Monday, August 13, 2012

A (possible) strategy of self-defense

“The swordstick is a fine weapon even when confronted by someone with a pistol: you pretend to be frightened, move back and point the cane, preferably with your hand shaking.  Your opponent starts laughing and takes hold of it to pull it away, but by doing so he helps you draw the sword, which is pointing toward him and deadly sharp, and while he is bewildered, wondering what he’s holding in his hand, in a flash you wield the blade, slashing him almost effortlessly from the temple crosswise down to the chin, ideally cutting through a nostril, and even if you don’t gouge an eye, the blood pouring from his forehead will block his vision.  It’s the surprise that counts, and at that point your opponent is finished.”

Looks like an extract from a self-defense manual? One on self-defense against a pistol with intention of firing?  Certainly passable as one, with elements of surprise (swordstick being a concealed weapon),  of deceiving move ("hand shaking"), and of disarming strategy ("blood pouring from his forehead will block his vision").

No, this is not from a book of self-defense, but from a page from Umberto Eco's new best-seller The Prague Cemetery, a non-fiction on political intrigue in Western Europe around the years of the Paris Commune.   A story of a non-James Bond type spy and double-spy, bending more towards the humorous side of life than one would have expected from a (usually serious) professor of the classics in an esteemed University in Italy.  And yet with elements of street-smart.

Some of you readers might perhaps ask how realistic is the scenario depicted in Eco's historical novel.  But then how realistic are the techniques against weapon attack of various self-defense courses currently in the market of martial arts teaching, as seen on Youtube?  Even the greatest Bruce Lee was said to have carried a hidden blade in his belt for self defense, and rumored had it he used it to counter-threat a "big boss" which led the latter to call the police.  Of course, the best strategy is not to meddle with the under-world, or not to become a spy, a double-spy, or anything like that, which fortunately, as I speculate, most if not all my readers would agree ....:):)

Won't he wish he has a swordstick?

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