Chapter 5 Know What You’re Fighting For
“Be a craftsman in speech that thou mayest be strong, for the strength of one is the tongue, and speech is mightier than all fighting.” – Ptahhotep
On October 16, 2012, Italian soccer star Leonardo Bonucci was leaving a Ferrari dealership in Turin with his wife and baby when he was confronted by a mugger. The man pointed a gun at Bonucci’s head and demanded that he hand over his watch. According to news reports the athlete held perfectly still and let the gunman grab his wrist, and then when he spotted an opening he punched the mugger with his freehand. The thief then ran toward an accomplice who was waiting on a nearby moped, hopped on board, and sped away. Although Bonucci chased after the pair for a short distance, they escaped.
Was it wise for Bonucci to physically defend his property, possibly endangering his wife and child in the process? We’ll never know if the incident described above was a case of an athlete’s rage getting the best of his common sense, or if he recognized and reacted to some danger that wasn’t reported in the news. Heck, we donft even know if the bad guyfs illicit weapon was even loaded. What we do know is
that the soccer star chased off a bad guy without injury or unforeseen consequence. But, it could easily have ended differently. He or someone in his family could easily have been shot while chasing after the gunman who by all accounts was retreating and no longer posed a threat.
Most of us wonft get mugged in front of a Ferrari dealership, since most of us cannot afford their vehicles. Nevertheless, it would be interesting to know how an armed threat managed to hang out in front of a Ferrari dealership in a place where guns are illegal for long enough to confront the soccer star without getting caught. Regardless, that’s probably not a place where you’d expect much danger. In fact, statistically speaking it’s in fringe areas adjacent to heavily traveled public places where the majority of violent crimes occur. This includes areas such as parking lots, bathrooms, stairwells, ATM kiosks, and the like, especially at night. In order to initiate an attack, however, the threat or threats must close distance and/or control your movement so that they can get into range to strike. Or the bad guy must lay in wait somewhere along your route. Spotting potential ambush sites and pre-attack indicators such as closing, cornering, herding, or surrounding gives you time and options to formulate a proper response.
You already know that with good situational awareness and communication skills most, but not all, physical confrontations can be avoided. Sometimes you can make the decision to fight, but if you’re the good guy then more often than not the choice will be made for you by your adversary. Consequently one of the most important decisions you must make in a violent encounter is why. Why are you fighting? What is your goal? Are you trying to control a situation? Are you trying to escape from a threat? Everything hinges on this. The strategy of escape verses control, for example, will drive the tactics necessary for success:…
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