The brutal consequences of a street fight

Something that tends to be overlooked, in particular by young and fit men, is the potential brutal consequences of a street fight and just how extreme these can get. They’ve all seen videos of how a guy gets knocked out and then a few people step in before things get worse, thinking that’s how it goes. For sure, this happens. It happens a lot actually, in particular when you look at the typical dominance display and puff-up-your-chest fighting young, inexperienced men tend to gravitate towards. The critical mistake is thinking this is the only kind of street fight or violence that exists.

There are others.

Here is one such example. As always, a caveat:

  • We weren’t there. All observations on this video are nothing but an opinion, not a fact.
  • We don’t know what caused this. There is no way of knowing what was said, done or threatened to make this street fight happen.
  • I’m not making any judgements on who is right or wrong. I don’t have enough facts to decide on that. My comments pertain only to the incident itself.

Please keep this in mind when you read the rest of this article.

If the video starts from the beginning, skip ahead to 2min. 7sec. That’s where the incident begins.

Here goes:

Some observations about this video:

  • It looks like “No-shirt” wants to de-escalate things. We don’t know what he says, but he seems to want to avoid a fight and get away. He goes to grab his jacket and then attempts to leave.
  • The other guy escalates it. He gets in the way and blocks No-shirt in his tracks. He also closes into striking distance. No-shirt pushes him away and tries to keep going.
  • He strikes first. The other guy opens the fight with a backhand slap to the face and then it’s on.
  • Everything goes downhill from there. No-shirt quickly takes the upper hand and things devolve into the brutal consequences I want to talk about here below.

Some lessons we can learn from all of this:

  • Let it go. Though we don’t know why the guy insists on fighting No-shirt, we do know he paid a huge price for it. We don’t know what happens after the video stops either, if he is alive or dead. Whatever was important enough for him to decide to take it to violence better be worth this result. For the average person, it might be wiser to just let it go and move on with your life…
  • Striking softly doesn’t work well. That slap as a first move was a mistake. He got the first shot in, but it did nothing more than enrage No-shirt. If that first technique had been more powerful, the fight might have ended very differently. That said, there is no guarantee. He could have hit full power and the guy might have still kept coming. Or not. Nobody knows. Violence is unpredictable.
  • There are no referees on the street. Once the guy is down, the brutal consequences begin. He receives punch after punch, kick after kick, well after he has lost all ability to attack No-shirt. Notice how only a few people try to get No-shirt to back off, but have little success. Also notice how these people don’t want to get beat up for intervening. They step in, but not forcefully, leaving the result of their actions entirely up to No-shirt, who has already proven what he intends to do. In other words, once you go down, anything can happen.

 

What’s the point?

This level of punishment is always on the table when you get into a fight. When you “lose”, you don’t get to chose what happens to you. Your opponent will do that for you. How far the consequences of a street fight go is up to him. There is nothing stopping him from taking it all the way to where you end up in the morgue, whether he intends that to happen or otherwise.

Marc has a good concept to explain this dynamic, one I like a lot: the road of violence. I’m going to oversimplify and butcher that concept a bit with my explanation, so read his excellent book for more detailed information. Here goes:

Picture violence like a road you travel on. The further you get, the more extreme things become. Some people have experience up to 100 yards down that road, others have less or more than that. It depends. How you view violence and how you handle it depends on how far you have traveled or have seen others travel down that road.

There are a few things that follow from this:

  • There’s a stretch of road you don’t want to go to. It’s too extreme for you. That’s not “who you are.”
  • There’s a point after which you have no idea what happens. You have never been that far down the road. You don’t know what’s there. Most normal people don’t want to go there.

The issue from this video I want to emphasize  is this:

Chances are high the other guy had no idea No-shirt would take it that far.

Chances are high he didn’t realize this could happen to him.

The brutal consequences of a street fight.

The brutal consequences of a street fight.

What this video illustrates so well is a combination of both these points. No-shirt is clearly willing to take it way beyond self-defense. It’s even beyond simple retaliation: it’s a message to both the other guy and anybody else who might want to “mess with him.” It’s the kind of violence you won’t see the average drunk, frat-boy engage in. It’s the violence of street thugs and criminals (to a degree.)

It’s the violence most people have no experience with. As a result, this is the part down the road they don’t know about, nor know how to handle it. One of the critical pieces of information they miss is this:

For some people, this part of the road is a starting point.

They don’t work their way up to that point, they begin there and things only get worse afterwards.

Facing such a person in a street fight is like staring into the proverbial abyss: it stares back and you will find out what you are made off. Not what you think of yourself or claim to be, but what you actually are. Sometimes, the reply will be:

Everything I have is not enough to get out of this.

At that point, the consequences of a street fight can be extremely brutal.

For the record, there is much, much worse than what you see in this video. No-shirt is nowhere near the end of that road of violence.

Which brings me to my final point:

When you are about to go all alpha-male on some guy over a parking space, ask yourself these questions:

  • Is it worth going to the hospital for.
  • Is it worth dying for?

If the answer is “no”, then just let it go.

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Comments

  1. Great article and insight. Part of what separates us (the ‘West”) from groups like ISIS – the willingness to go further along the violence continuum. It takes many people by surprise how far some will go, when they go past the ego/dominance displays.

  2. As always, an expert analysis.

  3. In this scenario the agressor wanted to inflict injury on the victim and kept kicking him while he was down. This looks rare and horrible since nobody stops him and he keeps striking. This is a brutal example how someone can get murdered when losing a fight. However one can also die or end up seriously injured when this is never the intention of the agressor.

    If someone only strikes once and then stops or it gets broken up one still can get maimed or killed by that single blow.
    There are numerous cases in which someone just wanted to protect their social status and just punched once, however the victim got knocked out and died after he hit his head on the pavement.
    Either way one should always attempt to avoid a confrontation and only use violence as a last resort. If not one might just as well end up being the one dying on the floor or end up killing someone over a minor problem.