Okay, so let me just start by addressing the fact about how the many instructors who teach “RBSD” often state this little “badass” statement in their training. It goes a little something like, “There are no rules in a street fight! It‘s kill or be killed!” Umm…Well, to that, all I can say is, NO! Nope. Not even close my dear misinformed friend. I admit, this is what I used to think too, when I first started training. But as time went by, I found it to be quite untrue.
Let me elaborate more.
First things first, you should know this, since it’s very basic knowledge. The fact is that there are always rules. Rules (Laws) exist everywhere. Whether it’s our society, whether it’s in nature, or our planet, or the solar system or the galaxy or the universe or the space-time itself. Rules exist everywhere. Some are more clear and distinctive and some aren’t that “in your face” clear, but they exist nonetheless, you just need to be educated enough to be able to see them. That’s why we train, whether it’s at a university or in a training session. We train to know, learn and understand those rules.
Just like everything in the universe, even violence has it’s own set of rules. Even though some may fail to identify them, they do indeed exist. But it’s that failure to identify the rules is what creates all of the misconceptions and idealistic mindsets about violence, safety and self-protection today.
So, in this article I’m going try my best to help you understand the “unspoken (but very real) rules of violence”.
You see, the idea that “there are no rules on the street” is not only an incorrect statement, but also a very dangerous concept for anyone to actually think of as a fact. In actuality, there most certainly are rules in any confrontation you face – whether physical or verbal. Even more so than the rules in the ring.
In fact, believe it or not, the most important rule in violence is to prevent and avoid it at all cost, not to “fight or die fighting“ or “kill or be killed“. Even in the Military it’s not the case anymore, it was in WW1 and WW2 though or in most wars, but certainly not in civilian life. Which is what we are. Civilians, in a society with rules, made to maintain order and prevent as much chaos as possible. It doesn’t matter if you wear camo pants, you still are a civilian.
So, moving further, I would like to list some of the rules of violence below for you to know. These are the same things that you might have read about in my previous posts and from many other excellent instructors who do cover the full spectrum of violence.
The unspoken rules (which aren’t so unspoken if you know where to look) include;
- To avoid and prevent being a victim of violence by any means necessary (No.1 Rule).
- To behave appropriately (Maintain composure and control anger).
- To talk in an appropriate tone of voice (Be Polite and Calm, but firm).
- What to say and not to say to a violent individual who’s looking for trouble.
- How to behave in front of such individuals (Non-aggressive, but not passive).
- How to walk in general (Be Non-aggressive, yet strong and confident).
- What your body language should indicate to potential predators (Not your victim).
- Pay attention to anything out of the ordinary (Eyes and ears out of your phones/mp3).
- What to do before and after the incident.
- What not to do before and after the incident.
- To deescalate and disengage a threat.
- To not make a situation worse.
- How to handle trauma (physical and psychological).
- To use legally appropriate physical force.
- Knowing when to use force.
- Learning the local law (which basically is a big book of rules).
- Proper way to talk to the police after the incident.
- How to handle pre and post violence assimilation back into society (Rehabilitation, if the incident was big enough).
- To handle and look at a ‘bystander intervention’ situation (not just from a bystander‘s perspective but from both subjects perspectives as well, I.e. Objectively).
- To not intervene in a situation you witness unless you know the whole context (Call proper authorities and get help or you risk becoming the aggressor or victim).
- Adjust your actions based on the terrain you’re on.
- Adjust your behavior according to your location (city, state, country, continent) to not break the local laws and offend local customs and be the center of unwanted attention.
- Be smart if faced with armed threat/s.
- Be armed and know in depth the uses of the tool you’ve equipped yourself with.
These were just some of those rules. There are many more rules that need to be taken into account for you to be able to deal with and survive violence, no matter how small the matter or how big. These rules apply to basically all situations. Even a smallest argument can escalate to a big incident, and even the biggest incident can be deescalated with proper strategic methods.
One more thing I’d like to add, the above is not a list describing what you should/would/could do, it’s a list of some of the rules and laws of violence and staying safe. To show that rules do exist in violence, and there isn’t just one, especially not the ones you’ve been hearing about and have been led to believe to be the only existing ones.
There is no such thing as, “No rules in a “real“ fight”. The rules do exist and they’re very real and these rules go much deeper than just the titles mentioned above. There are whole books written on them and it’s still not enough to encompass them fully, although it‘s a good start to read those books to know more about them. There’s always something new that pops up and surprises you as far as violence is concerned.
We should learn and understand these fundamental rules first. To make sure that we don’t just punch, kick, elbow and knee a pad in an a/c room and wrestle with a compliant partner and feel safe, but instead we actually need to understand the way these situations occur, why and how they occur and how we can prevent and avoid them or physically (and psychologically) fight our way out of them (if necessary) and actually be safe.
If you don’t acknowledge the rules of violence, you’ll just keep on thinking you can act recklessly in such situations, say anything you want and do anything you think you want to, without any consequences, without any repercussions, and as a result, you will have to pay a hefty price for such a mindset and attitude.
Think of it this way, if you don’t follow ring rules, you get disqualified, but if you don’t follow the rules of violence, chances are you’ll lose much more than a fight. Oh and your life is just one of those things, and it’s not even in the top 3 of the things that you risk losing because of that reckless behavior.
Remember, if you understand and follow the rules of violence, you’ll be able to keep yourself and your loved ones safe and won‘t have to deal with violence just about your whole life, because as I said earlier, you‘re a civilian, violence is not a part of your job or daily life, you have a choice majority of the times, to prevent being a victim of it. But don’t take the rules seriously or learn and understand them, and you’ll just be inviting trouble at your doorstep. But it’s up to you. No pressure.
Well, that’s it. Thanks for reading!