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Troubles with Violence

Okay, now I have always been the horizontally challenged, laugh it up, eat till ya drop, worry when it comes type of person until several months ago when I had my first real encounter with violence. As a friend and I skipped stones by an out of the way ravine, I found myself enclosed by 10 or so unhappy fellas. My heart sank as the one started cursing about me looking at him funny. As I tried to casually slip away, I was greeted by a solid fist and a few kicks. (My friend received the same treatment) They left us alone after they saw we were in no condition or shape to fight.

I felt humiliated that night at home. And although thankful for not getting really hurt and evading telling my parents, I felt at a loss. I belittled myself for not being strong enough to fight despite my size, and thinking my dad, probably a 100 pounds less at the same age, had beaten up a school bully. Being very peaceloving, this was a tough situation where there was no easy way out. No adults were around, I had never met the kids, saying 'no' was not an option. ( I was just starting to become interested in Buddhism at this time)

So after this humiliating defeat, I challenged myself to improve strength, build character, and courage. I was tired of being 'Tubbs' and sought out a different lifestyle. Since that fight, or lack of it, :angry: I have changed a lot. I began lifting weights, stretching, meditating, eating less, no snacks, no soda. I am much stronger and am amazed at things I can do. I can climb trees, fences, beat people in arm wrestling tournaments, pick people up, ride bikes for miles, run, and feel better overall.

Now there is nothing wrong about that. It almost seemed to be the one event that sparked my motivation. My friend thinks I do it to impress a girl. My parents think I do it to win a bet.

But I still have the same problem. If something similar is to ever happen again, do I be a pacifist and take the blows, use this newly acquired strength to teach someone a lesson, and risk further suffering.

I wonder if Buddha said anything about this or something related? Anyone have similar experiences? Any help is appreciated! :bowdown:


  • comicallyinsanecomicallyinsane Veteran
    edited June 2005
    I cannot say it enough. Learn Kung Fu. Study it. Love it. Become it. It will teach you how to handle yourself in many situations in life. You see in Kung Fu you can be the better fighter. You have the choice on whether to hurt the person or not. That's what my Grandmaster always said to me. If someone comes at you and you have the skills to beat them doesn't mean you do it. You can block their attack or actually the way we do it is get out of the way. This will in a lot of times defuse the situation. Of course if you have many people trying to hurt you I believe you must defend your life. There are other Kung Fu members on the forum and they may not agree with me on this but that is the way my training went.
  • edited June 2005
    Dear Knight of Buddha,

    I, too, had a similar experince when I was 14 years old.

    The only difference was that I was singularly aattcked by 8 people who decided to jump on my back to finish me off.

    If was, indeed, a stressful moment and it had the opposite effect on me, than it did you, as it destroyed my confidence and raised my paranoia levels. There was a point where I was actually carrying a knife - I was so scared.

    So what advice can I offer you?

    Well there are two answers - there is the dharma and the way in which I live it.

    As a Buddhist you can understand that the cruelty inflicted upon yourself will not go unchecked. There is always an effect for a cause and your attackers have incurred a debt that will be paid - in this life or the next. Whether or not they 'learn' as sentient beings from this process, is largely up to them.

    BUT if you walk into the same situation again, unprepared, you could violate the first precept - be getting yourself killed...

    There are two ways to avoid this:

    1. Don't ever find yourself in a dangerous situation (difficult when we never really know what's going to happen next).

    2. Prepare to defend yourself, without killing (including yourself) - which means no weapons as they are designed to kill and could be used on you.

    So how do you think you could feel confident about number 2?

    In my study of martial arts I initially wanted to be able to protect myself. Something I am as confident as I could be of being able to do now. But I also found something else in Ving Tsun Kuen (the style I study) that I didn't expect - The ability to not fight.

    With discipline and hard work I have realised that with refined skill you can avoid the need to fight. This is mainly due to the fact that fighting would cause no difficulties for me. The average attacker always displays the same traits - I can now recognise them and neutralise them - without raising a finger. AND even if the violence is unavoidable - I am still prepared.

    I am ready to accept what will happen.

    In this way, and many others, Martial Arts have strengthened my dharma practice.

    The only person left to 'beat' is myself!

    I hope this helps!

  • edited June 2005
    Thanks for the responses. I planned on taking some kind of martial arts in my first year of college. But now I want to take it much earlier. Just gotta convince my parents.

    I thought about a knife for a while but I knew that would get me and others killed. Martial Arts seems much safer. Thanks again for the help! :o
  • comicallyinsanecomicallyinsane Veteran
    edited June 2005
    My Grandmaster always said that everywhere he goes, such as an airport, he takes his Kung Fu with him. It is something that people can never take away from him. He said knives and guns can but never Kung Fu.
  • edited June 2005
    I took up TaeKwonDo after nearly being beaten to death :bawling: by a guy that I did not even know. I was someone that this guy looked upon as just someone he could "rip off" and because I was a white person. I mean, this guy showed no remorse for what he had done to me and said the same thing: I was just someone he could rip off and because I was a "Honky" were the words he used to justify his cruelty. No, I am not a racist or anything like that and never have been. I do not dislike all black people because of this one man's ignorance. This man is now serving life in prison for attempted murder. Anyway, it took some time for me to heal and a longer time to recover from the mental/emotional trauma. But I did do so and as a result, I decided to take up TaeKwonDo in order to defend myself if I ever faced a similar situation again. I have never had to face anything like what happened to me again to date and I hope I never do. At first, I have to honestly admit that I wanted to be able to "Kick the Crap" out of anyone who even dared to cross my path. After getting into TaeKwonDo, I realized that there was so much more to it than just being able to defend yourself; that it was teaching me self-discipline and control. For that, I am truly grateful and to Master Kim for being there for me and teaching all the wonderful things that make up TaeKwonDo. He taught me so much about Koreans and their beautiful culture. I have learned that TaeKwonDo is a way of life and not just a way to kick someone's behind. :lol:

    Adiana :)
  • edited June 2005
    All we need now are karate and kali practitioners and we'd have all the major eastern Martial Arts covered!

    Congratulations on your recovery Adiana.

  • edited June 2005 can check Kali off the list...I got that one covered. I love my expandable baton.
  • edited June 2005
    You said something that made me think:
    They left us alone after they saw we were in no condition or shape to fight.

    Now, I do believe in defending yourself though it should be only to defend yourself - not get revenge, not teach someone a lesson - and you should try within reason to avoid seriously hurting others. Given what you said, it seems to me that this group was out looking for a fight and had you given them they would happily have used it as an excuse to escalate the fight to the point where someone could have been killed. So, from what I can tell you did the right thing.

    I hope that you are never in that situation again. Obviously, trying to prevent such an occurrence is best but not always possible. If you are in the situation again, I hope you can get out of it without fighting. If not, I hope you can get out with the least amount of damage to you or the other people.

    On a similar note, I once avoided a fight by fake tripping while running and pretending I was hurt much more than I actually was. Some might call me a coward, but neither me nor the others involved ended up seriously hurt. Sometimes you do what you must.
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