Two good ways to avoid a fight

I am convinced that getting involved in a fight is something that should be avoided at all times.   There might be circumstances where fighting is absolutely unavoidable and I repeat something I have already expressed before: in a fight or flight the latter should be preferable if you are sure you can run faster than your attacker 🙂

What triggers a fight? Many different circumstances and reasons: in any case it takes more than one person to be involved.  Even if somebody is bothering you or threatening you in many, many cases you could avoid the physical confrontation by talking the situation down or simply walking away.  Unfortunately our pride plays bad tricks sometimes and we would love to be like inspector Harry Callahan, being able to state a few sentences and then punish our attacker to be in a way or the other.

The so called self defence should really be applied to situations when you are physically attacked and the only way of getting out of the situation is to stop your attacker with all possible means before he might cause serious injury or death to yourself or your loved ones.  While it is not often possible to turn and offer the other cheek very often it is possible to avoid a fight and walk home rather than risking to spend some time in a cell or in hospital as a result of a fight gone in one way or the other.

B.H is a friend of mine ex professional boxer and is surely a guy you would not like to be involved with in a fight.  With nearly hundred fights under his belt between amateur and professional is a person that spent more time in front of somebody that would like to knock him down than most street fighters will ever experience in several lives.  As it happened once a guy thought to have a good reason to punch him straight in the face.  This is a fairly common, not too exciting, experience for a professional fighter: probably similar to have a cup of coffee for the average office worker.  The simple end to the story is that the attacker was so surprised of B. not reacting at all to the attack and simply adding: “it takes a lot more to make me angry, and if I get angry I could kill you”.  This sentence made me think: it is true that a pro sport fighter is in business to harm other people for money (legally).  At the same time he will not necessarily react with anger to the typical situation where most people would go berserk.

Another similar experience happened to me personally: although I never been a pro I consider myself capable of seriously harming the average punter with bad intention that happens to be on my way.  A few months ago I drove out of my driveway in a winter, dark afternoon and somebody in another car was arriving at a distance that I failed to evaluate correctly so he had to slow down.  He blew his horn violently and repeatedly.  As I stopped at the red light a few hundred yards away I promptly checked in my rear mirror where the guy was and I noticed a car behind mine with no driver: in less than a second I noticed the guy was by my side window yelling at me what a “f*&$!%g idiot I was and blah blah”.  He was enraged and ready for a fight, inviting me to get out.  I apologise to him and said I did not see him coming (never mind he was probably faster than he should be), but he kept insulting me… after a 30 second or so and a few more insults he went back to his car, the light turned green and I went on to my meeting.  The guy was scary looking and enraged, nonetheless if he tried to grab me or injure me I could have probably got rid of him in no time, perhaps leaving him in the middle of the road… and then what?  He saw me coming out of my drive way: he could come back there and wait for me with a weapon and/or friends, he could burn my house down or anything else you can think about.  Are all these terrible consequences really worth the fact that he thinks I am a “f*&$!%g idiot”?  Not really, so I left him with his opinion and moved on.

The choices that B. and I took were safer in the end because we avoided, in different ways and circumstances, a fight that could be avoided: for B. being punched in the face is as normal as a hand shake; for me, while I don’t like to be called names, I can conclude that it is simply your opinion and it does affect my self esteem.

13 thoughts on “Two good ways to avoid a fight

  1. An interesting and agreeable post. I think it highlights one of the many benefits, of any genre of self-defence discipline, which is the confidence you attain, through training, that allows you the choice to walk away without feeling the need to prove yourself.

  2. Great stories and your blog is compelling. I put you on my blogroll today. Thanks for contacting me earlier.

  3. Hi
    I could not agree more with Massimo.
    I wanted to comment upon the road rage blog but there was no facility.
    Most of the time you need to ask the question – do I NEED/HAVE to have this conflict / fight.
    You could also ask what are the chances of my getting into trouble as a result of getting in this fight or what are the possible repercussions.
    In this article Massimo observed that the guy knew his address, so he could come home to find his family home with all the windows smashed, just because he stood up for foolish pride – better to let it go.
    The other Road Rage incedent probably happend because someone was driving (deliberately or not) in a way that the other somehow thought impinged on his “RIGHTS” / “RIGHT OF WAY” and this caused him to be upset. Peoples feelings and silly ideas about their “rights” will often get them into trouble.
    Personally I dislike driving and always potter around like I am 90 yrs old – I find it far less stressfull to arrive early and have a listen to the radio, than to be constantly late and shouting at everyone else for being too slow (driving like 90 yr olds)and ruining my attempts to arrive on time!
    We all make driving errors occasionally, we all drive without due consideration to others sometime and we probably have all been guilty of driving dangerously fast at some point in our lives. Although I have to say I do it less nowadays.
    Of course, I get as pissed as the next guy if someone threatens my life or that of my family by driving incosiderately or dangerously and I’m just as like ly to salute this behavoir with two fingers but most of the time it’s easier for me (and my family) to let it go and get on with getting on.

  4. @Bob thanks for the comment, what you say is absolutely right.

    @Steve thanks for the exchange and the comment.

    @Alan your example is nearly a post on its own: I am so astonished when I see random people just following a basic instinct without realising in the kind of trouble they could get involved with…

  5. And me? I was in a pub having lot of fun in good company, after leaving my beer on the window I went out to smoke and I caught a small guy drinking my beer and coming out saying: “If you wanna fight…”.

    I was with an attactive blonde on my side and and very nice friends on the other site, did I have to ruin my evening for thas idiot?

  6. Pingback: Road Rage and lack of common sense :: Martial What?

  7. Something happened to me this morning that made me think back to this post all be it more than two years ago. I was riding my bike to work down Cromwell road and a van overtook me so close that his wing mirror clipped my elbow. This is typical of some large vehicle drivers who never seem to appreciated the size of their vehicles and don’t leave the legally required 1m minimum space for cyclists on the road. What happened next was much more unusual. I’m guessing in his mind, the driver must have decided that I had reached out and hit him, so his next move was to try and run me off the road against the parked cars. Clearly he was not adverse to using his vehicle as a weapon so after three near misses I decided to stop and confront him if necessary. He got out of his van and walked towards me saying “what’s your problem?” and then without waiting for my response punched me in the chest. I was obviously taken by surprise, my first reaction was to stabilise my posture and raise my hands into a guard like position, but without making any fists as I did not want to cause any further aggression if possible.

    So I am now standing proud at least 30-40cm taller than him, completely unmoved and not bothered by his attack. Whatever response he was expecting this was clearly not it. My posture was calculated and confident. I’m guessing that this was not the first time that he has engaged in such intimidating behaviour but my response had clearly perturbed him. I looked him straight in the eye and saw all the aggression he had started with had turned to fear. At this point he quickly turned around and got back in his van (muttering something about me being a tw@), alleviating the need for any further exchange of ideas.

    I think this is another example of the benefit of martial arts training. Due to the confidence in my own ability to protect my personal safety I did not feel that a response, or indeed any kind of reaction was necessary at this point which I think clearly served to diffuse the situation. Had I reacted in any other way the outcome would have been at the very lest a big inconvenience and probably a lot worse than that. When recounting this story to my (male) colleges the reaction is invariably “I would have hit him back” but I do not feel that would have been justified. Perhaps if he had had the training required to make it into a worthwhile venture and under the right controlled circumstances it could have been entertaining but it was clearly not the time or the place and in any case, I would have been late for work.

  8. @moni my only suggestion is to be clam and just react if you have to, thinking that conseguences could be very bad if you overreact

  9. Hi Massimo,

    Thanks for the article. Topics such as these remain on-topic regardless of whether they were published yesterday or, as is the case here, in 2009.

    Only a few days ago I was in the passenger seat of a car, with a much more senior friend besides me behind the steering wheel. On a roundabout, my driver friend made an error and cut off a motor cyclist in turning left off the roundabout. Although the speeds we are concerned with here are not high at all – it wasn’t on/off a motorway or main carriageway – the bottomline is that it was a driving mistake made by my friend. However, the motorcyclist immediately started swearing out loud and being on the passenger seat and failing to keep my calm at this abuse, I slightly opened the car door while we were still driving in order to stick my head out and shout back at the motorcyclist. The cyclist then pulled up next to us and started a conversation with the two of us, asking why I was having a go at him if we were the ones who made the driving mistake? A fair point you might say, but I replied that I was having a go back at him for swearing to us. Eventually, the cyclist went off while swearing some more and in a split second decided for some reason that he now wanted to fight. He pulled his motorcycle up on the pavement and that was reason enough for my more senior friend – who was surely acting the more wisely out of the two of us in that situation – to just drive off and leave the whole ordeal behind. His house was just a few paces away, but in order to avoid the motorcyclist getting to know which his house was he drove around the block and we eventually arrived home safe and sound, without a next episode to this ordeal. Had it come down to a fight, we would have been on the losing side in any case. Had he hit us, it would have been damaging, and, had we hit him and ended up in the cell, that too would have been damaging. Either way, it was for the better to do what my friend did and that was namely to leave the situation. Never forget that however respectful and responsible a person you see yourself as being, there are plenty of persons out there who do not think the same as you do and who have much less, if anything, to lose from a physical fight.

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