Ever watched people peeling bananas?
Everybody holds the fruit in one hand, grabs the “pull tab” between thumb and forefinger of the other hand, and peels off the skin in segmented strips. They then bite off the meat in sections until they get to the bottom end, insert the entire mess of dangling peel strips and remaining fruit into their face, and squish the last bite into their cake hole.
Ever watched monkeys peeling bananas?
They smoothly strip open the outer skin from the bottom end, eat the entire banana with no muss and no fuss, hop into a tree after flinging the now-redundant skin on the ground, and wait to get their jollies when some idiotic human strolls by and slips on the peel.
What does this have to do with training and tactics? A lot. Firstly, things aren’t always what they seem to be. Secondly, because you have a high intelligence quota doesn’t necessarily mean that you have a lick of common sense. And thirdly, remember the definition of insanity: repeatedly carrying out the same manipulation in the vain hope that sooner or later it will miraculously elicit a different result.
With reference to the banana, the “bottom” of the fruit isn’t the bottom—it’s the top, and vice versa. Just because you assume that the attachment “umbilical cord” on a banana looks like the pull-tab on a beer can doesn’t mean that it is. In this particular example, the reverse is actually the case. So if you want to carry on squishing banana goo all over your countenance and digits for the rest of your life, go ahead. Just bear in mind that with your rocket scientist IQ, you’ve been stripping off banana peels from the wrong end your entire life—a level of ignorance to which even a monkey doesn’t sink.
In today’s society, if you refer to somebody as a “monkey,” you’re implying that he’s an idiot. Let’s think about this. When you go to a zoo, you derive amusement from observing the “stupid” simians. You then leave the zoo and return to your “intelligent” life of working a 40-hour week for 30 years, subjugated by a boss whom you despise in a rat-race job that you hate—all so you can earn enough money to pay your taxes and bills and just enough to send your carpet munchers to school.
The simian in the zoo may be caged, but that automatically protects him from jungle—and human—predators. He doesn’t pay taxes, doesn’t need a structured education because his parents and family group teach him everything he’ll ever need to know in life, has free food and shelter, and even has trained humans to clean up his excrement.
Who’s the monkey now?
The trick to intelligent battle training is to think like a monkey, not like an Einstein. The difference is that a gorilla will insert a thin stick into an orifice in an anthill and wait for a multitude of ants to crawl onto the stick. He then withdraws the stick from the orifice and dines to his heart’s content. The Einstein stuffs a grenade into the hole, blows the entire food container to hell, vaporizes the food inside, and is left with his eyebrows on fire, his face covered in dirt and debris, and still hungry.
So how do you amalgamate the monkey’s savvy with human intelligence? A suggestion is to study the teachings of the Sages: the Bruce Lees, Genghis Khans and above all others, the uncrowned king of them all, Sun Tzu. If you were able, in this day, to strictly adhere to Sun Tzu’s writings, the only way you’d lose a physical battle would be through bad luck.
Because Sun Tzu covered every single aspect of war, you’d be unbeatable. Unfortunately in modern society, it’s im-possible to accomplish this because of the inevitable legal problems, societal ethics, morals, rules of engagement, etc., which is why—even in his day—his dictum of physical battle as a last resort is even more relevant now.
And this is where we screw up today, through arrogance, ignorance or lack of perspicacity. In this author’s dim-witted opinion, the Good Guys’ biggest consistent problem is underestimating the enemy—over and over again.
Sun Tzu’s primary concern was to “shape” his enemy—what we colloquially term these days as “sizing him up.” And time after time we falsely perceive the wrong end of the banana. You see a little old man and are shocked to find out he’s an Aikido sensei—two minutes after he turned you and your muscle-bound 20-year-old buddies into hamburger.
You attempt to assault a small woman and wind up with a dozen bullets in your carcass.
You attack somebody in a wheelchair and find out too late that he has prepared for just such an eventuality for 20 years.
And you warn a lunatic despot not to build nuclear weaponry 14 times, and then are surprised and angered when he turns your cities into parking lots.
The moral of the story is that if you don’t correctly “shape” your enemy in advance, you’re continually behind the power curve. And as the saying goes, while your sword and blade are becoming duller, your enemy is sharpening his. Carry on selecting the wrong end of the banana and misconstruing a simian’s perceived antics as stupidity and there’ll be only one end result: you may win the battle, but you’ll lose the war.
On this 21st century Planet of the Apes, you have to think like The Monkey to survive.
Louis Awerbuck is Director of the internationally acclaimed Yavapai Firearms Academy. Course information and schedules are available at their website at http://www.yfainc.com