Here at the frontier, the leaves fall like rain. Although my neighbors are all barbarians, and you, you are a thousand miles away, there are still two cups at my table.

Ten thousand flowers in spring, the moon in autumn, a cool breeze in summer, snow in winter. If your mind isn't clouded by unnecessary things, this is the best season of your life.

~ Wu-men ~

Monday, August 21, 2006

Saturday Night's Alright for Fighting ...

While I am interested in more traditional ways, a friend sent me this intriguing article about street fighting. The first page is posted here. If you'd like to read the whole article, you can either click on the title of this post, for follow the link below.

August 20, 2006
Chicken Soup for the Street Fighter

LAST November, William Graham was minding his own business on karaoke night at a sports bar near his home in Miami when things took a nasty turn. On the other side of the bar, he recalled, a drunk couple was arguing. The woman gave Mr. Graham a look, which her boyfriend apparently didn't appreciate. He approached Mr. Graham, 44, flicked a cigarette at him and challenged him to a fight.

Unfortunately for the aggressor, Mr. Graham is a passionate student of the art — scratch that — the act of street fighting. He owns approximately 20 DVD's and books on street fighting, many of them by the brawling guru Paul Vunak. One is perfectly suited for karaoke nights that get out of hand: "Anatomy of a Street Fight."

Mr. Graham recalled his training, and what happened next at the bar was not pretty. He first went in with his thumbs for an eye gouge before letting loose with a "straight blast," a flurry of driving blows to the midsection ("Bruce Lee's favorite," Mr. Graham said). The aggressor fell to the floor, at which point Mr. Graham applied a choke hold until security separated and dismissed the two — through separate doors. The whole episode lasted less than 20 seconds, Mr. Graham said. In the end, the aggressor was vanquished and Mr. Graham's manhood was intact, just as his videos had promised.

His opponent was in a state of disbelief after the fight, Mr. Graham said. "He thought we were going to do the whole boxing match thing. He wasn't ready for a poke in the eye and a 50-yard dash down the centerline."

If Mr. Graham decides to hone his technique by purchasing more instructional street fight videos, he won't lack for options. Once the purview of a few paranoiacs and survivalists, street fighting tutorials have proliferated through online retailers, driven largely, they say, by the popularity of the Ultimate Fighting Championship and the Pride Fighting Championships, two televised no-holds-barred, mixed martial arts fighting leagues.

Don Wasser, the president of PFS Video, a company in Pennsylvania that has produced street fighting videos since 1991 — including Mr. Vunak's classic "Barbaric Biting: How to Instantly Get Out from Under a 250 lb. Man" — said sales of his company's street fighting videos had increased 50 percent in the last four years. He attributed that growth to fans of ultimate fighting, which has drawn a large audience through pay-per-view broadcasts, and more recently through the Spike TV series, "The Ultimate Fighters," which follows contestants as they train and compete.

"It was slow at the start," Mr. Wasser said of sales. "But in the last five or six years it has just exploded."

Mr. Wasser said most of his customers were not interested in spending a lot of time learning traditional martial arts in a dojo, or fighting academy. Instead, he said, they liked the idea of sitting on a sofa and picking up a couple of nasty out-of-the-box maneuvers, just in case they encountered some bullies in the real world.

Mr. Wasser said he thought of himself as being in the business of building confidence, and through customer surveys, he said he'd come to know his clients' psychology well.

"The guys who are playing football aren't looking for confidence — they've got it," he said. "It's the guys in the chess club who are looking for confidence."

Experts in personal security generally agree that getting into a fight is an extraordinarily bad idea. Lose and you may end up in the hospital; win and you may end up in jail or in court facing lawsuits. The prevalence of weapons these days adds to the danger, they said.

"You never want to engage somebody physically because you never know what you're up against," said Donald R. Henne, a former New York City police lieutenant and now a director at the security firm Kroll. He said he found the idea of street fight videos laughable.

"Those individuals who fight in ultimate fighting are highly trained athletes who work out constantly," he said. "It's like watching a video of how to fly an aircraft and taking a seat in a jumbo jet and saying, 'Yeah, I could fly this thing.' "

But Bruce Corrigan, a former marine who teaches fighting classes and stars in a video series for Mr. Wasser, said that customers for his videos followed a different creed: "Better tried by 12 than carried by 6," he said.

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