Fighting: The Truth


The key question is:

“What separates human beings from animals?”

The answer is (of course) “Intelligence”. Human beings learn from past mistakes.

So the question becomes: “So why do some humans still fight?”

The answer is: “Intelligent people don’t fight”. There is always another way.


B. Leading To The Truth

Let’s ask ourselves a simple question; “Why were boxing gloves invented?”
Think about it for a few seconds.
You may say the answer is to soften blows to the face.
In fact the main reason was to protect the knuckles of the person doing the hitting.

It’s difficult to understand this because films do not show the real effects of fist fights. For instance, anybody making a fist and punching somebody else in the face is most likely to break their knuckles and have to face much longer term injuries than the one who is (very painfully) on the receiving end. In fact the face will usually heal much more quickly than the broken hand. The truth is that in the olden days of bare knuckle fighting it was extremely rare for anybody to die, as boxers, who made their money from this, never aimed for the face because they were scared of hurting themselves. They always aimed for the body because broken knuckles would mean no fighting and therefore no money for many months. Their family could starve in this time.


Very sadly, since boxing gloves were invented the number of deaths has gone up dramatically, as people now get punched in the head and face so often. The picture below catches the moment that pretty well sums up what the eye cannot see.


The thing about this photograph is, it is taken at just the right moment. However, a slow motion replay of the next half second would be much more effective, as it would show how your face immediately tries to spring back into place and even “wobbles” back and forth after being punched. In order to see the sort of thing that a punched face will go through in that tiny fraction of time, have a look at this slow motion picture of a golf ball being hit by a club. It is taken by a camera that can record 5,000 frames a second and hence shows everything in that tiniest instant of time. It is very close to comparing the springy reaction of your face that is too quick for anybody to see during those first moments after a punch:

Click here: Golf Ball Hitting Steel At 150mph – Slow Motion (70,000 fps)



Here is another photo that (once again) cannot do justice to the whole issue.



If only we could rely on Films and TV to show fighting as it really is. Instead, so often the hero is punched in the face and afterwards is shown with a bit of make-up on that shows a slight graze or red mark. Films don’t want to show the huge black and blue swelling and the months needed to heal that would really be the result. It would ruin the film. Just ask yourself how many times you have seen the hero in a film get shot in the shoulder and still be able to win whatever battle is going on. This completely ignores the fact that the vast majority of bullet wounds to a shoulder are fatal. Also any bullet wound will cause the body to shut down everything except the most vital organs such as heart, liver, lungs and brain through shock, which means the victim immediately has to lie down as his arms and legs will not work.

In the same way, on films how often do you see the hero facing overwhelming odds against (say) enemy soldiers? There is a scene in the film “Commando” (with Arnold Schwarzenegger) where he starts walking up the beach with masses of soldiers shooting at him. As usual all the “baddies” are dressed in black. Now I love an action film like that but I cannot help asking, “How come his enemies are all totally useless at shooting?”
The answer is of course, “They are not useless at shooting. Well, not in real life.” If you have any doubt about this just read true accounts of real war written by survivors. Very often the enemy was better trained, with better guns and better shooting skills.

Another great action film is “Rambo” with Sylvester Stallone. As usual the overwhelming number of enemy soldiers hasn’t got a chance. Once again I really enjoyed it. However, we must ask ourselves, “Are there really super-action heroes like that?” The answer is of course a firm, “NO” otherwise we would never have full scale wars.
Just think about it. The leader of one country would call a meeting and say, “The enemy has 2 million armed and highly trained soldiers with vastly superior weapons ready to invade. What shall we do?” In a film the answer is obvious. They would parachute in Rambo and the 2 million soldiers wouldn’t have a chance. It would all be over in a couple of days. Films like this are great fun but that is all. They make money out of romanticising the brutal act of killing, which in real life is a terrible thing. They are made to be enjoyed as an action-packed romp but never taken seriously.

The biggest problem is that most action-packed “fun” films also give the impression that it’s possible to dodge or out think the bullets or bombs, which are designed to kill you. This is complete rubbish of course. How can you dodge something that travels faster than sound, which means it blows your head off before you hear anything? Indeed, about the only good thing about hearing a bomb or rocket coming is that you know it’s not going to land right on top of you. It’s still very dangerous of course but at least, by hearing it, you have a chance.

Here is a picture which sums up war in just one way. It was taken on Wednesday 16th September 2009.

War Dress

It shows a soldier called Barry Delaney wearing the showiest, bright and cheapest £4.99 dress he could find in Primark along with 99p pink knee-high socks. He is also wearing a pair of girl’s knickers. Barry is sobbing his heart out. The thing we cannot see is the rest of the crowd and the fact that nobody is laughing.
“What is going on?” you may ask.
Barry is at his best friend’s funeral and tells us that his friend (Kevin) had told him a couple of weeks before that he did not want to go back to a war zone any more. He was worried about returning to Afghanistan with its explosive booby traps, where the enemy was becoming more determined and skilled at killing soldiers without even being seen.
When they had joined up together three years before, they had made a pact. If his friend got killed Barry would wear the most garish, loudest and cheapest girl’s dress and outfit to his best friend’s funeral. Everyone understood and so here we see him in the midst of tragedy, a fully trained combat soldier, crying his heart out for his lost friend. This is the truth of war; being killed without a chance.

In 2009 I listened on the news to a 77 year old lady on television. She was in a graveyard in Northern France and we had just seen her drop to her knees in front of a gravestone sobbing and screaming out, “I’ve found you, I’ve finally found you.” I wish I could convey to you that heart felt weeping that encapsulated so much love and grief in one go. After finally gaining some composure she was able to say how she remembered as a tiny tot of a girl in 1940 sitting on her front door step in sunshine when her father came down the stairs in (what she now knows was) a full army uniform. He picked her up and gave her a huge hug. She didn’t understand what was going on. He gave her a kiss on the cheek put her down and set off down the street. She clearly remembers watching him get to the corner and hesitate. He looked back hesitated again and then ran back down the street and scooped her up into his arms. He hugged and kissed and hugged her again for longer this time. Then he put her down, walked away and round the corner without looking back. It was at that point she suddenly realised she could hear her Mother crying. That was the last she ever saw of her Dad until finding his grave all these years later.

Now, that gives a tiny glimpse of the reality of war.
Not quite like the films.

C. Lest We Forget

Here is one more reminder.

Bicycle MemorialD.

Now let us turn to the one TV programme that has done more harm in school playgrounds that any others: WWF (Wrestling).
When I was a little boy, on TV every Saturday afternoon there would be some wrestling matches and I used to watch it because one of the main characters was a friend of my Dad. I used to watch him behave very badly wearing a black mask and strut around the ring, beating his chest like a gorilla and shouting that nobody would ever beat him. He used to get up to all sorts of dirty tricks, even cheating behind the referee’s back.

On the odd occasion that he came to our house for Sunday tea this giant of a man would be extremely gentle, kind, considerate and very apologetic because he was often a little clumsy but my Mum was always prepared. His immaculate behaviour used to leave me extremely confused because I really liked this man a lot but I very definitely did not like the evil wrestler on TV.
One day he caught me staring at him. He gave me a thoughtful look and asked, “Do you expect me to be bad?”
I replied with a small, nervous nod.
He smiled, sat down and said, “What you’ve got to remember is that when you see me on the television I’m doing my job. I suppose it’s a bit like acting and I do exactly as I’m told. My bosses say that the more evil I pretend to be the more people will pay to come back to see me get beaten. That’s why I keep winning, because the bosses tell me what to do. For the moment, they want me to keep winning. Then I practise with my next opponent we make up a fight where I nearly lose and then just win at the end usually by doing something bad like cheating. One day the bosses will tell me to lose. Just remember, all the fighters are friends in the dressing rooms but we have to pretend to hate each other if anybody is looking. It pays me a good wage so I can look after my family”.
I suppose I kept staring because he then said, “I expect you’re wondering why I don’t have lots of bruises. I must have nodded because he went on, “Remember, we are all friends and earning quite a lot of money doing this. The last thing we want to do is actually hurt each other because that would stop one of our friends from earning money. That’s why we practise so much. Maybe you’ve noticed that, when we are wrestling sometimes, one of us will tap the other on the arm or leg three times. That’s sending a message to say, “Hang on old friend, you’re starting to really hurt.”

As I grew up I thought more and more about this and it gradually all made sense that good actors made good money.
Nowadays they have a super-duper version of wrestling called WWF and I know a lot of people who take it very seriously. I sometimes wonder how many of them know it’s all just fun that makes a lot of money. The wrestlers today are much better actors than when I was young and they take a lot longer to practise their fights. In fact, recently a very famous wrestler admitted that it had taken three weeks to practise for his most recent and hardest match. He also pointed out that nowadays wrestlers can hide a very tiny sharp blade underneath their finger nail so that after they have been “hit” they can hold their face as if in pain and give themselves a very small nick in the skin to show blood so that when they take their hands away it looks realistic. Only a small drop of blood is required for a dramatic effect. They take turns at doing this.
If you don’t believe all this, just think about how somebody looks after they really have been hit and how much they swell up. Then remember that it doesn’t matter how muscular you are, your body will still react with bruises, swelling and black eyes just like every body else.

Finally on this subject, you should know there have been mistakes or accidents and somebody has actually got hurt in a wrestling match! This causes a huge amount of trouble and bad feeling, which you can read about if you know where to look. In these cases all the other wrestlers donate money to look after their friend until he is well enough to start fighting, or should I say “acting” again to earn money.
The big problem is that so many boys (and some girls) want to try out these “holds” or “moves” in the playground and are shocked when (in the real world) they cause a lot of pain and physical damage. I know of a lot of children who have ended up visiting hospital through practising WWF “moves”.

If I can leave you with one message it is this, “Enjoy these action films. I always do, they are great fun, but understand they are also make believe.

Never try to copy what they do.


1. Unfortunately some boys (and a few girls) haven’t learnt how the human race has left behind the idea of fighting to survive in order to become some sort of leader. Nowadays we try to leave that to the animals.
Just ask yourself how often you see those “tough” film stars in the newspapers because they’ve been in a real fight. The answer is you don’t, they’re not stupid! They even have a stunt double for the dangerous acting parts.

2. You might like to take a look at every single Prime Minister in the history of Britain and ask yourself, “Would he/she be good in a fist fight? Did they physically fight their way to the top?” The answer is a unanimous and resounding “NO!” In fact somebody thinking they are tough and threatening other people doesn’t lead to success. In fact it leads to huge problems in life because they simply don’t fit into a modern society.

3. So each of us has a choice:

a.)    Join the human race.


b.)    Act like an animal.