (edited 09-11-2003).]
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Postby DavidJ » Thu Sep 11, 2003 8:17 pm

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Wushuer:
<B>Yes, I deliberately posted that as two different meanings. You seem to have understood that and followed it to the logical conclusion. I can't say much more on that.
No, I can't see how you could point out that I have decided to kill somone based on my perception of their intent, mistaken or not, as I have not. I have never attempted to kill anyone, they tried to kill me, at which point I used their actions againt them and if that results in their death then I can not be responsible for their decision.
Anyone who attempts to kill me or my loved ones has given up their right to live and there will be no regrets on my part if that is the outcome of their decision. It's really quite that simple. You have obviously not read my posting very carefully to have missed the point so entirely.
I do not go out and try to find people to kill for the fun of it. I only use lethal force against an opponent who has deliberately attacked me, who is unknown to me and is trying to kill me beyond a shadow of a doubt. Under those circumstances, what choice do I have?
In case you're wondering, it is crystal-clear obvious to you when you are facing an attacker who is out to kill you. You won't be able to miss it when it happens, trust me. There is no other vibe like it in the world.
You question my ethics in this type of situation, but I have lived through "kill or be killed" situations more than once in my time on this earth. Did you catch that reference? I have LIVED through them. In other words, I have succesfully defended my life on more than one occasion against an attacker whose intent it was to kill me and I'm still here to talk about it.
Have you?
As you have stated previously that you have not, how can you question the moral decisions at that time by those of us who have?
Until you have been in the situation where you must decide to either take your opponents life or let him take yours...
Don't even consider attempting to dictate or question the ethics of those of us who have, because you don't have the experience to try.
To settle any troubles to you mind on the subject, despite my best efforts none of those opponents died. No I have not killed another human being in self defense.
It must be that my martial arts just weren't up to snuff, because I can tell you honestly that they did not live due to any mercy on my part. Fortunately for them, somehow they lived through the stupidity of attacking me with lethal force and lethal intent.
Do I regret that they lived? No. How could I? I never intended to kill them in the first place, I was simply reacting to their attempts to end my life and therefore meant them no harm then or now, I simply did what I had to do. If the outcome would have been different, had they died, I would still not regret it. The choice to engage in a potentially lethal encounter with me was their decision, not mine.
Kill or be killed is a reality in this world, one I have faced, and I know deep in my heart that my decision at those times was appropriate and would be repeated in future encounters of the same type whenever necessary.
After you have experienced this particular event in your own life, then I will want to hear from you on the morality of killing an opponent who is trying his best to kill you. Until then, you simply aren't qualified to discuss it with any authority.
Sorry, that may sound harsh, but it is true none the less.
As for the fear of retaliation staying my hand if the situation arises...
I have not feared it in the past, will not fear it in future. During an attack on me in which I am fighting for my life the LAST thing I'm going to be thinking as I take the life of my opponent in self defense is "Gee, I wonder if this guys brother is going to try and kill me now?".
Do you see where I'm coming from here?
In a combat situation if I stopped and took that much time to think, it would become a moot point. By the time I got to "Gee, I won....", I'd be dead and it wouldn't matter anymore. I will have failed to defend myself due to fear of a possible future action against me. That is not an option that I am willing to take.
If someone attacks me, tries to take my life and dies because of it and then their brothers and cousins and friends try to kill me...
Then I will have another battle for my life with another attacker at that time and I will kill him if I have to as well. More surely this time because I'll KNOW up front what his intentions are. Again, no regrets on my part if that's his decison, he made the decision, attempted to follow through on it and is now engaged in a life or death battle with me. If possible, it'll be his life that will end and I will not regret it for one instant.
I can only take life one battle at a time and try to live through THIS one. Future battles are not a consideration at that time. Fear will not be either.
I understand the idea of "retaliation" by a group due to a perceived wrong, I simply refuse to allow it to enter into my mindset when forced into fighting for my life.
In other words, I'll worry about his buddies when I'm faced with them.

All that said. I know from personal experience that you cannot show restraint or fear of future retaliation in the face of imminent death during combat. To do so is to render the entire idea of self preservation moot.
I train martial arts to protect myself, my life, my property, my loved ones. If that means I have to kill a temporarily (or permanently, who knows?) insane attacker who is trying to kill me to get them to stop, then so be it. This is a decision they made by attacking me with the intent to kill me, I did not force them to attack me, they chose to do it on their own. No guilt can or will be ascribed to me.
I do not practice quilt making, I practice a martial art. The death of an attacker is a consequence I am prepared to deal with if that person attacks me with lethal intent. My attacker makes his choice, I have to then make mine.
The ethics are clear.

Do not assume from this that I am a red handed reaver intent upon death and destruction. I am so far from that persona as to be as close to diametrically opposed as possible. I do not relish or crave the idea of taking anyone's life. I do not seek out conflict and have been called "coward" too many times to relate as I have turned tail and walked away from brewing fights. In non-lethal encounters I have never harmed an opponent more than they attempted to harm me, and most often I have not harmed them at all, rather simply taught them a short, sharp lesson in pain and let them decide on their own that I'm not worth the trouble. In the several altercations in which I was certain I was fighting for my life and tried to finish it quickly and logically, fortunately my martial arts weren't quite up to the task. Do not take that to mean that I did no harm, because the resultant damage was severe, but fortunately for my opponents none of them died. Or unfortunately when you consider that the last two should still be in jail for assault with the intent to commit great bodily harm not less than murder for quite a long time to come.
If my take on self-preservation makes you squeamish, I'm sorry for that but I will not apologize for it or change it. It has served me well so far and I can see no real reason to change.
You'll need to do a lot more convincing, with a much clearer ethical reasoning, than you have so far to get me to even consider making a change in my approach to whether I will defend myself and those I love with a lethal repsonse if it is forced upon me.


[This message has been edited by Wushuer (edited 09-09-2003).]</B></font><HR></BLOCKQUOTE>


Since this board has an editing feature, and I've snipped portions from my response (see below), I'm quoting the whole thing here as it stands, for the purpose of clarity.

DavidJ
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Postby DavidJ » Thu Sep 11, 2003 8:57 pm

Wushuer,

> Yes, I deliberately posted that as two different meanings. You seem to have understood that and followed it to the logical conclusion. I can't say much more on that.

You could explain why you infered they meant the same thing.

> No, I can't see how you could point out that I have decided to kill somone based on my perception of their intent, mistaken or not, as I have not.

It's fine if you didn't mean that, but that *is* what you wrote. Again, you infer that two seemingly similar statements are the same when in fact they are not.

Statement #1
You wrote, > I have never attempted to kill anyone, they tried to kill me, at which point I used their actions againt them and if that results in their death then I can not be responsible for their decision.

This is fundamentally different from deliberately using deadly force, which you write in
Statement #2
You wrote, > I only use lethal force against an opponent who has deliberately attacked me, who is unknown to me and is trying to kill me beyond a shadow of a doubt.<

Again you say that you will use lethal force if you think that someone is trying to kill you. In English this is a decision to kill, based on your judgement. This may not be what you mean, but it certainly is what you wrote.

Another example is from the earlier post, where part of your last line read, > my approach to whether I will defend myself and those I love with a lethal repsonse if it is forced upon me. <

Again you say you will defend yourself with a lethal response. In English that means you will attempt to kill.

***

> Anyone who attempts to kill me or my loved ones has given up their right to live and there will be no regrets on my part if that is the outcome of their decision. It's really quite that simple.

"Given up their right to live," meaning you have permission to kill them?

> I do not go out and try to find people to kill for the fun of it.

That's good.

> I only use lethal force against an opponent who has deliberately attacked me, who is unknown to me and is trying to kill me beyond a shadow of a doubt.

That's what I said you said. Lethal means deadly. The use of something lethal is by definition something intended to kill. You are saying that you intend to kill in that situation. The assessment "is trying to kill you" is your judgement.

> Under those circumstances, what choice do I have?

You have the option to stop the attacker by non-lethal methods, you could disable the attacker. If, for example, the person is unconscious, how can they continue attacking you?

As your skill in Tai Chi Chuan grows so should your options. Yang Lu Chan was head and shoulders above most of the martial artists of his time, of course he could defeat people without hurting them! He had the skill.
I take his demonstration as showing a level of skill and compassion that is to be aimed for.

> In case you're wondering, it is crystal-clear obvious to you when you are facing an attacker who is out to kill you. You won't be able to miss it when it happens, trust me. There is no other vibe like it in the world. You question my ethics in this type of situation, but I have lived through "kill or be killed" situations more than once in my time on this earth. Did you catch that reference? I have LIVED through them. In other words, I have succesfully defended my life on more than one occasion against an attacker whose intent it was to kill me and I'm still here to talk about it.
> Have you?

Why do you ask? It is not relevant to the discussion.

> As you have stated previously that you have not,

In fact I haven't said one way or the other.

> how can you question the moral decisions at that time by those of us who have?

This is a loaded question, but I'll answer the unloaded basic idea.
This is a discussion board, ideas are discussed here, and discussion includes questioning those ideas. When you present a tactical principle as a rationalization for deliberately killing someone, you can expect it to be questioned.

A child may question your decision. Anyone may question moral decisions. Indeed it is important to ask this question for at its base is a principle of civilization.

> Until you have been in the situation where you must decide to either take your opponents life or let him take yours...

You seem to not know the definition of lethal. The intent of a lethal response is to kill. Here, you finally admit that it is a decision to "take your opponents life." If your judgement is wrong then you have killed without cause.

> Don't even consider attempting to dictate or question the ethics of those of us who have, because you don't have the experience to try.

You are sadly mistaken. This is a question that has been considered by many over the millienia. If you are correct and I don't have that experience, I would be wise for me to discuss how far to go.

But my experience, or lack of experience is not the issue.

Why are you pretending that somehow I might not be equal to the task of questioning your choice?
The question at hand is "Do we do that which is sufficient to defend ourselves or do we go beyond this?" I've made it clear that I'm not saying you don't have a right to successfully defend yourself, yet you are still arguing with me. Why is that?

You are blurring the line between what is excessive and what is not. You are claiming an automatic right to kill which you do not have.

> [snipped] To settle any troubles to you mind on the subject, despite my best efforts none of those opponents died. No I have not killed another human being in self defense.

You wrote > despite my best efforts none of those opponents died, < This means you attempted to kill them, but above you wrote, "I have never attempted to kill anyone." I think you mean to say that you never initiated an attempt to kill someone, but that you did attempt to kill someone when you were attacked.

If an attacker had died and you explained in a court of law that you put out your "best efforts" to kill him, you would find your decision being questioned by the people on the jury. People who probably never faced such an attack.

> [snip] Kill or be killed is a reality in this world, one I have faced, and I know deep in my heart that my decision at those times was appropriate and would be repeated in future encounters of the same type whenever necessary.

One of the things I'm pointing out is that "kill or be killed" is your judgement of the situation. I feel that you should question your judgement, *especially* when it may affect whether someone lives or dies. If your judgement is wrong, and it isn't a "kill or be killed" situation, then you have killed unnecessarily.

You have told us that you have survived more than one attempt on you life without killing the attacker. You thought they were "kill or be killed" situations, yet by your own words you survived without killing. Your judgement was in error. You've proven your own premise wrong.

> After you have experienced this particular event in your own life, then I will want to hear from you on the morality of killing an opponent who is trying his best to kill you. Until then, you simply aren't qualified to discuss it with any authority.
> Sorry, that may sound harsh, but it is true none the less.

This is illogical. Whether I have that experience or not, the questions would be the same. The truth is the truth no matter who says it.

>[snip] If my take on self-preservation makes you squeamish, I'm sorry for that but I will not apologize for it or change it. It has served me well so far and I can see no real reason to change.
>You'll need to do a lot more convincing, with a much clearer ethical reasoning, than you have so far to get me to even consider making a change in my approach to whether I will defend myself and those I love with a lethal repsonse if it is forced upon me.

If killing another is being forced upon you, then this is different from choosing to kill another.

The question is about crossing the line and using excessive force. You are blurring the line. Why is that?

By the way, "lethal" isn't in the amount of energy used it is in how it's used. You can use another persons energy against them without it being lethal. How you use that energy is the choice.

Regards,

David J
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Postby Michael » Thu Sep 11, 2003 9:10 pm

David,

I would say that we generally agree on most things being discussed here in your post to me earlier, except that I think it may have been Yang Cheng Fu who had the "fitness" of the people in mind. Not Yang Lu Chan. He was a martial artist, first and formost. He did not volunteer to work with the "oppressors" (the Manchu government) and they wanted the best teaching THEM, not the general populace. This was not a loved government by any means. And if I remember correctly, the YAng's might have taken some critism for working for them. So Again this is just a memory I can't point to a direct quote at the moment. I'll do some checking when I get the time. The only advantage for the Yangs would be that just being chosen to teach the elite (whether loved or hated) showed that your skill and art is exceptional.

Everything I have read and what has been handed down through my Kwang Ping line says "health" was not a big issue for YLC and his sons....especially Ban Hou. Nothing I have read in Wile either, has indicated this.

I agree also that "restraint" is often taken as "weakness" by the foolish. Most often this can work in to one's advantage. But there are other times such as you describe. This can be physical or otherwise.

Make it good!


[This message has been edited by Michael (edited 09-11-2003).]
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Postby psalchemist » Thu Sep 11, 2003 9:37 pm

Greetings all,

DavidJ, I agree whole-heartedly with the ethics you have presented concerning restraint.

Although I have never had to fight or defend myself or another from physical harm, I am sure, perhaps to my own detriment, that I would also restrain my reaction against an agressive individual.

Firstly to judge intention of the 'attacker', and then to decide what can be done.

I would gain no pleasure, or feeling of pride from defeating, destroying, or seriously injuring another human being.

No matter who they are or what they attempt.

For me, another's actions are their actions, they own them, they must justify them, they must face the consequences of their own actions. I'm more concerned with my own actions and choices, in spite of external influences. I have to face my own actions, not someone elses.

Actually, there have been instances when I was faced with a seemingly agressive individual, however, approach and attitude can change a nasty situation into a more acceptable situation, it all depends on one's expectations, and pre-chosen attitudes, how a situation may be improved or remedied.(or prevented in the first place)

Sometimes an angry person is more like a victim themselves, and approached in the correct manner with proper comprehension may even end up being friend rather than foe after disputes have been resolved.

Maybe the guy who wanted your wallet has a child requiring surgery, has no money,has no idea how to solve his problems and has become desperate.... in that case,I'd probably give him my money.

Sometimes it is a person beyond help, and then, I guess I'd have a problem.

The thoughts we think pre-determine our reactions to altercations, and may even attract them to us.

Personally, the word 'kill' is not even listed in my dictionnary. Run- maybe, Prevent-Definitely.

I resolved very young not to fight, I don't mean sparring, I mean fighting, and maybe it's only good luck, but I've never had to engage in one before. It's not in my vocabulary.

Mind intention can be an amazing thing, as Taijiquan attests. One should use these techniques in one's daily life, not only in Taijiquan.

That's just my experience and personal thoughts on the matter, I'm sure I'll leave a few laughing and sceptical, but that's O.K.... It works for me.

Actually, I trust in life. If I'm gonna die tomorrow , well then I guess I'm gonna die tomorrow. We all have to 'go' one day. But I would like to die at peace with myself. Actually, death is one of those pre-determined things, I figure, why fear the inevitable?

But while I live and when I die I think my actions and reactions to life permeates and affects the quality of my own existance. I think this is most important for me.

Best regards,
Psalchemist.




[This message has been edited by psalchemist (edited 09-11-2003).]

[This message has been edited by psalchemist (edited 09-11-2003).]
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Postby Wushuer » Thu Sep 11, 2003 10:19 pm

David,
Do not have the leisure time to go point by point right now. So I'll make the meaning of my post a bit clearer for you.
Here in black and white is the definition you asked me for:
Lethal
1. Deadly: causing or able to cause death. 2. Causing disaster or destruction.

Apparently it's not me who doesn't understand the terminology we're using, I allready knew what lethal meant in all of it's iterations and going back over my post I feel comfortable that I used it in context each time.
As defined "lethal" does not mean "always causes death" it can also mean that it is able to cause death, disaster or destruction.
Does my reply make more sense to you now?

You ask why I'm blurring the line. I'm not.
I make the line very clear, do not attempt lethal force against me, you won't enjoy it because I will hand it right back to you and will feel absolutely no remorse at your choice to use it.
I stated it in the past and I stand by it now:
If he (my opponent) does not use lethal force, he will most likely live to see the morning, if he does attempt to apply lethal force then I sincerely hope he is at peace with his gods before he attacks me or mine.

I can't see a bit of blur in that statement.

I have to assume that if someone is applying lethal force against me then their intent is to kill or destroy me. Why else use such force?
Can you find me one good reason to apply lethal force against an opponent you are not intending to kill or destroy?
I'll answer that right now.
No.
Becuase if you're applying lethal force you ARE, by definition, attempting to kill or destroy me. You can't have it any other way.

Again, pressed for time right now, can't get too specific, but you seem to be making an argument that if an opponent applies lethal force against me then it is incumbent upon me as a trained martial artist to use less than lethal force in my response, apparently because that will make me more ethical as a martial artist.
Let's cut to the chase on that one:
B.S.

I have the right to defend myself, now and in future, against someone trying to kill me. I will exercise that right without fail against such a person. The moral choices were made by that person, not me. They chose to immorally attack me in such a way that they would cause death if I did not defend myself.
Why at that point, simply because I've trained in combat, does it become incumbent upon me to "do no harm"?
By the way, I've never taken an oath to "do no harm". Have you? I've never taken an oath to do "minimal harm" or even to defend myself using "minimal" or even "the least amount of necessary" force. Ever.
Won't, ever.
There is nothing, absolutely, definitely and beyond doubt NOTHING immoral about defending yourself with violence against violence. If there was we would be sewing quilts and lying down to die every time someone attacked us instead of training in a lethal combat art such as TCC.
Simply because I could use less than lethal force against lethal force does not mean I SHOULD use less than lethal force or am even morally repsonsible to do so.
I need to be certain sure that person is not going to get back up, either today, tommorow, next week, next year, or in a decade and attack me again. This is not vengeance, this is not murder, this is not immoral or wrong. I have been attacked, I have defended myself in an appropriate way by using the attackers own level of force against him.
The moral wrong was committed when he attacked me in such a manner. Surely you can see that? (Sorry, I won't call you surely again.)

I grant you that I did not initiate the attempt to kill someone but I did use their own lethal force back against them and at that point if you wish to say I attempted to kill them, I guess in bizzaro world you could. You'd be wrong, but hey....
Does that mean I tried to kill them?
I can't see how.
How can you define it as such? It doesn't make any sense.
I defended myself against an attack when it became apparent to me those attacks were attempts to end my life. It must have been apparent to the police that arrested them and the judges and juries that tried their cases too, because both of them are doing some hard time for those attacks.
Self defense is not an attempt to kill someone. You will not convince me that it is.

I apologize to you. I read one of Psalchemists statements in which he stated he has not had to defend himself and somehow attribited it to you. My fault there.
So? Have you?
Because as stated, if you haven't you're really not in a place to judge me or anyone else who has.
You can carry on about it all you'd like, but if you haven't been there you just can't know what it's like or how you would respond to it.
Can you ask the question anyway? Of course. Obviously.
You did and I answered. And here we are.

Last item, this took much more time than I really have:
I don't understand why you have such a hard time with the way I stated that line about force.
Reread it in context, it should make sense.
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Postby psalchemist » Thu Sep 11, 2003 11:03 pm

Wushuer,

I do not beleive that I ever said David shared my experiences. Simply that I agree with his ethics of restraint if ever faced with an agressive attacker. Given the choice I would always opt for restraint and resolution vs. 'an eye for an eye'.

And the world goes 'round.


Regards,
Psalchemist.
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Postby psalchemist » Fri Sep 12, 2003 10:57 am

Good morning all,

I have been debating with myself over the ethics of restraint, and find I have a most definite inner conflict.

If I were defending only myself, I would be more than willing to try to use utmost restraint. Everything I said would apply.

But I am unable to perceive the matter in the same way when speaking of defending someone other than myself. I have never been put in that situation before, either. I've never dwelled in the possibility of the occurance either-never thought about it much.

I am not sure how much restraint I would show (if any).

If I become enraged at the mere thought, how then could I possibly restrain myself if it were to become a reality and I had to act on the spur of the moment to defend someone?

I guess, I accept my own obstacles, in my own way.

But do not impose these same ethics when it comes to protecting others from harm.

I don't usually become angry when attacked personally, I just try to deal with it in my own way and have avoided physical violence thusfar in this manner.

I do become very angy at the thought of someone attacking another person and would most surely be unable to maintain the same attitudes and restraint.

Well, I guess, if I were being attacked, I would want someone to intervene for me ...If I had indeed encountered an unreasonable human being who would destroy me without negotiation or second-thoughts, without conscience. Do unto others...

These discussions are very deep and personal, and descisions we must make for ourselves in these matters.

Take care,
Psalchemist.

[This message has been edited by psalchemist (edited 09-12-2003).]
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Postby Wushuer » Fri Sep 12, 2003 10:21 pm

Psalchemist:
I read a statement of yours thinking it was from David J. I was wrong and I believe I apologized for my oversight.

I guess everyone here thinks I'm a bloody handed reaver, bent on the destruction of the human race.
Nothing could be further from the truth, but I can't help perceptions.
Once more and for the record, I do not seek out confrontation. I have not, in the last twenty some odd years, sought out a fight in anger or in cold blood. I have defended myself, succesfully I might add, against several attackers, some of whom have attacked me, one attacked my child and one attacked my wife. Three of these attacks were made directly against my life by weapon weilding attackers, only when I was carrying my knife as related above did I have a weapon on me during the attack.
All three times I responded with lethal force. All three times my opponents survived.
The force I used was ABLE to be deadly, but turned out not to be.
Again, not because I wouldn't have, but because it just didn't happen that way. My intent, yes I used the I word, my intent was that by redirecting their lethal aggresive energy back into them (in the last two cases in which I applied TCC, not the first where I simply stepped inside my opponents range and stabbed him) was to redirect their energy back to them in such a way as to cause death or destruction.
Destruction happened, death did not.
So the force I redirected was "lethal", it just didn't turn out to be deadly. I do consider that a fortunate turn of events, but I would still have considered it fortunate had it turned out the other way.
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Postby Michael » Sat Sep 13, 2003 12:20 am

Wushuer,

I know were you are coming from. I think that your words may have been a bit "misunderstood". Sometimes words chosen can be lead others to "logical" conclusions that may be off the mark somewhat. Certainly understanding (as you have stated) where you grew up etc. brings a different experience to the table than if one grew up in some gated community outside San Francisco or somewhere. For me at least it helps me understand what in fact you are saying--not what it may sound like you are saying.

I am pretty sure you are no "bloody maniac".

enjoy!

Michael
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