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Kicking the Kid Code

Even as a kid I was shorter than average. As everyone hit puberty, the difference in height between me and my friends went from around an inch to an average of three or four inches. Being short means people will try to pick on you. I’d been told by some adult in the family was that if you let someone push you around, soon more people will push around and your life would become a misery. So, I didn’t let people push me around; and if things escalated to violence, so be it. Consequently, I was often on the bill at the after-school fights at the back of the slaughter-house next to the school. Sometimes there would three or four bouts on the card, matching kids of roughly the same age. The Big Kids usually made sure no-one was given such a beating that they became vegetables. There was only one rule – no kicking. If one kid tried to kick another, the crowd would break the fight up and the would-be kicker might even be the subject of some crowd justice. That rule took a beating when Kung-Fu started to be seen on TV. But the reality of things is that unless you know what you’re doing, kicking an upright opponent isn’t easy. At high school I fought a guy who rotated his fists like John Wayne in the Quiet Man. He was a lot taller than me and had a way longer reach. His quaint and apparently old fashioned fighting style was working well for him. I was getting the worst of the encounter until he had me against a wall and tried to deliver a one-two combination to the head. I ducked and he broke his fists on bricks. Advantage Cowan. Oh, my point is that if I had the skill to have kicked the guy when he was giving me the punching, I would have. What I want to know, is am I imagining a golden age of playground violence where the Kid Code prevented serious and lasting injury?

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