In any adventure, the time may come when there is no other alternative but to fight. This is usually seen as a failing in one’s preparedness, but sometimes, we have no option. There are women who say that a woman can be as strong as any man. Those women have never fought a man, and if ever they did, would most likely do badly. Men have more muscle than we have, and that’s the long and short of it. Fortunately, there are many ways in which we can compensate for the difference in strength, with skill, courage, guile, and determination. Father had Carl and me learn several different kinds of martial arts. Carl favoured boxing, I favoured a style of Jiu-jitsu perfected in Brazil. We practiced together as a matter of course, and never went easy on each other. I have had to go to school with a black eye and a note from Father, Carl with his arm in a sling and a note from Mother. Carl was always stronger than I was, but in terms of fights lost or won, we were about evenly matched.
Mental attitude is the key to winning, even survival. Any unprepared person who suddenly finds a pair of hands on their throat will freeze. And then die. A prepared person will counter with a double punch to the solar plexus, then break the hold with a triangular punch upwards. A little fear heightens the reflexes and sharpens the focus. Too much of it paralyses. I would say that the key skill is to control one’s fear.
Of course, a well-practiced Kimura arm lock helps as well.
– Alexandra Tennant, The young lady’s adventuring guide
When travelling in wild places, the threat of violence is always present. Exploration is by definition an activity carried out beyond the protection of the law, and one is thrown back on one’s own resources. Not all people one meets, despite appearances, mean well. This chapter in our account was written by Miss Tennant.