Loser by Default

Tim Larkin 12-17

nobulletsBunnies are cute because they lack the physiology of terror—they are not big and powerful, they do not have jaws for the breaking of bones and the rending of flesh, they do not stare intently with parallel eyes aligned to gauge attack distance.  They pose no physical threat.  Predators, on the other hand, are nasty, ugly things, unsettlingly obvious in the function that follows their form.  And while we might admire their grim beauty from a distance it’s another thing entirely to be stuck in a room with one.

The recognition of these simple biological facts—bunnies can’t eat us but a grizzly bear will—percolate upward into our psyches and color our social interactions.  The small and weak pose no real threat while the large and fierce do.  Cute is “good”, brutish is “bad”.  We see how the winners and loser get sorted out in violence—the winners attack and injure, the losers get worked—and we recoil from that naked truth.

We empathize with the loser while vilifying the winner.  And so we push ourselves in the completely wrong direction in seeking an answer to the problem of our own survival, vainly attempting to rewrite the loser’s story with a stick in the sand, all the while ignoring the one already published in stone.

I suppose I have lived with this material for so long and so completely that it’s simply become second nature to me—but I am still shocked at the level of unthinking, blind acceptance of the conflict narrative provided by society.  The attacker is the bad guy, the defender the good guy.

It is socially unacceptable to be a bad guy and so we are left with only one choice:  to make a play for second place and attempt to defend ourselves, choosing to think and train behind the power curve.  To hope for the best and “do whatever it takes” because stepping outside the lines will be severely frowned upon…

The prevailing narrative is numbing in its ubiquity, you’re swimming in an ocean of defensive, reactive thought so deep and wide you’d never naturally happen upon the island of contrary perspective:

By definition anything that is socially acceptable is useless in violence.

The fair warning, the fighting stance, the block and cool move—anything that makes you feel good or morally superior about violence will get you killed there.  The truth is it’s a horrible, arbitrary, “cheaty” thing, the undermining of everything we hold dear.  It is, quite simply, the loss of our humanity.  Anything that offends sense and sensibility, the cruel and shocking thing, the gut-wrenching and unthinkable—these must be your go-to defaults if you want to survive and win in that place.

It’s a very easy thing to declare yourself aligned with physical reality in this regard, to shout in agreement and then get busy patting yourself on the back.  And then the very next thing out of your mouth is “But what do I do if the attacker—”  And here I thought you understood that the attacker wins, that you are either the attacker in a target-rich environment or you are one of those targets to be taken by he or she who TAKES?  Your choice of language has exposed your thought process, and by extension, how you will behave in violence.

If the other person is the attacker, then you’re left fighting for second place.

Changing how you speak about, think about and act in violence is a process that takes conscious thought, effort and time.  You can’t rewire your social conditioning overnight.  But you have to stop drinking the Kool-Aid first.  “Self-defense” does not describe the gouging of an eye, or the stomping of a man into unconsciousness.  Only specific, declarative language does.  Say what you mean to do:  “I will defend myself,” is mealy-mouthed and uncertain when compared to “I will attack and injure.”  Reject social convention on this issue—the goal of society is control, the dampening and moderation of our animal nature.

Victory in violence is the cold, calculated use of all your faculties, from highest to lowest.  It’s everything you are aimed squarely at destruction, unencumbered by hesitation or half-measures.  A pure, brutal freedom.

Stop forging new links in the chains that hold you back.  Quit accepting what’s rational and what “feels right” when training for the irrational and utterly wrong.  See yourself as the attacker in violence, the doer, the winner, the only thing in the nothing.

Then, with that worst of days prepared for, do everything in your power—everything—to avoid having to unleash it.  Use your understanding of the worst to put you at your best—as long as everyone else plays by the same rules.

–Chris Ranck-Buhr TFT Master Instructor



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