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Articles about Wrestling, Self-Defense, and Mixed Martial Arts > Do You Practice What You Preach?

5 Jan 2006

Tongue FU

I was working in down town San Francisco at the well known Olympic Club which is located only a block from the Tenderloin District. For those that are unfamiliar with the Tenderloin District, it is one of the areas of San Francisco that is heavily populated with unemployed and unfortunate street people. As many people that work in the city do, I had to park my car at a parking lot that I could afford – under $15.00 a day. Unfortunately many of the affordably parking lots were located in the Tenderloin district.

One evening when I got off work and walked down to the Tenderloin to get my car, I was informed by the parking lot attendant that my car had been parked out on the street (this was a common practice if parking lots got overfilled). The attendant gave me my keys, pointed out my car, and I was on my way. As I walked away from the attendant and headed for my car, about ten feet from my car I was approached by a young man about in his middle twenties with his hand extended, as if to shake hands, and a big smile on his face. Not feeling threatened I reached out my hand to shake his. The young man that smelled and appeared to be a street person, having a hold of my hand suddenly pulled himself to me and I found myself face to face with this now, could be assailant.

The young man stopped smiling and started mumbling about the uniform that I had on which was the uniform required by the Olympic Club for a Personal Trainer ( Sweats with stripes down the side). He said that he new me as a prison guard and that he saw me when he was in prison. He said that he new all my brothers and my family. We were standing on the street toe to toe with my car behind him and a building behind me. As the young man went on about jail, he held on to my hand which I defensively maneuvered to the center of us both without trying to threaten him or break his squeezing grip. I felt that if I had tried to yank my hand out of his, he would react and try to attack .

As I watched his every move, I waited for his grip to loosen then pulled my hand out of his as I stepped back from him. In my mind I pictured how I was going to sweep his feet out form under him while simultaneously clothes-lining him by striking him across the neck with a ridge-hand. I could see him hitting the ground at about 50 mile an hour. My second thought was to use a spiraling and throwing technique that would have sent him flying into the building behind me. I told the young man that he was mistaking me for someone else and that I did not know what he was talking about. Then I asked him what exactly he wanted. He said he wanted some money. I told him I had none. Then he closed the gap I had made between us and we were standing toe-to-toe again. This time I had angled myself so as to be able to initiate the techniques that ran through my head.

The young man started mumbling again and I watched his lips that were close enough to kiss me, as I also watched for any other aggressive movement. If the young man even twitched the wrong way, I was prepared to take his head off. We stood there for a minute or two not moving except for his mouth, then he jumped back away from me about five feet, smiled and said, “You’re a smart man. You’re a smart man.” He then waved his hand like it was over, turned and walked on down the street. I dropped my hands that had instinctively taken a defense guard and looked around at the people that had gathered around us. No one said anything. They just stood there with jaws and eyes opened wide. I then got into my car and proceeded to back out of my parking spot.

As I started to pull away I glanced back at the spot where we were standing and noticed that the building behind me had a plate-glass store front. Had I been forced to defend myself against this street person, and had I thrown him with the technique that was at the forefront of my mind, I would have thrown him through that plate-glass window possible killing him. If I had swept his feet out from under him and clothes-lined him, I am sure he would have busted his head open. I was glade that my training was such that I felt I was in control of the situation and that I was able to defuse the situation without having to kill the young man. I used, Tongue Fu.

Run FU

One evening I was driving over to a friends house that lived in the San Francisco Bay area. As I was driving I noticed that I was not going to be able to make it to his house at the time that we had planed. Wanting to let him know that I was going to be late, I decided to try and find a phone booth to call him. I pulled off the freeway and found myself in the bad part of Richmond which is known for shootings, gang violence and drugs. When I got off the freeway, I quickly realized where I was and decided to make a U-turn and get out of there. As I started my U-turn, I spotted a phone booth on the side of a building on the right side of the street. I surveyed the area saw there was nobody around, then pulled over to the curb. I decided to leave the car running because the phone booth was only a few feet away from where I had pulled over.

Just as I had dropped the coins into the phone to place my call, I noticed across the street about 40 yards away, two guys came out of the dark with hooded sweatshirts on. They adjusted their hoods to cover their heads and stepped out into the street in my direction. There was no doubt in my mind that they were headed for me as they reached the center of the street.

Feeling that an unwanted confrontation was about to unfold, I calmly hung-up the phone and got into my car. By the time the two were past the center of the road, I was in the car and had completed my U-turn to exit the town. As I pulled away I looked into my rearview mirror and saw the two waving there hands around at each other and hitting each others head as if in discuss or disappointment. I felt that had I not gotten out of there, I may not have without a regretful confrontation. I used the technique, Run Fu and did not have to engage.

Wait FU

Almost a year ago my fiancé and I moved into a house in a quit neighbor located in a gated community. The neighborhood that we moved into did not have or allow fences between the houses. This was a rule of the gated community for cosmetic reasons. One day when I came home from work, I noticed that there was a pile of branches and brush piled up at the edge of our property and the next door neighbors’ yard. The branches and brush were piled up beside a flower bed that ran adjacent to the neighbors’ driveway but clearly on our side and out of his view.

At first I thought that my fiancé had cut and piled these branches and brush there, but after examining the pile I noticed that we didn’t have the type of trees and brush that the pile was composed of. Then I looked more closely at the neighbors’ yard and noticed that he did have such trees and bushes. Scratching my head, I couldn’t understand why he would have thrown this stuff in our yard. I thought maybe he had hired some kid to clean his yard and that the kid didn’t know any better. I didn’t say anything to the neighbor, but as each day went by I became more and more agitated with the thought of the neighbor disrespecting our property and throwing his garbage on our lot. The thought of throwing the rubbish back onto his driveway crossed my mind many times, but I didn’t really see that resulting in anything but an argument. I thought about going over to his house and challenging his actions, but I didn’t know what I would have done if he refused to clean it up.

After a week had pasted, I began mowing the lawn and cleaning up the yard on the opposite side of the yard away from that neighbor. As I started nearing the side of the property where the pile of branches and brush were located, the neighbor pulled his truck up to the pile and loaded it into his truck. He did not see me looking at him out of the corner of my eye and I didn’t make any indication that I was watching him. I finished mowing the lawn including where the neighbor had thrown his branches and brush and went into the house to talk with my fiancé.

While we were talking about the whole stupid thing, suddenly I remembered something that the Landlord had said when we first moved in. I remembered that while the Landlord and his wife were showing us around the house, the wife had mentioned something about the neighbors’ property line extending on to the property that we lived on. So in reality, the area where he had thrown the branches and brush, was his property. I realized then, that had I not waited this thing out, I may have instigated a bad relationship between us and our neighbors. That day I learned a valuable lesson, sometimes if you just wait, be patient, practice your Zen things will work themselves out. I learned the lesson of Wait FU.

Cred FU

Recently while visiting family in the back country of the Big island of Hawaii, I found myself surrounded by people heavily involved with crack cocaine – Ice. I am ashamed to say that unfortunately one of my relatives was one of the main distributors. I knew that my relative was involved in drugs, but I didn’t know just how involved he was. That is until I counted 30 cars in a day-and-a-half coming in and out of the house where I was staying.

From 7:00 a.m. through the day, all night 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 a.m. people were coming and going. In the early hours of the morning people would drive into the driveway with their lights turned off and leave them off as they pulled out. The next day 10 more cars came through. Each day was the same. I did not feel safe day or not especially because the people new that I not approve of what they were doing. Fearing the safety of the other family members if I made waves, I just tried to stay away from the transactions.

During the day when these people would come around, the relative of mine that was the dealer would brag about my accomplishments in the martial arts world, and tell everyone how dangerous I was. Of course as many people do, he over exaggerated my abilities and spoke of my hands and feet being registered and lethal. He actually believed it himself. He did such a good job that no one questioned or spoke to me aggressively whether they liked me being around or not.

After a week or so, he had everyone believing that if they tried anything with me, they were in big trouble. I wanted to put an end to this drug dealing, but I was worried about my relatives crack head friends. I thought that sooner or later I would have to take him on and his friends. But after all the credit he gave me for my martial arts abilities, I saw that he was the only one that I would have to deal with, not his friends. - Thanks to Cred FU.

Back FU

Still visiting family in the back country of Hawaii, the day came when I approached my relative about his drug dealings and the safety of the rest of the family. My timing was such that he had just finished smoking the ice and was high when I questioned him. As expected he went off the deep-end and lost it. Before I knew it, he had a pipe-wrench in his hand and was threatening to bust my F-ing head open and beat me to death. His eyes were as big as saucers, his blood veins were popping out and the muscles in his neck were stretching to capacity. As quickly as he went off, I back-stepped out of harms way and prepared to defend myself.

As the situation escalated with his yelling, screaming and throwing his hands around trying to get me to fight, I moved out of the car-port where it began and out into the street where I began yelling for someone to call the police. For 30 minutes before the police arrived he kept yelling, swearing, swinging his arms around, making jesters, insulting my martial arts abilities and trying to provoke me into the fight. Instead for 30 minutes I kept telling him I was not going to fight, I did not engage in his arguments and I kept a safe distance from him. When the police finally did show up, I pressed charges of Terrorist Assault.

The next day as I was going over what happened in my mind, I realized that during the confrontation I did not have an adrenalin rush, I was not nervous, I did not engage in the argument that might have escalated the confrontation, and I did not allow him to enter my zone of safety. Therefore I did not have to use my martial arts abilities to inflict injury that would have been necessary to defuse this situation that involved a drug intoxicated person. By getting back and staying out of harms way Back FU, I resolved the situation without injury to either one of us. I realized also, that my actions reflected exactly what I teach. I am honored to say that I do practice what I preach. In all these situations I never had to use my Kung Fu abilities – or did I use them? Tongue Fu, Run Fu, Wait Fu, Cred Fu, Back Fu, they all kept me from having to use my KUNG FU…

Grandmaster Jody Perry