Posted by on March 12, 2021

Civil. Polite, obliging, not rude

A couple of years ago, a Krav Maga instructor offered a workshop at a gym here in Toronto. At one point, he focused on defending against an attacker who has you pinned against a wall. 

The situation he described was dire. 

The attacker was intent on rape or even murder. In short, a life or death situation. The technique involved the defender pushing their thumbs into the attacker’s eyes.  

I’m not doing that! One participant said, shaking her head.  

But he is going to hurt you. The instructor said, Or worse.   

I’m not doing it. She insisted.  

Okay. The instructor shrugged. Your choice.  

The participant remained adamant that she would not do anything so savage.

There must be another way

She is right about one thing. Eye gouging, kneeing someone in the groin, biting, or various other actions are savage or uncivilized. On the other hand, suggesting there must be another way is naïve.

Here is the crux of the problem. The person assaulting you is not abiding by your sense of civility. He is not concerned with the ethics or consequences of his actions. As Dr. Stanton E. Samenow points out in his very readable book Inside the Criminal Mind, “Rarely do criminals think about the impact of their behaviour.” (126) They “shut off consideration of conscience to do whatever they want and experience no lasting remorse. (128) In other words, your appeals to civil conduct are futile. If he is already choking, punching, dragging you into a vehicle, the time for civil discourse has long passed.  

The stark reality is simple. You can fight without inhibition and give yourself a chance to live, or you can abide by your standards of civility and let the whims of your attacker decide your fate. 

Your choice. Choose to survive.  

Works Cited

Samenow, Dr. Stanton E. Inside the Criminal Mind. New York: Penguin Books, 2004


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