Wim Demeere recently wrote an excellent post with an embedded YouTube video I’m going to share here. I’ll comment on the video myself, but please read Wim’s post too. The video appears to show black shirt trying to start a fight with no shirt. No shirt seems to be trying to avoid the fight, but black shirt continues and eventually hits no shirt and the fight is on. Although black shirt appears to have been the aggressor, no shirt turns the tables and gives black shirt a very serious beating. Here’s the video:
Wim writes about how dangerous a street fight can be. The person or people you get involved with may be willing and able to take things much further than you were willing to go. It doesn’t matter what side you are on, whether you are the aggressor or the defender. If you get into a physical conflict with another person, you have no way of knowing how far it will go. This point is extremely important and you need to remember it. I’ll relate two stories that illustrate this point.
My former boxing coach, a friend of mine, was taking a walk when someone bumped into him. The situation escalated, and if I remember correctly the other guy attempted to hit him. My friend ducked, hit the guy with a cross to the solar plexus, and knocked him down with a hook to the jaw. The guy fell, and my friend bent over him to hit him again. But then my friend woke up with a variety of injuries. Apparently someone hit him from behind, knocked him out, and then gave him a beating while he was unconscious.
Another friend of mine, who I wrote about in my book, was sitting in his car with his fiancée at a drive up ATM machine. Someone approached them and demanded my friend give him money. My friend was a cop. He pulled his gun, but before he had pointed it at the robber, he was shot in the head and killed.
In both of those situations, my boxing coach and my police officer friend thought they had the upper hand. But you just don’t know how skillful the person standing in front of you is. You don’t know if they have friends you don’t see, or weapons you don’t see. This is why it is so important to avoid a physical confrontation no matter what it takes. If you want to survive, the absolute best way to do it is to avoid getting into a fight in the first place.
My boxing coach friend could have continued walking instead of allowing the situation to escalate. He could have evaded the punch and escaped. My police officer friend could have given up his money and then called for back up. It might have hurt their pride, but they would certainly have been better off.
Again, I want to direct you do my awareness and prevention page. If you haven’t read it, please read it. If you have read it, please read it again.
Last night my wife and I were having dinner with friends and discussed getting aggravated with drivers who are assholes. It’s temping to yell at them and/or give them the middle finger. But if you do that to the wrong person, you may end up with a lot more than you bargain for. When I was a kid and first got my driver’s license, I was driving on the highway with a friend of mine as a passenger. Someone behind us was driving like a manic, coming extremely close to the back of my car. My friend gave him the middle finger, and we both thought it was funny. But a moment later the guy had pulled up to the side of my car with a gun pointed at us. As soon as I saw the gun coming up I yelled for my friend to get down and I slammed on the brakes. I didn’t realize that I nearly caused another car that was behind us to crash into us. So shortly afterwards the guy that nearly crashed into us drove up to the side of my car screaming that he was going to “kick my ass”. You just don’t know how these things will end up. Again, the best thing you can do is avoid a conflict.
One reason I start new students with boxing on the first day of training is because boxing defense includes a great deal of evasive techniques that do not require you to make contact with your opponent. If you fail to avoid trouble, are unable to maintain a safe distance, and unable to deescalate a situation, then you may be able to use boxing style evasions to evade an attack and escape without a serious physical confrontation.
I know numerous people who have been “jumped”…quickly punched or attacked by strangers on the street, where the attacker(s) strike once or twice and then keep walking, or even running. In these situations and in others, evading the attack may be more effective than counterattacking. Evading the attack may end it, whereas counterattacking is likely to escalate it, particularly if there is more than one attacker. It may not always be possible, but in some situations an initial evasion can be all it takes to end an attack. The aggressor will see that his initial attack has failed, that you are not an easy target, and if nothing else he will have lost the element of surprise.
Here’s a video from my boxing page, of a basic boxing progression I use with new students. My partner in the video is a friend of mine who had only practiced three times. Notice how the catch allows you to avoid getting hit with a simple backward step. The shoulder roll, starting at 44 seconds, is also an excellent evasive technique. And the cover, starting at 2:03, is a great technique that can be used with an evasion followed by an escape, rather than the counter punching seen in the video.
The key point here is to avoid a physical confrontation at all costs. Even if you are attacked, evading the attack and escaping may be a better option than counterattacking. You just don’t know how far your opponents are willing to take things. And in addition to the immediate situation, revenge and law suites are another consideration. Physical self defense training is great exercise and great fun, and it’s possible you may need it some day. It’s possible that it can save your life. But it should always be an absolute last resort!
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