Re: The Violence Problem

Dwayne (
Sat, 27 Dec 1997 19:29:22 +1100 (EST)

> Regarding my claims that a well-trained (in personal combat /
> self-defense skills) population is a good way to deter violence, Dwayne
> commented that if -everyone- is well-trained, the training is of less
> value. I don't see why.

Less difference in skill levels between highly trained and untrained

> There would, of course, be wide variations in
> different people's skill levels, but it would be difficult to detect how
> well-trained someone was just by watching them in ordinary activities.

This is not true. I have had extensive martial arts training in the past,
and I can spot people who have a fair amount of training a mile away. I've
not kept this up recently, but when I was going to classes most nights of
the week, and therefore constantly around people trained, in training
and training others, I found that after a while I could spot people if
I was out, and would quite often walk up to them and discuss whatever
style they practiced with them, introducing myself at the time.

There's a weird physical meme people acquire, almost like an "accent" and
if you have this "accent" yourself, or are familiar with it, you can
readily detect it. At one stage I had a few friends who all shared a house
who were Federal Police (erm, I'm in Australia, I think they are similar to
the US FBI or Scotland Yard in the UK). One night I was at a pub, and there
was a guy standing in the bar who reminded me of my friends. I pointed this
out to a friend of mine sitting beside me, who said he had noticed the same
thing. So my friend walked up and asked him if he was a Fed. The guy was
surprised to be asked this, but showed his badge to my friend (who refused
to believe the guy and so asked him to produce ID). The only way I can
explain this is that the Feds work together, and have acquired an "accent"
to their stance or gait or some other physical habit.

> Right now, most people aren't well-trained, so a street thug who is
> alright at fighting knows that he (or she) has a very good chance of
> assaulting someone and getting away with it.

In fact thugs will generally not take on people who might be able to fight
back, and unless they are telepathic or engage their victim in discussion
before the assault, I don't see how they could do this, unless it is
possible to detect the lack of a certain element in the victim's physical

An aside: I read a very long time ago in a magazine that a movie studio was
hiring people to be trained as steadicam operators, and found that nearly
all of the people hired had martial arts experience, as martial arts tends
to produce a flat gait (the person doesn't rise up on their toes when
taking a step, and so the head doesn't bob up and down as much). I have no
idea where I read this, it just stuck in my memory at the time, as I had
started training about 9 months before, and went out to see if i walked
with a flat gait. I did. But hadn't really noticed how I waked before my
training started

> But if everyone or most
> everyone was at least fairly well-trained, assaulting someone would be
> very risky. The small woman you thought you could easily rape could have
> been training ninjutsu since she was a child. Or the old man you thought
> you could hold up and knife-point for his wallet could have been training
> all his life. You just never know. It becomes too risky to just try
> assaulting people to find out if they're less well-trained than you are.

But if the thug was as well trained as an average person to start with,
then I would assume they'd get better at hitting people with practice, and
so would be as good as the highly trained grandmother you mention.

Or at least notice that the grandmother was highly trained (I would think
that this would be a fairly easy thing to do given that this sort of
training produces a reasonably nimble elder practitioner, and very few
elderly people could be described as nimble.

> The other factor is the other well-trained people around them. People
> who are well-trained in self-defense aren't going to walk alone in
> dangerous places. When bystanders are capable of mangling and killing
> you in a matter of seconds, violence simply becomes too risky to engage
> in.

I walk all over the place in Melbourne where I live. I'm not a very
physically strong person, and can only assume that I would be quite
vulnerable ordinarily.

But as it stands, it is very very rare indeed for me to feel bothered by a
location I am walking through, and I can count the number of times I have
been hassled in the last 10 years on two fingers. Mind you, guns are very
very very rare over here, the number of people killed by gunshot in the
city of app. 4 million people I live in, on an annual basis, would be maybe
20-30. I can find out if people -really- need to know, but it's a pretty
rare thing for someone to be shot dead. Whatever is on television at the
time is usually interrupted, or a "special news bulletin" follows the
program. So it comes down to physical strength, speed and training, I
suppose. And on that level I generally feel pretty well-armed.

> When the populace are the police, criminals cannot survive.

I would agree with this, although you would, I suppose, need to introduce
fairly rigorous police training for everyone who *does* want to take the
law into their own hands.

Which is not such a silly idea, you know. If everyone was trained in the
law, unarmed and armed combat, ethics, etc, given the same training as the
police force in other words, as a requirement before they were allowed to
go off and arrest people, and were responsible for their actions when
making the arrest, society may well wind up a bit quieter.

Mind you, we have "citizen's arrest" over here, which allows anyone to
arrest anyone else if the arrestee has committed or is committing a crime.

But hardly anyone is as well trained in it as the police, so we tend to
just ring them up and let them come and take care of it. Mobile phones are
useful in this regard, and I suppose eventually very very small video
cameras will be built into phones, which would be a great way to record