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Iain Abernethy
Iain Abernethy's picture
Street fighting is illegal and the floor is a bad place to be (recent news footage)

Hi All,

Here is a link to a story and video from The Mirror newspaper here in the UK which helps underline some commonly discussed themes here:

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/shocking-cctv-shows-yobs-mass-6956656

Essentially the video shows a consensual gang fight. This is therefore not self-defence and we defiantly see the consensual violence dynamic. What is interesting to note (from an educational self-defence perspective) is that the fight always ends quickly and badly for those on the floor because of the actions of those still standing.

There is a point where one of those standing tries to keep others away so those on the floor can fight uninterrupted, but that does not last long and the boots quickly rain down on those on the floor.

Lesson 1: The floor is not a good place to be when others can get involved.

If you read the story, you find that all of those involved were prosecuted (even those injured) because they were “street fighting” which is not the same as self-protection. 

Lesson 2: Self-defence is legal. Fighting in the street is illegal.

One-on-one fighting methods don’t transpose well to environments where there is more than one person; and where the laws of the land apply as opposed to the rules of the contest.

There are “rules in the street” … we call them “laws” and there can be severe consequences for those that chose to ignore them.

Nothing new, but once again an illustration that those who think “street fighting” is “one-on-one fighting without rules” and that is the same as “self-defence” have got it woefully wrong.

All the best,

Iain

mike23
mike23's picture

In order to spark a conversation, I’d like to make some observations. First and foremost I agree that the ground is not safe when others are involved. With that out of the way, Man! Those guys didn’t know anything about fighting! How did white shirt allow the guy to come up and choke him to the ground! They all seemed to kick while standing up, although ineffective, I’m guessing martial artists are drooling about catching the leg and pounding the attacker or delivering a kick of their own that would incapacitate the attacker. While the one guy in blackshirt/pants seemed to have a fighting stance the others had their hands down even while engaged. Neither of the two grounded people went to the ground of their own accord and were both hurt/stunned and lacked the ability to defend while down. The one that got up did so incorrectly and offered his face to a kick.

So, you would think that…as a martial artist..we/you would have dispatched each of these guys in "easily" whether with a thigh kick or clinch off a wild punch and finish with elbows and such correct? Sure there was plenty of space to run but for discussion sake, since there were no weapons and each had paired off with another, and from examining the footage, it looks like basic defenses we train for.

Any other observations on how the altercation went down? Thoughts? 

jimw449
jimw449's picture

That was painful to watch. Minutes- minutes! - of time to disengage. Thank goodness they didn't know what they were doing. You both made good points, especially on going to the ground a group fight, and on the legalities of consensual fights in public areas. Thank you.

Ian H
Ian H's picture

mike23 wrote:
... for discussion sake, since there were no weapons and each had paired off with another, and from examining the footage, it looks like basic defenses we train for.

Any other observations on how the altercation went down? Thoughts? 

Something that struck me when I watched the whole video, and I went back and watched the first half or so just now to be sure I wasn't mistaken, but ... 

... they seem to spend a lot of time at what I'd call 'kumite distance" ... the sort of distance you see all the time at a karate tournament.  As often as not, they seem to "understand" the need to stay at that distance (although occasionally not!)  And then every once in a while (just like kumite) one of them makes a move toward the other to try to land a blow or two (or more), with varying success.  

css1971
css1971's picture

Ian H wrote:
... they seem to spend a lot of time at what I'd call 'kumite distance" ... the sort of distance you see all the time at a karate tournament.

This is probably related to timing. If you need 1/4 of a second to begin to react to your opponent, then you want them 1/4 of a second out of reach. Measure how far a person can travel from stationary in 1/4 -> 1/2 of a second  and you have kumite distance.

Iain Abernethy
Iain Abernethy's picture

mike23 wrote:
So, you would think that…as a martial artist..we/you would have dispatched each of these guys in "easily" whether with a thigh kick or clinch off a wild punch and finish with elbows and such correct? Sure there was plenty of space to run but for discussion sake, since there were no weapons and each had paired off with another, and from examining the footage, it looks like basic defenses we train for.

I know this is the obvious unsatisfying answer, but I’d not be there in the first place. It’s a fight. The only place I want to fight is in the dojo with my friends. I’d not be fighting in the street because it’s stupid and illegal. I’d rather fight better quality fighters for the enjoyment that can bring in a place where it’s enjoyable and healthy.

I think you are right that the quality of the technique is not great, so if this was the level I was facing in the dojo I’d “play nice” and hope to bring them on a bit. I’d be looking to coach and not finish or despatch.

Ian H wrote:
... they seem to spend a lot of time at what I'd call 'kumite distance" ... the sort of distance you see all the time at a karate tournament.

That’s right. I think we see the “consensual fighting dynamic” because that’s exactly what it is. I’d again underline the fact that karate tournaments can be healthy and enjoyable (they are certainly legal) whereas this isn’t. And for me that’s the vital distinction.

The difference between legal self-protection and illegal fighting in the street (“street fighting”) is one we need to unfailing and starkly mark because we can see the problems that result when “shades of grey” are allowed to creep into people’s thinking, practice and teaching. The physical and legal consequences of getting it wrong are serious and need to be avoided.

All the best,

Iain

Andi Kidd
Andi Kidd's picture

Hi, firstly I would like to say, read Iain’s post again. He is spot on, you shouldn’t be there, you should disengage and escape.

The distance is artificial because both sides have agreed to fight. This is a difference in mentality to self-protection that should be much more predatory in nature. You are not looking at engaging in a fair, or unfair fight but to shut down any struggle immediately with as little risk to yourself as possible or escape before that struggle even begins.

Anyone who practices self-protection should know that they are either prey or predator. From meerkat to monster you may say. You should be acting as prey (being aware, avoiding, and escaping) all of the time until the moment when you have to be physical, then you should be viewing yourself as a predator (finish the conflict before the opponent even knows what happened). Somewhere in between these two mindsets is consensual fighting/duelling/a straighter on the cobbles, or whatever you want to call it.

Keeping the right mindset and changing when you have to, is key to self-protection

Quote:
mike23 wrote:

So, you would think that…as a martial artist..we/you would have dispatched each of these guys in "easily" whether with a thigh kick or clinch off a wild punch and finish with elbows and such correct? Sure there was plenty of space to run but for discussion sake, since there were no weapons and each had paired off with another, and from examining the footage, it looks like basic defences we train for.

As a trained martial artist, looking at this altercation, you’d like to think so. So many openings, easy targets and ways to put them down. But martial artists behind a keyboard (and I am not getting at you here) have to be careful not overestimate their abilities, underestimate the oppositions and underestimate the difference between dojo sparring, competition and someone standing in front of you who actually wants to harm you with no safety get out clause (Sensei – yame, ref stopping the fight).

The sights, sounds, smells and real possibility of injury change the dynamic a lot. This even happens in sport (what happened to Klitschko? You see people bottle out on a point playing tennis or even a putt at golf) when the stakes may not be anywhere near as high!

I am not saying that we shouldn’t be able to deal with these attackers, we must also remember that our worst day in the dojo may be better than our best day on the street, skills will degrade substantially in actual combat situations.

I don’t want anyone to think I am putting them down or saying their skills are useless, we just remember that training is one thing and actual confrontation is another.

garrymckiernan
garrymckiernan's picture

I couldn't agree more with previous comments, especially the comment that we must keep in mind that 'training is somewhat different to real confrontation and the best self defence is perhaps to not engage in a fight in the virtual place unless you have no options to do otherwise. Nothing new there i guess!!!