Monday, October 3, 2016

Real Life Fights: Showdown at the 7-11

Here's another one of those real life fight videos where you can learn a few things.

Unlike a lot of videos like this, it's not exceptionally violent or scary and doesn't involve weapons. No blood either.  And no shovels or scooters, more's the pity.

There's lots to learn, though.

Things to note about this fight:


We can't hear what is being said (there is no audio to this video).  But, going by the body language alone, this is definitely a mutual combat situation.

The White Shirt guy may be the aggressor here, but the 7-11 Employee (red/black shirt) does nothing to defuse this situation.  He stays close to the guy who initiates violence.  He does not put up his hands in a supplication gesture - the "Hey man, I don't want to fight" position, what we call "the Fence".

7-11 guy's body language is engaged and ready to fight.  He remains in this very enclosed space within arm's reach.  His eyes never leave White Shirt. It looks like there is room to leave where it does not require him turning is back or passing closer to White Shirt if he goes to his left, but he doesn't take it.  It looks like a clear path to his right, too, but he never even tries to move out of the way.

7-11 guy is just as ready to fight as White Shirt is.

If I were 7-11 guy's boss, he'd have a hard time arguing that this was self defense to me before I wrote him up or fired him.  This isn't self defense.


A sucker punch is one that comes with no warning, out of nowhere (typically when a person isn't looking), and if you know what to look for, you can see the "tell" when the punch is coming.

The first clear warning is when you see these gestures:

White Shirt is using the pointing and the fake attack (when he puffs up his chest and steps closer, then steps back again) to warn 7-11 guy that he is escalating the situation and that 7-11 guy should back down.  These gestures are of a person working up to do violence.  If 7-11 guy had backed off - created space, for example - the fight may have de-escalated and never happened.

7-11 guy either does not know what those gestures mean, or he deliberately ignores them.  I am going with the second theory, as again, I don't see him doing anything to stop this conflict whatsoever.  He says planted and in the guy's space and continues to engage him verbally from what we can see here.

There is another clear gesture right before White Shirt delivers the classic haymaker.  Did you spot it?

Here it is:

Left hand goes up, come back down, he removes eye contact and looks to his strong side hand and licks his lips.  There is a right coming, and very quickly.  This gesture is "Fine, you want me to punch you?  I am willing and able to punch you.  Here it comes."  This is a classic gesture and if you watch a lot of real life fights, very common.

And then the punch comes does.  It's a classic low chamber right hand punch, what we lovingly call "the caveman" punch.

7-11 Guy has not removed his eyes from White Shirt, so he sees it coming.


We've shared this video with our adult students because it is a classic example of what we call Defensive Response #1 - same side block and strike.

Me teaching Defensive Response #1

We advise our students to fence, to keep the hands up, because it's faster and it mimics a submission gesture that will either hopefully help deescalate the situation, or it will look to witnesses that you were NOT trying to actually fight.

From the fence, Defensive Response #1 is easy-peasy and hard to mess up. It's white belt material for us, a bread-and-butter technique.

7-11 guy does not have the advantage of the fence and it still works:

Same side block with the left hand, counter attack with the right (and note the dude uses his left to latch on and help deliver the counter-attack).

He didn't need any fancy kicks or parries or anything like that.  All he needed was the timing of the block and the intent of counter attack to win this one.


White Shirt is a big man.  I would suspect he's been in fights in his life, but not a whole bunch of them.  There reason why is that the man seems to have zero plan what to do after his first punch.  He probably thought that would be enough to win versus the smaller 7-11 guy.

He was completely wrong.

I suspect 7-11 guy has fought a lot more often, and may even have a bit of training (the timing of his block suggests to me some training, but I could be wrong of course).  When he counter attacks, White Shirt is completely overwhelmed by it and does down almost immediately to the floor, where he lies there and continues to take a beating.

White Shirt guy also does nothing to protect himself against counter-attack, obviously thinking that his one shot will do the trick.  White Shirt has probably depended on his size in to carry him through violent situations and never considered that a smaller guy might be able to actually fight and beat him.


7-11 guy "wins" this fight because once violence is initiated, he keeps fighting until he believes the threat is eliminated.

His attitude is that he is not going to get beat up by White Shirt, and his commitment to his defense is obvious.  He keeps punching - and White Shirt is damn lucky that 7-11 guy did not choose to use kicks - until White Shirt is out.

Whereas White Shirt isn't seriously committed to fighting.  He wants to assault 7-11 guy and not have resistance, sure, but the second he meets resistance,  he lays down pretty quickly and does not use all of the weapons available to him to fight back.

All things being equal, White Shirt is at an advantage, physically, in this fight.  He's bigger and heavier and has a longer reach.  That advantage is completely negated because he does not believe he has to fight past the first punch or two. 7-11 guy, being smaller, correctly perceives his disadvantage and uses his attitude and willingness to defend himself to overcome his physical limitations.

As the saying goes, it's not the size of the dog in the fight, it's the size of the fight in the dog.

So what do you think? What else can be learned from this fight? Let me know in the comments!