Saturday, March 1, 2008

The Street fighting Myth

By Matthew Schafer
Copyright 2008, All Rights Reserved

The other day I heard an all too common story from a friend. This friend trained at a mixed martial arts club in Grand Rapids, Michigan that had two star members. These two members were brothers who had been training in a martial art called Kajukenbo for over 15 years and who were now certified instructors in the art. Kajukenbo is a martial art known for its aggressiveness and for being "martial arts street fighting". For 15 years these guys had been training to fight, both with and without weapons, and recently they decided that doing mixed martial arts would be right up their alley so they joined a local club and were really impressing the other members. From what I was told these two guys were just about how one might envision them: big, mean, avid bodybuilders, and covered in tattoos.

A week or two ago both these gentlemen, who were arguably very, very tough, made a trip to Flint, Michigan and while walking down the street they were approached by two other men and a physical encounter ensued leaving both of these Kajukenbo black belts in intensive care. These two men were not only black belts but instructors in a street fighting art, were in exceptional shape, and were trained in the use of weapons but still they were not only beaten but severely beaten to such a degree that they are in intensive care. How could this be, especially in a two on two fight?

The answer is actually very simple. These men had spent years learning all about street fighting but the truth is that there's no such thing as street fighting. Street fighting doesn't exist. There's only three types of fighting: 1.) sport fighting (boxing, wrestling, mixed martial arts, etc.) which takes place in an agreed upon place with agreed upon rules and usually has a referee, 2.) brawling which is an ego based encounter and usually resembles sport fighting with no rules or referee, and basically consists of people becoming angry, pushing each other, swinging their fists at each other like gorillas, and then walking away with bloodied lips, and 3.) assault which is when one person walks up to another person and violently attacks them with the intent of causing serious injury or death and often includes weapons and multiple attackers. That's it, all fighting and violent encounters fall into these three categories.

What people consider to be "street fighting" is actually just sport fighting or brawling. Sport fighting is 99% of what people consider fighting: two people fighting in an agreed upon way with agreed upon rules. Brawling is people getting mad because their feelings are hurt and lashing out in an uncontrolled and undisciplined manner and if any injuries happen they are typically very minor. Assault is someone wanting to seriously injure, forcibly rob or rape, or murder you. Sport fighting only happens if you agree to it, brawling can usually be avoided by being polite and respectful to people then knowing de-escalation techniques, but assault can't be avoided, you can reduce your chances of having it happening to you but you can't all together avoid it.

The idea of meeting someone on the "street" and both of you getting into fighting stances and duking it out just doesn't happen. If you look at the information provided to us by the FBI about crime you'll see that criminals attack by surprise and don't assume fighting stances or give you the opportunity to duke it out.

The two brothers lost their encounter because they were trying to street fight and the only place street fighting happens is in the minds of people who don't understand violence and the realities of injury. If you think that when a criminal comes up to you and tries to victimize you that you can get into a fighting stance, dance around, do your boxing or whatever, and outfight a criminal then 99% of the time you're dead wrong. If a criminal isn't very experienced then maybe he'll give himself away and you can get a shot in before he hits you but most of the time the best you can do with all that stuff is act really aggressive and scare him away. Criminals will take you by surprise so the idea of putting up your hands and fighting them just isn't realistic; most experienced criminals will approach you and knock you out or disable you first and then rob you.

From what I heard two guys just walked up them, said something to them, and then started punching them until they knocked them down, then kicked and stomped them until they stomped moving, and then took their wallets and ran away. In no way was that street fighting, it was a crime plain and simple. Street fighting just doesn't exist, what does exist is people of very low moral value using speed, surprise, and violence of action to victimize others.

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