Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Real Life Fights: "Scooter Boy" - Lessons Learned

Here's another real life fight that can have many lessons for all of us.

This time, the environmental weapon used is a scooter, but it's only used once.  This fight is very interesting because the participants change.

A kid's scooter.  Yep.
Here's the video:

There are a number of lessons here.

1:  This is a heat of the moment fight

Unlike "Shovel Girl", this is not an arranged confrontation.  This happens spontaneously.  Obviously, the guy with the phone was completely unprepared for confrontation.

2:  Sometimes the "monkey dance" is subtle and short

To see what I mean by "monkey dance", see this post by Rory Miller (he's the one who coined the term, I think... or at least, that's where I first learned it).   It's very common for there to be very obvious signs leading up to a fight.  Words, body posture, coming into range and puffing up the chest are some clues.

In this case, it was subtle.  Watch:

See, red shirt's puffing up his chest, his hands are down, and he shifts an object held in his right hand to his left in preparation for a right handed strike.  But not many other clues here that he's ready to start a physical fight.  Then he says, "Oh yeah?" and attacks.  Obviously, phone guy did not expect this.

So, if someone is confronting you, you need to take it as something that could escalate quickly, and treat it as such.   It's not always going to be a long, drawn out warning before violence happens.

3: Fights Can Spread

Note that others - presumably friends of the combatants - start fighting also.

This is a classic scenario where friends start jumping in to protect the initial combatants.  So, you can easily find violence coming your way, even if you aren't initially involved.

One question you need to ask yourself - if either of the initial combatants are your friend, do you get involved, or not?  Will that escalate the situation?

4: Weapons can come from anywhere

Initially, the person who introduces the weapon - in this case, the scooter - isn't initially involved.  But as you can see in this clip, he starts circling, looking for his opportunity to use what he has already converted to a weapon.

Red shirt sees it, but by then, it's too late.  Scooters like this are metal and can weigh, depending on the construction, between twenty to forty pounds.  The purple shirt kid launches the scooter with a ton of force.

Red shirt appears to get struck in the head by the handle, where the main body of the scooter hits his abdomen.  That could be a very serious injury.  Of course, if he'd been hit with the base of the scooter, it could have killed him.

If purple shirt had closed in and hit red shirt with the scooter vs. throwing it, he may have been able to deliver multiple strikes to the head.

In any case, use of this improvised weapon could have easily resulted in the death of red shirt guy. Was it purple shirt's intent to kill? Probably not - he's probably never even thought about it. 

5: Combatants can change.

After the scooter strike, red shirt gets stuck on the ground getting it by several people, none of which are the original combatant, phone guy!  Presumably it's his friends, but for all we know, they could be complete strangers.

Then, a woman - perhaps red shirt's mom? - tries to get the fighters off of red shirt, and she then gets involved in the fight herself.

And then a melee erupts, basically ending the video.  We don't know what happens later.

People can get emotionally, and then physically, involved in fights at a moment's notice. They don't have to be the initial aggressor.

6: Like many fights, this one goes to the ground

If you are not trained to go to the ground, you have to get up quickly, or you're going to be at a huge disadvantage.  You must train this - don't assume you can do it if you don't train it - and you should train against people trying to prevent your getting to your feet, because as you can see, it's not easy.

7: Ground fighting can leave you vulnerable even if trained

As you can see here, other players start kicking the people on the ground.

This is the one thing people are warned about with ground fighting, and as you can see, it happens here.  I believe that this is why you don't want to stay on the ground very long if you can avoid it.

8: Pull up your damn pants

Several times in the video, because of fashion, kids' pants get pulled down to basically bind their legs together, and they can't get up and out of the situation.

Don't let fashion impede your ability to protect yourself.  As pretty as those very high heels are - try running in them (it's literally a test I have of shoes before I buy them).  Don't let your pants impede your ability to move (and run away).

9:  Nobody tries to diffuse the fight

Observers actually participate and escalate the violence, rather than trying to calm it down.

I don't advocate getting in-between violent people (that's what the woman does, but she FIGHTS instead of trying to cool down the situation).  I think many fighters expect this to happen, so they can save face ("I didn't lose the fight - my friends pulled me off before I could kill that guy").

At one point, the woman starts to shut it down when she pins one guy to the ground, but then she hits the kid, and the fight restarts.

Don't depend on other people to cool down the fight.

What other lessons do you get from this fight?  Do you use videos like this as a teaching tool in your classes?  I'd love to know!