The Paradox of Violence | Tim Larkin | TEDxGrandForks

Translator: Bob Prottas
Reviewer: Leonardo Silva Violence is rarely the answer,
but when it is… it’s the only answer. Being in a time in the world right now,
where technology is just so amazing, and our lifestyles have just
really given us all sorts of avenues that we haven’t had before, one thing that kind of gets
dropped to the side is the fact that we kind of forget
that we live in a physical world. The first part of that statement,
that violence is rarely the answer, is the one we all like to hear about,
because we all can easily point out those times when violence
is the absolute inappropriate response. But I’m going to ask you
about the second part of that statement. That’s the statement
that I have built a career off of. And that is: “When it is the answer,
it’s the only answer.” If you’re facing imminent violence, do you have any idea really what you do? It’s something that’s worth considering. It’s worth considering,
because you all live great lives, and often times we forget
that, in just seconds, that can be turned upside down
by a criminal element that just wants to get
whatever they want out of you. They don’t care that you’re a mother,
or a father, or somebody’s son. All they care about is
what they need, and yet — we, as society, have stigmatized
looking at the tool of violence, and unfortunately that’s only
left it with the predators. So I’m going to ask you to bear with me. It’s always great to talk
about this to a new group. It’s best if I put it in context,
because you hear me say: tool of violence. “And what does he mean by that?” So, what I’d like you
to imagine is a young mother, she is in the kitchen area,
and she’s cleaning up. She’s getting ready to go to bed.
She put her infant son to bed. Her husband’s on a business trip, and all of a sudden, through the back door comes somebody crashing through, and a stalker has come in,
and this is his chance to attack her. He comes in, and grabs her at the kitchen
counter, and an epic struggle happens. He didn’t expect her
to fight back, but she’s trying. She’s frantic. She knows
her little boy is upstairs. She has no idea what this guy’s here for,
but she knows it’s not anything good. He gets very frustrated because it’s not
going the away he wants it to go. She’s trying to fight, but he’s bigger,
he’s faster, he’s stronger than her, but she’s still going to try,
and in her attempts she ends up clawing him in the face, very deeply in the face, drawing blood. It enrages him. It enrages him to the point to where he sees, on that
kitchen counter, that butcher’s knife. He grabs that butcher’s knife, plunges it into the side
of her neck, and murders her. We, as society, would look
at that heinous act, and we would say: “That individual needs to be incarcerated
for the rest of his life, minimum.” If there’s a death penalty in that municipality,
he probably deserves it. At the very least, he should never see
light on our streets ever again. So, now I want you take
that same scenario. Door crashes open, there she is,
you know, gets attacked. She’s fighting back.
Again it’s not going well for her. He’s too big, he’s too strong, and he has too much
of an advantage on her at that point. But now she looks back to that counter,
and she sees that knife. She grabs that knife, plunges it
in the side of his neck and she kills him. As horrible as that is, we as society would want her protected
to the full extent of the law. We would want her held up as an example
of what it’s like for mother to protect not only her own life,
but the life of her infant child. In fact, this is what should happen
if criminals ever try to invade our lives. For the rest the talk though
I want you to consider this: The knife to the side
of the neck worked each time. It didn’t matter who was
the good guy, or the bad guy. Violence is just a tool,
and it’s available to everybody. How the tool is used will determine whether or not
it is a just use of the tool, or criminal use. But it does not make us bad
to look at useful information when we’re facing grievous bodily harm. Now it’s always an honor
to talk to a group like this, because my client base is 70/30. Seventy percent of the people
come to me after the fact. Act of violence has already happened
to them, or a family member, or they narrowly escaped
a potentially bad situation. So they’re searching for information. The other 30% that come to me
have never had that happen to them. They’ve never had to deal with violence. They sought it out
for self protection reasons. There’s all sorts reasons, but
it’s great to get groups like that. I’m hoping the majority
of you are in that 30%, because if you come to me
after the fact, I can’t undo that. I can give you good knowledge,
but I can’t undo it. 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 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,
or the traditional areas where we look? 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
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. 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 athletic, 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. 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? Just knowing what I know, and realizing that people are not trained, the best people in the world,
these prisoners, these criminals, have zero training in combat
sports, and martial arts. If you saw yourself having to use
the tool of violence, dealing with this, right now, can you look at this scenario, and can you see opportunities where you
could put injury on the other guy? I’ll give you a couple of seconds to look, and what’s good about this is very — there’s no threat here,
you can actually look. There’s no wrong answers
right now, you’re learning. Everybody had time? Would you want to see
what I would do in this situation? Okay. From here, I’d probably
come right into the groin, come right over the neck, probably throw him to the ground,
and then I’d probably stomp on him. (Nervous laughter) You’re laughing. The problem doesn’t lie in the fact that I can’t get you
to physically do this. The problem lies in fact of how
you look at the tool of violence. The majority of you,
when I pointed that out, I asked you a question, I said:
“What would you do? How would you handle this if you
had to use the tool of violence?” And I can tell from your response
the vast majority of you saw yourself in the victim profile. You started out with:
“How would I get out of the choke?” The story you told yourself was:
“Oh that has to be me.” Why couldn’t the story have been: “I just finished with the first attacker. I got him on the ground, and I saw out
of my peripheral vision a second attacker. The first thing I could think of was
I just grabbed him, and choked him.” Why is that not acceptable to us? Why can’t that be the story? How we’ve been raised,
told not to think like that. We’ve been told there’s never
a good use for the tool of violence, and here’s the problem. I’m doing a book right now. I’m interviewing a lot of these
alpha predators in prison. I show them any profile like that, they never see themselves
from the victim’s perspective. They never see themselves
from the inferior position. They always see themselves on the winning
side of the equation of violence, and if anything, they’ll then tell you: “Well, I would have done it like this,
they’ll try to improve upon it.” That is extremely useful information. I can teach you the physical punching,
kicking, I can do all that stuff. The real advantage, and the reason
these guys are so good with no training, is because they only see themselves
on the winning side violence. They only see violence
as something where they’re superior, where they’re doing it. My challenge to you
is in the next 30 days — the next 30 days
when you’re viewing a movie, when you’re seeing the news,
internet, if you see an act of violence, I want you to look
at that act of violence, turn off the audio if you have to, look at it from who’s
the winner, and who’s the loser. That’s the only good information
that you can get out of that. It’s going to be uncomfortable. But I guarantee you, once you start that,
it’s your starting point to being your own self-protection expert. Thank you for your time.

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60 Responses

  1. masterplumbermark says:

    That was a great talk… I wish Tim could have gone on for another 15 minutes….

  2. Kyusoath says:

    Thank you Mr Larkin.

  3. Extremely Memely says:

    I don't like this

  4. The.Necro.Maker says:

    This guy is a fucking tool. Violence is not a TOOL, it's a REACTION to the situation.

  5. Tino Tincup says:

    explains a lot thnx

  6. Salleoc says:

    I think it comes less from people thinking violence is bad and more with that they think training and preparing for violence is a waste of their time. We've left that "violence is bad" period behind in our society, in that we love martial arts classes and violent movies. It comes more so from people thinking it's not going to be them so what's the point. The "violence is a tool" tip was very true though and I couldn't agree more.

  7. James Dunkerson says:

    Every one of these peacenik morons needs to see this.

  8. andrew domenitz says:

    Anyone who thinks using anti antisocial violence is wrong, probably will be a statistic. Talk to my strangled dead niece about what her opinion on being murdered is. Had she been instructed, she would agree with Larkin and said thank you. Her murderer who did only fifteen years might even thank Larkin too. He might have only gotten probation for assault and battery. Dozens of lives were altered by her murder.

  9. Blu3 B3rry R3D says:

    u see violence 2 me is like this. if some1 is correct and some1 else isnt. it no longer matters when violence is involved as it is the most pure thing there is. winners and loosers no inbetween.

  10. adambakas13 says:

    A school with 300 people in it and one shooter, I'm not going to say everyone should be ready but the adults should be. Just sayin'.

  11. EpicBunty says:

    This was a surprisingly nice and eye opening presentation. Self defence for the masses! if only we all could protect ourselves

  12. Dan Williams says:

    This is a good piece, Mr. Tim Larkin. I teach these same ideas to my martial arts students…competitive sports is one thing, but in a real life fighting situation when your life is on the line, the eye jab/gouge and groin kick are the FIRST unarmed tools to be trying to use. End the threat to your life as fast as possible.

  13. Dexter C says:

    His analysis of seeing yourself as a victim is quite weak.

    1. why did I have to be the one being choked, maybe the other attacker could be on the ground = because you supplied robin the example, if I saw another on the ground I could assume I did that, but I wasn't informed to use guess work.

    2. Why do we always see ourselves as victims = because social norms dictate us not to be aggressive first, thus the one that does, instigates the conflict, normal people don't bash people who "look" bad, they are expected to go for those who "do" bad.

    I liked the start of the video but as with another on violence, there perspective wouldn't match up to question and answer time.

  14. Francis Begbie says:

    aggressive attitude is the key. no matter what, just do that

  15. Daniel Kwon says:


  16. Ninjaembryo says:

    …gouging someone's eye out…or biting his ear off…

  17. brothajack1993 says:

    If you have a set of teeth and can bite hard, then youll never be a victim of evil predators that have teeth as well- paraphrasing Jordan Peterson on uses of cruelty.

  18. Glem Det says:

    A violent guy teaching people to be violent for a living, of course he is all for escalation. If he can induce more people to panic in stressed situations the overall level of violence will go up, and he will have more work. "Nuclear threat" is an apt metaphor: press the button for mutual assured destruction…

  19. Harry Orenstein says:

    In the Near East (Levant) where one lives among violent neighbours, who do not fear the ultimate sanction, situational awareness is the only answer. But if one is attacked – train, train, train and train, again-and-again (with Tim) or another.

  20. Steve McCartney says:

    We all know Damian Ross of the Self Defense Company who trained under the legendary Carl Cestari should be up here speaking. Not Tim Larkin

  21. Free Flow says:

    Sadly, he is trapped in his mind. Where is love, our natural state?. When you have realized that we are one, violence becomes the last option.

    „Violence always rebounds upon oneself“. – Lao Tzu

  22. Joe Kurtz says:

    Competition /entertainment doesn't happen in your home, to meet violence with sustained violence, and live. I've read this man's ads for years in SOF, you have to have a strong will to live and use whatever skills or tools on hand. Better to ask forgiveness than beg for permission or mercy.

  23. SC Rider says:

    Tim Larkin and his team are disciples of reality.

  24. fartx211 says:

    I believe it's called "Violence of action"

  25. { Ace-Kid97 } says:

    Just like when Thanos beat up the hulk. He injured the hulk then destroyed him

  26. Jonobos says:

    For those of you applauding this talk let me ask a question… who will be better and more likely to land a successful eye gauge? Is it the untrained enraged criminal? Or is it the trained fighter? I am a martial artist and if I were going to mug someone I would not pick a boxer, wrestler, etc. It is historical fact that combat sports have been used as a training tool for warriors since as early as we have written records.

  27. Targeted Individual says:

    How do you fight it when it's cops doing this to you?

  28. Robert McBride says:

    Tim trained me 15 years ago. He is the real deal.

  29. not my real name says:

    Probably the best, most instructional and most accurate description of the " TOOL " of violence I've ever seen. Outstanding sir !!!!

  30. Sándor Pikáli says:

    amolyan gettoszamuráj vagyok.
    szeretem, ha ki akarnak rabolni, vagy csak balhé kedvéért rámtámadnak kultúridegen gettopatkányok.
    általában kórházba kerülnek.

  31. Patriotic Ramble says:

    Glad I found this video

  32. dradamov says:

    4:04 Not in Poland. The way defending against an attacker is treated here. It's sad.

  33. Scott Nahler says:

    I can’t believe this was allowed on such a liberal minded platform. Interesting.

  34. J Vincent says:

    Who is the audience here? A bunch of people with IQs lower than 85?

  35. J Vincent says:

    Good grief. The internet is as near to a Gift from God as anything can be and this is what it is used for. This entire 'talk' is poor. As a speaker he is slipshod: non-sequiturs and hanging sentences. As a subject it is dull and vacuous. As a philosophy it is mischievous to the point of wickedness. Violence begets violence.

  36. J Vincent says:

    There is 4 in 10 million chance in any 30 minute period of being attacked in New York. You have a better chance of winning the lottery. Life in the developed West and 'western' cultured nations has never been safer. It correlates with wealth.

  37. J Vincent says:

    I am also surprised this guy didn't puff out his chest and at the same time shout out loudly, "OooRaah"!
    Come on TED – I mean really !

  38. Elliot Goon says:

    Rule no 1: Find the closest available weapon or something that can be used as one
    Rule no 2: See rule no 1
    Rule no 3: Be trained and be prepared to use absolute lethal violence when necessary

  39. Barry Smith says:

    tim larkin&co, target focus training, TFT, put out a 230+pg ebook EXCLUSIVELY addressing the issue of violence-mindset, intent-to-injure, victim profile, first-to-strike-wins,

  40. Dr. Clown says:

    "People who will not fight, will be eaten by those who will fight … " – William Pierce … Something I came across …

  41. Heather Hill says:

    Thank you

  42. Heather Hill says:

    Hey you guys got my attention

  43. Heather Hill says:

    Thank you

  44. SubscribeItWontHURT says:

    Peace is for coward , empire is forged by war

  45. beth 9891 says:

    Wow….the demo he did was very enlightening. I didn't for a second consider what my actions would have been as the aggressor.

  46. Somas Bodeljas says:

    Sure, not following rules is an inherent advantage, but this guy is marginalising the competence of harming people that martial artists have developed

  47. Nick Haley says:

    But how else are we going to stop the rich climate change deniers

  48. Zeb Nicklin says:


  49. White Crow49 says:

    I appreciate your honest, frank examination of violence. I have witnessed it more times than I would want. I have been threatened with serious harm. Grace, patience, & a strong community of protective warriors have kept me safe.

  50. Andrew Cusumano says:

    Love how this principle of victimhood extends to gun violence.

    Demands for gun control always come from a victim's perspective

  51. Ben Wagner says:

    So if the alpha criminals always sees themselves as the ones doing the choking and WE should be thinking from that perspective as well in order to survive, does that mean everyone should act like criminals, or at least be armed to deal with criminals? That makes for a slippery slope of where is the line that violence is the only answer.
    It gets even more hazy if you look at all the mass shootings that are going on nowadays; does that mean everyone should be armed at all times just in case of a criminal element? That's liable to create a slew of false alarms, and now everyone wants to be in the attacking alpha position and has a weapon. Yes, the statistics say these shootings are rare occurrences, but so is having to deal with a home invasion and needing to protect yourself by shoving a knife into their neck. It also becomes an escalation of violence between the civilians who buy a pistol for protection, so the criminals get a machine gun instead. There's no easy answer to any of these questions.
    By sending our kids to the martial arts class, they'll get training on dealing with the hand-to-hand stuff, get some muscle memory, or at least have a modicum of fitness and be a confidence building experience. Even if it's a false hope to kids as well as parents when they find themselves going against the rule-breaking criminals, now they have that tool at their disposal.

  52. Grandpawns Here says:

    When faced with someone who is trying to kill you don't defend yourself.
    Attack him.

  53. Miss Chief says:

    Just because you are superior doesn't mean you are the initiator, in that demo you had an initiator and someone on the receiving end, I can only assume you aren't training people to go out and initiate violence so you must be teaching people how to respond to violence, if you're argument is that the initiator is the superior fighter what is the point of training people how to respond? Violence is never the answer except when it is… the operative word there is answer as in response.

  54. MrEdium says:


  55. mark p says:

    Disrespect a human and bad stuff happens. Let all live in love lest we devolve into those lows. I have had to use a gun to protect myself before but fortunately I didn't even have to fire. Got to live and save a life.

  56. Adam says:

    i get the idea but i dont think it was conveyed very well. When our brain creates stories it doesn't create them from the middle.

  57. UAV CAPTURE says:

    I think this guys got issues. He needs to stop living like life is a war game or stop trying to peddle his defence courses in such a messed up way. The amount of people who will face a situation will only grow as violence is normalized. Strongly disagree with this whole concept no matter how logical he makes it sound violence is a last resort and shouldn't need to be encouraging people in the way of violence. In a given circumstance you make the decision, you don't need to be thinking about it ahead of time. As he says if people are capable of defending themselves without training then why need a TED Talk for it unless he is selling self defence classes.

  58. Elias Johnson says:

    He wrote a book! I would recommend it!

  59. Spring Bloom says:

    The problem is that in reality, in a Civilized society, most people dont have it in them to intentionally injure another person. Its hard to stick your finger into someone's eye and pick it out like a booger, or to bend someone's arm over your knee and break it like a tree branch.

  60. NV says:

    If violence is never the anwser, why does a police man have a gun? Or why do we have an army?

    Exactly cuz sometimes it just is

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