Dear Dr. Brilliant Cliché;
I was listening to a talk show on NPR and a listener called in with this experience-
A bully with 10 friends surrounded this guy, and he knew he wasn’t going to get away. They engaged and humiliated him. I commented that he should have broken the bully’s nose before the first sentence came out, it was the only real chance he had. I said that the guy didn’t know they would just humiliate him, and he must assume they will kill him. If anyone attacks you, you must assume it’s to kill and react accordingly. My wife, who was also listening, said that was stupid, and that hitting the bully could have caused the gang to kill the guy, not just humiliated him. But this guy is still affected by what happened 30 years later!
It seems to me that if he’d taken action, he could have spared himself the lingering trauma. What do you think?
I agree with you. I was taught in Judo that if some is attacking you, you need to assume their intent is to kill you. The goal is to get away and whatever allows for that must be done. Besides, you can’t know someone’s intent and there often is only seconds to make a decision. I am not sure this changes even if the aggressor’s age or gender changes. Think about the planes that were hijacked in 911.The only plane not to succeed was the one where the passengers assumed they were already dead. People often react wrong assuming the aggressor can’t possibly be thinking so abhorrent. People assume other people can’t possibly be that evil or broken, but they can be.
If you are attacked or surrounded by a group of potential attackers especially if there is alcohol on their breath assume they are one of those. Do what it takes to get out of there.
Dr. Brilliant Cliché
Both you and Dr. Cliché are seriously misinformed.
First, I’d like to mention that the radio call-in guy wasn’t killed, illustrating the point that not every attacker means to kill you. In fact, this guy wasn’t even attacked, as far as I can tell. He was humiliated by this gang, not beaten. So the judo advice of what to assume and how to act when attacked is not even relevant to this case.
Second, I do predict that if the victim in this case had punched the bully in the nose, it would have done nothing but make the bully and his friends angry. A punch from a guy is the equivalent of a slap in the face from a girl. When I train women in self-defense, I tell them to never slap an attacker. Why? It just pisses your attacker off and makes him feel the need to subdue you more harshly. If you are going to strike out at an attacker, you have to actually damage him, not just hurt him. Don’t scratch a face, rip an eyeball out. Crush their trachea so that they suffocate. This forces him into a position of self-preservation and will enable you to get away.
If you ever find yourself in a situation where you are surrounded by 11 attackers and you know with absolute certainty that they intend to kill you, you have one chance, and this chance exists only if you know specific techniques and can execute them with the full adrenalin and power of your being. You need to grab the person closest to you and damage them so badly that they are either dead or mutilated. Bite their freaking’ face off if you have to. Gouge those eyes. Break their neck. It is the ONLY thing that will convince a gang to leave you alone. No one wants to risk being maimed or killed, and at this point, the gang knows you are going to take some of them down with you if they attack.
None of these last-ditch self-defense tactics are something that you can take back, and the post-trauma experienced from executing them is not inconsiderable… so if you aren’t sure of the situation, you may want to THINK before reflexively maiming another person for life. If you are on a hijacked plane, the need for drastic action is obvious. But if I were on a school campus and a small group of students surrounded me, I would not jump to the immediate conclusion they wanted to kill me. You need to use common sense.
Be realistic- if all you have in your arsenal is a punch in the nose and you aren’t a trained fighter, don’t just flail out. If the surrounding gang didn’t intend to beat you senseless before, they surely will after that. It’s not a fair fight, and that’s what bullies love most.
Right now, the guy from the radio show has lingering trauma. But he could have ended up both with lingering trauma and be confined to a wheelchair for life- or be six feet under.
And I gotta ask- how the hell did that guy allow himself to get into a situation like that to begin with? There just are not that many normal situations in life where you find yourself alone and surrounded by a gang. The idea of prevention may not be as ego-gratifying as the thought punching a bully in the nose, but it’s by far a more intelligent method of self-defense.