The Myth of the Street Fighter.

Discussion in 'Self Defence' started by Happy Feet Cotton Tail, Jul 20, 2011.

  1. Happy Feet Cotton Tail

    Happy Feet Cotton Tail Valued Member

    Do Self defence "fear no man" specialists over-estimate the average street thug?

    Street fighting is frequently described as being a hyper-aggressive, hugely un-predictable struggle of super-high intensity against an opponent who is willing to do anything to destroy you and most likely has been in a thousand more "street fights" than you.

    Now I'm not saying it's bad to weigh in the considerations of weapons, multiple opponents, a high aggression assualt and a mentally prepared opponent.

    But doesn't this forget the far more common occurences of violence that involve well.... normal people.

    Why do we assume that the mythical "Street fighter" is a seasoned pro when it comes to violence with a killer high intensity mindset, frequently with a weapon in reach and a private army of equally experienced badassess lurking in the shadows ready to back him up the second things look bad for him?

    Normally I'd say it's preparing for the worst, but alot of the time this just seems like hyperbole to justify the insecurities and obsessions of certain martial arts enthusiasts.
  2. Thomas

    Thomas Combat Hapkido/Taekwondo

    In my opinion, the greatest asset the "street fighter" has is the absolute conviction that s/he WILL fight. For many us (and our students), we spend a lot of time on finding ways to avoid a situation, get out of it using the least amount of force (from legal and moral reasons), or hesitating to the lats possible minute to see if we can escape/talk our way out of what we may see as a stupid reason to fight.

    A street fighter, in many cases, has already decided that they will use physical force against you and are waiting for the opportunity. So, whatever their skill level is, they can make up for it by attacking when you least expect it.
  3. Hannibal

    Hannibal Cry HAVOC and let slip the Dogs of War!!! Supporter

    Darn tootin!!!!!!!
  4. robertmap

    robertmap Valued Member

    Agreed - the first thing I discuss with prospective Personal Safety students is what are the risk factors that they face and why do they need 'Skills' :) Different people have different needs, the first thing to do is figure out what you need and then to make sure that your training (mainly) addresses those needs.

    For myself:

    I remember being at a seminar JWT hosted some years ago where we did a segment about dealing with a threat from a long-gun (SA-80 type) - now it was great fun but has a usefulness (FOR ME) of about .000000000001 %

    Other figures could be something like (again for me):

    Knife assault... maybe 5%

    Sociopath... maybe .1%

    Drunk idiot... 10%

    Angry motorist or person at car park... 15%

    etc, etc, etc...

    Having figured out what threats I am likely to face, it becomes much easier to adapt training to suit.

    The chance of being attacked by the semi-mythical 'super experienced and DEADLY street fighter' is for me (and I suspect for most 'ordinary' people) pretty slim.

    It's easy to forget that MOST people lead quiet uneventful lives - that's why getting students is so darn hard :)
  5. robertmap

    robertmap Valued Member

    Hi Thomas,

    Yes proper training should include de-escalation and negotiation skills but it should also teach proper distancing and threat awareness - if you can't establish proper distance and there is a threat then you should be absolutely ready either to attack or defend as your personal preferences and the situation dictate.

    I do agree that there are many potential attackers that do not care in the least if they fight or not... but most of them want to WIN - it is the job of proper martial arts training to give students the necessary skills so that they can inflict enough discomfort/pain/injury so that the aggressor realises either a) time to find a better victim or b) wakes up thinking 'OUCH' I shouldn't have done that.
  6. Happy Feet Cotton Tail

    Happy Feet Cotton Tail Valued Member

    My guess is that the majority of people are probably exactly the same as your students when it comes to fighting, even alot of the aggressors.

    Remember "Come on then! :mad:"? Two guys repeating those lines while getting stuck into each-others face and shoving each-other, it happens in the school-yard and it happens friday night at closing time.

    Two individuals who really do not want to fight and are hoping and praying that the other one will back down so that they can save face without having to get violent.

    I do though agree with you that certainly in some self defence scenarios the "defender" has less knowledge about what is going to happen versus the "street fighter".
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2011
  7. Putrid

    Putrid Moved on

    No.The majority of street fighters are psychotic and won't be in the slightest bit bothered about your welfare.Add drugs and drink and you have a very serious problem on your hands.
  8. Killa_Gorillas

    Killa_Gorillas Banned Banned

    I once got blind drunk in a bar, passed out, and woke up with 6 guys and the full door team dead in my triangle and the bar maids numbers scrawled onto my guns in lippy... true story.
  9. Convergencezone

    Convergencezone Valued Member

    I actually do think that the self-defense industry overestimates the "streetfighter". While we're on the subject, a lot of these self defense "experts" play upon the fear of freezing up. I do not think that people really "freeze up" when attacked. Murder victoms all have defensive wounds from fighting back, so I do not think most people freeze up. Rather, I think most people would be in denial that they are in a dangerous situation, and let an attacker get the drop on them- but I don't think this is the same as freezing up.

    In gereral, I think that if you study and art with full contact striking like boxing, muay thai, kyokushin, or even alot of other martial arts depending on how they are taught, you will be able to beat most people that don't train. Even the dreaded streetfighter. But I still think that there is a potential for going into denial of what is happening if someone is not used to situations where people are likely to get get violent.
  10. Hannibal

    Hannibal Cry HAVOC and let slip the Dogs of War!!! Supporter

    People freeze up a lot - in fact as often as not .

    Freeze does not mean stand there like a lemon it means you cannot process what is happening and are unable to formulate a strategy - "code black" in the Cooper Code
  11. Johnno

    Johnno Valued Member

    Excellent point. There seems to be quite a common notion that there is a large body of men roaming around who are... The Streetfighters. And apparantly they all have a great deal in common.
  12. Convergencezone

    Convergencezone Valued Member

    Yes, I guess I"d call "not being able to process what is happening" a form of denial rather than freezing, so it seems this is an issue of semantics.

    That being the case, I know people that have suffered horrific suprise criminal attacks, and none have reported "freezing" once they were engaged in a fight. Humans are conditioned to fight for their survival when attacked. But I also think that people misread events that a situation is unsafe before it becomes physical, which may lead to giving an attacker the initiative.
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2011
  13. Putrid

    Putrid Moved on

    I think it depends on how you define a streetfighter.To me a street fighter is a psychotic individual who has a need for violence.He wants to test himself against a similar man rather than go out and pick a fight with a no-hoper.Its a challenge and he will be on a high from winning as he will have reinforced his position in his peer group.The only street fighters I have met have been doormen and men in football firms.None of them were a threat to me as I wasn't a threat to their place in the pecking order.Most of us,unless we work in security jobs such as the police,are unlikely to face these kind of individuals.The guys who conduct seminars have fought these sort of men and in some cases are these men themselves.They desribe the worst possible scenario from their own expereince.So I wouldn't say they over-estimate things but sometimes forget that most people don't have their need for violence and are unlikely to find themselves in the same situations.
  14. Happy Feet Cotton Tail

    Happy Feet Cotton Tail Valued Member

    In which case wouldn't it seem that these are just bad self defence instructors who don't/can't appreciate the reality of thier students?
  15. Putrid

    Putrid Moved on

    I have trained with a couple of these types and their advice was to walk away even if it means loosing face.They know the realities of violence and how quickly your life can come to an end so perhaps in some respects they make the best instructors as they say it as it is.Of course it is more comfortable in training with someone who you can relate to but that has to be balanced with what they have got to teach.
  16. Convergencezone

    Convergencezone Valued Member

    Martial artists seem to have a lot of anxiety about the mythical street fighter and some future streetfight of attack they must face, and people who put on self-defense seminars play upon these anxieties to to make a buck.

    In addition to martial arts, I have also trained in boxing. it's worth pointing out that I have never heard a boxer express these same anxieties. Just sayin'.
  17. Hannibal

    Hannibal Cry HAVOC and let slip the Dogs of War!!! Supporter

    Because they have that exposure to getting comes with the territory and they will often "take one to give two"...very few martial artists are either willing or able to do this so when they get tagged it takes a while for them to process what is happening, which is why they then have problems
  18. Happy Feet Cotton Tail

    Happy Feet Cotton Tail Valued Member

    Maybe I should explain what I'm getting at.

    If people are being prepared mentaly and physicaly for a fight to the death brawl with a vicious nut-job. Then they are quite simply ill equiped to deal with admittedly less cinematic but much more common scenarios like a scuffle with a drunk outside a chip shop.

    If you gouge a man's eyes, smash a bottle over his head then kick him in the throat once he is down, when all he was wanting to do was punch you in the mouth; then you are in a horrible position legally and situationaly when the whole bar turns to react to what was quite simply an utterly un-explanable act of cruelty.

    A lot of these instructors advocate complete over-kill, that if acted on would put their students 90% of the time in more trouble than they started with, they then justify this with a smoke screen of paranoia and insecurity that usually takes the form of the mythical "Street Fighter".
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2011
  19. Convergencezone

    Convergencezone Valued Member

    "Because they have that exposure to getting comes with the territory and they will often "take one to give two"...very few martial artists are either willing or able to do this so when they get tagged it takes a while for them to process what is happening, which is why they then have problems"

    Yes, Hannibal, my point exactly. Go to a cheap run down boxing gym, and you'll be able to defend yourself against a streetfighter better than if you attened a hundred pricey seminars.
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2011
  20. Mitch

    Mitch Lord Mitch of MAP Admin

    As with anything else there are good self defence guys and bad. JWT here on MAP builds legal considerations into his training, for example.

    Just as with any TMA Instructor who advocates "deadly techniques" there are SD guys doing the same but really that's only responding to stereotypes of the genre and not the reality, or at least not the reality once you've applied some critical thinking to it.

    Which is the same as in most areas of life. :)

    Last edited: Jul 21, 2011

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