T Nation

Do Any of You Lose the Plot Anymore?



I got hooked from behind by a lad, accompanied by his mate, for no apparent reason when I was walking home at night about a month ago. The incident is still in my mind because I'm still debating whether I did the right thing or not, i.e. not being all over this guy like a rash.

I pivoted round and stepped out to see what I was up against, but after seeing the attacker was holding his hand, drunk and didn't come at me, I didn't hit him. The friend who he walked up behind me with didn't do anything and walked on.. There was no anger in me, no desire for revenge.. I just stood there looking at him, guard up and then he pointed down the hill towards a group of his mates who came up the hill where we were standing.

Quite sure he shat himself because I was still standing. (I'm surprised I was still standing). Anyway, I embarrassed him in front of his mates, saying he hit me FROM BEHIND and laughed, then I lightly showed him where he should have hit me and he turned BRIGHT RED. That was it... he just stared at me like a demon possessed as I walked home with his mates. Pretty dumb.

What would you have done in that situation? Would you have smashed and ran? Has martial arts given you restraint in raising your fists or is it maturity? I can't help but feel like I did a pussy move for not hitting him. Yes, I'm an idiot because the group would have easily destroyed me and knives are rampant here in Scotland, but I'm an idiot xD


You could’ve tried to kick his as. Good chance (if that were his mates indeed) you would’ve ended up in hospital…in the best case. One knife or a few kicks in the head/gland organs would’ve ruined your night.

Usually I would say, don’t back down (I would have backed down prolly to be honest), or you would’ve become an easy target for further abusement. I figured that if he had real bad intents with some piece of metal, why not stab you first thing? But you can’t be sure what happens when a bunch of biased blokes are around.

Think you did the right thing, given the situation


Based purely on what you wrote, it sounds like he’s a drunk young guy who wanted to show off to his friends by hurting a complete stranger.

He’s an asshole, and completely deserves getting sent to the hospital, but I think you did right thing here. By getting around his ambush so easily, you more or less proved that you’re not an easy target. If he really was a murderous individual who didn’t want to lose face in front of his friends, then he’d probably have continued attacking you. He didn’t. I think that speaks volumes of his character.

And then you made this into a hilarious situation for his friends by embarrassing him.

I don’t get this sentence though “he just stared at me like a demon possessed as I walked home with his mates.” Did you know these people?


Sounds to me like you did the right thing. You hit a guy, maybe you fuck him up, maybe you don’t, maybe you get fucked up as a result.

But when you really cut somebody down with your words, or humiliate him in front of his friends … well, that’s a deeper wound that sometimes never heals. I think you did more damage doing what you did than if you’d hit him and knocked over a drunk.


I’m going to deviate from the party line here, and say I’d have knocked him out, and then gone straight for his mate.

I think one of the best pieces of advice you get given in our neck of the forum is that when dealing with real world violence, you need to have your own set of principles that help you make decisions like this in the moment, where hesitation may get you killed.

My own principle on this is that I will walk away from anything I can, will never look for trouble, and will happily apologise to someone looking for a fight to avoid a confrontation. But, at the point someone does not take the way out I give them, I’m going to do everything in my power to put them out of action so that my safety is not in question (more than it may need to be as the circumstances dictate).

A hook to the back of the head, is about as close to lethal as you get from an unarmed bloke. All the good bits of your brain are back there. A guy comes up behind you, smashes you in the head, and you have to turn and assess the situation before you decide how to respond? To me, a punch in the back of the head is an act of attempted murder.

It may not have been the blokes intention, it may not be what a court thinks, but you ability to lead a functional, sentient life relies on that bit of your brain not getting scrambled. A blind side attack to that area of the head is a potentially lethal confrontation - and it’s for this reason that in my own view, the appropriate response is to bury the guy immediately.

Now, because of the particular circumstances of the attack on you, it looks like you did the right thing because no conflict happened after the initial punch, you walked away safely, and all was well. But I would suggest you did the wrong thing, because at the point you turned to assess, you had no idea whether that was a sober, pre-meditated attack designed to put you in the ground.

On this occasion, you got lucky, but had the situation been different, you could well have been dead. I don’t personally want to leave such an outcome up to chance, particularly when the law would be firmly on my side for a bare-fisted response.

Once you’d established that the situation was not yet deadly, and decided you weren’t going to beat the piss out of him, staying there to mock him by yourself in front of a growing group of his mates seems like about the dumbest thing you could possibly have done. Laughing at someone in front of their mates can easily push someone who is on the fence about fighting into launching an attack they otherwise wouldn’t want to do. If his mates are close with him, they may well have partaken in an ass whoopin’ on you for belittling their friend - particularly as the came on the seen late and may only have had half the facts.

Either act first, with real violence designed to put an immediate end to the situation, or let it go and walk away, even if it looks like you lost to people around. Half measures, and allowing your ego to dictate your actions, will get you badly hurt or killed more certainly than anything else in this life. ‘Put up, or shut up’.


I can’t say what I would have done as I wasn’t there.

That being said, I would agree with London in that if you deemed that you didn’t need to respond with force then you would have been better advised to let it be. Taking the piss out of the guy like that is a no win proposition, even if it made you feel like a champion at the time.

Dude has already proven that he’s willing to commit actual violence by hitting you in the first place. Causing him to lose face in front of his friends may well take away his “out”. He’s just found his fists to be inadequate, so what’s to say he won’t up the ante to save face? Some folks are stupid that way. He’s already shown you he’s the kind of stupid that tries to cold cock a stranger for no reason, soooo…

Sometimes you need to hit someone. Sometimes you need to talk, sometimes you need to run, sometimes you just need to walk. You never need to mock/antagonize someone, no matter how badly you may want to. It’s just an ineffective option.


Situational Awareness
before you got hit do you think you could have avoided being hit?
i think alot of people train to fight forget this part


Good posts from all. As you can see, its an individual decision on the course of action. OP, no disrespect, but mature professionals or experienced adults, don’t worry about being call a “pussy”. If I decide to walk away from a situation, its because, I have determined that I don’t need the legal problems, whoever I was with could get killed or injured, I was outnumbered to the point that weapons or skill would not help, etc. and guess what? I would not feel like a “pussy”, I would have survived with no injuries, no arrest, and no lawsuit.

You walked away with no injuries. IMHO, you were very lucky. Mocking someone, especially in front of witnesses, is an amateur move, one that could have got you killed. Once you started the taunts, you backed him into a embarrassing corner and the only way to salvage his “manhood” was to start another fight and this time his friends would have been with him. Let me give you a quote that will go a long way in avoiding future trouble:

“Humiliation is a thing never forgotten”–Rebec of Ginaz.

I would take this situation, evaluate what you did or didn’t do, and start mentally and physically preparing for the next time. Examples: You stated knives were very common in Scotland, well, do you train in knife defense? counter moves? blade based martial arts? The chances of you encountering one again are high. What are the self defense laws in Scotland? Can you defend yourself from both the perpetrator or the courts? How is your physical training? Do you train both both your mind and your body? I am going to post a link to a excellent thread on situational awareness. take some time and study the advice given. Stay sharp.


“Do Any of You Lose the Plot Anymore?”

^^^^^^^^^^^^, BTW, I was going to ask you the meaning of your topic sentence, is that some type of Scottish slang? Thanks


Lose the plot basically means get really upset/angry.

Fwiw I think you did the right thing by not getting into an unnecessary fight, and the wrong thing for hanging around while his mates entered the scene.

Had he remained in your personal space after attacking you, then you should have attacked back as you may well have been defending your life. The fact that he was far enough away for you to front up, means at that point you are able to avoid physical violence which is always the goal.

Hanging around while his mates rock up was just dumb, this is obviously a bloke looking to make himself feel like a big man and you can tell a lot about people by the company they keep, so there is a good chance his mates are down for that well. Lucky that it didn’t escalate from there.


Alot of good points brought up here. And I think London really has legit rationale!

Because I didn’t adress this in my first post, I think I skipped it reading it yhe first time: it wasn’t really a smart move to taunt indeed. You weren’t going to fight, right? Why try to get someone so worked up they wanted to fight?

I’m still not 100% sure you should’ve get after this fucker. You turned around and saw there was no danger (don’t fall in that trap too easily), so I think hitting the guy right away in front of his mates could’ve easily made the whole thing escalate.

As London says: he tried to punch you in the most vulnerable part of the human body. Some repercussions were appriopriate!
He was drunk, so a quick knockdown was definetely an option.

I’m no expert, and I think you had an aweful lot of luck. Listen to some more experienced fighters here, and pay attention to situational awereness.