This blog started with a flurry of posts about poking people’s eyes out and killing them with Smatchets. I don’t regret that, but I do concede that they were perhaps indicative of the anxiety and pent up rage I was feeling at the time. I’m still angry, of course (I wouldn’t do anything at all if I wasn’t permanently semi-pissed off), but I have being thinking about my attitude and doing some research and have learned something very important: self-defence is not the same as fighting, and I need to be clearer about the distinction.
I started with the assumption that, post-Crisis, there will be a lot of violence, and I stick by that. Sometimes, however, it is a matter of containing this violence, not escalating it, and this is the difference between self-defence and a fight. A fight is a contest, an all-out battle in which the object is to win. In the post-Crisis climate,this could, ostensibly, mean that lives are at stake. Self-defence is about protecting yourself against the violence of others: the object is to stop it becoming a fight, to not make it a matter of life and death. With the right discouragement, an attacker may re-evaluate you as a target and decide to leave you alone. Naturally, this might involve you employing quick and definitive action and high levels of nastiness, but the intent is very different. A strong ‘do one’ message is often a much better solution than killing someone, and a lot cleaner and easier on the torn patchwork quilt you call a soul.
With that in mind, let’s talk about sticks. Sticks are good. In post-Crisis terms, they are Mother Nature’s miracles, as they are plentiful, and, if chemical weapons have been deployed, you won’t even have to strip them of foliage. A stick has a number of uses, of course, but it’s worth reflecting on the dual purpose that will be of most use in the tiresome days to come: a stick is a weapon that you can burn, something that will keep you safe and keep you warm. A stick is perfect for defence and offence, protection or all-out attack. In the first instance, a stick is a clatterer of knuckles, a whacker of shins, a poker of ribs, a prodder, a dissuader. You can be a nuisance with a stick, it’s a very irritating and ‘ow’-y sort of weapon. But a stick can also deliver a smack to the head that will knock your opponent’s eyes out – literally - although you shouldn’t expect this result every time, this is real life, not a Roadrunner cartoon.
Advanced students can practice all sorts of grips and holds and spins – you can get tactical, almost balletic, but do be prepared to smack yourself in the face a few times until you master the art. There is no more magnificent sight than a person expertly wielding a stick and, with lots of hard work, that person could be you. Or you can just twat people with it and wait for them to either run away or fall down.
Once your opponent is on the ground, it’s up to you to decide the outcome. In self-defence terms, you’ve made your point, so perhaps you could let them scurry away, lesson learned. In a fight to the death, however, the stick becomes a club, and your opponent becomes your victim. In this case, the key is to inflict enough immediate damage to render your target unconscious, so you can then quite happily beat them to death without being unduly disturbed by their facial expressions. Make it quick, and don’t go on beating whatever it is you are beating once it has popped, burst or split into pieces, i.e. it may be a mad world, but you don’t have to be a fucking psycho.
Later on, when the long night sets in, build a fire and burn the stick. There will be no justice or formal law and order post-Crisis, of course, let alone any forensics, so the destruction of the stick is purely symbolic. Fire is cleansing, and the act of burning will delete the incident from your hard drive. It’s also practical: the stick will be dirty and bent and battered. There might be brains on it. Get a new stick, and huddle around the warmth the old one provides. Believe me, these will be the good times. Tomorrow is another day, and might very well require more stick related decisions.