"Know your enemy..."

geezer

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"Know your enemy and know yourself and you will be victorious in 1,000 battles..." (Or something like that )-Sun Tzu, The Art of War. I was in Disneyworld's "The Magic Kingdom", dragging along with my family, approaching a state of exhaustion bordering on delerium ("...it's a small world after all...") and it occured to me that, just barely concealed beneath the surface of all the faces in the crowds, was a seething hostility bread from too many hours in long lines with fussy children, bad food and innane cartoon characters in fuzzy suits. It all got me thinking...

How would you react if someone just suddenly snapped... (or if I did) and...

What percentage of all these normal looking people might be able to really hurt you.
I mean how many people have picked up enough skills to totally surprise you and kick your hiney, or worse, if they chose to.

After ages in and out of several MAs, I don't have a clue as to the answer. But along the way I've met some very friendly, civil-looking people that have the ability to maim or kill with disturbing ease. There's an old Chinese MA cliche that "You can tell a kung-fu man by the way he moves". I'm not so sure I can do that. But recognising a truly dangerous adversary beforehand is...well, kind of an important self defense talent.

These are just a few of the many thought fragments that come to mind whenever I get really P-d off and want to get "physical" with some jerk. Any thoughts or comments?
 

Touch Of Death

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Having been burned in a few relationships. I say don't look for the way a person is moving but how they are reacting to various stimuli. Spot the victim mentality before the pre-emptive lash out, is my new motto.
Sean
 

JadecloudAlchemist

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My teacher use to say watch how people walk.

He meant by this to show how easy they are off balance.

How would I react if someone snapped?

An honest answer would be anything to insure my surivival.

I look at everyone has the potenial to harm me to some degree So I would not rule out anyone.

I truly feel someone with good kung fu/Taijutsu body movement will use it in daily activites.

I agree with Touch of Death in the way someone reacts to Stimuli example
Some guy watching kids oddly or standing still laughing with a huge grin may ring bells.
 

Deaf Smith

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It's a nice idea this 'know your enemy..', but you can know your enemy and yourself quite well and still lose. It's called being surrounded by a whole lot of bad dudes who just won't take no for an answer.

Yes it's wise to study up on your opponents (but on the street, with encounters with so many strangers that might be hard to do), and it's very wise to know yourself, or at least think you know yourself, but short of a prepaired battle it's not all that realistic.

You may very well not have all that information.

Deaf
 

tshadowchaser

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First and foremost insure the safety of my family by getting them away from the area if possible. If removing them is out of the question my responsibility is still to protect them at all costs. If the person going berserk comes there way I feel it is then time to intercede and stop the person.
 

bowser666

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It is indeed hard to know your enemy. Noone sadly has "spider sense" , it would be nice, but i think the best way to find a potential enemy , is to see how people around the potential are acting. People do have a sort of 6th sense when something is out of place, and they just get a gut feeling. Best thing is to go with your gut in situations like that.


On the other hand you can't always walk aroudn worrying about what enemy is going to pop up around the next corner. If that is how you feel on a daily basis then I woudl seek professional help.
 

7starmarc

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You have to remember, as well, that some of the most dangerous people have not been trained fighters, but people who have "snapped". The safeties go off, and the person not only may be accessing some strength out of rage, but also out of gross disregard for their own well being. These people are particularly dangerous, as they will not react rationally to injury or threat thereof.

Also, with regards to the way people move. I'm sure there is some credence to this, but there are many athletic individuals who would have good balance, etc. while still being unable to throw a decent strike (ever seen some basketball or baseball brawls?) Also, there are others who may not appear particularly athletic, until you see them in action. One of our sigungs had a stroke a few years ago, and you can still see it in the way he moves. However, I have also seen him demonstrate techinques and there is still a lot of power in his techniques, and I am sure that I would barely be able to touch him, much less hurt him. I suppose a truly adept observer might be able to pick out the differences and identify his skill, but it would be difficult.

I tend to look at the way people are behaving. Since studying martial arts, I have come to recognize that anyone could be trained enough to be able to hurt me. Also, recognize that even without training, they may have some weapon (even if it's a fork from the cafeteria) which may complicate matters.

Not paranoid, but observant, aware, and vigilant.
 

JBrainard

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Being able to pick a threat (that isn't obvious) out of a crowd is probably a skill you can learn, but in my experience, you either can or you can't. I know a few people who are horrible judges of character, and usually end up getting burned. My wife, however, has a "6th sense" for this kind of thing. I few years back a pretty normal looking guy came to our door looking to get some money in return for doing our yard work. My wife checked him out through the little "peep" door that we had, and instantly told him to get lost. We saw on the news a couple of days later that the same guy forced his way into a house a raped a chick. That was creepy.
 

Ahriman

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: semi-off:
Just as a side note, what do you mean by "snap"? A simple loss-of-self-control or a full-out "berserkergang"? If the latter, run and order everyone around you to follow the example IF you can realize the situation in time unless you can behead him or shoot him in the head or have a few guys to help you out. I don't really want to witness a massive adrenaline overdose again even as the one I witnessed was used on bad guys. (a few thugs wanted to rob a guy we know. He doesn't have any martial training and is rather skinny but we know that he's rather unstable and he snapped for some reason he can't remember. When we got there, he already immobilised the BGs, and was beating the head of one of them into the pavement. It took all 4 of us to restrain him to help him avoid some jail time. Funny thing is, he can't remember a single thing, only the first few words of the confrontation and that we hold him. He suffered quite some injuries /had 2 of his fingers, 3 of his ribs, his jaw and his left forearm broken/ but still - we could hardly restrain him for that circa 5 minutes he needed to calm down.)
: semi-off:
 

sgtmac_46

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"Know your enemy and know yourself and you will be victorious in 1,000 battles..." (Or something like that )-Sun Tzu, The Art of War. I was in Disneyworld's "The Magic Kingdom", dragging along with my family, approaching a state of exhaustion bordering on delerium ("...it's a small world after all...") and it occured to me that, just barely concealed beneath the surface of all the faces in the crowds, was a seething hostility bread from too many hours in long lines with fussy children, bad food and innane cartoon characters in fuzzy suits. It all got me thinking...

How would you react if someone just suddenly snapped... (or if I did) and...

What percentage of all these normal looking people might be able to really hurt you.
I mean how many people have picked up enough skills to totally surprise you and kick your hiney, or worse, if they chose to.

After ages in and out of several MAs, I don't have a clue as to the answer. But along the way I've met some very friendly, civil-looking people that have the ability to maim or kill with disturbing ease. There's an old Chinese MA cliche that "You can tell a kung-fu man by the way he moves". I'm not so sure I can do that. But recognising a truly dangerous adversary beforehand is...well, kind of an important self defense talent.

These are just a few of the many thought fragments that come to mind whenever I get really P-d off and want to get "physical" with some jerk. Any thoughts or comments?

I have a plan to kill everyone I meet should it become necessary.
 

sgtmac_46

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Being able to pick a threat (that isn't obvious) out of a crowd is probably a skill you can learn, but in my experience, you either can or you can't. I know a few people who are horrible judges of character, and usually end up getting burned. My wife, however, has a "6th sense" for this kind of thing. I few years back a pretty normal looking guy came to our door looking to get some money in return for doing our yard work. My wife checked him out through the little "peep" door that we had, and instantly told him to get lost. We saw on the news a couple of days later that the same guy forced his way into a house a raped a chick. That was creepy.
I can pick a fight coming generally a mile away, from across a crowded room or a parking lot several minutes before it starts

There's a bar I pass on my way to the police department when i go to work in the evenings......I often walk in to the office and say 'We're about to get called to <Blank> bar because I saw something odd about the way in which folks were interacting outside.....an invariably within moments of me saying that we get a call to respond there for a fight in progress.

We had a rookie working the other night and I was just telling him we were about to get a call there....he laughed.....then dispatch sent us there not 30 seconds later and he said 'How'd you do that?'

When I pass the bar it's not as if the folks are at the pushing, shoving or even arguing phase......it's just that postures are tenser, voices (not arguing just talking) are louder than normal, someone appears drunker than the rest, and everyone seems......agitated. It's the way you can know a predator is around by watching a herd of animals.


And people almost NEVER surprise me......once I make a character judgement, they usually always act within my estimation of their character. 'This man's dangerous, that man's a thief, this one has an ulterior motive' I go with my gut.....and it works for me.
 

sgtmac_46

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It's a nice idea this 'know your enemy..', but you can know your enemy and yourself quite well and still lose. It's called being surrounded by a whole lot of bad dudes who just won't take no for an answer.

Yes it's wise to study up on your opponents (but on the street, with encounters with so many strangers that might be hard to do), and it's very wise to know yourself, or at least think you know yourself, but short of a prepaired battle it's not all that realistic.

You may very well not have all that information.

Deaf
If you truly knew your enemy and your surroundings you wouldn't find yourself in the middle of a bunch of 'bad dudes'.......it's a lack of situational awareness that put you in the situation in the first place......I know, i've been in bad situations, and they were ALL because I walked headlong in to them with my head up my ***!
 

theletch1

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: semi-off:
Just as a side note, what do you mean by "snap"? A simple loss-of-self-control or a full-out "berserkergang"? If the latter, run and order everyone around you to follow the example IF you can realize the situation in time unless you can behead him or shoot him in the head or have a few guys to help you out. I don't really want to witness a massive adrenaline overdose again even as the one I witnessed was used on bad guys. (a few thugs wanted to rob a guy we know. He doesn't have any martial training and is rather skinny but we know that he's rather unstable and he snapped for some reason he can't remember. When we got there, he already immobilised the BGs, and was beating the head of one of them into the pavement. It took all 4 of us to restrain him to help him avoid some jail time. Funny thing is, he can't remember a single thing, only the first few words of the confrontation and that we hold him. He suffered quite some injuries /had 2 of his fingers, 3 of his ribs, his jaw and his left forearm broken/ but still - we could hardly restrain him for that circa 5 minutes he needed to calm down.)
: semi-off:

By snapped I think the OP means suddenly lost his temper and all self control and began attacking someone/anyone for no reason. As for your friend... the most dangerous person to have a conflict with is the one who is terrified and believes they have no options at all. It's the wounded bear scenario... unpredictable, fighting with an overload of adrenaline, and willing to kill to survive. We've all heard stories about small women picking up 3,000 lb cars to save their child. It's the same thing.

As for picking out the potential threats I (and my wife, luckily) tend to be able to pick up on a bad "wa" pretty easily. A predator seems to exude a certain something that you can pick up on. In the Disney scenario, though, it would be a bit tougher as your adding a stimulus to the general population that would/could cause them to react in a way that they other wise would not. In that scenario you would have to follow TODs advice and watch how they are reacting to various stimuli. Are they really over reacting to the smallest of problems? Are they getting loud for no reason?
 

sgtmac_46

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A truly skilled predator is the hardest attacker to read.....as deception is his number one weapon.

'Undetected movement for total surprise on the enemy' are the watchwords of the predator......destroy by stealth, subterfuge, and efficient violence.

A skilled predatory criminal is the consumate actor......Ted Bundy convinced most of his victims to help him kill them......he came across as charming, trustworthy and disarming.

That having been said I find that spotting a predator is easier by looking at what ISN'T there......normal people react in a certain way that a predator shields. For example, using my profession, law enforcement......NORMAL people are nervous when they deal with the police, and it's a normal response to be agitated if an officer tries to arrest you.......that's normal. If someone appears TOO cooperative, TOO disarming, TOO friendly.......my alarm bells go off. If I tell a guy he's under arrest for a felony warrant and he goes 'Oh, Okay officer, no problem.....i'll cooperate in anyway I can'........that strikes me as odd and my threat level goes up a notch. The typical response is fear, anger, agitation 'Warrant? WHAT FOR?!'
 

theletch1

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A truly skilled predator is the hardest attacker to read.....as deception is his number one weapon.

'Undetected movement for total surprise on the enemy' are the watchwords of the predator......destroy by stealth, subterfuge, and efficient violence.

A skilled predatory criminal is the consumate actor......Ted Bundy convinced most of his victims to help him kill them......he came across as charming, trustworthy and disarming.

That having been said I find that spotting a predator is easier by looking at what ISN'T there......normal people react in a certain way that a predator shields. For example, using my profession, law enforcement......NORMAL people are nervous when they deal with the police, and it's a normal response to be agitated if an officer tries to arrest you.......that's normal. If someone appears TOO cooperative, TOO disarming, TOO friendly.......my alarm bells go off. If I tell a guy he's under arrest for a felony warrant and he goes 'Oh, Okay officer, no problem.....i'll cooperate in anyway I can'........that strikes me as odd and my threat level goes up a notch. The typical response is fear, anger, agitation 'Warrant? WHAT FOR?!'
Very true but Bundy was an extreme case. For the sake of this particular thread, though, how do you pick out the guy that is normally a good person but has just been pushed too far beyond his limits by what the OP has described as death by a thousand cuts on vacation at D'world?
 

sgtmac_46

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Very true but Bundy was an extreme case. For the sake of this particular thread, though, how do you pick out the guy that is normally a good person but has just been pushed too far beyond his limits by what the OP has described as death by a thousand cuts on vacation at D'world?
Normal human beings experiencing a moment of stressor respond with agitation.......Bundy was an example of predatory aggression, designed to destroy the other.

In human aggression we see two basic types of aggression......predatory (the aforementioned Bundy) and more commonly defensive aggression.......defensive aggression is the aggressive response WE get when someone pushes us, shoves us or otherwise attacks us.......it is a product of our limbic system, we respond with a body full of excess adrenaline, we have a fight or flight response (actually in human on human aggression it's fight/flight/posture/submit)...........we go in to physical survival mode, EVEN if the threat is merely psychological (it's how our brains are wired, and why we can't speak 'rationally' when upset).

So a common-joe pushed too far emotionally demonstrates all the classic signs of the extreme stress survival response......elevated heart rate, vasoconstriction (skin may become pale), perspiration, dialated pupils, visible agitation, inability to articulate, yelling, violent outbursts.

The common-Joe about to explode is actually very easy to spot......the easiest in fact......and they tend to escalate in a predictable progression.
 

sgtmac_46

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Thanks, Mac! An informative post as always.
When dealing with someone watch for the pupil dilation, sweating, visible agitation, jaw clenching......people so mad they are about to physical attack someone tend to clench their jaw as if biting down or grinding their teeth. People who are acting out of emotionally telegraph their intent for anyone paying attention.....many often even say it before they do it.
 

KenpoTex

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I can pick a fight coming generally a mile away, from across a crowded room or a parking lot several minutes before it starts

...When I pass the bar it's not as if the folks are at the pushing, shoving or even arguing phase......it's just that postures are tenser, voices (not arguing just talking) are louder than normal, someone appears drunker than the rest, and everyone seems......agitated. It's the way you can know a predator is around by watching a herd of animals.


And people almost NEVER surprise me......once I make a character judgement, they usually always act within my estimation of their character. 'This man's dangerous, that man's a thief, this one has an ulterior motive' I go with my gut.....and it works for me.
Exactly, I've always been able to do the same thing, I get laughed at occasionally by others, "oh you're just being paranoid," or "you shouldn't judge people so quickly." But I've learned to trust what is sometimes nothing more than a hint of a gut feeling.
 

theletch1

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Trusting your gut is a great thing. It's saved my hide a time for two. Here's a question for ya'll. Do you think that the gut instinct about others that we're talking about (and which plays nicely with the OP) is something that you are simply born with if you'll listen to it or is something that has developed over years of training?
 
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