It’s OK to Punch Jerks

Why a Lack of Violence is Killing Us


I have always had a problem with the non-violence advocates who say that no violence is good violence. A recent article in Esquire magazine speaks to my argument, that small, controlled bursts of violence can be good, not only to keep your stress level down, but also to make the average jerk think twice about expressing his inner jerkness.

In fact, I believe that by vilifying all forms of physical violence, we stunt our human expression (especially in boys!), and force people to resort, often unconsciously, to emotional and mental abuse. The overall result? A generation of people who misunderstand the nature of violence so profoundly, that a simple fist-fight can often degrade into a mob kicking the fallen and unconscious defeated combatant. A generation of parents so brainwashed against violence that their discipline techniques often devolve to passive-aggressiveness, emotional blackmail, verbal abuse, and then ultimately, uncontrolled physical violence followed by shame and abject apology. What do you think confuses a kid more– a warning followed up with a quick smack on the ass, or a long, drawn-out series of negotiations, ending with a weeping parent?

Violent and verbal intervention are two sides of the same coin, and by failing to educate our kids about how to use both, we are leaving them unprepared for life outside the warm fuzzy nest of their family home. I would argue that creating a society of citizens unable to use (and defuse) violence appropriately is partly responsible for everything from the zombie-like interpersonal interaction that pervades most big cities, to the increasing severity of the conflicts in public places like schools and malls.

What’s the solution? I’d like to see every child get mandatory martial arts training in elementary school. When children experience the physical and emotional feeling of violence, they will understand when it is appropriate to resort to it. When they see respect for an opponent modelled by an instructor, they will understand the boundaries of conflict and know when to end an act of violence. And when everyone understands that violence is something with a practical value, perhaps its glorification embodied in things like Grand Theft Auto and UFC brawling will be less attractive to our culture.

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  1. #1 by Anonymous - December 20th, 2007 at 09:37

    I take issue with your choice of martial arts. Why not hockey style fighting. I think every child should learn how to hockey fight. Other than that, I agree with your argument. It also applies at the world stage, where sometimes, nation’s must use violence to protect freedom and innocent people – like Canada is doing in Afghanistan

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