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“Fair” Fights

I didn’t want to take martial arts lessons. In fact, I think I went so far as to cry about it when Dad insisted I did.

After I learned how to throw people (which might be a better way to teach fulcrums and levers than anything I’ve ever tried with a high school physics class), I changed my tune and more or less hung on my teacher’s every word.

One of the notions my teacher tried very hard to instill was the idea of a fair fight. Dad objected, strenuously, which was odd for him since he was generally on board with whatever I was learning in martial arts.

In the end, Dad’s basic premise was that there was no such thing, and that trying to arrange one was just going to ensure it was unfair in the other person’s favor.

I’d like to say that I understood that quickly, but it really took the idea of “God made men, Samuel Colt made men equal”, combined with a growing appreciation for sexual dimorphism to get the point across. By high school it was fairly obvious that martial arts or not, I wasn’t likely to find myself in a fair fight with the male of the species.

As I’ve gotten older, it’s become apparent that conflict is seldom fair. Resources and ability are not evenly distributed, whether the forum is physical or cognitive.

If fair is at best a description of the weather, it’s unhealthy and irresponsible to teach our children to handicap themselves seeking it, and a worse thing to teach them to expect it.

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