Here is a real life example of how one of my students actually used a technique in an actual mugging attempt. “David” a man waiting for his car, approached by two assailants. The names are changed but the story is true.
David was waiting at a dealership for his car to be repaired. He paced the block on the main street of the area. This apparently attracted the attention of two thugs. They approached David quickly. He noticed one fellow taking off his headband and wrapping around his fist. So David took his hands out of his pockets.
They came up to him and started yelling. “Stop seeing my girlfriend. She’s mine. I’ll beat you up if you don’t stop.”
David replied in a calm voice, “I don’t know your girlfriend.”
The main ruffian stepped closer to get in David’s face while the other tried to get behind him. “Yes you do. I saw you with her the other day.”
David stepped in and to the side to keep the second thug away from his back. He stayed close to the primary thug, even inching a bit closer. This showed that he wasn’t intimidated. David also kept his cool and began to slow his speech down in a calming manner. “You are mistaken. I don’t know who she is or where she lives.”
The primary thug, feeling a bit to close to David backed up slightly. “She lives right over there on that street.” He pointed over at the other block.
David looked over at the second ruffian calmly then back to the first. “Look, I’m here to get my car fixed. I don’t know who your girlfriend is. I don’t know where she lives. I’m sure she is very pretty and you are a lucky guy. I have my own girlfriend and I don’t want someone else’s.”
The primary thug got flustered and stepped back a few steps. His friend stopped checking his bandana-covered fist. “Alright, just don’t come around here anymore or I’ll kick your butt. Stay away from my girlfriend. You understand?”
David replied, “Yes, I will stay away from her. However, I may need to fix my car again so I will come back here.”
The two thugs walked back the way they came. David continued to scan the area for more trouble until his car was fixed. What David did was diffuse a potentially dangerous situation. He assessed the men were out to start a fight, perhaps mug him. They began the confrontation with trumped up story to “justify” the fight they wanted to start.
Instead of being a victim, David showed courage without feeding into the hysteria of bravado talk. He calmly addressed their issue (whether fake or real) and stood his ground. He neither egged them on nor submitted to their intimidation. David didn’t feed their anger, which they were using to get the courage to attack him. So instead, they gave him a warning (to save face) and walked away.
Good self-defense doesn’t make it to a fistfight. Use the strategies and techniques to avoid fighting or to diffuse tense situations. This doesn’t always work but it does usually. You’ll know the difference because it’ll go from contact to actually physical contact right away. When fights start with verbal intimidation, you have a chance to use these tactics.
Do you have a self-defense story to share? Put it in the comments.