On Fighting

Firstly, note to self: don’t get in a fight with John Mosby HERE

Which leads me on to some comments. The first thing you want to do with a fight, is avoid it. This applies equally well both now, and in any post-collapse type scenario.

To help you with that avoidance plan, you need to work on being alert and aware. Not only will that awareness help you spot and avoid potential threats, but it will also help deter those predators that are observing you, weighing up their chances.

Being alert, carrying yourself confidently, and looking like you have a chance of handling yourself will go a long way to avoid the fight. Don’t look like a victim.

‘Mindset’ is a bit of a ‘tacticool’ expression, but it means well. If you are not in the business of getting into fights, you have to worry about it coming to you. If you are suddenly attacked by a blitz attacker, perhaps some kind of psycho, bent on your destruction, then it will be a big surprise and they will have a good chance of overwhelming you. So you have to be ready to go if surprised.

The advantage of a psycho blitz attacker is that they are prepared to go all the way. You are not only taken by surprise, but you are weighed down by all the baggage of not wanting to be in a fight, conditioned by society, worried about self defense laws etc. It is not a time for denial. If he does not take you out immediately, then you have to fight back. It’s not a time for “Wait, try that again, I wasn’t ready.”

As for fighting styles, read Mosby’s article. Lots of good stuff there. I haven’t been in a fight in a long minute, but growing up in the UK it is true that without guns in society, there is a readiness to go to hand to hand fighting: No chance of the guy carrying concealed or having one in his truck – but he may have a claw hammer or knife under his jacket. Chuck out time at closing from the pubs was basically street fight time. As morals in society have crumbled, it is increasingly mob violence.

In the UK, most fighting is boxing based. On the streets, if you go to the ground you are most likely to be kicked into unconsciousness by his mates standing around. It’s a bit of a mob thing. But there is more and more MMA in the UK, and thus grappling.

I don’t truck with this advice about not punching people. Punch them in the head. If you can elbow or knee them, fine, but in the absence of that hit hard and fast as many times as you can until they go down and you can get away. That’s the next point. If you can’t avoid, defend aggressively, hit them with everything you have. Then, don’t hang around for awards, get away.

If you do get in a fight, however cool your martial arts training is, expect to get hurt. Chin down, eyes up, prepare to take it and wade in to hand it back to him. Its not pretty and no-one will really win. If you can walk or run away from it, you have succeeded.

If you do get taken to the ground – and most people in the US train in Jiu-Jitsu/MMA so it is likely that they will at least try, know what to do to get out of it. You can’t just be a stand up fighter and expect to get away with it.

That leads on to escalation of force. In this post I have not really been discussing weapons, but if you have them be prepared to escalate in proportion to the level of force being used against you. And it is not a medieval jousting tournament, so be prepared to over-match them. There is no chivalry in a street fight. Use force proportionate and ‘reasonable’ in the circumstances.

As for styles, whatever floats your boat. Just train in something that will allow you to damage the bad guy. Interestingly, like Mosby, I trained at school in Judo. I was on the team. I remember taking punches in school yard type fights while I closed, threw and clinched them. Seeing stars as punches come flying in is not cool; once I was forced to my knees by a flurry of punches before I managed to get in and finish it.

I decided that I needed to learn how to punch, so when I got to College I started Thai Boxing. That really does teach you how to inflict punishment, but you have to be able to take it too. In more recent years, when I get a moment, I do a bit of Filipino Kali. What I like about that is the reaction training to at least do something to avoid an incoming punch, stick, knife. As I get older, I like the idea more and more of not taking a whack to the head.

Granted, I’m no black belt, and when the fight starts, the adrenalin pumps and it all goes a little crazy. That’s the time when you go back to what you know, which usually involves trying to punch the living crap out of the other guy. Mosby has a lot of good to say about that, in terms that whoever really has their mind in the fight, will usually overwhelm the opponent.

So, you have to be able to get a little crazy. ‘Controlled aggression”. If you are actually crazy, then in the words of Miranda Lambert at the excellent concert I took my wife to not so long ago: “Hide your crazy (girl)”

If you are surprised by a blitz attacker, then you have to instantly turn on the crazy, not freezing or living in denial.

If you get pissed at that douche bag in the other car who just cut you up and gave you the finger, that is not fighting. That is both unlawful and probably bullying. Mostly, that person is emboldened by being in their vehicle and is probably one of the 90% or maybe 99% of people that with a little training and aggression  you can learn to overcome.

But remember, there is always a badder dude in the valley, always someone tougher than yourself. Like Mosby. Or maybe you are sick, exhausted and/or hungry, not on your top game.

Back to the first point: AVOID.

Reading Mosby’s comment on a youth in the Ranger Battalion, it seems very similar/familiar to the Parachute Regiment. Here’s another thing: avoid alcohol. Here’s  a couple of anecdotes on Max’s youth, back in the UK where drinking starts at 18 years old, or whenever, and alcohol is a problem mixed with a violent society.

1. Youthful Max is in a nightclub. Opponent number one is making a pass at his sister. Angry Max doesn’t like it and becomes blitz attacker. Opponent doesn’t know what hit him, goes down like a bag of manure. Later, Max is more drunk. Gets in a staring competition, like a couple of monkeys, with some dude. Some dude clotheslines Max and follows it through with a sort of drunken falling attack. As they fall, Max manages to flip it so he ends up on top, and proceeds to punch the living crap out of other dude. Looking up, a man is standing nearby in the crowd, holding a beer and looking impressed. “You better get out of here,” he says to Max. Max heads for the door.
Unknown to Max, the doormen have seen this all on the cameras, or whatever, and have decided the best policy is to wait. As Max goes to exit, several hefty doormen are on him, locking him down and handing him over to the cops waiting outside.
Max instantly goes into ‘shock of capture’ and ‘resistance to interrogation’ mode. Maximum politeness to Mr. Policeman. Max sits in the front of the paddy wagon with Mr. Copper while he gets a good lecture. He is aided by the sounds of screaming chaos from the lunatics locked up in the back of the paddy wagon. Mr. Policemen has more to worry about than polite Max, so he lets him go. Didn’t stop Max then having to fight another dude on the street while walking away. That’s the UK nightclub scene for you.

2. Max is out in a neighborhood he should not be in, due to an Army course. Its the usual local vs army thing. Max finds himself separated and chatting to a good looking girl. Later, Max is outside the pub with the girl. As the six guys come at him, one of them cocking his fist to punch, Max makes the realization that this is his girlfriend, and he is alone. Max is not Jean Claude Van Damme; based on that knowledge, Max decides to break contact. As he runs, one of them gets close enough to tread on his heel, separating it from his shoe. Max is a young soldier and can run faster. He runs into a housing estate, terraced housing, and tries to evade by hiding in a front garden. Motion sensor light goes on. In Max’s alcohol  addled brain, it’s a trip flare. Contact again. Up over a garage roof and onto the terraced roofs goes Max, pursued by several of them. As he jumps down off the roofs on the far side, he sees that they have sent a cut off group round, in the form of one guy. Max knows he has to fight through this one guy. As he jumps down and advances, the guy puts his hands up and backs away. No stomach for a one on one fight.
Max breaks contact again and runs back up to the cross roads, jumping on a night bus. The driver askes him where to, Max says he doesn’t know, just a pounds worth of fare, putting the coin down on the tray. As the bus leaves the stop, the group is pursuing it along the sidewalk. Max never got the girl.

Amusing, but it could have easily ended up with Max either in Jail or getting a good kicking on the sidewalk. Avoid drinking to excess, and avoid getting in fights.