Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Real Life Fights: The "Shovel Girl" Fight - Lessons Learned

There's been a video making the rounds lately showing two girls - both of whom are apparently 14 years old - getting into a fight over a boy, and then the fight ends when one of the girls gets a shovel and hits the other girl on the back of the head.

You've seen these two just about everywhere.
You can watch the video here:  Girl Gets Hit With Shovel FULL VIDEO.  Both girls have been identified, but I will not name them here.  If you really want to know, there is a link at the end of this post that reports what happens in the aftermath of this fight that can give you more details.

I've used this fight in class with some of  our "junior" students - mostly young teenagers - to discuss several important points.

Point 1:  This is not a self defense situation.  It's mutual combat, about status. 

In the longer version of the video, these kids actually stop and pet chickens on their way to their appointed fight.  Initially, while the girls are both angry, they are not in "heat of the moment" angry - this is an agreed-upon fight situation.

Once it's fighting time, both girls square up in classic "boxing" stances.  Obviously, neither girl is trained, but both have agreed to the fight and re-engage each other multiple times.

Both parties stay engaged in the mutual combat because of fear of losing face and bragging rights.  This fight is really about status more than anything else.  Neither girl is really fighting "to win" physically, but socially.

Point 2: There aren't any rules in a real fight

Both girls try to claim that kicking and punches to the head are cheap shots.  As the girl in the gray pants notes, "It's a fight!".

As much as people want to believe there are rules - there aren't.  The goal is to win.  If a person is losing, it is very possible that the fight will get escalated further than the participants intended (which happens here).

Expect to get sucker punched if possible, expect to go to the ground, expect to get your hair pulled and eyes poked, expect crotch shots... every "cheap" shot is likely to be used.

Point 3: Girls tend to grab on and pull hair

This happens early in this fight, and if you watch real life fight videos featuring women, you see it happen repeatedly (I don't know why this is - I'd be interested in your theories). being prepared to defend against hair grabs is very necessary if you have young female students, as it is very possible that a fight situation they may find themselves in could involve a female aggressor.

Both girls grab on to each others' hair
Not that I think a man wouldn't do it, but women tend to do it far more often.  Given the assumption is often that it's a male attacker vs. our female students, I think this is a huge gap for many of us in teaching students of both genders.

Point 4: When they say they are going to escalate the fight, believe them

The girl in the black pants, who is losing the fight, threatens to get a weapon (a BB gun).  The girl in the gray pants encourages her to do so (believing she won't).

Black pants girl heads for the house to prove she is not bluffing.

Black Pants Arms Herself
Note that she's not even hiding that she's going for the weapon here, and everyone there recognizes it for what it is.  She's escalating the fight, because she can't handle the loss of face.

Black pants has turned this from mutual combat into a very, very dangerous situation.  Gray pants goaded her to do it.

Point 5: Environmental weapons - or weapons of opportunity - are always a danger

Black pants girl said she was going for a BB gun, but instead, grabbed a shovel that was just propped against her house.  She did not plan this - it was just there, and she used it as a weapon of opportunity.

Seriously - deadly weapon.
Items in your environment can either be used against you - as you see here - or can be used to help you.

Point 6:  Take the opportunity to stop fighting

There were numerous opportunities for either party to stop fighting..  The fight pauses, they stop and restart engagement multiple times. Either party could have stopped before it got serious.  Of course, status and face wouldn't let them - and don't ignore that as a factor, as that can be a very powerful thing.

Finally, gray pants girl is getting the best of black pants girl.  Black pants girl has had enough and tells gray pants girl to leave.

Gray pants girl refuses.  Shortly thereafter, black pants girl escalates the fight by introducing a weapon.

Gray pants - who has won the fight socially - should have taken that opportunity and left.  Instead, she stays engaged (making up a silly reason to do so), and that's the biggest mistake she makes.  Additionally, once she's been told to leave - that trespass.

Point 7: Improvised weapons are as dangerous as "real" weapons

Gray pants girl is incredibly lucky that she was hit with the flat, rather than the edge of the shovel.

If it the gray pants girl has been hit with the edge, it is very likely that black pants girl would be on trial for murder.  As it was, gray pants girl had to seek medical treatment, apparently for a concussion.  As you can see, this is a devastating hit with a deadly weapon.

Point 8:  Every fight is a serious situation and may get you charged with a crime

Lots of people have been making fun of this situation, and this video, on the internet.  I think this trivializes the seriousness of the situation.

Both girls are incredibly lucky they've only been charged with disorderly conduct.  Black pants girl in particular could have been charged with something a lot more serious - honestly, I'm surprised she hasn't been.  Gray pants girl also could have been charged with trespassing, I suppose.

In closing, when videos like this go viral, it's likely that your teenage students will have seen them, and you should take the opportunity to use them as a teaching tool.

Did I miss any important points?  Tell me in the comments!