The Confrontational Default Behavior
Handling the Direct Challenge
One thing that I have dismissed, perhaps too out of hand, is the challenge. Since age 15, I have never been in a street fight. I have had hundreds of violent experiences, being attacked and also launching attacks against others. However, I learned early on that the proper place for a fight was in the ring, gym or dojo where there was no legal liability. My admonishment to simply never, ever fight, is something that I hold to, but which comes with a few caveats.
Before we continue on up the confrontational trajectory scale we should sort this out, in order to avoid you ever ‘sorting this out’ with some wannabe Tyson Fury outside a barroom.
There are four possible goals when instigating a confrontation:
- Drawing you into a fight
- Setting you up for an attack
- Intimidating you into submitting to as a general principal in a constant contact situation such as work or during organized activities, in which your adversary simply wants to be recognized as higher up on the pecking order than you
- Extracting some material value, information or behavioral concession from you
All along the intensifying trajectory your antagonist may resort to the direct challenge, a verbal invitation to fight, to “come on!”
At the far end of the spectrum there awaits the push, which, in roughly a third of cases, is the final invitation to engage in a mutual combat.
Once this happens, and you agree, then the term ‘fight’ might aptly be applied to the situation. And, if this man has help that is willing to pile on, or an extremely dangerous individual, you have just aided his legal defense (his friend(s) who stomp you out never face charges, as they are innocent witnesses). Also, if you are the badass, and he dies, you have just signed up for a manslaughter charge.
In case you are being seriously threatened, or after you have been attacked—successfully or not—it is imperative that you never use the term fight, ever, and dispute its use by law enforcement personnel who have begun using the extralegal term to deflect the seriousness of attacks they do not wish to prosecute. Likewise, the media are addicted to using the term ‘fight’ to misrepresent race-based extreme violence.
There are three premises for a bald challenge to fight:
- Low IQ Escalation: A younger or larger or more numerous antagonist(s) has had enough of you being difficult and defaults in frustration to a challenge either by sliding all the way up the scale to a push, putting up his fists and exhorting you to come on, or simply saying something like, “come on, let’s go!”
- Purposeful Escalation: The confrontation was initiated in order to produce a fight that will satisfy the antagonist’s urge to feel more potent at someone else’s expense. This is where it is inexorably headed in his mind and it is incumbent upon you to derail this process.
- Honorable Challenge: Yes, the ages-old impulse of one man to measure himself against another man in combat, with no malice or evil intent. This last type of challenge is, in our current society almost extinct. It does, however occur, and can be managed.
The Low IQ Escalation
Vietnam Tom and Amblance, represent, represent an example of a younger guy wanting to impose his will on an older guy, and show him to be a coward and a racist and elicit some type of apology or other submission. Instead, by crossing the line to light physical contact on Vietnam Tom’s hat, Amblance walked into a Caucasian buzz-saw. This is the type of stupidity, lack of verbal skill and failure to misread body language that results in some spontaneous fights. I rate this as a fight because it was an invitation exchange. If Amblance had not touched the hat and Tom just blasted him that would be an attack. If Amblance would have punched Tom instead of touching the hat, that too would be an attack.
TIP: Against this type of escalated challenge, I prefer to stand my ground, slightly oblique to the antagonist where you can get a good forcing your adversary to make it up as he goes along.
The single example of a purposeful escalation from the previous video encounters was the drunk versus the pimp, where the drunk presented himself, daring the pimp to throw the first punch, the entire confrontation obviously a process put in motion in the addled mind of the drunk to achieve a fight. Such an escalation method will work well (depending on your perspective) when there is a subtle honor code in place, as among African American men, who have grown up with a code of not giving ground and standing up to a fight, despite all rational indications that it is a bad idea, even against cops. In the case of this pimp, who was a former welterweight titlist, he could not conceivably fail to give battle once the drunk had taken the confrontation this far without inviting other such challenges. This is essentially a pecking order confirmation check.
Below is another example of a confrontation between two rival ethnic groups, in which any rational shying from single combat would bring the status of the individuals and of their associates into question and result in future predation. Below, juveniles engage in a much more ancient rationale, set against the backdrop of modern America. Note aspects of predation in the resolution, such as the deceptive set up and the taking advantage of the antagonist that has lingered in the confrontational zone for too long. This kind of fight is only half formalized.
Below is another example of a man doing everything he could by way of insult, threat, and material damage to provoke a fight. His provocations did not go as he planned. The winner of this rude contest was not a very good technician, but he kept his feet under him and put his chicken legs into the force of his blows, resulting in a pleasing resolution for the acceptor over the cognitively challenged challenger.
To make the point that purposeful conversational escalations to a fight are on the rise in terms of individual confrontations, observe the black man following and berating the white man. This results in his invitation to fight being taken too eagerly when the antagonist probably sought only to humiliate verbally. Unfortunately, the postmodern African American male has been raised not by a father, not by a mother and father, but by a mother and grandmother to be primarily a verbally based aggressor. This often enables them to initiate more fights than they are qualified to finish.
Please note, that jumping up and down on the head of a fallen aggressor is frowned upon in court, and that it could not possibly reduce the IQ of this fool further in any case, so this action is both ill-advised and pointless.
It is important to note that such behavior is not just an African American phenomenon, but is symptomatic of the dominant black ghetto-based hip hop culture embraced by most violent American youth. Watch the following video of a group of white youths demonstrating black female behavior against one retreating, yet confrontational, defender. Tall thin black guys with that boxy jaw and elongated skull rarely take punches well. Be warned, this is not a universal racial characteristic. The muscular adversaries with round heads are among the hardest to KO.
This fellow was doing the right thing. If you stand against a group you get surrounded. By retreating then stopping and hitting, he gained by causing the group to lose cohesion and walk into his punches.
TIP: Against the purposeful challenger who is using conversation to get you to either submit and give him a bloodless victory, putting your psychological scalp on his belt, or who is intent on following through to a physical conclusion, I prefer to walk away. The retreat tactic can be shown to mark your adversary as the aggressor and can be used as an argument in court of law that you felt like you had no other choice.
Even if you turn and fight, still stick to your claim that he attacked by closing on you and you were defending. This is not the truth. But the law has nothing to do with the truth. It is a set of unjust rules that you must manipulate and negotiate in order to stay out of prison while your enemies do time.
Another reason to retreat and then turn and strike is that it may afford you the opportunity to catch your attacker by surprise while still advancing and running their mouths.
The Honorable Challenge
Once, a larger, younger black coworker came to me in the stockroom of a supermarket and challenged me to a fight, having heard that I had boxed. He asked me how good I was. I responded “Not very good.”
Even after I gave him the win, and promised to tell everyone he was a better boxer than me based solely on our conversation, he still wanted to fight me on the dock. I tentatively agreed, suggesting that he should put his apron back on, which he had been in the process of removing as part of his threat sequence. He, not of the sharp wit, asked me why, and I said something like, “I’m known to bleed. If you are as good as you say, it’s going to be a mess.” (He had a nice shirt on.)
He became slack jawed and frightened, and walked away hurriedly, never to challenge me again.
Big Nate and Blue
Big Nate, my drinking Buddy in 1993, was a coworker who had just gotten out of jail over the weekend for beating the piss out of three normal sized dudes who had been harassing his wife and her girlfriend in a bar parking lot. This, of course, in any sick, womanly society, is a crime.
Big Nate was big, at 6’4” and 320 pounds.
Having worked Sunday night, we stopped to have a few beers on a Monday morning at 7 a.m. at the Highland Café at Baltimore and Highland, an old ethnic neighborhood in East Baltimore. We were shooting pool in the back when Blue, a massively muscled Lumbee Indian, who stood 6’4” and a lean, athletic, 240 pounds. Blue had shoulders and hands like George Foreman and thighs like an NFL fullback. The guy was a specimen.
Blue was drawn to us—to Big Nate, rather—and became involved in our pool game in the back of the bar, during the course of which he casually suggested that he and Nate—a man he seemed to want to respect, but found suspect as he was yet unapprised of his combat prowess—step out back for a fight.
Nate was a big dude and won fights because he was a big dude. Blue was the same size as far as muscle and bone, less 80 pounds of fat. This would be like setting a German police dog on a teddy bear of the same size.
Nate gave me ‘please help’ eyes.
He had recently been challenged to a fight at work by a guy who wanted to get credit for being beaten up by a giant dude. Nate had given me this same look then, indicating that he did not want to head right back to jail because of this idiot. So I slashed the guy in the balls from behind with my utility knife—and he ran to the bathroom like an constipated duck with his hands between his legs. I had kept the blade in and just slashed his nuts with the spine of the knife, but made my point, and the punk desisted.
Nate had been training me, holding the mitts for me and had expressed doubts that he could beat my “scrawny ass” in a fight. I hit on the key there.
Nate, for his part, stood and questioned Blue as to why, only to find out that the man merely wanted a test of his powers, and promised to finish the fight as friends. He could tell Nate was afraid.
I approached Blue, put my hand on perhaps the biggest hard shoulder I had ever touched and told him that Nate was just a big dude, not a fighter, and that I would fight him.
Blue expressed no fear, not believing for a moment that I could hurt him, but was rather aghast that he would humiliate himself smashing some twerp like me, with no honor to be had.
I introduced Nate as my trainer. We bought Blue his drinks, spoke to him of trouble adjusting to life outside of prison, and went on our way. Blue was an apex combatant and we could sense it.
A few months later Jerry, our coworker, saw Blue walking to the hospital with a foot long knife sash across his mighty chest, having gotten into a fight with a certain Lumbee known to knife people.
Oddly enough, a year or so later, I saw Blue with a beautiful, petite blonde girl while working or shopping in a supermarket. He did not recognize me. He had eyes only for her and her demands. It looked like a scene from Mighty Joe Young, about the ape tamed by the little girl, as he meekly followed this woman around carrying her groceries, and standing where she indicated.
It is a fact, well known to myself and other fight coaches, that the most dangerous men are so out of place in today’s society and feel so adrift, as if they are marooned time travelers, that they are just as prone to find comfort in the judgment and leadership of better adjusted people they trust, then they are to express themselves physically against current mores. So, for that brief time, in the back of that dive bar, Blue trusted me not to deceive, humiliate or knife him, because he had seen me put myself in harm’s way to protect my friend. He then became immediately interested in bonding with us, two guys that stuck together in a world that had always torn him apart.
Remember, that the most dangerous men are usually the ones most open to negotiation. By joining a boxing gym, and becoming the least dangerous and best read fellow among a very physical set, you can develop the knack for recognizing, calming and bonding with the most dangerous men.
TIP: Always stand slightly oblique to the honorable challenger and adopt calming non-confrontational body language as you speak soothingly. Just imagine you are talking to an upset friend or relative and try and find out what you can do to make peace with, and develop a lasting friendship with this maniac.
Next up will be Agitated Gesturing and Raging.