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If you want to learn how to fight, learn how to fight in the hood.

The following is an important lesson I learned from living and fighting in the hood. I grew up poor in a dangerous part of town. The violence in public housing projects is legendary.

Being willing to fight is more important than actually fighting

In fact, over the past two decades in public housing projects across the United States, violent crime has fallen everywhere except low-income public housing. There, it continues to rise. While I accumulated many valuable lessons and perspectives on life, they came at a steep price. Say what you want about rich kids, but quality of life matters more than most people want to admit when it comes to raising children. Assholes come from all socioeconomic backgrounds. At least not one acquired legally. The 18 years I spent there were more than enough. I learned about human nature, basic survival and how to behave to stay safe in a den of jackals.

The following is an important lesson I learned from living in the ghetto. When I was younger, I thought I had a on my back for fights.

In retrospect, I only fought more than a slightly above-average amount. One kid found a reason to fight another.

The target of the aggression responded in one of two ways: he ran or fought. In the ghetto, running from a fight is the worst thing you can do. That reputation then gets put to the test. Secondly, ghettos are small places. Everyone knows where you live.

It only delayed the inevitable fight.

It was a choice between the lesser of two evils. Once I realized the person intended to hurt me, I threw the first punch and committed to extreme violence. Breaking even was still a loss. This was terrifying since I knew some kids had access to guns. Fighting did, however, accomplish something very important that made my life a little easier: anytime a person decided that I was a target, they knew the encounter would get violent.

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This is how the hunted becomes the hunter while playing defense. Whether you win or lose, standing up to a bully only counts if you get into an actual fight. Instead, ghettos are full of aggressive kids who have a genuine taste for violence and dominance. I call them jackals.

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These are the ones most likely to retaliate and to recruit groups of other like-minded individuals to make your life miserable. The response is still the same: strike first, talk later. Bullies will try but are unpleasantly surprised when you fight back.

Bullies and Jackals are both still human beings and operate under the same rules that other humans do: they wish to put forth as little effort and avoid as much pain as possible en route to their goals. To them, violence is fun, but it costs more effort than making a few threats and having you fall into line without resistance.

Resistance makes them experience pain. Aggressors pick their targets because they look like an easy mark. These people are used to their targets retreating at the first show of force. My book teaches other lessons I learned from boxing and growing up in the hood.

Being willing to fight is more important than actually fighting

Not only do you get a short-term victory, but the long-term psychological advantage is now yours. At that point, your most powerful weapon is their fear. Stoic Street-Smarts. Home Newsletter Shop About. Weekly dose of self-improvement up. Emotional Mastery Lessons from the ghetto: willingness to fight. Ed Latimore Author, retired boxer, self-improvement enthusiast.

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A small book sixty-seven s by Marek Edelman, published in in Warsaw and in in English translation, is not just a report on the events in the ghetto but rather a shocking, though lacking in pathos, testimony of a witness and participant.