What I Learned from "Scooter Boy"
This real-life fight video makes the rounds every now and than. I've always been interested in this specific fight because I think there's a lot of learn here.
First off, here's the fight. You might want to have your volume down low as it's definitely not safe for work (and it's kinda dumb, too).
I often refer to this fight when we talk about different ways violence can happen around us.
Here's some of the things I learned:
Watch for the "Monkey Dance"
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.
We don't have a video showing the entire confrontation, but watch the body language of the guy who throws the first punch (Red Shirt, aka "Scooter Boy"):
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.
We can interpret Phone Guy's behavior two ways. Either he did not believe Red Shirt was actually escalating into violence, OR, he stayed on the phone as HIS part of the dance. Either way, he wasn't really ready when the "Oh yeah?" and the punch came.
So, if someone is confronting you, you need to take it as something that could escalate quickly, and treat it as such. And do not send a message that dares someone to punch - because they just might.
Fights Can Spread
When Red Shirt and Phone Guy start fighting, more people jump in (presumably their friends).
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? Who else gets put at risk?
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. In the heat of the moment, he used what was available, and damn the consequences.
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 guy he punched! Presumably it's his friends, but for all we know, they could be complete strangers.
Phone Guy disappears!
Then, an adult woman gets involved in the fight!
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. And in this case, one is an older woman that you'd never in a million years suspect would get involved in a melee of this kind.
Fights Can Go To the Ground (and maybe you don't want to stay there)
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.
Check out what happens to the ground fighters when a bunch of other people start participating.
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 in situations like this.
So if you ONLY train to fight on the ground, you're leaving yourself open to this risk. Your self-defense strategy has to have more than one way to deal with violence, and in this case, I don't care how good your heel hook is. This is bad for you.
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. Don't let your clothes impede your ability to move (and run away).
And also get off my lawn.
Don't Depend On Others to Diffuse the Fight (or join in on your side)
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 and don't expect bystanders to see the righteousness of your cause and help you out.
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!