Lessons from Street-Fight Videos

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Lessons from Street-Fight Videos

Postby HanshiClayton » Sat Dec 20, 2008 10:01 am

I spent the last week picking apart 215 candid videos of dominance fights (and a few muggings), and I put together two video presentations that sum it all up with several score appropriate clips. And music.

The first video is 4.5 minutes long, and answers the question: “Where does violence occur?” Answer: Everywhere. With very lively video of fights just about everywhere.

The second runs 12.5 minutes, and addresses the evolution of a dominance fight. This must be a basic human behavior because every clip (over a hundred) looked exactly the same. The behavior transcended age, sex, race, nationality... it looked innate.

The video begins with “starters,” or fights just beginning. No surprises there, although the sheer variety of sucker punches is an education. After that, there was a progression of developments that was very predictable and reliable.

    Phase 1: Swinging arms wildly, with head held back, sometimes actually leaning backward, trying to land a luck punch. The punches “windmilled” with the arm at full extension in most cases. Punches were very rapid... four or five per second. Most missed, and the ones that hit were ineffective.

    Phase 2: Within a few seconds one of the flying windmill punches loops behind the other guy’s head and suddenly we’re hanging on to a headlock while still punching wildly with the other hand. Neither party has any idea how to proceed, except to keep lurching around and making random hits.

    Phase 3: The fighters lose their footing and fall to the ground, still in headlock mode. There follows some really awful groundfighting, amounting to rolling around on the ground, still punching ineffectively.

    Phase 4: Eventually, one person gets up and, without exception, kicks the prone person in the back or the head. Sometimes right in the face. Nearly everybody took this parting shot.

    Phase X: At some point, usually during the groundfight, bystanders decide to jump in and help. They jump in on the side of the losing party. A one-on-one fight changes in a second to a many-against-one fight. If a fighter goes down on the ground surrounded by enemies, they without exception step in to kick/stomp him two or three more times each, and then they lose interest and walk away.

I saw this same pattern over and over in more than a hundred videos.

So, our self-defense classes need to confront these exact phases as a minimum. I would regard this as a sine qua non of using the term “self-defense.”

The beatings, even the kicks, seemed very ineffective. Usually the defeated fighter just got up and walked away. After fifty punches and half a dozen kicks. Amazing.

Now the good news: There were two or three clips showing one of these flailing bozos attacking a trained fighter. Bang. One hit, fight over.

I always knew that dominance fights had these phases, but I didn’t realize it was as predictable and repeatable as it is.

The experience of analyzing the videos was somewhat traumatic, but I’m glad I did it. In a matter of a week I carefully studied over 200 fights. When did we have that opportunity before? Now I know what I’m up against, and I’m not impressed.

Then there were the mugging attacks. Not just sucker punches but “murderous intent” with stalking and brutal execution. It made me sick to watch it. Those guys were deadly, but they were predators, not fighters. If we see him coming, it’s our game. If not, we’ll be lucky to survive.
Bruce D. Clayton, Ph.D.
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