06 April 2012

Techniques Can Kill

I've mentioned some safety precautions before when performing the rear naked choke. If precautions are taken, this could be a safe technique to practise, but let's not forget that it is also a lethal technique, as a recent tragic incident shows: A few days ago two cousins were playfully wrestling when the younger cousin got his older cousin in a rear naked choke hold and unwittingly strangled his cousin to death.

In the video below two BJJ instructors discuss the incident, including some of the surprising symptoms of unconsciousness. If you practise this technique, please watch this video.

It is always advisable that if any partner work is done, it is best to do so with a supervisor watching. Even then accidents could happen. Martial arts are, after all, occupied with the act of hurting and killing; of course as a pretence ritual -- that is what martial arts are. However, just because we are pretending, i.e. applying safety precautions, doesn't mean that these things are not lethal. Likewise, just because many of the things we are doing are in fact performed with layers of safety precautions in place--especially by the traditional martial artists, this doesn't mean that they are not dangerous. There are often important reasons for practising techniques, including traditional techniques, in certain "unrealistic" ways.

Train safe!

I saw the following from another blog and thought it well worth it to include here:

Chokes are no joke. Which makes you look more like a chump? Tapping out and patting your cousin on the back. “Wow that was awesome you really got me there I was starting to see stars”. Or being killed by a 14 year old? No one knows why Arcenaux didn’t tap, but if you find yourself in a simular situation just tap. Your not tapping doesn’t impress anyone. Nor does tapping ruin your status, even in competition. There is a reason the tap exists! Better to tap and learn from your experience than break an elbow and be out for 6 months learning nothing.
Law Enforcement:
Again, Chokes are no joke. A 110 lb 14 year old ended a guy twice his size with out trying in 30 seconds. A subject putting their hands around your neck is a lethal force situation. When lethal force is justified USE LETHAL FORCE, you can ease back if control can be gained, but you don’t have time to try less effective lower force options.


Ymar Sakar said...

(Sidenote: Are you familiar with that classification system? A drama is the serious pursuit of a serious goal, a comedy is the humorous pursuit of a humorous goal; a tragedy is the tragic pursuit of a serious goal, and a farce is the tragic pursuit of a humorous goal. I honestly don’t know if that system provides any meaningful benefit, but I learned it in high school and I’ve always remembered it.)

End quote. This isn't a "tragedy". it is a "farce".

SooShimKwan said...

Hi Ymar,

In the context of theatre (or dramatic literature), a farce is a comedy, based on ridiculous, unforeseeable events. If we were to interpret the young man's death in this way, as something that started out playful, but turned "wrong" due to something unforeseeable, then, I guess, we could described the situation as a "farce".

However, literary terms often take on different meaning when applied to real life. The term "farce" is almost never used to describe a real life situation that involves death, except, probably, if the death is a hoax, and the mock-death is supposed to be a form of macabre humour. Since, as far as I can tell, the man really died, I wouldn't use the term "farce" in this context.

The word "tragedy" has one specific meaning within a literary (diegetic) context, and a different meaning when applied to real life (non-diegetic). In the literary context a tragedy is a type of story that is thematically based on human suffering. In real life, however, the term "tragedy" refers to any unnecessary (often premature) loss of life. The young man died both unnecessarily (it was a stupid accident) and prematurely (he was only in his early 20s).

I think describing this incident as tragic / as a tragedy is therefore appropriate.

(My full time job is as a university lecturer of literature. Lol!)

Ymar Sakar said...

You made a good argument. I don't like the ubiquitous usage of the word tragedy in modern American life, but your elaboration on the point should help clarify other people's understanding of the issue.