We all make mistakes, even monkeys fallout of trees, so there will be occasions when the option of avoidance will be lost and escape becomes the next option. In theory you would think that escape would be easy, it usually entails simply walking away, on occasions even running away. Not so! People of this generation are seen as c9wards if the do not stand and face their problems 'like a man'. Ironically they are also seen as thugs if they stand and have a bloody fight to settle their differences. The law is quick to lock you up should you hurt someone too badly, even if it is in self-defence. This is why I call the law the second enemy. There is often only one thing standing between those that have a fight and those that run away -ego. This controlling muscle has had much exercise in this capricious society and is the curse of the 20th century. More fights and contentions are caused by the ego than any other single factor. This comes back to what I said earlier, correct training and combative hardship corrodes the control of the ego and puts you back in charge. You will no longer be dragged around the yard by your ego, you will have the confidence to walk away.
Escape is often a lot easier than one may think and doesn't always involve elaborate planning or strategy, just pure common sense.
I have a friend in the south, a 6th Dan in karate, who rang me up to ask me to help him out with a dilemma. He regularly visited a local pub and every time he did there was a particular chap in there who stared him out in a challenging manner. You know the type, knuckles dragging along the floor, IQ of a plant.
It really is that simple. If a pub is so rough that strangers want to stare at me for no other reason than they don't like the look of my face, then I do not want to drink there. Especially when you consider that most areas have hundreds of public houses to choose from. You might argue that you have every right to drink in that place and are not prepared to drink somewhere else, and that would be your right. But I come back to my original point, why would you want to defend a spot by a bar in a shit hole as contentious as that? Drink somewhere else. If I enter a bar and buy a drink for £2 and I start getting aggressive stares from some Neanderthal at the other end of the bar, I'll leave the drink and go somewhere else. For the sake of £2 I have saved myself a hell of a lot of trouble. I look at the worst case scenario. I know that if I stay where I am the lemon is going to approach me at some point in the night and a fight is going to ensue. Because my whole life is training, the chances are I am going to hurt the fellow very badly -probably hospitalize him. He goes to the hospital, I go to the police station where they charge me with a Section 18 wounding with intent. Because I train, the prosecuting council is going to make me out to be a superman and a jury of 12 are going to convict me for 5 years. Is a space by the bar in a shit hole of a pub really worth it? I don't think so.
Escape can mean as little as swallowing your pride or controlling your ego, taking your lady by the arm and moving to a place where your company is appreciated. If you are like me, have a little drink at home or go to a nice restaurant thus avoiding the potential all together and stopping you having to look over your shoulder every five minutes to see who is staring at you. If you find this difficult, if for some reason you are stuck in a particular place for the evening and a guy gives you the evil eye, lift your hand up and give the fellow a polite wave. The chances are that he will think that he knows you from somewhere and feel embarrassed that he has stared, he might even wave back. Once you have made the wave do not hold eye contact, this is often seen as a subliminal challenge.
If you were to bump into someone and they get a little aggressive make an apology -say you're sorry for bumping into them. Say it firmly, but politely, so that they can feel your confidence. If they pursue it place a fence between you and them and back away. Tell them that you don't want trouble. If they pursue it any further then you may have to get physical, perhaps with posturing (later chapter) or even an attack. If you do have to attack then make it pre-emptive. Blocking and countering like they do in the films doesn't work so don't bother trying.
An incident occurred recently when I was at the bar of a private party where I had no other option open to me than to stay. I went to the bar with Sharon and an ugly fellow stood by the bar started staring at me. I tried to be polite because I sensed that he wanted trouble.
actually I'm not,' I replied honestly, 'liar!' came the very rude response.
I nearly lost the plot at this point because the guy was overtly aggressive and it was obvious that he was looking for a fight. I lined him up to knock him out and remembered where I was and that I was trying to practice avoiding fights, I' d been in over three hundred and had seen enough bloodshed for ten lifetimes. I was very firm, slightly annoyed.
As I walked away I heard him sneer, 'Fucking bodyguards, all a bunch of wankers'. Sharon patted me on the back and said, 'Well done'. She knew that two years earlier the guy would have been knocked unconscious, along with anyone else that stood in to defend him. But now I was practising a different art. For those that might be interested he tried the same thing on with my friend Griff, who was actually an international bodyguard. Griff smashed his nose into the toilet urinals -he wasn't as patient as I was.
It is often a lot easier to avoid a fight if you have an understanding of the attack ritual. As we said earlier: understand the enemy or you are fighting in the dark. If you know why, where and how an attack is likely to happen, it stands to reason that the acquired knowledge will help you to avoid such situations, or prepare for them.
There are, of course, lots of different types of attackers and attacks. Some choose to rob, some choose to rape, whilst others instigate gratuitous violence for no other profit than malice. Some assailants are cold-blooded in that they meticulously plan their attacks before they set about executing them. Many are opportunists who will only commit an offence if a 'safe' situation arises in their everyday lives. Men, women and children are being attacked indiscriminately, even in highly populated areas, where the frightened and seemingly unsympathetic general public hide under the veil of, 'It's nothing to do with me', or 'I don't want to get involved.' However when you have a judicial system that seems more in favour of the attacker than the victim this reticence is often understandable.
Generally the attacker of today is a cowardly person who either fights from the podium of alcohol/drugs or attacks from behind, possibly with the crutch of a weapon or an accomplice, or both. Excepting possibly the rapist, who often works on the basis that he believes himself physically superior to his victim, most attackers work with the aid 9f one or more accomplices. As formerly mentioned they are looking for VICTIMS, those that are in Code White or are detached from the herd. If you practice target hardening, these people -due to their proverbial 'yellow' streaks -will not cross your path. If they do and you fight back ferociously with well-aimed economical attacks, they will often abort, though I have to reiterate a physical response is the inferior tactic. If you do decide to employ physical techniques, make sure that you know your way around the fighting arena or you may just add anger to the attacker's artillery by daring to strike him. If you strike, you need to know that it will inflict damage enough for you to effect an escape.
Most attacks are preceded by stalking and dialogue entrapments. The 3 second fight is not commonly known or talked about, but most attackers use dialogue as their leading technique. I find that many instructors of self-defence are so concerned about the physical 'tricks' that they forget about those vital seconds leading up to assault. It is those that handle pre-fight most effectively that tend to be victorious when a situation becomes 'live'. In fact, if you are switched on to the attacker's ritual you will not usually even be selected as a victim. This is absolutely the most important factor in 'real' situation and yet it is one area nearly always overlooked by other defence gurus. One aspect of the ritual is the aforementioned four D's, which involve body language as well as the spoken word. This dialogue is often called 'The Interview' (which I will discuss presently). If you can spot the ritual, you can stop the crime.
A part of understanding the enemy is deciphering the language of the street. Much of the attacker's dialogue is used, again innately, as a trigger for violence and to engage a potential victim's brain before assault. Positive interpretation of this 'speak' will unveil signs of imminent assault -literally giving you a countdown to his attack. The ritual alters according to the category of attack, as does the dialogue. I have to make the point before I go on, that none of what you are reading here is or will be of any relevance if the victim is switched off. Deceptive dialogue and cunning entrapments are hardly necessary if the victim is walking across a field at night or down a dark alley in a sparsely populated area. When this is the case.- as it very often is -most assaults will be physical and violent almost immediately. The ritual is only used in a bid to trick an intended victim or heighten their vulnerability. If the intended victim has already placed him or herself in a victim state, then they'll be attacked without any warning. To notice rituals and entrapments you have to be switched on and have your eyes wide open otherwise you will suffer the fate of those before you.
If the intent is robbery or rape the dialogue is often disarming or incidental, 'Have you got a light please?' or 'Can you give me directions to Smith St please, I'm a little lost?' The attacker is looking to 'switch the victim off before attack. In the case of the gratuitous assault where the intent is attack for attack's sake the dialogue is more likely to be aggressive, for example, 'What are you looking at?' In either case the dialogue is employed to gain and distract attention before attack.
Generally speaking, the greater the crime, the greater the deception. At the bottom end of the scale the gratuitous attacker will engage his intended victim with aggressive dialogue, such as, 'I'm gonna batter you, you bastard!' Whilst at the top of the scale the rapist or murderer will prime his victim with anything from a gentlemanly request for directions to, as in the case of killer John Cannan, sending his intended victims, (usually women he had spotted in the street and followed or just met) champagne, flowers and dinner invitations -the ultimate primers for rape and murder. The more cunning attackers drop into the thespian role with Oscar-winning perfection.
This fashion for mindless violence often starts with as little as eye contact. In a volatile environment this can be construed as a subliminal challenge to fight. Many of the fights I witnessed in my time as a nightclub doorman began with the' eye contact challenge'. You don't have to do any thing wrong to be attacked by this genre of attacker, you just have to be there. Please don't make the mistake of looking for the logic in the attack, there is no logic, the will be no logic and to look for it will only add confusion and indecision. In those seconds of indecision you will have been robbed and beaten -there is no logic.
Most assaults of this nature are, in my opinion, due to displaced aggression. You may trigger off this aggression and become the object of that aggression. Something is pissing these people off in their sad lives. No matter who is trampling on their roses, pissing on their parade, metaphorically kicking the dog when he is down -you will become the object of that pent-up aggression, because you spilled their beer, cut them up in the car, looked at their girlfriend or simply because you were there. That attack is very often brutal, sometimes fatal. Being in Code Yellow will allow you to detect and subsequently avoid these philistines and these incidents in the primary stages, again if you don't know the language you can't talk the lingo.
In the bar or the street you can often spot the gratuitous attacker, he'll have a bad attitude -probably propping up the bar or stalking the dance floor -his elbows pushed out from his sides as though carrying buckets of water. He'll have the customary curled upper lip and will probably be very rude to anyone that moves within a few feet of him. If he's walking down the street he will do so with an overconfident bounce.. If he's with others he'll probably be very loud, garrulous and erratic in his movements. He may also be mean and moody with a very aggressive gait. Again, as in the nightclub, he'll be stalking, looking for eye contact. If you are in Code Yellow, you can spot these signs from a mile off.
There are two main kinds of eye contact that may escalate into violence:
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