Thursday, June 16, 2011

Quotes on Self-Defense from Percy Longhurst

Writing that last article wetted my appetite for blunt-object fighting and I decided to browse some of my various manuals for more stick fighting goodness. Sure enough, I found myself with my copy of Jiu-Jitsu and Other Methods of Self-Defence by Percy Longhurst. While this gem from 1906 is mainly concerned with Jiu-Jitsu, it does have good tips and tricks for people who don’t do JJ. Check this and other historical manuals out here here. While I did not find anything that was specifically related to the stick techniques used by Fiore, I did find some utterly fantastic quotes that I want to share.

A good knowledge of boxing, of wrestling, or of fencing is of inestimable use to a man in any chance encounter. It will invariably give him the advantage over a single opponent, even if the latter be much bigger and stronger than himself, and will even enable one successfully to contend against several; for, if one assailant be badly hurt, knocked senseless by a well-directed blow on the point of the jaw, or thrown hard on the pavement by a clever stroke, the moral effect on his companions is immense. This moral effect is a point which must not be overlooked : it is not always the actual damage inflicted which makes the greatest impression; it is the instilling into the minds of one’s opponents a disagreeable fear of what you may do to them which is to be reckoned on.

Not only this, but the consciousness of being able to take care of himself will give him an increased confidence and courage, a display of which will frequently carry a man unarmed through what might otherwise prove a serious matter. Courage invariably produces a demoralizing effect upon cowards, and many cases might be quoted wherein a defiant attitude and courageous demeanour have saved a man from great danger.

“The best defence is to attack,” and the man who hits first, hits hard, and keeps on hitting, will demoralise his assailants far more than he who simply defends himself, with no thought of retaliation. There are two ways of meeting an enemy, says Sir Francis Drake in “Westward Ho!” “One is to hit him first and say ‘You touch me and I’ll do that again’; the other is to wait until he hits you, and then say, ‘If you do that again I’ll hit you’”; and the man who is suddenly accosted in a threatening manner by one or more individuals will do well to bear this advice in mind.

And there you are. Even 100+ years ago, an Englishman knew that audacity was vital for any martial artist. If you don't have audacity, what the hell is your excuse?!

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