I was once involved in restraining a crackhead thief until the police arrived.
He’d been caught red-handed with a bunch of stolen stereo equipment and women’s purses. Now I had him cornered in an alley, carefully watching his hands in case he pulled out a knife, but otherwise not too worried about my physical danger.
(I was a lot bigger and stronger than him, plus had decades more training than him.)
Suddenly though he bolted past me, ran about 50 feet, and stopped right under the awning of a nearby gas station.
Then he started to slur me with the most foul series of insults I think I’ve ever heard.
Insult me personally, that’s one thing. Drag my mother into it and man, I’m going to get MAD!
I could feel a flush of rage rising in my breast, but fortunately I realised what was really going on and didn’t succumb to the temptation to rearrange his face.
You see, his intent had NOT been to get away.
His goal had been to get to an area where there were both video cameras and witnesses, and then provoke me into attacking him.
Had I knocked him out, had I severely injured him, had I been the one to escalate from the verbal to the physical, then I would have been legally liable.
This f**ker knew this and was trying to bait me into doing something stupid. And it probably wasn’t the first time that he had done this.
Here’s a video of me telling the whole story….
In a sense, this scumbag was really smart.
He was doing everything he could to improve the odds of him getting something out of this confrontation.
And it does bring up a larger point, namely that just because a fight starts in one spot doesn’t mean that it needs to stay there.
Many people instinctively adopt a ‘stand your ground’ posture when they get into a fight. Meaning that once the fists start swinging their feet become glued to the floor.
This is true when it comes to footwork in the traditional sense: in the heat of the moment people tend to forget all about shuffling, penduluming, pivoting and sidestepping.
But it’s also true in a larger sense, i.e. forgetting that you can actually move the fight to a whole new location.
And there are many reasons to move the location of a fight (or even a match if you’re talking about competitive martial arts)…
- Maybe you want to get to an area where you have friends and he doesn’t…
- Maybe you want to move somewhere where there are witnesses…
- Maybe you want to get closer to an improvised weapon, or move him away from them…
- Maybe you want to take advantage of terrain that favors your skills and abilities….
Or in a sports setting maybe you want to
- Be close to the edge of the fighting area,
- Stop him from fleeing the fighting area,
Get close to your coaches so you can hear their advice,
- Move him away from his corner, or even
- Get your feet onto certain specific parts of the mat that are more sticky.
Point being: don’t get tunnel visioned into only fighting in one place.
Keep at least 10% of your brain mindful of the meta, aware of what’s going on in the big picture.
So whether you’re in the fight of your life on the streets, or you’re Khabib Nurmagomedov picking up his opponent, walking him away from his corner and then viciously slamming him, keep in mind that you can move the location of any given fight or match.