Voltaire once said, "I know I am among civilized men because they are fighting so savagely." When most people think about combat, they think about war. They think of combat as the fighting that occurs between two opposing armies; but combat may also occur between just two people. Because of this, many of the principles of warfare are also applicable to personal combat situations. This topic explains some of the principles of combat as related to personal self-defense situations.
Combat takes place between all living things; even plants compete for an area of ground. Humans have engaged in combat since the beginning of humanity, when Adam and Eve's sons, Cain and Able, engaged in combat. Most people think of combat as being a useless endeavor (War! What is it good for? Absolutely nothing!). However, combative behavior has its purposes in our society. It helps establish ones position within the societal group hierarchy (affective combative behavior). It also provides for protection of the group and individuals in the group from enemies (pseudo-predatory combative behavior. Nowadays, affective combative behavior is frowned upon as being socially dysfunctional, and pseudo-predatory combative behavior is generally limited to professionals who use it daily, such as military or law enforcement personnel.
Throughout human history, combat has been used for entertainment. People are impressed by the physical abilities of the combatants, aroused by the actions of the combatants, and excited by the possibility of injury to the combatants. People are entertained by watching flashy fighting skills that are beyond the abilities of ordinary people. This is illustrated by the popularity of action movies and combat video games. Combat is an integral part of human nature. Sports are a type of combat. People are attracted to the martial arts because of their combative nature.
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