A Study in Violence…

Posted: June 27, 2013 by beforethefire in Discussion Topics
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Recently a New Jersey mom was cooking breakfast when a man broke in through her locked back door and began to savagely beat her in front of the woman’s 3-year-old daughter. Please watch the video below:

As martial artists and self defense practitioners, it is our business (and likely our moral responsibility, considering our training) to consider this footage and examine these circumstances. How did the assailant behave? What were the strategies and tactics employed? What were his goals? Also consider the environment. How did the setting of this assault affect the progression and outcome of events? Which objects were present that could have been used to make a difference? What training could this woman have had to help her prevent this from happening?

In other words: how could martial arts training have helped this woman?

I want your honest analysis. I would appreciate your assessment of the circumstances as they occurred, as well as your proposal for training that could have helped the situation. Here’s mine:

  • The attack occurred in a home furnished with large furniture, which may have hindered some movement. The attack initially occurred in the kitchen, where I assume there was an abundance of weapons of opportunity.
  • The assailant was larger and physically stronger than his victim. He appeared to be unarmed and to have little or no combat training. He employed the universal fight plan, overwhelming his victim with inefficient strikes until she was immobilized. It appeared his goal was to incapacitate her so he could rob the home undisturbed.
  • The victim was a woman of medium height and medium build. She was not so small that fighting back would not have been an option for her. She had little or no combat training. She employed instinctive, but inefficient defenses against the attacker’s strikes. With her daughter present, she was unable to escape quickly.

Conclusion: This woman, with the right training and preparation, could and should have fought back. The presence of her daughter made simple escapes slow and dangerous. It also made the attack all the more dangerous, since the daughter could potentially have become a victim as well. Ground fighting training, especially bottom positions with defense against strikes, could have reduced the injury she received during the assault. I also would recommend training in weapons of opportunity, since the kitchen was likely filled with utensils and other small objects that could have been used to great effect. Firearm training could also have been very beneficial, though she would have had to fight to get to it. Either way, dedicated self-defense training could have changed the outcome of this assault. She could have injured her attacker and delayed him enough to escape with her daughter.

Please share your assessment of this scenario. How will you train yourself and others to prevent this sort of thing from happening?

  1. patrickasay says:

    Your assessment is very thorough. Here are some thoughts:

    –I agree that, were she trained, she would not have been powerless.

    –The guy is obviously strong, even for his size. Kicked through a deadbolt! I mean, that’s self-defense training 101, to lock your door! But this guy knocked the door down! Few could have expected that!

    –The point of martial art training is to be able to defend yourself effectively against a bigger/stronger attacker. I’ve personally seen its effectiveness and know that it is possible to receive the training necessary to outsmart a crazed individual like this big guy.

    –I used a key word: OUTSMART. In surprise situations, most of self defense techniques are useless unless you can figure out how to fight the person on YOUR terms, not theirs. On YOUR turf, not theirs. In order to do that you have to outsmart them in some way.

    Personal experience:

    About 2 years ago I had a group of three MMA guys (from an MMA School) from a nearby city park right outside my dojo during class. They walked in the open door and the biggest, baddest of them (who easily outweighed me by 30 lbs) challenged me to a fight, in front of my students.

    He apparently did not like my reputation and sought to discredit me. I gladly accepted, with a chuckle, saying, “Sure! Come on in!”

    He went to grab some MMA gloves from my shelf. I walked up to him, grabbed the gloves, and threw them across the room and said, “I don’t fight with gloves.”

    Surprised and confused, he stepped onto the mat, where all my students cleared off seconds earlier.

    I laughed.

    He got angry because I laughed and said, “What the $%&@ is your problem! Aren’t you going to fight?” and used more colorful words.

    I said, “I don’t fight on mats. I fight out there (pointing to the alley outside).”

    So I walked out there and waited for him. Frustrated as hell, he stomped out to square off. Once his hands went up I shot in and slapped his hands down and ear boxed him, head-butted his nose, clinched around his neck with my hands, and pulled his head down as I threw three knee strikes to his face…the third one knocking him out.

    His friends didn’t say anything and just kind of stood him up and helped him get in their big bada$$ truck with a big TapouT decal on the back window and drove away.

    I then explained to my students what had happened. The ONLY reason I won was because I gained a psychological edge over him. I took him out of his element, where his comfort zone was founded upon gloves and mats, and I fought him on MY terms, not his.

    I also explained to my students that if I fought him the way he was planning to fight me I probably would have lost. And that’s the honest truth. But the fact is I OUTSMARTED him, thrust him out of his comfort zone, got him angry/emotional, and fought him on my turf, not his. I just was not prepared to have a “sport” fight with someone bigger and stronger and surprising me with no prior notice.

    –It saddens me that there is such a mentality in today’s world, where we are taught from the beginning to not challenge or rebel against authority, or we’ll get in trouble. Our third grade teacher would just tell us to sit down and shut up or we would have to stay in for recess. So we did what we were told. In a violent situation, anyone that comes up and acts crazy enough with a small box cutter on an airplane and says “don’t move or I’ll kill you” will gain “authority” over you and you will do what you’re told (because that’s how you were raised)…Instead of everybody getting out of their seats and charging the hell out of him, overpowering him twenty to one.

    –That’s why training is so important. Strategies, tactics, techniques, the application of all the above…need to be taught. People become “victims” of violent crime because they are not trained in how to defend themselves. It’s sad. But that’s why I do what I do for a living, to teach and empower people. And I hope I’m doing it right. I’m far from a polished and finished product, but I’m working on it everyday!


  2. Rener/Eve did a great Gracie Breakdown on this attack. Go check it out on youtube. I think her best defense is the early defense, an unbreakable door and an alarm system. Followed by a nice pet pit bull/german shepard/attack dog. I hope this thug gets caught and is made an example by the judge!

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