Fighting for the honour of it

The AQ's Anthony Peter-Paul doesn't street fight anymore. (Tom Bateman/AQ)

It was around three in the morning when I woke. Rarely am I woken unless I experience a catastrophic dream or have to take a mammoth piss.

I stood at the foot of my bed in just my shorts, trying to figure out why I was awake.

And then I heard screaming. It sounded like a female. I looked around the room, the bed was empty, the TV off. I opened the bedroom door an inch, nothing there. I thought maybe my confusion was a flashback from a lingering nightmare.

Then I heard it again, this time it was a male. I looked out the window and found the source of the disturbance.

A large young man was shouting at two smaller guys from across the street. A frantic young woman grabbed the larger man, attempting to end the dispute. The young woman’s cries of terror intensified his fury.

The larger male stepped into the centre of the street and pulled off his shirt. The two guys across the street signaled they didn’t want to fight. One of the guys walked towards him with his arms forward and palms out pleading for amity. The aggressor put his fists up and started dancing like a boxer. I prepared for a slaughter.

The woman told the smaller guy to leave because of the obvious danger. He listened to her and was saying something when out of nowhere, the shirtless man laid a sucker punch to the smaller guy’s face. From across the street came the other small guy with his fists up. The big guy, in a petrified manner, retreated back and fell on his ass in the snow. The smaller guy jumped on top and administered a ground-and-pound. The woman had to pull the small guy off the big guy. The dispute was over. As the two men left the scene, the bigger guy laid in the snow bank and whimpered while his woman comforted him.

These are the kinds of events that remind me why I quit fighting. Not because of the brutish behavior or the violent acts, but because of the lack of honour. I believe in one-on-one fighting. No weapons, no words, just two people resolving a dispute that only fists can settle.

But many combatants have no honour or dignity. Most only fight after they consumed enough alcohol that their muscles and balls magically grow. Most fights I witness are at a watering hole; usually it’s between two men or boys who bump shoulders. If they were sober, they would have apologized and carried on like gentlemen.

Another pathetic type of fighter is one who only fights while their friends are present. These guys I really hate. Alone, they are usually quiet and too afraid to speak up if insulted. They’ve held back all their lives, and are internally angry with themselves. But while sheltered behind a wall of friends, they are suddenly tough. When a lone soldier stands up to the guy, he must deal with him and his friends, reducing his chances of victory.

And then there are the Facebook warriors. These are the ones who say pretty much anything during an online brawl. A face-to-face encounter would never happen with these types. They are protected behind a computer screen while they pummel you with ferocious messages. They will also talk dangerous on the telephone or behind your back when you are 1000 miles away.

I was raised in a community where we had to dodge fists for breakfast. My father told me, “It’s not how many you win, it’s how many you show up to.”

My father is not a violent man, but I wouldn’t recommend challenging him. We always wrestled when I was just a young boy in britches.

Shit would hit the fan when my cousins visited. We played hard, but learned a lot in the process. During my teen years, I fought anybody who dared put their fists up. I wasn’t a kid who argued, I always bit before I barked. But I was humble about it. I never started a fight, they found me and I finished it. I would enforce the law unless someone started trouble with my family.

Now as an adult, I dislike fighting—both physical and verbal. You will not see me fighting on the street or at the bar anymore. I have already proven myself and I care less about those who challenge my abilities. I train Muay Thai boxing, jujitsu and MMA. And I have learned a great deal about self-control outside of the gym.

I’ve decided it is the weak that fight and the strong that walk. There is the odd noble man who will fight in self defense or against a larger opponent. But the majority of fights observed in society are performed by people who cannot fight if their life depended on it.

I feel honour fighting was lost after my generation. It sickens me to see a real street soldier fall against a group of cowards. I honour those who take on unimaginable odds. Whoever that little guy was the other night that put the bigger guy in his place, I respect him. He took on the larger aggressor and placed him on his ass where he belongs.

To those who have something to prove, go to the gym and learn to fight. Then you will prove to yourself that strength is not manufactured by fighting, but rather by training.

For those who intend to stay ignorant, you will never become the warrior you desire to be. You will only end up meeting the wrong guy at the wrong time and get your ass handed to you.



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