The Win Before the Fight

by Kellene Bishop

I’ve been reading a great book over the last couple of weeks, Molon Labe. In it the author reminds the reader several times that all fights are decided before the battle begins. The point being that it’s the level of preparation which takes place before a battle which determines the victor.  In the case of the self-defense of women, I advocate consistent, challenging practice which will ensure successful self-defense. While the attacker may have life-long experience as a bully or a law breaker, it doesn’t make him/her fully prepared for their battle with you directly. However, through consistent mental and physical rehearsal to apply to multiple “what if” scenarios, you are leagues ahead of any assailant. And thus your battles are already won before they even begin.

Even better, confidence, calm, presence of mind, necessary tools, and a clear conscience are the fruits of such preparation—even if you are ever called upon to defend yourself. There is simply no price of time or money that can be put upon such fruits, in my opinion.

This past Saturday I took a couple of my girlfriend’s children to the dollar theater to see “Shrek 4.” Both children were under 12, with the youngest being only 9 and who also has Asperger Syndrome. Unfortunately, by the time we were able to get into the theater for seating, there were very few options left for 3 people to sit together. Thankfully one of the theater employees escorted us to a side row of 4 seats, with the outside seat being occupied by a hefty man. The movie had just begun and so the employee quietly leaned down and requested the man allow us to scoot by him and be seated.  As if he had just been asked to relinquish control over his own private remote, and give up a years worth of beer, and run a 5K marathon, he responded quite put out.  His only “effort” to allow us to pass was to spread his overstuffed sausage legs further apart. Yes, it was so attractive,–not—and a bit creepy. Because of his size, it was still a bit difficult for the kids to get past him, let alone myself, who is also quite chubby. It would have been so much easier if he had simply got up from his seat, and stepped into the aisle a moment.  I suppose that I’m a bit spoiled nowadays with this expectation, as my husband certainly would have done the same thing for us and any stranger. Needless to say, it was irritating to have an example of such rudeness displayed to the kids.  Well, being the somewhat sassy person that I am, I just couldn’t hold it in and it had to be heard. I just had to say it. And say it I did. “Well, I guess chivalry is dead”, I quietly demurred.

I didn’t have any anger when I made this statement, nor did I shout. I suppose that a kinder person would have just kept quiet and tolerated his rudeness, but I guess I’m not very good at keeping some of my thoughts to myself. Having said my two cents, I realized that such an inconsiderate man would have been compelled to say something in return, but I suppose I had simply expected an apathetic “whatever” from the sweating, heavy breathing mammoth.  Not that I expected an apology in response to my comment, but I was a bit startled with what did come out of his mouth. “Why don’t you just shut your mouth or I’ll punch you in the face!”

Wait a minute.  Did you really just threaten to physically assault a woman with two kids simply because she called you out?  Really? This was your very first instinct, to threaten physical violence in a packed movie theater without a care in the world as to the consequences?  This was your knee jerk, comfortable, standard response?  Folks, that’s saying a whole heck of a lot right there!  Now ladies, understand what I’m about to share with you here.  I’m only 5’2 ½”—yes, you’ve got to count the ½ inch. *grin* And I’m just over 200 pounds. So no, I’m not an imposing person to deal with physically. In fact, I suspect that I’m looked at as an “easy mark” by some fools due to me being out of shape.  This man was approximately 6 feet and weighed probably about 300 pounds.  In spite of these physical factors, combined with his revealing physical threat right off the bat, , I was not frightened. In fact, it’s probably my lack of fear of any repercussions which I thought I could handle, that I uttered my initial sentence within earshot of him. I was calm and confident. In fact, my only concern at the time was that I didn’t want to cause the kids to feel uncomfortable—especially the youngest. So I simply replied, “I’m not trying to fight with you. You could have simply been nice and let us in. It was two kids for crying out loud.” His response, “Shut the hell up or else.” I must say, I was a bit shocked at his angry behavior in response to such a small incident and in spite of there being plenty of people surrounding him, he seemed to posses no shame, no modicum of morality, and certainly no care in the world about anyone else. It was easy to see that he was comfortable with his rage and his attitude against others who inconvenienced him. Since I would be sitting beside him during the course of the movie, I decided that I would make clear to him that I wasn’t quite who he thought I was. While it may seem overly dramatic, given his “first impression” I saw the faces of various women in my minds eye, who may have been the brunt of his societal standards. I’ll be honest. There was a point when I asked myself if the opportunity would present itself for me to use my Asp on this guy. I know. I know, just a titch warped. As such, I looked right at him and said very clearly “Sir. I’m definitely not the woman you want to mess with.” He turned his head to me for a moment as if to size me up.  He then sarcastically replied, “Oh. I’m really scared.”

“Good! That’s just where I like ‘em. Overconfident and unaware,” I said, still looking directly at him.

He then turned his head back to the movie and said “just shut up and watch the movie. That’s what you paid for.”

I decided that I had said enough at this point and ran the risk of upsetting the kids if our voices got any more elevated so that they could hear.

Now, there’s a reason I’m telling you all of this and it’s not for a purpose of self-aggrandizing. It’s because there are two important things for you to learn from this scenario. First of all, I was told by one of my friends that I should have said “Let’s see how scared you are with a forty caliber pointed at you.”  I suspect that my friend was just getting in to the mood of things in this comment, but if I had said something to that effect, I actually could have gotten myself in a whole lot of trouble. I would have easily been accused of inciting a riot, “brandishing a weapon”—even though I wasn’t literally showing my firearm, disturbing the peace, and lastly I’m creating a threat. More importantly, if a person ever truly does feel threatened in such a situation, you certainly would not want to show your cards like that. If you truly feel threatened, then do something about it. Act, not react.  In this case, I felt that for the time being this guy was just full of himself and didn’t like being called out by a girl.  If I had truly felt threatened, then it would have been within my legal right to have physically assaulted him with non-deadly force.  Yes, in such an instance I, being out manned in weight and height, would have been legally within my rights to have “thrown the first punch” so to speak. As women, it’s not necessary for us to get hit, shoved, beaten, etc. by a man first before we respond. I realize for some of you, that may be hard to conceptualize. But after Mr. Sausage made his first physical threat of punching me in the face, I would easily have been in the right with a solid punch to his wind pipes, or whatever other physical maneuver I would have felt necessary—enough to minimize the physical threat of this man. However, that’s only the case if it was me, short and chubby, against him.  Had a 6 year old boy said that to me, then I would not be permitted to proactively defend myself. It all boils down to the level of threat and the weight of advantages, vs. disadvantages. For example, if it had been my husband who was being talked to that way, he would not have gotten away with a first strike because of his training, physique, and the fact that he was armed. In order for a well-trained man to have responded to this threat, Mr. Sausage would have had to make a physical threat imminent.

So, did I just sit there and watch the cute movie and not give this anymore thought? No, that would have been foolish on my part. I was strategizing, actually, in the event that my leg bounced just the wrong way to make him mad, or one of the kids aggravated him if they had to squeeze out to go to the bathroom.  So, I made sure that my Asp was in my grasp, my pepper spray was ready to spray, and I discreetly removed my knife from my purse and put it in my pants pocket. I was ready if I had to defend myself.  But, I also recognized that the two kids were a liability to me if there was an altercation. So, I texted my husband and invited him to join me at the dollar theater. Through a series of texts he was brought up to par on the scenario, and secured a seat right behind Mr. Sausage in the theater.  I casually made it obvious to Mr. Sausage that I knew the man sitting right behind him. When the movie was getting ready to wrap up, Mr. Sausage decided to exit before all of the mushy, happily ever after took place in the film. All he left behind was the stench of his body odor and a lesson learned. No regrets. No fear. No rattled children. All was well.  As the children and I exited the movie theater, all they talked about was how cute the movie was. They were impervious to the problem, didn’t notice that my husband had joined us or that I had additional contents in my various pants pockets. We were able to keep everyone else safe without any stress or concern.

There’s one other thing that I want to share with you. While I was sitting there, enjoying the movie, I thought about you. Yes, you.  You; who may lack the sufficient confidence necessary to handle such a situation. You; who may be lacking in the appropriate tools of leverage necessary to handle such a situation.  While a firearm would not have been appropriate self-defense tool for this particular level of threat, nor was the environment appropriate; would you have been essentially unarmed otherwise? I decided that this man had obviously pushed around, without challenge, too many women in his life thus far. I want to do my best to ensure that you are not one of them in the future. So, I decided to share this little story with you. I hope it provides you with some food for thought and that you will see that occasions for vital mental and physical self-defense capabilities self-defense are not limited to robbery, rape, or a home invasion. And they are not all solved with one particular tool each time.  The great benefit of really internalizing and learning self-defense though, is that you can walk away from such circumstances without any regrets, and with your confidence still in tact.

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Copyright Protected 2010, Women of Caliber and Kellene Bishop. All Rights Reserved. No portion of any content on this site may be duplicated, transferred, copied, or published without written permission from the author. However, you are welcome to provide a link to the content on your site or in your written works.

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11 Responses

  1. Financial stress is one of the most frequently cited reasons for family arguements. While not for everyone, putting some inexpensive food on the table and the entire family helping to provide it helps bond families even during hard times.

    Hunting and even wild-game salvage from the roadside is one way. If this interests you go to http://www.hoveysmith.com for information, books and videos.

  2. P.S. I have a radio show now too, The Backyard Sportsman, which features puting inexpensive eats on the dinner table from the outdoors. This is on VoiceAmerica Sports Radio which is an Internet broadcast. It is live at 10:00 AM eastern, archived on VoiceAmerica Sports Radio and will be ultimately available on Apple’s iTunes. Probably the easy way to find it is to Google “Hovey backyard show” and the VoiceAmerica Sports Show Page will be a few lines down in the search.

  3. I think I have a new hero.

  4. with all due respect, you did not handle this situation correctly at all, from a self-defense or survival point of view.
    1. you instigated the unpleasantness by your remark. NEVER instigate. any self-defense instructor will tell you that. why? because you have no way of knowing who you’re dealing with, or whether he is armed, or whether he is a complete psycho. especially since you had children with you, you should have handled this very differently. by your actions you put them at risk.

    if the squeeze was too tight and the jerk was obviously belligerent, you should have just gone back out to the lobby, gotten a refund and went somewhere else for entertainment. had you been by yourself, you could have dealt with the situation any way you chose. but it’s unconscionable to put kids, especially someone else’s, at risk just for the sake of your ego or tough guy mentality. you f^%d up. big.

    • With the exception of the unnecessary language, I don’t think your comment is without merit. The best way to win a fight is indeed to avoid it in the first place.

    • I disagree. Although there are times where I believe that fights should be avoided, we should also fight for the right for someone to watch a movie in peace. There is no reason for someone to be rude, especially in a public setting.

      Why should a person leave the movie theatre with the kids because one person is a jerk? The jerk is the one who is suppose to leave, because he’s the jerk!

  5. You go, girl! We need people like you to stand up. Making serious, physical threats, especially to women, should not be tolerated. I think you were in your right to respond the way you did. I like how you called your husband and were prepared to defend yourself just in case. If I were in you shoes, I would have done the same thing.

  6. I would like to hear the thoughts of your husband. How in the world did he keep from pouncing on this idiot once he arrived? Seriously.

    • He was certainly being strategic in his response. And he was certainly biting his tongue. But where much is given, much is required. He certainly wasn’t going to go off half-cocked and put his concealed carry permit, UT CWP Instructors Permit, and a litany of other rights at risk just to show this guy he’s a dork. He was indeed very thoughtful and had intended to actually say something to him when the movie let out, but the guy “escaped” through the rabbit hole. 🙂

  7. […] about how self-defense starts with words not weapons, I’m going to direct them to this post by Women of Caliber. She encountered a bully at the movie theater, but the lessons taught in this […]

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