So when we are kids, we hear all the time that if people would put the guns down we would have a better world. Unfortunately, a gun is a good way for cowards to even the odds. We can train in martial arts our whole lives and it doesn’t make any bit of difference to a teenager who wants your money bad enough to shoot you for it. When seeing what was going on in the MMA world, I came across this story.
“The East Side Assassin” was nearly assassinated on the east side of Tulsa, Oklahoma. Mixed martial arts (MMA) veteran Mikey Burnett, who competed three times for Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) back in the late nineties, was shot three times when armed bandits tried to rob him in the parking lot of Rib Crib, a popular BBQ joint in “The Sooner State.”
Even worse, they also shot his son. Tulsa police said, as the father, Mikey Burnett, and son, Freddie Burnett, got to their car, two men walked up and tried to rob them. We’re told Freddie tried to fight off the suspected robbers when they held up his dad. Police said Mikey was shot three times in the abdomen and Freddie was shot once in the leg. Police said Mikey was taken to the hospital for surgery. Both are expected to survive. Burnett (5-2), now 41, finished with a 2-1 record for UFC, notching wins over Eugenio Tadeo (UFC 16) and Townsend Saunders (UFC 18), sandwiched around a decision loss to Pat Miletich (UFC 17.5). It should be noted the shooters have yet to be apprehended.
That is some scary stuff. The world is in a state now where it doesn’t matter if you’re a good person, it doesn’t matter if you are willing to defend yourself with your fists, it doesn’t matter if you are with your kid… people want to take what is yours. It makes martial artists ask themselves, what is it all for if we can’t defend ourselves in all circumstances? Well, I tell you what I think the answer to that is. The answer in my opinion is not so obvious. The victim in this case may have very well been a martial artist, but the robber most likely was not.
Through martial arts training we learn not to be bullied. We learn to deal with adversity. We learn not to become victims of peer pressure.
Had the guys who robbed Mikey Burnett been involved in martial arts, they most likely would not have done what they did.
Can I say that with 100% confidence that all martial artists are “good” people? Not I can’t, nor do I believe that we all are. I do believe however that it gives us the option to be better people. We learn a set of skills that translate into discipline, empathy, and overcoming adversity. These skills are not just good for our martial arts, they are good for life. These are all things that are characteristics of strong people who do not cause intentional harm to others. In conclusion, I hope that martial arts can become part of the lives of people who would have otherwise done something awful like the perpetrators of this crime. I wish Mikey Barnett and his son full and speedy recovery. I hope that justice is served to the responsible parties as well.