Knives! Horrible things in the hands of fools! In fact it does not even have to be a knife, almost anything can be employed to intimidate, terrorise, wound and kill. It is the individuals not the weapons they use which must be the priority in addressing the present violence sweeping the country.
Apart from the criminal element and the perpetuation of violence for gain, the other main area is the violence which seems to be prevalent and increasing amongst the youth in this country. With youngsters both male and female ranging from as young as nine or ten up to the age of early twenties and sometimes beyond being involved in nasty and sometimes deadly violence.
How to address the issues?
This is by far the most important factor in controlling violent behaviour in general.
The youngsters who are most likely to use violence and carry weapons are usually the least likely to respond to traditional education but are usually attracted to activities of perceived violence. As a practicing martial artist (who has worked within the traditional education system) may I suggest that one way could be that martial arts should be included in the national curriculum, even if it is outside of school hours? In Japan for example where this system operates there is virtually no violent crime compared to this country.
I know from experience the personal and social benefits good martial arts training imbues in the individual – respect, confidence, fitness, goal setting, tolerance, team work, good work ethic, and so it goes on – all positive things. It may also alter the general impression of martial arts as learning to be violent, instead of its real goal – to improve the individual character.
In answer to a media report that a thug had used martial arts techniques to beat up someone: ‘If he had been a martial artist he would not have been a thug!’
Sensible – long term – NOT knee-jerk. Weapons, especially knives are readily available anywhere, but as previously mentioned it is the individual which is the main element in violence and this should be taken into account.
How about a positive sustained policy of stop and search when the carrying of weapons is suspected as well as more rigorous application of the sanctions already available? Let those intent on violent acts realise there will be serious consequences – mandatory minimum sentences for the unlawful possession of weapons with intent. Even for those misguided souls who ‘carry for self defence’ out of fear. Someone has suggested army style ‘boot camps’ to give the yobs a glimpse of real discipline and to generate some idea of respect – maybe a good idea?
Mankind is designed at its most basic to be violent, but there are many factors which come into play which control its use. Some are regularly quoted in the face of the many incidents which occur – poverty, ethnicity, crime, alcohol, drugs, breakdown of the family, stress etc. These are all valid factors which must be addressed.
There are more basic ‘human’ traits which directly influence violent behaviour. Resources, tribalism – gangs – mutual defence - peer pressure (proving you belong by perpetrating violence on behalf of or as part of ‘the gang’), ego, greed, status, need to dominate (power) which gives you more access to available resources.
This could come under the heading of various levels of the natural survival instinct. There are also the psychopaths and sociopaths who have no grasp of civilised or moral behaviour whose violence can be random and without reason. But, in the main the bulk of society, want to live a peaceful life.
Training to defend yourself!
Does anyone actually know how a martial artist would fair if they defend themselves?
With the perceived misconceptions the media and the authorities seem to have (or manipulate for whatever reason) how are martial artists actually seen/viewed in a fracas situation?
I’ve heard in the past about a '6 month veteran' at karate who was involved in an 'incident' and the media had him down as an expert who used his 'great skill' on some poor thugs who attacked him. Not sure of the outcome but he didn’t get good press due to his 'vast' marts experience (a whole 6 months - can’t even walk properly in that time).
Are martial artists penalised for trying to learn to control violence and make themselves better citizens? Do we immediately become cast as aggressive, violent people? Does it actually make a difference to the authorities and how do they really view it? After all the police are trained in arrest, restraint, armed (to various degrees) tactics etc. Does that make them martial artists?? Some of this is tongue in cheek but also serious - would be great if someone from the media or authorities could give their take on the subject.
Until the law is clarified and common sense and moral justice is considered it is a very dodgy thing to intervene - the police are only too happy to 'apply' the 'law' AGAINST the good citizen. It’s a very easy point or two on the target board and a lot easier than dealing with a pack of yobs. Especially if the good citizen has a smattering of martial arts experience, after all we are all experts eh??
There is no incentive to be a good citizen if you risk arrest for doing so. A great shame that in this once proud country the nice guys are on the run. There’s lots of talk from the yoof lobby but how about some positive action - lets try address the problems. It’s a fact that teenagers are or can be in the right conditions the most dangerous sector of society (they have not developed empathy - poor moral limits) and have poor perception of boundaries. (During the war the Hitler youth aged 15 to 20 had the worst reputation for barbaric acts). You are much more likely to be killed by young 'yobs' than by older age groups. What are the limits a good citizen can go to defend themselves legally??
There’s that saying ‘Better to be judged by 12 than carried by 6’.
To find out more about Sensei Seth's club visit www.zanshinaikido.co.uk You can e-mail Peter at firstname.lastname@example.org