On Striking Women

Vox's recent post, included in my linkage for the week, regarding the rather thorny question of whether it is permissible to strike women who attack you, makes for some thought-provoking reading:
First of all, there is nothing more intrinsically wrong about using physical violence against women than against men. This white-knighting gamma knows nothing about the genuine warrior ethic; by his reckoning, the greatest warriors of history were not warriors at all because they slaughtered men, women, and children with equal abandon. Warrior's codes teach respect for all, which in martial terms means taking even the most seemingly overmatched opponent seriously and dispatching her without needless humiliation. 
The outmoded code of the gentleman to which Funktacular is implicitly referring is European and is based on a post-martial chivalric ideal that primarily relates to the transition of the medieval aristocracy from a warrior elite to a post-warrior social elite. As such, it is the exact opposite of a warrior ethic. Joseph Schumpeter addresses this in some detail in Imperialism and Social Classes. The warrior ethic is focused on the defeat of the enemy, and the defeat of the enemy requires the destruction of his women from whom the future enemy combatants will come in as the destruction of the current generation of combatants. 
Were the Romans less than manly because they destroyed Carthage? Was Genghis Khan a coward because he spared neither women nor children, neither dog or rat, when he stacked skulls outside the shattered walls of the city where one of his sons died? Was Shalmeneser III defining manhood downwards when, on his annual summer vacation, he crossed the Euphrates, threw down the walls of one city or another, and burned it with fire? 
As for misogyny, one need not hate women to refuse to subject oneself to physical assaults by women. Shall we similarly conclude that the man who defends himself against attacks by men is a misanthrope? The logic is wholly specious.
To be honest, I really can't add much to this. I particularly like Vox's point that the code of martial honour requires respect for ALL opponents, regardless of size or strength; this does indeed logically mean that even a female opponent must be taken seriously and dealt with as quickly and efficiently as possible.

The only thing I can add to this is the perspective I gained from tag-fighting in my Krav Maga classes with girls. (This might seem like a pointless side trip at first, so bear with me.) I need to state this very plainly: I HATE training with women. In Krav Maga, one of the most important lessons that you learn is that you NEVER fight strength against strength. The point of the art is to go from defence to offence in the shortest time possible. This means that when you pair off in a class to practice releases and blocks against various forms of chokes and attacks, you need to be fully committed to defending yourself, and your partner must be fully committed to attacking you. In order for those attacks to be effective when training, though, you need to be up against someone who is roughly at the same level of training and physical strength as you are.

I'm a reasonably big guy- I stand nearly 180cm tall and I weigh close to 80kg. I'm also very, very strong for a guy my size and age- actually, objectively speaking, I am very strong, full stop. And it is fair to say that I am in pretty damn good shape, especially these days. This means that when I'm practicing various chokes and grabs, in order to get the most that I can out of the lesson, I need to be up against someone at least as tall and strong and fit as I am. It goes without saying that 99% of women will completely fail to meet these criteria. Most of the women in the white-belt classes also don't know what the hell they're doing, mostly because they aren't half as committed to the art as I am, which means that I constantly have to hold back for fear of harming them in a way that I never have to worry about with male sparring partners who are about as big and as strong as I am. There is much to be said for sparring with people who know what they are doing, and therefore know how to test you to your limits. This means that I simply won't get very much out of the class when facing off against women- and for that matter, neither will the women that I spar with. This is to their detriment as well as mine.

How does this tie into the question of whether it is ever right to hit a woman, you may ask? Well, that's simple. I agree with Vox here- any attacker, regardless of gender, is a threat that must be neutralised. Now, how you neutralise such a threat is up to you, and depends on circumstances; as my Krav Maga instructors keep telling us, if someone taps you on the shoulder, that is certainly not a call for you to poke his eye out, but if he punches you or kicks you, you bloody well kick his head in and then hit him with a bar stool for good measure. In the same way, if you are attacked by a woman, then she has broken with the Non-Aggression Principle and must be treated as a hostile enemy. By attacking you, by throwing the first punch, she has committed aggression against you; how you choose to respond to that aggression depends on circumstances, relative strength, and your willingness to engage in physical combat. I, for instance, do not have any particular problem with most women throwing the first punch- mostly because I know damn well that most of them can't really punch worth a damn, and more importantly, that a single punch or kick from me will simply flatten them. Does that mean that I would give all potential enemies the right to attack first? Of course not, especially if I'm up against someone as big and strong as Dwayne Johnson, for instance- I'm focused on survival, and the first thing that you learn in Krav Maga, as you will in any form of combat training, is that in a real war, there are no rules other than those that you choose to restrict yourself with. (Make no mistake, that is what rules of engagement are- restrictions.)

Anyone who says that it is always and everywhere wrong to hit a woman simply hasn't thought it through. I completely agree that hitting a woman just because she says something annoying is beyond the pale- there is no call for that sort of behaviour against someone who is weaker than you, it breaks with every basic tenet of the libertarian creed. There is no honour in initiating aggression against someone who is weaker than you without just cause. Equally, however, there is no honour whatsoever in allowing yourself to be beaten by a weaker enemy. If you are attacked, you respond to neutralise the threat. It's just that simple.

As Vox points out in his closing arguments, the right to self-defence is absolute and complete. It does not depend upon time, place, or the gender of the attacker. Unfortunately, the society we live in- not to mention most White Knight Gammas and feminists- simply will not see things this way and will attempt to argue with Vox's impenetrable logic using specious and false emotional arguments instead.

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