Fighting with a Fiddle

For a moment, consider the musical string-instrument known as the violin.

With it an expert can produce the most amazing and uplifting music, that is desirable and beneficial on many levels, to many people. Use of the violin has added greatly to world culture, for hundreds of years, it’s a fascinating and rewarding instrument to practice, without any doubt whatsoever.

There are other activities, less cultural perhaps, with a more practical focus. They will never be as beautiful or otherwise aesthetically pleasing as playing the violin expertly, but they are useful regardless, essential in some cases – obviously to some more than others, and always in varying degrees dependent upon personal or professional remit.

Imagine, for example, that if you had to drive a nail into a wall – somebody has to after all – you’d use a hammer most probably, something specifically designed for the task…not a violin…

Now you could use a violin I suppose, if it’s all you have and you like it so much that you cannot bear to accept that it simply isn’t the most important thing in the world. It’s kind ofthe same shape, possibly, but you’d have to make the nail-head much bigger, and the wall much softer, to have any proper result at all.

Or you could just use a hammer, and do the job properly, no matter what size the nail, applied to any kind of wall.

You could insist on still using your precious violin though, and make sure you always had special nails and unresisting walls that made it seem like it worked just fine…

If you encountered a real nail however, and a real wall, you would soon realise that it simply wouldn’t suffice to even try and use your beloved violin in place of a hammer – it would be a mess, the nail wouldn’t get driven into the wall, and the violin would be ruined.

Other activities are less practical, more recreational – some are extremely challenging – and very few of these have the fascinating beauty of the violin either.

Tennis is a popular sport, that is very demanding and highly satisfying, you need a lot of skill – not to mention physicality – to play it well, and a tennis racquet obviously to hit the ball with…certainly not a violin.

Again, you could use a violin instead, if it means so much to you and has such obvious sentimental value, but you’d have to make sure the ball was much bigger, and much, much, softer. Obviously you’d have to make sure that the person you were playing against also had a violin, and that the court was much smaller so you didn’t have to hit the ball quite so hard in case you broke either violin, or both, of course.

This would be lots of fun certainly, not to mention satisfying, and would require a great deal of practice to become skilled at – you could even hold competitions, or create levels of excellence to aspire to as a result.

However it isn’t tennis, and the moment you played with a real ball, on a real court, against a real player holding a real racquet…you would realise just how far removed it actually was, and your priceless violin would be no more…

Now obviously, bearing the above in mind, you could significantly redesign the violin to enable it to perform either of these two activities competently. You could heavily reinforce it throughout, add some weight, change the ‘neck’ into a more ergonomic grip, add a hardened striking surface for those nails, or else cut away the centre of the body and add more strings, at right-angles, that were much heavier than the originals, to reduce ‘drag’ and give a better sprung surface to hit tennis balls with.

This would work – but not as well as an actual hammer or tennis racquet that was specifically designed for the specific job in the first place…and by the way, you no longer have an actual violin in your hands, no matter what you still insist on calling it…

Or else you could simply argue – insistently – that your ‘as is’ violin is not only capable of producing uplifting and enthralling music, but also, additionally, handles various construction jobs and sports just fine – maybe even in a superior fashion to anything else out there. This might be a short-lived approach however, since the moment someone hands you a nail and points you at a wall of their choosing, or takes you to a tennis court and asks you you toss a coin for service…this is when you realise, too late, exactly what a violin is really good at, and more importantly…exactly what it most certainly isn’t…

You might want to simply insist that, if your choice of implement was queried and questioned as to actual effectiveness, anyone doubting how useful a violin is, as a hammer, or tennis racquet, just doesn’t understand enough about the violin, about it’s background and all the subtle nuances associated with it… This might fall a little flat unfortunately, when you get handed a nail, or a ball, and get ever-so-politely asked to educate your critics with an actual demonstration.

A more telling – perhaps – argument is to draw attention to the fact that a long time ago, someone did effectively drive a whole bunch of real nails into various real walls with an original violin, and that other ‘original’ violins – made from exactly the same ancient wood as the modern violin descendants, which are therefore just as effective, have also very successfully been used to hit balls back and forth just fine…

On closer inspection of these apparent ‘facts’ however, it might transpire that these ‘original’ violins were more akin to simple, heavy, solid lumps of wood, used in equally simple methods, that over time – as the nail/ball-hitting ceased, and the music started, became fashioned into the ornate and elaborate instruments they have now become.

Or you could simply accept and be content with the absolutely huge deal that a violin is beyond-perfect for making the most enchanting music with, but very little else…
Author: Mick Coup

Bobby Taboada | Superhuman Speed & Reflexes

When we think of the legendary systems that have been born in the Philippines we often discuss Balintawak. The very distinctive solo baston method. Balintawak is famous not only for their lighting speed and reactions but also for spearheading the propagation of FMA.