Life & Style

Transcript: Tim Larkin on The Paradox of Violence at TEDxGrandForks

The more I can educate people on the realities of violence the less likely you are, once you have that information, to you put yourself in those situations. Anything you can avoid, you will avoid. But in order to do this we’re going to have to bear with some uncomfortable truths. Where do you look for useful information? Is it the combat sports, martial arts, some of the traditional areas that we’re looking at? I wish that was the case.

Unfortunately, when it comes to the tool of violence, the best information comes from the worst people in society. The majority of them reside in our prison systems. There violence is currency. It’s how they derive their power. So they have to be very specific in how they use it, and they have to be very good at it.

The other part that you have to understand about these people, the vast majority of them – I mean vast majority of them have zero training in combat sports and martial arts. Zero training in combat sports, and martial arts, yet they are, by far, the best at being able to kill with their bare hands or improvised tools. Why? It’s because they’re not trying to compete. They’re just trying to injure.


You have to look at competition. Does this mean that competitive athletes, martial artists, and combat sports athletes are not capable? No, that’s not true at all. I’m a huge fan of combat sports. I’m a huge fan of the martial arts. I come from that. But there are realities you have to look at. If you look at the biggest martial arts event that we current have right now is the UFC. Last time I looked at the UFC there were 31 rules, 31 rules in the UFC. Twenty seven of those rules prohibit injury to the human body. Twenty seven of the 31 rules. Why is that? Because it’s a competition. A competition is to pit skill against skill. Athletes train to be incredibly – just incredible athletes and incredible competitors. But competition is not going to do well, if [there are] injuries in the game. It’s not designed for that.

And the problem is, as good as the competition guys are — and they are some amazing athletes — they face the same threat that you and I face, and that is a criminal that’s going to go straight to destruction, straight to injury, and when you see injuries in combat sports, when you see by accident somebody gets their ankle broken or something like that, you’ll notice the competition is over at that point. That person is fully focused on their injury.


Injury has no place in competition. It just doesn’t. It’s not why we do it. It’s not why we do competition. Competition is skill against skill. You have a ring, a referee, and rules. Imagine if a competitor, just out of the blue, jumped up, and was just frustrated that he was losing, and decided just to gauge the other competitor’s eye. We’d be horrified by that. Gauging somebody’s eye out. Horrific! When would that ever, ever be useful information to us? When would we ever need to know information like that? How could ever justify it?


I mean if we just tried it out in court: “Your honor, I was at a parking lot waiting for this guy to pull out, and as soon as I was going to go into my parking space somebody just came right in and grabbed my space. I got out of my car, I was so mad, ran over to that driver, threw him against the car, and gauged his eye out.”


“Your honor, I was at the club having a drink with my friends. This guy knocks into me, looks at me, and laughs at me. He tells me that I’m too fat to wear skinny jeans. I threw my drink down, grabbed him, threw him on the bar, and I gauged his eye out.”


“Your honor, he came in through the restaurant, and he shot 3 people next to me. I saw that he dropped down to do a reload. I was scared, I had no idea what I could do, but I had to do something. I knew I could close the distance. I ran over and knocked him to the ground. The first thing I saw was his eye. I gauged his eye, and prevented him from continuing the shooting.”


Now it’s interesting, the first 2 times I was talking, I gave 2 incidents early on, I saw smiles, I saw nodding, I saw people just — The third time though, nobody was laughing, nobody was smiling. It’s because often times, the tool of violence, the useful information, is put in the wrong context. The study of violence is put in a way that it looks like it’s always criminal so we can dismiss it, and yet we are really — really very hard wired to do this. We’re very good at the tool of violence. We had to, to survive as a species.

It’s simple for us to do injury to protect ourselves. It’s very difficult to do competition. If we wanted to be in a marshal art or combat sport we would have to be trained for years, and years, and that’s normally why most of us don’t do it, because I don’t have that time, and so we dismiss it. And yet, as I pointed out, some of the best individuals have zero training in combat sports, and martial arts.


Why is it worthwhile for us to look at injury to the human body? Because injury bypasses bigger, faster, stronger. It’s how a smaller person, male or female, can protect themselves. It is really your nuclear weapon that you hold. And the people I train, I think of them as Buddha with a nuclear weapon. Meaning, when would Buddha ever use a nuclear weapon? I’m not worried about the criminal element; they know how to do it. You folks though, if you’re facing criminal violence you’re going to want this, and you know, you’re probably better at this than you think. You’re probably actually able to do this. I’m going to give you a scenario. Can I have my helpers come out?

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By Pangambam S

I have been a Transcriber and Editor in the transcription industry for the past 15 years. Now I transcribe and edit at If you have any questions or suggestions, please do let me know. And please do share this post if you liked it and help you in any way.