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L. Camejo 03-01-2005 01:52 PM

SD Question - Pizza Parlor Attack
[Editor's note: the following page links to a video containing some graphic violence and strong language. Please be warned.]

The above is a link to a recent unarmed assault that took place at a Pizza parlor in Akron Ohio. The accompanying video has brought up some interesting self defence tactics, ideas and concepts from another mailing list I am involved in. So I decided to post things here to get another view.

For those of you who train for reasons including self defence, what is your take on the video? What did the victim do wrong, what would you have done differently to end up not being plastered? How would your training in anything have helped you here?

Enjoy. :hypno:

akiy 03-01-2005 02:03 PM

Re: SD Question - Pizza Parlor Attack
Hi Larry,

I just added a small warning regarding the contents of the video...

-- Jun

L. Camejo 03-01-2005 02:08 PM

Re: SD Question - Pizza Parlor Attack
Ok Jun, sorry if I offended anyone.

Will remember the G-rating in future.


senshincenter 03-01-2005 02:45 PM

Re: SD Question - Pizza Parlor Attack
In my opinion, combat is only partially an architectural matter. Often this point is so relevant that if all the other elements are in place, or more in place for you than for your adversary, you can actually gain victory though your tactical architecture may be totally absent or lacking in sophistication. The other matters of combat range from the purely physical (e.g. a strong/tough physique), to the psychological (e.g. the capacity to accept the reality of violence), to that that is in between (e.g. the capacity to access one's cultivated skills).

The video seems to leave the matter of tactical architecture moot -- since the victim pretty much made no attempt at arming himself either offensively or defensively. This brings up then the other, perhaps always more significant, elements. One can, and perhaps should, talk about the fact that the victim had himself in a place where apathetic people abound (which speaks to the relevance of picking one's battlefields and/or relating one's state of preparedness to one's environment). However, I think the main catalyst for what was allowed to occur was that the victim failed at two things: a) He denied his own instincts and thus denied the reality he was about to face (i.e. human on human violence); and b) He stuck to cultural convention when human on human violence is a subversion of all culture. Allow me to explain.

In the first case, at some level, the victim understood that the large male that entered the room last was set for aggression -- just as any skilled observer could also easily note. His body language, his lack of verbal language, his late arrival plus his lack of attempt or will to be filled in on what was occurring, etc., all spoke to the fact that this man was set for violence. We can see recognition of all of this on the part of the victim when he stopped confronting the woman that had just struck him because the man in question had closed distance toward him (the victim). This is a very common mistake in self-defense situations: denial of one's own premonitions that violence is about to occur. As a viewer, we can note the victim's denial of the situation he was now facing when he looks down again at his phone -- in the psychological attempt to return to a previous stage in the scenario that just occurred (when he was not so confronting the threat of actual violence). Unfortunately for him, this cue also worked to tell the assaulter that he had his opening, that he was dealing with someone that in all likelihood did not want to fight and thus would not fight back (which is a concern that all predators -- animal and human -- have and look to solve in one way or another). Tactically, looking down at that moment, also made the assaulter's strike the only strike that cannot be countered: The strike that cannot be seen.

You can see the assaulter still being concerned with the predatorial consideration of risking self-harm in the fact that his first strike is more of a "feeling out" of the victim -- like how a shark tests prey reactions with initial bites. For this reason, the victim actually had the chance to reconsider his situation -- to come to possess an understanding that was more accurate in its interpretations. Realizing now that he can no longer delude himself, that he is indeed in the midst of violence, the victim attempts to flee -- which is not a bad option concerning the size of the assaulter, the number of assaulters (here there were at least two), the fact that he (the victim) is already having to play tactical catch-up, and how non-conducive the environment (small, no allies, etc.) is toward launching a successful counter attack. However, when he flees, he restricts himself to the tenets of culture (i.e. men don't hit women) and thus incapacitates himself to move the woman out of the way when she is blocking the door and preventing him from escaping.

In my opinion, outside of the overall lifestyle choices that are certainly relevant, it is these two points at which had the victim acted to the contrary his chances of not being assaulted (or assaulted to such a degree) would have greatly increased. Had he trusted and accepted his first premonition that violence was indeed upon him, and thus not dropped his head (giving the predator the "ok" and the opening to attack), etc., and/or had he freed himself from cultural convention (which is what one must always do in all matters of assault), and thus pushed that woman out of the way so that he could escape, the end result would have probably been much different.

My perspective,

Ron Tisdale 03-01-2005 04:28 PM

Re: SD Question - Pizza Parlor Attack
One thing that I noticed is the difference between the employee's reaction and that of the victim. Notice how the employee starts to go after Sims, then quickly changes his mind and gets back behind the counter the instant he sees the boyfriend. Also note that both the 'boyfriend' and Sims quickly change their focus once the employee is behind the counter...either they deemed it too hard or too dangerous to go back there. Very predatory in nature.

The next thing I notice is that the victim does some pretty typical chest bumping with Sims even though her 'boyfriend' is standing right behind her. I have to wonder why he would allow the dialogue to continue once that HUGE man walked in. I think I'd have been pretty busy doing anything to diffuse the situation at that point, even appologizing. Not because I meant it, but just to save my butt.

I have no idea what would work well once it goes to violence in that situation. The attacker would easily have 100 pounds on me...there's limited space to move, no one is helping, and the boyfriend clearly is willing to be the bully he is. Taking someone that large at that range down is probably harder than some grapplers will admit. And not a good idea with a large woman who is obviously willing to get physical right there. The best bet is to de-escalate while not leaving major openings, hands up (not down and out to the side) and open, side step to the door without turning your back, let the guy know you think its his world, and you are leaving.

It might sound cowardly, but frankly, without a weapon, I don't see the point of trying to 'fight' with someone like that. At that size differential, you may very well be looking at a fight for your life...and you'd better treat it as such. The first thing is get off that phone...if he had done that right away he would have seen the boyfriend come in and could have slipped out while he was focused on the employee.

In terms of technique, the only thing I can really say is that if your aren't looking down when the punch is coming, move with it toward the door and extend the guys balance as much as dojo settings I find it much safer to extend someone that size beyond their balance point. Then a quick step back in on the outside and hiji-shime the punching arm for a hyperextended elbow before running like hell...


Mike Collins 03-01-2005 04:55 PM

Re: SD Question - Pizza Parlor Attack
If you are gonna act like a bad ass at all, you MUST be willing to throw the first, second, third, and as many succeeding blows as necessary to walk away safe. NEVER bump bellies with anyone unless you own them. This is exactly what the perpetrator did. He was willing to stand straight and let the smaller guy act up so he could pick his spot, wait for a blink of unawareness so he could nail him. It was never, in his mind, an option to NOT hit tis guy, it was a matter of how and when and where, but never if.

What this man could have done to prevent it, I don't know. I don't know what got the woman worked up in the first place. But once he'd gotten himself into this situation, his only option was to beat the big guy to the punch(es, as many as possible) and pray that someone from the pizza parlor kept the woman from copping a sunday from behind. At that point, he's set himself to go to jail.

In 2005, fighting is bad juju. Self defense is about timing and awareness. And respect. It starts with respect, and it ends with respect. Treat others with respect, and usually, this kind of thing doesn't happen. But if you're certain to be a victim, learn to fall down right away, act badly hurt, and protect your head; or learn to hit first, hit often, and hit as dirty and low as you need.

cmrs2k 03-01-2005 05:14 PM

Re: SD Question - Pizza Parlor Attack
I get this type of question (in many varying forms) all of the time from potential new students where I train. My answer always has to be this. I am not fast. I could never get into a boxing match with any decent opponent and win. If I had to go toe to toe throwing punches with that guy, I would not like the outcome. Therefore, I would have to say that as soon as the aggressor broke ma-ai (safe distance, don't know if I spelled it right), action must begin. That is, as soon as the attacker moved in to get into the guys face, he should have been moving. I think a two handed shomen ate would have been a good start (and possibly the end as well), and I favor that because it can lead into a load of techniques with minimal transitions. My sensei has always told me that my technique starts the instant that an agressor breaks ma-ai. I know that there is a question of who will win on the legal side of things, but as far as self defense is concerned, this is where I think that it would sit.

Steven 03-01-2005 05:42 PM

Re: SD Question - Pizza Parlor Attack
I noted that just before the big guy threw the first punch, his shoulder moved back which is a good sign of the incoming punch. Had the other guy not taken his eye off him, and with a bit of training and luck, he may have been able to defend himself. His lack of awareness and flat out stupidity by provoking the incident by 1) running his mouth to begin with and 2) acting all tough when the big dude wasn't around is what, IMO, got him the butt whippin'.

Of course this is pure arm chair quarter backing and speculation. Heck, I suppose he could have offered to buy their pizza and apology to de-escalate the matter. One can only guess. Though I believe had he just not said anything, this would not have happened. At times, it's not WHAT you say, but HOW you say it.

Adam Alexander 03-01-2005 06:01 PM

Re: SD Question - Pizza Parlor Attack
The news did an interview with the "victim". I think he got what he was asking for. If the owner/manager doesn't handle someone cutting the line, apparently your money isn't as valuable as the person who has no respect for the line. He should of kept his mouth shut and went elsewhere--that's unless he could of backed up his smack-talking.

However, as far as the topic of self-defence is concerned, he should of ducked. Of course, I'm just running my mouth, but there's no reason that someone with a little heart and a little training couldn't of come out of that on top. That guy was so slow and was totally ready to be taken off balance when he threw those punches.

senshincenter 03-01-2005 06:17 PM

Re: SD Question - Pizza Parlor Attack

If you know some background on the story, perhaps you could share some of the most relevant stuff with those of us that only know the scenario from what we saw in the video. I'm curious to see if knowing anything more would have me change my original stance.

Thanks in advance,

Adam Alexander 03-01-2005 06:26 PM

Re: SD Question - Pizza Parlor Attack
He said (either on CNN or the local news here), that when she walked to the front of the line, he said to his girlfriend (on the cell phone),"well know it's going to be even longer..." in a voice loud enough for her to hear.

In the interview, he had the same arrogant body language he did in the pizza video...atleast before he got it punched out of him. I think you express it in your post as instinctual recognition. I believe that's how I see it in him. You just know the type.

To me, he was just a want-to-be-tough-guy who got called out.

永久に学生 03-01-2005 06:38 PM

Re: SD Question - Pizza Parlor Attack
What struck me besides the complete arrogance of the cell phone guy was that nobody witnessing this occurrence stepped back or seemed all that concerned about what was going on. They were interested in watching but notice nobody lost position in line. Didn't this seem strange. I would have made sure I got out of the way, who knew that this wasn't going to turn into something else. I have tried to be more aware of situations that are best to avoid. This was definitely one of them.

Mike Collins 03-01-2005 06:43 PM

Re: SD Question - Pizza Parlor Attack
Am I the only one offended and outraged by what a bunch of wussies (the cleaned up version of what I was really wanting to say) are standing around trying not to acknowledge what's happening?

This culture is sick. People are so damned afraid of lawyers, and people with guns, that we are willing to let a crime of stupidity, ugliness and really lousy punching skills take place while at least 5-6 people just stand there and smile like idiots. 1 big goof gets to act like a damned T-Rex because everyone is afraid he might turn on them. Hardly an apex predator, but he has the 'tude, so he gets away with it (till he goes to the pen). There is absolutely no reason he should have been able to keep hitting the (admittedly stupid) victim after the first shot. Fear wins another round.

Sick world. Too many lawyers, not enough guns. And men afraid to intervene because of a sick legal system.

Vincent Paglia 03-01-2005 07:34 PM

Re: SD Question - Pizza Parlor Attack
I think the guy was unprepared for a real assault, as Senshincenter said. It is a common thing in American culture to be a billy bad ass but not actually engage in violence. A casual trip to any college bar or frat party will give you plenty of evidence to support this proposition. I think it stems from our reliance on image rather than reality. As a total side note, my friend just got back from Brazil and he said that the hardest gangsters in the hardest slums down there will smile and say hey to strangers like him. Dudes who will cut your throat in 2 seconds if you mess up their money but who are friendly and easy going otherwise. In this culture, we have the opposite--people who are totally unprepared for any type of violence but want to give off the proper masculine image.

To the specifics of the assault. I do not have extensive experience in any martial art, so I'm mostly trying to learn from others on this thread. Obviously, looking down was his mistake--he was looking down b/c he wanted to send a message to the big guy that he didn't actually want to fight, but that was too little, too late at that point. I disagree with an above commentator that the confrontation was inevitable. I think that if he had stood straight up in a ready position and maintained proper distance and balance, there is probably a good chance that the attacker would not have struck him at all. The first swing did not begin until AFTER the "victim" looked downward, so I don't know if an attack was inevitable, or perhaps the outcome was not inevitable. So that was his first mistake.

If he had been looking up (and like I said, if he had been looking up, he may not have been hit at all), he could easily have got off the line of attack, b/c the first slap/punch took a full second of cocking back and preparing before it actually made contact. Ikkyo may be hard to do without moving first (not much space there) b/c moving the attacker's arm would be difficult since he is so big and probably strong, but he could have led the attacker's energy toward him (the victim), moving toward around the attacker (sort of towards the door) somewhat like kokyu or irimi nage until the attacker's force was dissipated and then use ikkyo or many other techniques (some of which I haven't learned yet). I've never used aikido in a real life combat situation, but if I had to guess, I'd say he could've resolved this situation using aikido.

Infamousapa 03-01-2005 09:26 PM

Re: SD Question - Pizza Parlor Attack
I Think The Problem With The Fight Was We Didnt See What Caused The Beef....notice That The Guy That Got Nailed Seemed As If He Had Started Somethin He Couldnt Step Up To...we Dont Know If He Was Out Of Line Or Not.yet He Seemed Very Regretful In The Must Always Be Right In The Situation, Unless You Have A Wicked Heart And Dont Live By Principals Then You Dont Need Much To Get The Heart To Hurt Someone.
A Lot Of You Like To Write A Lot And Watch Carefully Not To Mispronounce Words When You Write And Seem Very Intelligent...however When Action Is Required In The Situation What Will You Really Do??life Is Not A Joke And Certainly The Video Link Clearly Displayed It...however Be Real To Yourself And Try To Balance Yourselves Between Everything In Life......have Your Principals...god Bless.

AikiSean! 03-01-2005 10:18 PM

Re: SD Question - Pizza Parlor Attack
The very first thing I said when he was having a verbal moment with the attacker was - WAY to close. Mai-ai was very very poor, but of course the guys probably not trained. He definately had no focus and was not alert(cell phone). I think those to things alone may have alteast spared him of such a direct blow, and it wouldnt have been as devastating. I head that guy got sentenced to 4 years in jail already. Anyone heard the same?

eyrie 03-01-2005 10:42 PM

Re: SD Question - Pizza Parlor Attack
This is classic "what not to do in a SD situation"...
What the vic should've done is this:
1. Never take your eyes off the aggressor(s)
2. Be aware of your surroundings
3. Look for an escape route and try to position yourself near it
4. Put down the goddamn phone!!!!
5. Raised both his hands and attempt to diffuse the situation - helps block potential face strikes too.
6. As soon as intent is clear and combative distancing is breached, duck and taken the knee of the lead leg out first
8. Never get into a grappling match with someone that size. Always take out the joints first - preferably the suspension ones FIRST.
9. Always have a follow-up technique or 2 or 3 or 6 :)
10. Be prepared for spectator involvement and if necessary, remove the threat
11. Exit/run

I don't know that I would do anything differently, or that any MA training would have helped. It's easy to be an armchair commentator. In reality, many in that situation would not be able to overcome the adrenal dump and would've been frozen to the spot. The only way I've found to avoid the adrenal dump is to suspend all ethical and moral consequences and go for the quick "kill".

Not very "aiki" (whatever that means) - but when one's life and livelihood is at stake, I don't know that any other response would be appropriate. Especially, not when said aggressors are intent on assaulting and occassioning bodily harm to you.

Erik 03-02-2005 01:34 AM

Re: SD Question - Pizza Parlor Attack
I'm surprised no one has mentioned the role the woman played in all of this. She committed multiple assaults: spitting on the employee and hitting cell phone guy in the back of the head. She was looking for trouble for whatever reason and the poor bastards were it. Plus, I bet that she knew exactly how the guy would react in that situation.

As to what you do, well, you get screwed. The only thing, and I doubt very many people could have pulled this off, would be to leave the moment the woman went psycho but then you'd have to know what was waiting outside. On the other hand, you might get worse outside..

Sure, lots wrong from a self-defense point but I suspect the guy was just trying to be invisible (like everyone else) which is also a tactic. You just put your head down and try to stay out of the way. As to the cell phone, well, no way he was thinking clearly at that point but I'm not confident any of us would have been smarter.

senshincenter 03-02-2005 01:36 AM

Re: SD Question - Pizza Parlor Attack

Erik Haselhofer wrote:
I'm surprised no one has mentioned the role the woman played in all of this.

Several folks mentioned her - even counted her as a second attacker.

Nathan Pereira 03-02-2005 03:27 AM

Re: SD Question - Pizza Parlor Attack
Like Mike said for me the most shocking thing was how the half a dozen or so men did nothing and even after just ignored the guy on the floor. Cowards.

Biggest mistake he made was squaring up to the guy. That is just dumb. Squaring up to 300lb guy is even dumber you won't stand a chance unless you know you can walk the walk. As soon as the guy fronted him he should have stepped back and been ready. He shouldn't have even given him the opportunity to get his hands near him without being in a position to defend himself. If it was me being a shorty I would have pounded on his balls, punching, kicking, pulling what ever it took.

ESimmons 03-02-2005 06:36 AM

Re: SD Question - Pizza Parlor Attack
I don't think criticizing the bystanders for inaction is fair. Because they all stood there and minded their own business, cell phone guy got beat down, T-Rex left, and that was the end of story. Keep in mind these people could not afford themselves the degree of detached retrospection that we can viewing this video in front of our computer screens.

If I was there, I'm probably thinking "I should go help this guy out, but then what if T-Rex just turns around and decapitates me too? Maybe some other guys will jump in to help, but what if they get hurt too? What if we wreck the place? What if T-Rex comes back tomorrow with his homies and shoots up the place?" etc., and keep in mind in this time frame I don't even really know the whole story of what's going on, plus cell phone guy is all up in T-Rex's face to begin with, so is it really my place? Really, all I want is my pizza.

jss 03-02-2005 07:49 AM

Re: SD Question - Pizza Parlor Attack
About all the passive bystanders, who are blamed by some for just doing nothing: psychology has shown that this is the most common reaction, expecting that someone else will intervene.
Some numbers: if people thought they were the only witness to an assualt, 85% came to the aid of the victim after on average 52 seconds; if they thought there were 4 other witnesses, 31% did something after 166 secs on average.
And a horrible story to illustrate my point furhter: Kitty Genovese was beaten to death in 30 minutes, there were 38 witnesses living nearby, hearing her scream and seeing what happened from their windows. Not one of them came to her aid.
(Numbers and story come from my psychology class at university.)

So ironically, if there were fewer people in that pizza parlor the victim might have gotten some help.

John Boswell 03-02-2005 10:44 AM

Re: SD Question - Pizza Parlor Attack
Mistakes the victim made:

1) Talking smack with a woman. She was almost his own size! I think SHE could have taken him out... and who is going to win a fight between a man and a woman? The woman will, because the guy should have never laid a hand on her in the first place.

2) Being arrogant. The guy should have kept his mouth shut in the first place. Talking out loud so that everyone could hear was a sign of disrespect. The woman, though in the wrong, was thereby challenged and had to do something about it. And she did.

3) Body language. Don't "puff up" and act all bad unless your ready to see it through. Clearly, he wasn't... not even with the woman. He thought he was... he was dead wrong. ESPECIALLY when Bubba walked in.

4) Don't jack with Bubba. That guy was HUGE! NEVER tell someone that size that you are right and he and his girl friend are wrong. That's just STUPID! Pride got in the way of common sense. Anytime I see someone that size coming my way, I make it a point for them to know I'm on their side... even though I'm probably not. By doing that, I'm no longer a threat. THEN... if I need to do something to defend myself or another... it'll be coming out of the blue. They won't know what hit him.

5) After the fight started, he should have gone under the counter or out the door. That space was too damn small to do anything with, it was TWO against ONE and no one standing around was going to interject. Running one way or another was his only choice at that point. BUT... sitting there and taking it was stupid as well. If you get knocked down... MOVE! Don't sit there and hope they stop. That's as stupid and starting that crap in the first place.

Personally, I'd like to see the "victim" get ticketed for assult. He was acting in a threatening way against the girl and that was wrong. That is what started the whole damn thing and he needs to understand that as well.

But that's just me...

PS: No amount of aikido (techniques) I know would have helped. That space was too small to do a damn thing and the guy was too strong. Who here can honestly say they could have locked down a wrist lock on that guy? If you can, you've been at aikido for over five years and really know your stuff... or your lying to yourself. I'm a big dude, and I wouldn't have even bothered. You screw it up, your dead.

Ron Tisdale 03-02-2005 11:05 AM

Re: SD Question - Pizza Parlor Attack
Hi John,

Frankly, I think you are pretty on target. There are a lot of posts on the net about how bad a fighter the big guy is, how untrained, clumsy, etc. I don't buy it. The guy is certainly no pro, but you can see he has a LOT of experience as a bully. He reads the environment and his target well to ensure there is no real threat to himself. He is fairly relaxed and balanced throughout his attack. Even though he is throwing HUGE bombs, he only loses his balance (you can see him bobble a bit) a little. I think he is probably moving with stiff or locked knees a lot from what shows.

That said, this guy is a serious menace; his size alone dictates run away if possible. Wrist locks??? forget it. That's why I suggested hiji-shime/wakigatami. Go straight to the elbow after extending his balance. If it was just him, take it straight to the floor. But in the victim's situation that is not advisable. Even with hiji-shime, its an even bet the guy won't just shake someone my size off like an annoying toy poodle...or worse yet, literally throw you on your head with shear power.


Mark Mueller 03-02-2005 12:03 PM

Re: SD Question - Pizza Parlor Attack
Given that Guy's size and aggressive nature I doubt most shihan could have controlled that guy at that distance.....sometimes discretion is just the better part of valor.

The best advice for this particular don't get into this type of situation.

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