What happened when I finally used my fists somebody, after 30 years studying the martial arts, studying Kenpo and Kang Duk Won and Aikido and Wing Chun, and all sorts of other stuff, and what it felt like, was a crack up…and it was a wake up call. I tell you this little tale not to put forth bashing gays, or to encourage you to get in fights. Hitting people, after all, though nothing happened to me on this occasion, could have ended up with me being sued, or at least thrown in the hoosegow.
I was manager of an apartment house in Southern California, and it was on a bad side of town. One day a fellow came by with a dog on a rope, and I told him (in a polite manner) that dogs weren’t allowed in the apartments. He just looked at me and grinned, “Why don’t you tell him,” and he nodded to his canine companion.
I went to the tenant he had visited and told him that he would have to tell dog owner not to visit again, and I was met with a rude attitude. I started taking note of the type of people that were coming to see this tenant, and I realized that the guy was selling dope. This is where the story gets nasty.
I knocked on the door to his apartment and was let in, and I told the fellow that drugs weren’t allowed, and that he would have to move. He just laughed at me and announced, “I’m not even going to pay rent from now on, and you can’t do anything about it!” So I punched him.
Now, I merely dropped my weight into the sanchin stance, and I punched him with both fists on the chest. Man, he flew over the bed and struck the wall. But it was a stunning wake up to me. I hadn’t really damaged him, and I couldn’t believe the feeling of actually hitting somebody.
The shock jarred my arms and shook my shoulders, and my strike was not effective. I had knocked the stuffings out of bags for years, but the feeling of 175 pounds of human flesh was entirely different. I realized than that I had to change my training methods. If this had been a real fight, with somebody willing to stand up to me, I’d have a knock down drag out on my hands.
Anyway, the tenant jumps up, and he’s sobbing, an adult and he’s actually crying, and he says, “You can’t hit me!” Well, I wasn’t going to punch him again, I had suddenly realized how incredibly idiotic I was to lose it like that, but there was a ring of truth to his words. So I growled, “Why not?”
“Because my friend is in the closet!” I was frozen for a moment, then I crossed the room and opened the door to his closet, and his naked, gay lover was standing there, trembling in fear and with a really sickly grin on his face. Well, I learned something, I was going to stick to regular training in classical martial arts like Aikido and Tai Chi, and figure out a way to make my strikes really real, and I was going to avoid fighting.