Archive for the ‘Streetfights’ Category

Your immediate environment can be the best and most effective weapon you can ever use in a self-defense situation. I’ll bet Al Gore never taught you that!

But before I start waxing poetic, let’s watch this video:

Okay… there are so many different directions this post could take based upon this 1:46 second video. It was brought to my attention from a friend who shared the video on Facebook and used it as a platform to discuss the efficacy of headbutts in a self-defense situation. While that proved to be an enlightening discussion, I’m going to take a different direction… namely, that most environments that people fight in can be the most devastating weapons, and they’re all available for you to use.

Before I start, let’s get one thing straight: I’m not talking about “weapons of opportunity.” A weapon of opportunity is something you can grab – a beer bottle, pool cue, stick, etc. – in the heat of the battle and use as a tool to defeat your opponent. What I’m talking about is using the actual environment itself as a weapon to disrupt and disable your opponent.

Case in point, this video. The crazy long-haired guy effectively used the pane-glass window – part of the environment inside the Subway restaurant – to his advantage by quite literally pushing his opponent the length of the floor and through the window, itself. The shattered glass did more damage to his opponent than the push/shove did, as was evidenced by the profusely-bleeding lacerations all over his opponent’s face.

Needless to say, shoving the young man through the window will likely result in felony charges for the long-haired wildman, but that, too, is a separate post.

Using the environment as a weapon can be easy if you’re mindful of it. For example, if you’re going to push someone, push them into a wall or through a window. If you’re going to slam someone, you can always slam them into a table and/or chairs just as soon as you can the floor, though the floor works, too. Pushing someone down a flight of stairs is also a good example of using the environment as a weapon, though a a high chance for fatality or serious injury usually follows this choice. (Just like pushing someone through a window.)

Quick trip down memory lane: After a few years at a private junior high school, I transferred back to public school in the eighth grade. A fellow student decided to test meddle in drama class, of all places, on the stage in the auditorium. It happened to be set up for a play and there was a large “bar counter” made of wood paneling placed upon the stage.

Long story short, the student climbed the steps to the stage and confronted me before swinging a wide, looping right that caught me in the ear, making my head ring. Much like the long-haired wildman in the above video, I somehow grabbed the young man’s wrist, spun him around, and sent him crashing through the wood paneling, which broke like glass and raked the back of his neck, causing bleeding lacerations. He also hit his head on the hard, two-by-four frames, giving him a slight concussion. As I was running in to pull him out and finish him off, my fellow students restrained me, thus ending the fight.

This is a true story, and it was a rather shocking revelation to my eighth-grade mind regarding the effectiveness of using the environment as a weapon. Feel free to share your stories when you’ve either used your immediate environment as a weapon or have witnessed someone do the same…

People who fight for their friends are idiots, most of the time. Yeah, I said it. What you gonna do about it, bitch?

Oh. Sorry. Got a little sidetracked there. As I was saying, it’s not always a good idea to jump into the fray on behalf of your friends because you don’t always know what you’re jumping into. Consider this video:

A quick break down: A rhino comes into the feeding ground of a group of Cape Buffalo. The alpha buffalo, in his role as protector of the herd, challenges the rhino. During their head-butting contest, other Cape Buffalo can be seen joining the fight… but not on the side of their buffalo leader. Instead, their taking shots at their leader in hopes of killing him so they can become the alpha.

Some friends, huh?

In the end, it appears as though the alpha buffalo dies as a result of the wounds he received from the rhino’s horn. His last moments on earth are spent surrounded by the very pack members he fought so valiantly to defend, and the same ones that turned on him during the fight.

Growing up in Flint, I’ve had plenty of experiences where someone – or a group of someones – would attack a single person on behalf of his/their friends. In more than one case, I’ve seen one guy in a group – usually the smallest – go around and purposefully instigate fights with strangers, supremely confident in the fact that his “boyz” would get his back. In more than one instance, I was the guy that “Mr. Congeniality” chose as his target.

Like our friend the Cape Buffalo in the video, a whole host of bad shit can happen if you decide to take up for friends who don’t care that much about you:

1. You can get your ass kicked. Seems pretty simple, right? Unfortunately , few men are able to admit that there are people out there who can beat them in a fight. In this scenario, there are two options:

A) You get a costly stretcher ride to the hospital and a fat bill for the treatment of injuries that will haunt you for the rest of your life,

B) A free ride to the grave.

2. You get arrested on simple assault charges. Yeah… while taking up for your boyz gives you instant street cred in your suburban-hood-fantasy life, powerful folks in the real world have built their careers around arresting and prosecuting idiots like you who like solving problems with your fists. And this comes with plenty of problems:

A) Court costs and fines. You think your boyz are gonna help you pay these? Think again!

B) Jail and/or prison time. You read that right! It’s actually pretty much illegal to beat people up, especially if you hurt them badly. If you like fighting so much, maybe this is the place for you, since plenty of “squabs” go down behind bars.

C) Limited job opportunity. Even if you get out of this mess with probation and some community service, your newly-acquired criminal record will come back to haunt you each time a prospective employer conducts a background check. Those same friends who wouldn’t help you pay for a lawyer aren’t gonna let you live in their basement rent-free for the rest of your life, either.

3. You’re being used. Some people like to stir up shit and let others clean up their mess. If you have a friend that always seems to be getting into fights – fights that you end up finishing – chances are, he/she knows exactly what they’re doing. Why else do they do it so much? That they’re so willing to allow you to accept all the risks and responsibility for their actions suggests that you don’t make good choices when it comes to friends.

4. Your friends turn on you. Believe it or not, the same people that you’re so willing to risk your life to defend will be the first ones to turn around and call you a “hot-head” or a “violent rage-a-holic” once the dust settles. This usually happens as people age out of their “crazy 20s” and start getting married, having kids and settling down. They and their spouses are trying to distance themselves from their “wild side,” and you are a living, breathing reminder of those days. Don’t be surprised if these so-called loyal friends start turning their backs on you. Remember that gratitude is preservative-free, so it’s shelf-life is exceedingly short!

5. You’re being set up. Admittedly, this is a worst-case scenario but it’s not unheard of. If someone wants something that you have, perhaps the best way to get you out of the picture is by playing upon your misguided sense of loyalty and getting you into a fight that they know will end up in your arrest and prosecution. Hey! Stranger things have happened!

These are the reasons I won’t fight for my friends. Well, most of them, anyway. I would fight and die for my wife and children in a New York minute, but the number of friends I’d actually be willing to throw hands for could be counted on one hand… with more than a couple fingers left over.

Well, that about covers it, though I’m eager to hear YOUR experiences with this phenomenon.

Okay. Yesterday I used a video of what looked to be a muay Thai fight gone wrong to buttress my point about martial arts techniques and the adrenal response. Many of my loyal readers pointed out that the “fight” in the video was likely staged, as such things aren’t an uncommon attraction in Thailand. Sensing that my friends were right, I submit to you, humble readers, another example of martial arts masters – this time a capoeira practitioner – losing his shit and charging someone like a common bar brawler a few moments after demonstrating the finer aspects of his highly-acrobatic martial art:

So my point remains, master your adrenaline first, your techniques second. If anyone has any similar videos, don’t be shy… share!

Stay safe, good people.

Did I just say that sport-combat training won’t help you win a fight? I guess I did, but I didn’t mean it that way. Now, before all you BJJ and MMA enthusiasts start suiting up and challenging me to a cagefight, watch this video:

For a quick encapsulation, this fight between two skilled muay Thai fighters starts out like your average muay Thai battle: both fighters standing in the center of the ring, trading power kicks and punches. Things go south after a right-hook knockdown at 25 seconds into the match. The fighter who got knocked down (Red Shorts) gets up and stumbles to the ropes, prompting the other fighter (White Shorts) to attempt some type of flying kick that causes him to fall through the ropes and onto the floor.

Now here’s where the two enemies to every would be G.O.A.T. – emotion and adrenaline – show their faces.

Clearly embarrassed by his epic kick fail, White Shorts barges into the ring, brandishing a trash can lid. (After years of cops/courts reporting, I finally got to use the word “brandishing.” Win!) The ensuing brawl between the two fighters – and another man in a red shirt – bears little resemblance to the type of skilled combat display one might expect from Thai fighters battling out in the ring in their home country.

In classic self-defense situations – i.e., streetfights or barfights – there the element of human emotion and adrenaline is invariably thrown into the mix. This deadly chemical concoction hits our central nervous system and effects us in a number of ways, not the least of which is the loss of fine motor control. What this means is that you lose the ability to access the wide variety of complicated techniques they’ve spent a near-lifetime trying to perfect while in an emotional state.

Before we go any further, I’m well aware of the many YouTube videos showing a calm, collected MMA fighter dispatching a thug using basic BJJ techniques. When this happens, it’s usually the result of the MMA fighter not being a primary combatant embroiled in the situation. Rather, the fighter often dashes in from the sidelines, applies whatever Brazilian/Japanese-named choke hold he has, and ultimately saves the day.

But what happens if that same fighter is in the bar, with a couple drinks in him, and someone says something about testicles resting upon the fighter’s mother’s chin? Will the fighter still remain calm and in control in this scenario? In some cases, maybe; in most cases, I doubt it. I’ve trained with many an MMA fighter – some of them professionals – who’ve gotten into wild barroom brawls and came back to the dojo with a black eye and a story to tell about the encounter.

Hey, it happens…

So am I really saying combat sports training won’t help you in a streetfight? No, not exactly. I’m saying there’s always the chance your mind won’t allow you to access your repertoire of Muay Thai/boxing/kickboxing/MMA/BJJ/assorted deadly sport-fighting art techniques in a highly-charged situation. Thus, your latest belt, ranking, or win-loss record in the cage isn’t always a fail-safe guarantee that you’ll control your emotions and adrenal response during situations outside the cage. And even if you do, those techniques might not be effective in the heat of battle. (Remember: Out of all the technically-proficient strikes exchanged in the above muay Thai fight/brawl, it was a sloppy, stiff-armed haymaker that finally ended it for good.)

The best advice I can give anyone is to enroll in a reality-based self defense course that understands and trains you in the art of overcoming the adrenal stress response. I highly recommend Peyton Quinn’s course at RMCAT as a five-star crash course on the subject. It works with solid, basic techniques used under “live-fire” scenarios, and frankly, that’s all you need to stop most attackers. Bill Kipp’s FAST Defense course utilizes the same methodology, while the advanced RBSD student might enjoy Rory Miller’s scenario drills at Chiron.

And one more thing: Stay safe, good people!

About J.P. Ribner
J.P. Ribner is the author of Viking fantasy adventure series “The Berserker’s Saga.” Currently, the saga features two novels – “Legacy of the Bear” and “Prophecy of the Bear.” For more about his written work, check out his website.

Parents should encourage their children to fight because it’s the best and most effective “anti-bullying program” there is. That said, there’s the right way and the wrong way to go about coaching your child from the sidelines. Here’s an example of how NOT to do it.

Without any background details, I’m left to make sense of this video simply on what we can see. That said, it’s clear we have a mother – or some type of adult figure – urging a young man named Bontae (spelling?) to fight another young man, Li’l Bud. From the beginning, it’s clear that Bontae does not want to fight; he enters the fight hesitatingly and does little to nothing, allowing Li’l Bud to be the effective aggressor.

Mistake 1: The adult woman is angrily and rather loudly shouting at Bontae, hoping to motivate him to fight. It’s very clear that her shouting and carrying on do very little in terms of inspiring Bontae to throw down. If anything, it adds to his reticence and eventual loss. Note: I suspect Bontae has some type of anxiety disorder, where it’s not uncommon for people to shut down when confronted with angry shouting. (See Justin Timberlake’s character in the movie “Black Snake Moan.”)

Mistake 2: Sometime during the fight the adult woman says, “This way you gonna be a motherfucking man!” I can’t help but wonder what kind of message this sends to Bontae. Does it say that manhood is solely measured by one’s capacity for violence? And if so, what becomes of those who internalize this message? Could this be why so many young men end up incarcerated for violent crimes? Were they just trying to prove that they’re a man?

Mistake 3: Halfway through this half-fight, the adult woman steps in to save Bontae from further damage, shoving Li’l Bud halfway into the street in the process. If she would’ve immediately taken Bontae into the home at that point, I wouldn’t have had a problem with it: by then, Bontae was shrieking like a wounded animal and the fight was pretty much over. No harm in saying, “Big ups, Li’l Bud. You got yours.” Instead, this woman stands Bontae up and orders him back into the fight he didn’t want in the first place.

Here’s a hint to Big Momma: real men don’t want anyone – least of all a woman – to fight their battles for them. If you want Bontae to “be a man,” then let him win or lose on his own, the way a man does. After all, you won’t always be there to take up for Bontae, so doing so now doesn’t do him any favors. A man stands and fights – and sometimes loses – on his own. Too many young men out there today are starting fights that they’re huge group of friends has to finish. While it’s all fun and games when Baby Boy and his possee win, what happens when Baby Boy gets caught slippin’ on his own? (Trust me, it WILL happen one day and your little prince is going to end up in intensive care… or worse.)

Mistake 4: Big Momma damn near shoved a little kid into the road where there might have been oncoming traffic! What the fuck is up with that?

Mistake 5: Calling attention to Bontae’s crying by shouting “Don’t cry! Don’t cry!” Going back to Mistake 2, this only reinforces the bullshit stereotypes about men, i.e., “Men don’t cry.” I think it’s pretty obvious that Bontae was crying; as I said earlier, he was braying like an injured and bleeding animal. Shouting about his crying in front of his peers will only reinforce his shame. (I honestly hope this woman is NOT Bontae’s mother; if she is, this kid is FUCKED!)

What she should’ve done was take him in the house and let him cry it out, THEN sit down and explain to him the importance of standing up for himself when he’s young so that taking shit from other people doesn’t become a habit. (Admittedly, I was a bit of a “crumbling crybaby” in my youth so I can sympathize with poor Bontae. Thankfully it was a short-lived phase!)

Like I said, there’s empowering your children to fight when they have to, then there’s traumatizing them further. To me, it’s obvious Big Momma crossed that line a long time ago. My only hope was that Bontae was able to get his shit together and put a whoopin’ on Li’l Bud during the second half of the fight where the video cuts out. Anyone with a fighting stance like Li’l Bud’s deserves to get his ass beat!

Sometimes you just gotta throw the first punch … and the second, third, and fourth, if need be!

If you’ve been following this series, you’ll know that I’ve discussed a wide range of topics revolving around confrontations that develop into self-defense situations. We’ve covered the concept of giving would-be attackers a face-saving exit if you don’t want to fight. We’ve also discussed the myth of perfect technique as well as the fact that your zip code doesn’t make you tough and other related topics. Tonight, I’d like to discuss a topic that’s near and dear to my heart because it’s one that I believe is WIDELY misunderstood: pre-emptive striking. This is perhaps the most important thing you need to know if you find yourself confronted by an angry street thug or just about anyone else who wants to knock your head off your shoulders.

The concept of pre-emptive striking simply means being the one to punch first. This is a touchy topic in martial arts circles as well as amongst the general public because the traditional belief is that you should “let the other guy throw the first punch.” I’ve never understood why people feel this way. Maybe it’s because they think that will protect them if the police get involved, or perhaps they just don’t want to look like “the bad guy” for being the first one to act. For whatever their reasons, the concept of striking first when the bad guy is barking and snarling in their face is a foreign one. Then, there are some people, such as the man in this video, who understand its effectiveness.

Peach Shirt did the right thing by clocking White Shirt when WS got in his face. He also did the right thing by not stomping and/or hitting WS while he was down on the ground, as THAT definitely would’ve invalidated any self-defense claims. The only thing PS did wrong was not getting the fuck outta there after he knocked WS down the first time. He walked away slowly, perhaps proudly, allowing WS the chance to get up and chase him down. Luckily, PS put him down a second time and WS didn’t have any friends around to “take up” for him by swarming and attacking PS.

In my experience, assailants stand in front of you, barking and snarling for two reasons: 1. They want to see how frightened/nervous they can get you before punching you in the face. 2. They’re also working THEMSELVES up to attack. As I’ve said before, only a predatory criminal or sociopath will just smash someone in the face completely out of the blue. In most cases, your attacker will pull the ol’ bark ‘n snarl routine to draw a crowd and pump up their own courage to attack. In most cases, they’ll push you first, then go for the haymaker (a big punch to the face) after you push them back. The pre-emptive strike short circuits this whole routine and it’s usually the LAST thing your attacker is expecting.

I’ll bet this pimp didn’t see the chop to his carotid artery coming. It definitely cut off the flow of blood to his brain, though:

WARNING: a pre-emptive strike might win the battle, but you’ll have a hard time proving your innocence in a court of law. The criminal justice system should be renamed the criminal justice industry, because that’s what it is. Police, prosecutors, and judges will all have dollar signs in their eyes if they get involved in a situation where you delivered a pre-emptive strike. Be prepared for the possibility of having to defend your decision to “knock that motherfucker out” in a court of law. That same 6-foot-tall animal that was going to smash your face in will be sitting in the witness stand, looking like an innocent little lamb. And the story he’ll tell will not be ANYTHING like what really happened at the bar a month before. And prosecutors have a penchant for asking nasty little questions, such as, “But how did you know the victim was going to hit you, Mr. Ribner?” There’s no good way to answer it.

So if you decide to deliver a pre-emptive strike, don’t say I didn’t warn you. It may or may not be legal under the statutes of self defense in your state. Use at your own risk. Only you can make the decision whether your life is truly in danger … and only you will have to live with the consequences. That said, I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.

Until then, stay safe, good people!

Are you from the toughest hood in America? It’s doesn’t mean shit in a street fight.

Simply hailing from a certain zip code is NO guarantee that you’ll be some unstoppable fighting machine. In other words, a nerdy-looking hipster from Cape Cod could beat the shit out of a guy with a beard, chain wallet and the word Flint tattooed across his throat in Old English lettering. The key is the East Coaster has to want or need to win more than the guy from Flint has to protect his pride.

Consider the fate of the young man in the above video. Is New York a tough city? Absolutely! But simply being from the Big Apple isn’t enough to guarantee the win in every encounter. I don’t know what started the confrontation, but I can take a guess. We have two white guys at a gas station who suddenly find themselves being taped by someone with an Android phone, and a young wannabe thug telling them to suck his dick.

Before the fight kicks off, the thug takes the time to look at the camera and shout, “I’m from New York and I’m out here by myself. Fuck these n*****, man!” This was Thugster’s “shout out” most likely done to drum up support from whoever would end up watching the video of him whooping some cracka’s ass … or so he thought.

After uttering his now-iconic shout out, Thugster gave them another “Suck my dick!” (An atypical reference to genitals that is often spoken before a fight.) And then came Thugster’s weak left hook, right cross combination that he was likely certain would be a guaranteed knockout. (He’s from New York, after all.) Unfortunately for him, he’s quickly slammed to the concrete, reverse mounted, and pounded into unconsciousness. (I guess the Statue of Liberty didn’t have his back!)

But wait! you’re thinking. That only happened ’cause he’s from New York. People in Philadelphia are WAY tougher than New Yorkers. Giving shout outs to a neighborhood in Philly prior to a fight is SURE to guarantees the win. Right?

Let’s see …

Well, there you have it. Where you’re from doesn’t mean shit.

I’ve been the victim of violent crime, the survivor of a few streetfights, and was taught by the best reality-based self defense instructors. As such, I enjoyed watching real fights and attack videos and discussing them with like-minded urban survivalists. While not an expert by any means, I still enjoy analyzing these videos to hopefully determine what the people involved did right and wrong. Here’s the first of what I’m sure will be many “street fight-type” altercations. Please watch this video FIRST, then read my breakdown below.

Okay. Let me start by saying that I don’t think the “frat boys” are racists, event thought the title is “KNOCK OUT!!!!! Racist Frat guys gets tagged at Cook Out!” I believe the uploader used this title to distract viewers from the fact that the three attackers are guilty of assault, since their attacks would not stand up in court as a case of self defense. Why else would he play music over what the men were shouting to each other? Also, by raising the specter of racism, it appeals to viewers on an emotional level and encourages them to sympathize with the attackers and justify their actions. Judging by the comments on the video, it was a shrewd move that ultimately paid off. (Read for yourself.)

Okay. Now on to the tactics. I plan to mostly focus on the victims because they – and by extension we – have much to learn from their mistakes if we wish to avoid becoming victims of violent crime.

Mistake No. 1: Trying to reason with their assailants. It’s fairly obvious this situation was past the point of “talking someone down.” Even so, the two eventual victims continued to try talking to the three to four men who were barking and snarling in their faces.

Mistake No. 2: Staying within striking range. There’s only one reason to keep someone within your striking range and that’s to strike them. Thing is, if they’re in your striking range, you’re in theirs, too. The two men who became victims went to great lengths to remain firmly planted in front of the group that was barking and snarling at them. That’s a bad place to be if all you want to do is talk.

Mistake No. 3: Being out of their element. Both of the victims – especially Golden Curls – most likely come from affluent backgrounds where most fighting is done with nasty, hurtful words and little else. The people they were dealing come from a world where one’s reputation is built upon being strong and tough, and differences are ultimately settled physically. It was a mismatch before the first punch was thrown.

Mistake No. 4: Insulting their attackers. At one point during the argument, Golden Curls smiles and appears to laugh in the faces of the men accosting him, all within striking range. (See Mistake No. 2) . To men as agitated as their attackers, this is seen as an affront to their dignity and practically demands a physical retaliation.

Mistake No. 5: Not knowing they’re in a fight until it’s over. Only the most hardcore criminal predator will attack without warning. Most people – even streetwise men such as the attackers – still need to work up the courage to throw the first punch. This is the dance routine that most fights follow: 1. Barking and snarling in each other’s faces. 3. Minor physical contact, such as a push or a shove. 3. A sucker punch while the victim is still talking. 4. The follow-up blows until the victim is incapacitated or worse. I dare someone to tell me that this chain of events didn’t play out EXACTLY that way here.

Okay. So there’s the five huge mistakes of our foolish victims. What could they have done to NOT become victims? I’ll spare you the speech of not being in a place where such a thing could happen because that is a blog post in and of itself, and the two young men clearly didn’t have that option as they camera picks up with them in the thick of it. So, based on my experiences in real-life altercations and what the wise Peyton Quinn has taught me, here’s what the might’ve done instead:

1.Recognize that a fight was going to happen whether they wanted it or not. Let’s face it, sometimes you’re not always in control of the situation, and shit gets ugly really fast.

2. “Create their own witnesses” by placing their hands up, palms forward, between them and their attackers and saying, “I’m sorry! I don’t want any trouble. I’m cool, man!” No protracted conversations, just a few key non-confrontational phrases to let the crowd believe they don’t want to fight.

3. Be the first to punch/strike. Waiting until the other guy swings first might’ve worked in high school; but in the real world, you’re asking to get knocked the fuck out with this tactic. Pre-emptive striking gives you the element of surprise and the first few critical seconds of momentum. See how it worked for their attackers? Golden Curls was down and out after one shot while Red Shirt was dazed and unable to retaliate after a barrage of power punches. (He looked like a Bobblehead with all those shots!)

4. Commit to action. Keep punching and striking, all the while moving forward toward the door. Will they get hit? Yes. But they would’ve also had the upper hand because they struck first and didn’t stop.

5. Get outside the building and run for help.

Some might choose to question my tactics, and I’m open for any type of discussion on the matter. The truth is, I can’t tell you when you should fight and when you shouldn’t – that’s a decision you have to make for yourself. What I can give you is some general advice based on my own experiences – and plenty of blunders, admittedly – as well as the sage advice given to me by the man I trust in these matters.

I look forward to hearing from you.