Tae Kwon Do obsolete for Self Defense

Daniel Sullivan

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One thing that hasn't been dealt with in any depth here (or I've missed it entirely) is the subject of knowing the law as it applies to SD. It is important to know the law regarding self defense, paricularly as it applies in one's state, as SD laws vary from state to state. It is a reality. Many far reaching consequences have been laid out. Being aware of them is only sensible.

Now having said that, I will do whatever is necessary to survive an attack; if I wind up with legal hassles, then I've survived to see the court room and can take it from there. But I still am aware of how the law views SD in my area; I prefer not to have any surprises after the fact.

Daniel
 

newGuy12

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BUT - there are situations in which I would rather at least attempt to scare the person off first. For example - some years ago, when I still went to bars with a friend of mine, this guy hit on me; I said no; he wouldn't quit, and followed us out when we left. He grabbed my wrist and wouldn't let go, so I got loose myself (releases can be so effective!) - so he grabbed me again. With my other hand, I punched once, full speed, full power, and stopped on the surface of his nose - then I offered to do it again, but an inch behind his nose instead of on the surface of it. He left. What I chose to do was highly effective; nothing further was needed. I could have broken his nose on the first shot, but I didn't need to - so I didn't. The most legally defensible situation is the one where you do the least necessary to ensure your safety - and that's what I did. Why should I have done more?

I'm sure some of the other posters on the board can think of similar situations, where beating the crap out of someone was not the appropriate response, but nonetheless, MA skills were appropriate at something less than deadly force.
Okay, I wish to respond to this. Now, I am 1st Dan, so that is that. But, I say that I would prefer to strike the target if it comes to this, I will not prefer to feint. No. Now, that being said, I can strike to PUSH the target away -- I can DISPLACE the other individual rather than to BREAK the target -- all here know what I am saying.

But none of this control to this extent. I am not so capable of relying on that to impress my attacker. No, if I succeed, they will either get the injury, or at least -- in the case of someone that is not so much of a threat, they are just not in their right mind -- then -- I would prefer to at least PUSH the person back (or push ME back if their mass is so much greater -- i care not -- I wish to get the DISTANCE to my favour).

Then -- then you give a good kick -- one that will seperate the two of us, and then I can run, or quickly assess if they have some friends. You see, I have a lot of concern about what I might not know at the moment -- are other people coming? I wish to GET OUT of the situation as quickly as possible, since this is not freesparring we are talking about, I have a concern over danger -- I want to get OUT of the danger -- "off the 'X'" if you will, as quickly as possible.

If someone withstands the broken nose, well, I will tell the Judge! I will address this later, but I do not have this much confidence in my technique to do as you did.
 

newGuy12

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The same principle of course applies to moving a friend -- what if the friend is about to get hit, say, by a mass falling. You don't have time to explain, you have to MOVE their body. TKD is perfect for this. Move them without breaking the ribs. No problem.
 

newGuy12

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I'm posting too much, but I'll add -- we are taught CONTROL as well. Control of the technique, control of the mind, maybe even control of the personality.

After all, when we de-dora-dra and we turn around, we look first, right? We LOOK at what we are blocking or striking first. We don't turn around blindly. No. We SEE the target first. So, this same mind is also here, of course. We keep our senses about us and not panic. This is ideal! Control.
 

newGuy12

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Oh I agree.. but thats all before it becomes physical.. when it becomes physical there should be a solid gameplan in place.. not decision making, but action. Physical altercations happen in fractions of a second, most people dont think that fast (kinda like the fox)!

Stuart

This in bold is what gives me such pause! I fear some grappler taking me to the ground! I am not versed in grappling enough to break the hold! *IF* -- and this is a big "if" -- I am engaged by someone with some MALICIOUS intention, then I have to act quickly to keep my distance (and my stance! -- not go to the ground!).

The lawyers can sort it out later, regrettably, but then again, I don't go about looking for trouble, so that is in my favour -- I don't have a dangerous job, don't go out at night to dangerous places, and so on. I'm thinking my odds are good that I will never be attacked.
 

StuartA

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I would advise others to evaluate the situation for themselves and determine the appropriate course of action - which may be what I did, and it may not.
So you would advise that as one of the possible options? Sorry, and though it worked for you, in the general scheme of things relating to SD.. that would be bad advice and liable to get someone killed!

I would not, however, ever recommend jumping immediately to the most drastic solution, as you seem to be doing
You seem to have missed my point from each post.. I do not see striking them as the most drastic solution.. or 'beating the crap out of them' .. I can think of many things much more drastic than that.. its not drastic, its basic SD principles!

- if only because I have been advised against it by a number of people
Thats interesting, because my opinions are based on the Self protection courses I teach for a living (both as part of my TKD classes and seperate courses) and this entails finding out about the law and other reviews of policies relating to self defence and self protection... one of which was advice given by the then, UK Police Commisioner (ie. the top UK Police Officer who advises the home office) and after his review he was asked what the response would be if a civilian was attacked and his advice was to forget the law and hit them and keep hitting them until they were physically unable to fight back and you could get away safely! So my advice isnt personal opinion (well it is too) its also ratified at the highest levels.

Perhaps the US legal system has gone too crazy as you say, but where Im from, pre-emptive striking is justifiable if you are threatened, even without being grabbed, as long as its based on the belief that to do less would put yourself in further danger, which is part of the concept of reasonable force.

including one my students who is a judge, and suggested a warning strike (either of the type I used or something that makes it similarly evident that the person being attacked is not a pushover) before doing damage beyond the level of bruises - depending, of course, on the severity of the situation.
The law is often the martial artists second enemy! (A saying Ive heard from a few self protection instructors)!

Stuart
 

StuartA

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This in bold is what gives me such pause! I fear some grappler taking me to the ground! I am not versed in grappling enough to break the hold! *IF* -- and this is a big "if" -- I am engaged by someone with some MALICIOUS intention, then I have to act quickly to keep my distance (and my stance! -- not go to the ground!).

The lawyers can sort it out later, regrettably, but then again, I don't go about looking for trouble, so that is in my favour -- I don't have a dangerous job, don't go out at night to dangerous places, and so on. I'm thinking my odds are good that I will never be attacked.

Thats exactly the point with what I posted first of all to Kacey.. that was I was glad it worked, but all things considered I felt she was lucky (Not lucky that she made it work, but lucky there wasnt worse that could have happened)!

Many keep saying that they are trained to assess the situation, but thats rubbish when the crap hits the fan. Some are saying assess this and that, but in those first few instances are we are meant to determine weapons held, even those we cant see, attackers friends about, dangers on the floor or around us, the level of power, aggression and intent of the attacker... I dont think so!! And I cant help but believe that those that keep recommending this are just talking the talk and havnt walked the walk, cos recommending or believing stuff like that is bad for the average joe, even though it may sound reasonable on paper.. in reality its not!

Stuart
 

GlassJaw

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The barking drew nearer, the fox and the cat both got scared.. and suddenly the cat did the only thing it knew and ran up a tree, whilst the fox debated on what course of action to take.. should I do this, should I do that.. he couldnt decide... and in his hesitatation the hounds caught and chewed him to pieces!

Yep, the fox should have practiced more. Response should be as second nature once the situation is identified. He should have been ready to unleash the appropriate one of his predetermined responses as soon as it was indicated. It's no time to start assembling a list from scratch.

Having someone's arm around your throat is not the time to try remember some move you were shown a couple times but never really practiced much. Don't count among your first line of defenses techniques that you can't even pull off.

The fox had not developed sufficient skill in assessing a situation and acting on it; he should have just taken his chances running.

Oh I agree.. but thats all before it becomes physical.. when it becomes physical there should be a solid gameplan in place.. not decision making, but action.
And just how solid a gameplan is this when the situation you prepared for is significantly different from the one you're faced with? The situation still needs to be evaluated before acting.

I do understand what you're saying (or, at least, I think I do). Many experts feel that warning shots and other displays of force often put you in more danger. "Don't pull a gun unless you intend to use it". . .that sort of thing. Defenders sometimes get seriously wounded or worse due to reluctance to respond with maximum force.

But, to be honest, I would rather risk losing my own life than to go through the rest of it knowing that I sent a kid to the morgue by using force that I knew was far greater than what I felt the situation actually warranted. (However, I can't really criticize anyone who would choose to go the other way--the cop who thought the perp had a gun gets the benefit of the doubt in my mind.)

Physical altercations happen in fractions of a second, most people dont think that fast (kinda like the fox)!
Quite true. That's why we train in SD...so that we're not like "most people".

Dan
 

StuartA

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Yep, the fox should have practiced more. Response should be as second nature once the situation is identified. He should have been ready to unleash the appropriate one of his predetermined responses as soon as it was indicated. It's no time to start assembling a list from scratch.
LOL.. perhaps. Though its a bottleneck of thought, rather than inability that got him chewed up!

Having someone's arm around your throat is not the time to try remember some move you were shown a couple times but never really practiced much. Don't count among your first line of defenses techniques that you can't even pull off.
Nor is it the time for warnin shots or feints!

The fox had not developed sufficient skill in assessing a situation and acting on it; he should have just taken his chances running.
Neither had the cat.. the cat acted instinctively.

And just how solid a gameplan is this when the situation you prepared for is significantly different from the one you're faced with? The situation still needs to be evaluated before acting.
The basic gameplan remains the same.. when the opportunity arises.. strike!

I do understand what you're saying (or, at least, I think I do). Many experts feel that warning shots and other displays of force often put you in more danger. "Don't pull a gun unless you intend to use it". . .that sort of thing. Defenders sometimes get seriously wounded or worse due to reluctance to respond with maximum force.
Thats 90% of what Im saying yes. Im also saying too many options (whether by evaluation or not) causes problems you dont need!

But, to be honest, I would rather risk losing my own life than to go through the rest of it knowing that I sent a kid to the morgue by using force that I knew was far greater than what I felt the situation actually warranted.
Everyone seems to be talking black/white here... there are many shades of grey.. you dont have to punch the guys throat out or break his leg.. just do what is neccesary to safely walk away! This could be as little as a powerslap! Besides, losing your own life may not be a problem for you, but it may be for your wife/girlfriend/mum/dad/kids etc.!

Quite true. That's why we train in SD...so that we're not like "most people".
Sadly, unless your doing reality based senerio's every class.. you are! Why do you think soldiers drill over and over and over and over ad neaueum! If you are than fair play, if your not.. then your not training the area you are talking about (summing the situation in the blink of an eye to determine the appropriate response).. though I agee a well trained martial artist can pick and chose his 1st strikes.. though thats not the same as dertiming a situation isnt life threatening, whether the attacker has weapons/friends etc.

Stuart
 

exile

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Perhaps the US legal system has gone too crazy as you say...

Stuart, lemme tell you just how crazy it is. A guy who shot at an LEO—that's right, shot at him with a handgun he was carrying in the course of committing a felony—and was hit and injured by return fire, has sued the officer on grounds of excessive use of force. I'm not making this up. We have a thread on this in the LEO section somewhere (can someone help me out and fill in the link?—I'm at the airport and have to run catch my plane in a few minutes...) Suing a law enforcement officer who used necessary force to subdue a felon after receiving potentially deadly fire from the latter. :erg:

Now it probably won't go anywhere in court. But note that probably here is not certainly. In the US legal system, it's perliously close to the proverbial situation of the lunatics running the asylum. You can see why so many people are bringing up the kinds of points about legal culpability you're encountering....
 

Andy Moynihan

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Great thread, just wanted to sound off about this part:


(ii) the flip side is, a grappling/controlling art still leaves you with the problem: what do you do with the assailant once he's under your control? If you disengage without damaging him, there's an excellent chance he'll come back at you. Whether it's a control/grapple strategy or a linear striking one, you still reach the critical point when you have to decide how to keep the guy out of the fight long enough to make your getaway. And aikido, jiujitsu or hapkido are just as capable of doing major damage to an attacker as TKD, karate or San Soo. Maybe different types of damage, but damage that could land you in court nonetheless, if you use them to force a 'window of safe withdrawal' after bringing down your assailant. And if you don't do that, you've thrown away your greatest advantage and are back at square one, except now (i) he's even more pissed off at you and (ii) he knows what kind of stuff you might do and will be primed to evade it. So you'll just have to do it again, under more difficult circumstances, always a bad idea.


Yet locking is not the only SD tool a grappling art has. Have we forgotten our standing throws?

Splat them one direction and run in the other. You'll still have the force issues same as you would with a strike (you DID strike them--with the parking lot) but you got the effect by doing it *once* ( as opposed to how , say, multiple punches might appear to a jury of non-MAists) and there's no arguing you did only enough to get clear.

Now---If things go sideways, and our imagined miscreant is sufficiently quick in wits or body as to muckle on and take you down with him mid-throw, NOW is where a joint break( "Submission" implies a sporting match) stands a lot better chance of being defensible in court as you tried to get clear but were forced down to a place where 90-plus percent of all unarmed homicides occur and more force was needed to escape.

Also--a thought, and one I think I will act upon--someone has mentioned here and there cases where someone skilled at joint locks subdued an assailant, and then let them go, at which point the assailant retaliated, in some cases fatally so, with weapons.

I would suggest finding those news pieces, printing them out and saving them in the event you need to take them to court with you as precedent for why you did what you did.
 

Kacey

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And here's the thing you've all missed in my post - the guy was drunk and hitting on me - he wasn't a serious attacker although I aware of the possibility that he might be; in addition, I wasn't drunk, in fact, I had been drinking soda, as I was the designated driver. I was in a public place (parking lot) by a major street, with a friend (who was getting her phone out as this was happening) with other people around. No one bothered to ask about the situation I was in - you all just assumed that I was a lucky idiot who got away with intimidation through dumb luck rather than someone who might actually know what the hell I was doing.

I'll say it again: if you weren't there, then you can't say what I should have done. There are too many variables involved that just didn't come up in my original description, and even more than I wouldn't have taken in consciously but that were part of my decision to do what I did. You want to break somebody's nose for being a drunk who wants a kiss or a lay but can be scared off instead, you go with that. If this guy had been sober, or armed, or I had been alone, or the area more isolated, or any one of an amazing number of factors, my response would have been different. Nonetheless, I was there, the decision I made was the right one for me and for the situation - it may have been luck, or guess what guys, it may have been skill; it may even have been the right decision... But hey, I'm female, I didn't choose to do the "macho" thing and do more damage than was needed, and therefore I must be a lucky, an idiot, or both - 21 years of training and a IV Dan notwithstanding - because I don't espouse doing more damage than needed in that particular situation.

But you can all go on telling each other that I made the wrong decision - and I hope you never come up on a similar situation and get arrested (or worse yet, sued) because you injured someone who was attacking you out of proportion to the danger of the situation. That's your choice. I'll stick with my choice. But please quit trying to browbeat me into changing my opinion, because that kind of intimidation tactic just doesn't work on the 'net! :)
 

Errant108

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Actually, I can think of one very good reason why Kacey's tactic, and anyone else who would employ such a tactic, are making a very strategic mistake.

Kacey swung first.

She attacked the jerkoff in question. That she didn't hit him is moot. She gave him the right to defend himself. A good defense attorney would tear you to shreds for using this tactic, much less a prosecutor. Add in that you are a black belt and the man now felt threatened...well...you've walked into a lawsuit just as easily as if you'd decked him. Add in the fact that you initiated the attack, then you just might have justified whatever actions he takes in self-defense. You escalated the event just as much as you would have had you punched him. It paid off. This time.

Now, the problem Kacey, is that you automatically assume that by criticizing this tactic, we are saying you should have used more force, busted his nose, broken his ribs, or what not. This is not a case of either or.

What you did is the unarmed equivalent of brandishing. You drew your gun, pointed it at this man, and fired a warning shot. No, you didn't hit him. But you opened yourself up to just as much legal hell as if you'd done otherwise.
 

Andy Moynihan

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And here's the thing you've all missed in my post - the guy was drunk and hitting on me - he wasn't a serious attacker although I aware of the possibility that he might be; in addition, I wasn't drunk, in fact, I had been drinking soda, as I was the designated driver. I was in a public place (parking lot) by a major street, with a friend (who was getting her phone out as this was happening) with other people around. No one bothered to ask about the situation I was in - you all just assumed that I was a lucky idiot who got away with intimidation through dumb luck rather than someone who might actually know what the hell I was doing.

I'll say it again: if you weren't there, then you can't say what I should have done. There are too many variables involved that just didn't come up in my original description, and even more than I wouldn't have taken in consciously but that were part of my decision to do what I did. You want to break somebody's nose for being a drunk who wants a kiss or a lay but can be scared off instead, you go with that. If this guy had been sober, or armed, or I had been alone, or the area more isolated, or any one of an amazing number of factors, my response would have been different. Nonetheless, I was there, the decision I made was the right one for me and for the situation - it may have been luck, or guess what guys, it may have been skill; it may even have been the right decision... But hey, I'm female, I didn't choose to do the "macho" thing and do more damage than was needed, and therefore I must be a lucky, an idiot, or both - 21 years of training and a IV Dan notwithstanding - because I don't espouse doing more damage than needed in that particular situation.

But you can all go on telling each other that I made the wrong decision - and I hope you never come up on a similar situation and get arrested (or worse yet, sued) because you injured someone who was attacking you out of proportion to the danger of the situation. That's your choice. I'll stick with my choice. But please quit trying to browbeat me into changing my opinion, because that kind of intimidation tactic just doesn't work on the 'net! :)

Sorry if I came off that way, I was responding to a single part of exile's observations with one of mine, which was in no way attempting to judge or "Monday-Morning-Quarterback" your situation.

Whether I might have chosen a similar or different approach is neither here nor there; the point is it worked and you're here to participate in these threads with us, for which we are happy, for you are cool. :)
 
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I'll say it again: if you weren't there, then you can't say what I should have done.

I tend to look at that there are percentages and averages, and then circumstances.

It's easy to say "under a given situation, this is what one should or should not do". As an abstraction you can play the odds.

But under the direct circumstances, there are some many particulars that are going to change the odds of the scenario that all you can rely on is best observation, best judgement and best reaction

As such, I try not to second guess people who live to fight another day, however they got there
 
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She swung first

I said no; he wouldn't quit, and followed us out when we left. He grabbed my wrist and wouldn't let go, so I got loose myself (releases can be so effective!) - so he grabbed me again. With my other hand, I punched once


I would say *especially* that since he was a he and she was a she, that he was grabbing and holding her puts her in the self-defense posture. She may (everyone may always) face civil suit from the other party, but I would (not being a lawyer) find it hard to believe she would face criminal action
 

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And here's the thing you've all missed in my post - the guy was drunk and hitting on me - he wasn't a serious attacker although I aware of the possibility that he might be
You stated the guy was hitting on you, wouldnt quit, followed you as you left and grabbed you (more than once).. in my mind that sounds pretty serious!

I was in a public place (parking lot) by a major street, with a friend (who was getting her phone out as this was happening) with other people around.
Then its more likely, with the correct steps, that the law would have been favourably on your side and not the other way round as you keep putting!

No one bothered to ask about the situation I was in
Thats because the general public in the main, dont like getting involved in anything that may get them injured!! Sad fact of todays society! Remember folks.. its better to scream help fire, than help Im being attacked if you actually want people to come!

you all just assumed that I was a lucky idiot who got away with intimidation through dumb luck rather than someone who might actually know what the hell I was doing.
Not at all.. the 'luck' part was that the guy was exactly how you described, because unless you can read minds you couldnt have known his intentions 100% or that he didnt have a weapon etc. And no-one called you an idiot!!! In fact, a warrior has a choice where as others do not... and you exercised that choice. It doesnt change the fact that to me, as a general rule it was a bad move.. but thats not a shot at you, as when I talk SD I talk in general and I would never advise someone to do that.. sorry if you dont like that, but thats how I see it. I'd say taking a mugger to the floor to tackle him was a bad move to Hickson Gracie, even though it would work for him no doubt, its still a bad move in the general scheme of things!

You want to break somebody's nose for being a drunk who wants a kiss or a lay but can be scared off instead, you go with that.
Who said break his nose? There plenty of options available! And rapists want the same things you mention and go to more lengths to get them!!! You said he followed you and grabbed you.. hence the situation maybe read more serious on paper (ie. here) than it was when it happened! We can only go off what we read and discuss that.. after all, isnt that the point of a forum!

But hey, I'm female, I didn't choose to do the "macho" thing and do more damage than was needed, and therefore I must be a lucky, an idiot, or both - 21 years of training and a IV Dan notwithstanding -
It has nothing to do with being female.. Id say exactly the same thing to a man, how many years of training you have or what Dan you are are nothing to do with it either, plenty of dan grade know next to nothing about self protection, where as many self protection sumpremo's have never held dan grades.. the two are unrelated! And I find that an odd sentence to read personally.. almost like a chip! Oh, and my opinion (if that refers to me) isnt the "macho" thing, its basic principles involved in correct self-protection.. sure there may be the odd circumstances (had them myself) where its not required, but as general advice and reasoning (as this is a public forum) its the safest and most correct advice to give! And like you say, I wasnt there, so based on what I read here.. the reasoning stays the same!


But you can all go on telling each other that I made the wrong decision
Actually, I feel your taking it a bit too personally as the discussions based on your account centred around the situation really, plus theres plenty of others that feel your decision was okay.. its just a discussion!

and I hope you never come up on a similar situation and get arrested (or worse yet, sued) because you injured someone who was attacking you out of proportion to the danger of the situation.
I have been (though my defence wasnt out of proportion IMO), handcuffed and put in a police car after I defended someone else .. with the attacker screaming blue murder that I attacked him (and it probibly looked that way as the police rolled up as I was on top of him and technically I did as he was strangling someone else, not me).. funnily enough Joe Public (ie. witnesses) were interviewed who comfirmed my story and that was that!

But please quit trying to browbeat me into changing my opinion, because that kind of intimidation tactic just doesn't work on the 'net! :)
Browbeating!!! Intimidation!! jeez... get over it will ya! Are people not allowed to disagree with your opinion and have their own without saying that they are trying to be intimidating!!! Hell, your intimidating me :whip: :)


Stuart
 

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Got your attention? : )

One thing that occasionally goes through my mind is that Tae Kwon Do is a very hard striking, brutal art when it comes to application of the techniques. When we talk about 'traditional' Tae Kwon Do here, we talk about the Korean military being feared for their deadly skills. Tae Kwon Do is not about control and submission, it's about damage and destruction. It's about disabling or killing an enemy combatant before they kill you

Now, in reading various threads about practical application of self-defense, one thing that stands out to me is an emphasis on de-escalation, and a minimal response. LEO's and bouncers and such talk about (the need for) controlling the situation and the person, not about rib cracking sidekicks. About legalities and repercussions, not ridge-hands to the trachea

We talk about the effectiveness of traditional hard-core Tae Kwon Do, but the examples we often draw from are from a military application, which is not the environment most of us find ourselves in.

So the question that occurs to me is two fold. One is "self-defense" for Tae Kwon Do a misnomer for the sake of acceptability, that Tae Kwon Do is simply and really about 'personal combat' and entailed in that is a significant offensive component. Two is... given the legal and social context most of us find ourselves in, does that render Tae Kwon Do obsolete as a truly practical means of self-defense?
You bring up a good point. Going on the offensive is not always a good idea and that is where TKD shines the brightest.
Sean
 

zDom

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Who "threw the first punch" isn't always the deciding factor.

If someone touched me, I warned them, and they touched me again they might have just ended up with a lot more than "brandishing" from ME.

Depends on the situation, though, and I wasn't there: Kacey was.

She walked away unhurt so her decision was correct enough.
 
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