Why you’ll lose every time you fight

I remember one night a few years ago, when I was walking home late on a Saturday. It was typical Saturday night in Toronto: lots of young people bar hopping. Loud motorcycles racing up and down King Street and no shortage of drunk club goers, stumbling from one venue to the next. I remember this evening so vividly because a fight broke out right beside me, as I was waiting to cross the street. I remember it being a particularly vicious fight. One fighter greatly outclassed the other, both in weight and physical fitness. I have no idea what they were fighting about. They seemed to square off all of a sudden, with no real catalyst – although I'm sure there was one. Maybe it was a fight over a girl – that's usually enough to send two drunk men flying into each other. The fight took a bit of an ugly turn when the weaker guy was knocked unconscious when a blow to the chin hit its mark. Laying on his back, his head was hanging over the curb and resting literally on the street-side. The other fighter mounted the unconscious man and delivered a few more (totally unnecessary) blows to the head, before jumping off his victim and making a hasty exit into the night.

You will lose every fight, before you even begin…

My karate training has taught me NEVER to fight – unless I felt like my life was in imminent danger. And it's not because Karate-ka are so 'deadly' that we have to avoid ever using our skill. Hell, I'm sure there are plenty of people out there who are great fighters and could easily give me a run for my money. Besides, all it takes is one lucky hit, right? I remember hearing a story about a guy who threw a random punch in a bar, slipped on a plastic beer cup, stumbled, hit his head on the corner of the bar – and died. These freak accidents probably happen all the time. But no, it's also not for any of these reasons I refuse to fight, although any of them are more than enough reason to not fight. Instead, it's because you'll never really win any fight you get into. You might be thinking, 'but what about the fight I described earlier – the stronger guy won.' Sure, he won the fight in the sense that he physically beat the other man – but he will forever have to live with the guilt of having potentially seriously injured another human being – and for what? Some off handed comment about a woman or something just as trivial?

With fighting, both people lose…

When you fight someone, you're body is running on a lot of adrenaline. Adrenaline makes you do all kinds of crazy things – it activates your 'fight or flight' mechanism. When you choose to fight – things get ugly in an almost uncontrollable fashion. Sometimes, fighters are so jacked up on adrenaline, the can't remember the details of the fight, once they come down from their high. They'll say things like, 'it all happened so fast' or 'it seems to blurry [the events that just occurred]” But eventually, you will remember. And what you will begin to feel is regret. Rewind back to the King St. fight – the guy who took off? Well, if he's any kind of real man, he has probably spent a great deal of time wondering what happened to his victim. Did he kill someone? Did he paralyze the guy? These kind of thoughts and feelings stay with you for a very long time. Sure he'll joke with his friends about how he bludgened some dude on the street. But at the end of the day, there is what we say to people and then there is what we're reallly feeling. I guarentee that there has been moments when that man was sorry for what he did. And there is nothing he can do about it – what's done is done. The feelings of regret can have long term effects on your life. Depression, anxiety and a loss of self confidence – just to name a few.

Remember – fighting comes at a price…

You're bound to regret any fight that you get into. So avoid at all costs. The only time you should fight is when you truly feel like your life is in jeopardy. If you find yourself in one of these situations – then fight with everything you've got. Hold nothing back. Assuming you're life is in danger, then you truly have nothing to gain by hesitating. It is during these times of un-measurable stress that one can only hope that their training will kick in and give them the chance they need to survive an otherwise unsurvivable situation. There are no promises however. You can never really know what kind of effect adrenaline will have on you, until you're in the situation. So train hard and hope that you never have to really defend yourself.

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