Saturday, May 9, 2015


by Phillip Starr

Gunfights in the American “Wild West” didn't really feature two iron-jawed gunmen facing off on the main street of town. The only recorded instance of such a “classical” fight occurred between a very young Wyatt Earp and another gentleman who obviously didn't survive. But there were certainly a large number of violent men who relied on their guts and skill with a six-shooter (or whatever other weapons they could get their hands on) to get what they wanted. Some were lawmen, some were criminals, and some bounced back and forth between the two. Men such as John Wesley Hardin, John Henry “Doc” Holliday, Bat Masterson, and William “Billy the Kid” Bonnie, and a host of others became legends in their own time. Of course, none of them had ever heard of traditional martial arts, but there is something we can learn from them.

None of them would think twice when it came to killing an enemy. Were you to face one of them with a “Peacemaker” strapped to your hip, you'd be looking death in the face. And if you flinched, even for an instant, you were dead. And herein lies the lesson.

Mind you, I'm not saying that you should march out, try to find the meanest thug in the city, and engage him in a life-and-death conflict. Not hardly. But I want you to consider something; if and when you were suddenly faced with an assailant who meant to take your life, could you do what has to be done without hesitating? Would you act instantly or would you stop and think about the implications of what you're about to do? If you balk, you've already lost the battle.

There have been many martial arts enthusiasts who have written articles and even some books on the subject of the law as it pertains to self-defense. They warn about the legalities of using your martial skills in violent confrontations and it is this kind of poppycock that will cause many people to waver in the face of aggression. As a former police officer, I will tell you what any other cop will tell you; do whatever you must to defend yourself and your loved ones. If the enemy threatens you with deadly force, you may respond with like force. It's that simple.

The question, however, is, could you? Would you? Would you do it without the slightest stutter? Bear in mind that your foe won't hesitate for a moment to accomplish his ends. You mustn't, either.