Can remember having a lot of anxiety related problems for many years and it wasn’t therapy that truly solved it but learning how to turn aggression on and off. This may sound odd but hear me out, basically the initial lesson was that to be prepared for the unexpected such as someone attacking you, you had to be relaxed. When you should release your defence whether a punch or kick it was only at the point of contact you would use aggression. It was like turning on a light, it was a split second delivery everything else was just awareness and calm. You were calm nearly the whole time but the point of contact just a split second was when the aggression happened. It wasn’t necessarily your own aggression though ideally it was the attackers aggression. But that moment and practicing this taught me to be calm under pressure and analyse the situation clearly all the while controlling my aggression or their aggression into a split second only. I also learnt another trick that was a little more advanced, where you would channel the opponents aggression and rise the level of aggression before bringing it back down again thus disarming the situation at least in most cases where the attacker would follow your lead and calm down. I actually got to do these in the wild, the first case I was set upon by two men and I dodged the initial blow letting the opponent lose balance and I stood calmly and literally looked at them analysing the situation. This left the two attackers a little awkward, my initial understanding was they were intoxicated and most likely ameteurs so I just stood their and looked unemotionally at them. They tried to egg each other on to have another go but they weren’t entirely sure. All the while I stood watching, I could tell that I could have floored the two of them without much effort but I watched and wanted them to make a decision, it was their choice I didn’t really care less.

As far as I was concerned I was only going to defend myself and had nothing to prove so I stood their and watched them. After ten minutes they decided to leave and started apologising, I hadn’t moved or given any indication toward their retreat. They started apologising more and edging further down the street I still hadn’t moved eventually they started walking away faster and then I moved and yelled out at them “are you sure?” they started running away and I finally crossed the road to go home after this stand off. They decided it wasn’t worth it. The other time that I got to practice this was when I went to an exhibition and I was with a girlfriend. I saw around six guys and one of them was a disgruntled graffiti writer who wanted to have words with me, he started a diatribe becoming aggressive so I became aggressive but with the intention of bringing him down all the while checking his pockets for weapons and he calmed down. He kind of looked at me weird because I was frisking him while his mates were watching during the whole drama. I said “great so we are sweet then” and I shook all of his mates hands and walked away unscathed. That was lucky because initially I was genuinely scared because I was on my own and I had to take control of the situation so I became calm and tried to disarm it. The best thing was walking away with my girlfriend and feeling that I had solved something. Being calm can be so hard but I did master it in those kind of situations. Anxiety is difficult I can still get anxious in family situations maybe because it has been something that I associate with stress from when I was younger. In fighting the situation is easier to read, you are defending yourself, with some of my family they are lovely but my anxiety is heightened and my solution was to avoid the associated stress. Obviously it is my problem and it is varied so I can deal with obvious threats but not placid situations. Fighting is for young men and most young men need to learn how to control their aggression so boxing or martial arts is good and I feel it can be helpful if the right messages are learnt. Most of the time though even with family I can be calm and don’t feel anxiety I suppose I feel vunerable at times with family. I always felt for some reason I was bad and was wrong that is why I went in other directions looking for friends that I felt comfortable with. Graffiti crews were like a family for me when I was young and misguided what you really need though is to find inner confidence and learn to control the fight or flight emotions i.e. anxiety.

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