Learning by Getting Beat Up

Bill Mattocks

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All this talk about stare-downs and so on has brought back some unfond memories, and I thought I'd share one of them with you.

I was 27 years old, just out of the Marines (I was an MP), and I was working shifts as a security guard while waiting to get onto the local PD. I had started taking Wado Ryu karate classes and was about to earn my green belt. You might say I was a tad full of myself.

One night, I was off work and relaxing, when I heard a huge crash of broken glass outside my bedroom window.

My apartment was on the ground floor (garden level, they called it), meaning the window sills were at ground level, the floor was actually about four feet down. So I had a great view of the guy's legs who had just dumped a big cardboard box of booze bottles outside my window as he walked away. I guess the dumpster was too far for him to walk.

I threw on my field jacket and my USMC baseball cap, and tucked my Monadnock nightstick up one sleeve. I went outside and discovered that there was a large party going on in the apartment clubhouse. From what I could gather, it was for several young soldiers who just came home from the first Gulf War. There were a couple hundred people there, all my age or younger, and snot-slinging drunk, the lot of 'em.

One of the soldiers was practicing his 'kick boxing' on a drunken party-goer, and the kid he was 'practicing' on was pretty beat up, barely standing. The kicks were sloppy and worthless, but when you've got a drunken pogue to practice on...

I stood there watching him kick this kid around, and sure enough, he saw me watching him. He looked at me and I just stood and gave him the 'bad stare' from about 20 feet away. He knocked the kid over he had been kicking and came charging over to me.

I took a fighting stance and waited. He paused, saw my hat and said "Oh, hell no, we got us a Jarhead here! Who wants to help me kick his ***?"

All of a sudden, he had two buddies. They started to encircle me. Two I could deal with, three was hard. I dropped the nightstick out of my sleeve and swung it hard on friend one, to the right of me. He took it right in the face and went down. As that happened, friend number two hooked his right arm over my throat from behind and tried to pivot and throw me. I did a u-turn with the nightstick and gave him the butt end of it in the solar plexus. However, I was off-balance falling backwards and I fell onto him. He kept his hold on my neck.

I was on the ground on top of friend #2, and I turned to mount, but I was having trouble getting free of his armbar across my neck. It was now across the back of my neck, so I wasn't choking, but I could not rise, we were face to face on the ground. I also felt someone begin to pull on my nightstick, trying to twist and pull it out of my hands.

At that point, the first guy (Mister kick boxer) began to kick the back of my head repeatedly. I relaxed to let my neck absorb the impact (which was also driving my forehead into the forehead of friend #2 like those clacker balls if you remember back that far).

The kicking continued for some time, I don't know how long. Someone was still pulling at my night stick, trying to twist it out of my grasp. I knew I was in serious trouble.

Eventually, I was going to either pass out, or lose control of my nightstick. I had just busted up the face of friend #1, so I had no doubt how they were going to use it on me. I figured I was going to be dead very soon.

There was a huge crowd gathered around me, screaming and yelling. Girls were screaming about all the blood, guys were yelling for the kick boxer to kill me. Someone picked up a chunk of parking lot concrete and threw it at my head, it smashed out the headlight and part of the grill of the car myself and friend #2 had partially rolled under.

Then I felt a pair of hands scoop me up by the armpits. A very loud, deep voice, started shouting - "BACK UP! BACK THE F*#& UP!" Nobody was backing up, and I felt, rather than saw, the guy holding me up as he stared kicking while holding me. I know he hit a few guys, I heard them go 'oof' when he connected. People started backing up.

"I'm going to back up with this man, and if one of you f#@*ers comes after me, I'll kill you dead, do you understand me?"

He dragged me back about twenty feet. I got the blood out of my eyes and saw that the crowd was already vanishing. The kick boxer and his buddies were running the other way, holding the one whose face I had smacked with the nightstick.

The guy who had saved my *** pulled me to my feet and helped me get composed. He was a monstrously-large man I had never seen before, he looked to be 6-7 at the very least, and built big. I was 5-10 and weighed about 190 at the time (Lord, for those days again).

I gave him my profuse thanks and he brushed it off and said to forget it and walked away. I didn't even get his name, never saw him again at the apartment complex.

I learned a couple of good lessons that night. At least one of them was to not puff up and act the fool when I don't need to. There was no reason for me to be out there - none. There was no reason for me to be playing Billy Badass. There was no reason for me to be out there with a deadly weapon. There was no reason - period. It was stupid, testosterone-driven, and I'm glad I lived through it.

If somebody were to dump a box of busted booze bottles outside my window again, I'd call the police.

Anyway, that's my true confession, and perhaps one of the reasons why I'm loathe to fight unless I have to. I train for self-defense, but I figure my best self-defense is not having to use it.
 

MA-Caver

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To be honest I've lost more fights than I've lost but as you stated... the fights that I've won have been benefited from what I've learned from the losses.
Understanding defeat aids in achievement of victory. There are some who are too stubborn, too willful, too proud to lose. Yet lose they must someday, but a defeat is only true if one fails to learn from it.

Getting "beat up" isn't fun at all, oh my no and I'll attest to that right off. It hurts in more ways than just the physical damage sustained. Yet less if pride is at a minimum.
Going over the fight in your head and looking at it from an outsider viewpoint (even better if you got a video of it...which now-a-days shouldn't be too hard to do... :rolleyes: ) and see where you could've achieved victory helps in the next fight... if any.

The hardest thing to learn is how to swallow that big lump of pride that resides in the throat. You lost, get over it and learn from it and go on. It's the best thing for you.

At least you walked away from it.
 
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Bill Mattocks

Bill Mattocks

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At least you walked away from it.

If it hadn't been for that guy who pulled me out of the fight - which he did for no apparent reason at all - I suspect I'd have been hospital-bound at the minimum, if not dead.

It wasn't the only stupid thing I've done trying to show off my machismo, but it was the closest I came to probably checking out entirely.
 

Gordon Nore

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I learned a couple of good lessons that night. At least one of them was to not puff up and act the fool when I don't need to. There was no reason for me to be out there - none. There was no reason for me to be playing Billy Badass. There was no reason for me to be out there with a deadly weapon. There was no reason - period. It was stupid, testosterone-driven, and I'm glad I lived through it.

If somebody were to dump a box of busted booze bottles outside my window again, I'd call the police.

:asian:
 

Raynac

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Bill you have my respect. I now see why you advocated the points you do so strongly. To this date I've never actually been in a fight. So i always make sure to listen to those who have. thanks for sharing your story, and I am very glad that man saved you...

did you ever find out what happen to the guy who was being used as a roundhouse kick target? unless I am mistaken you went out there to save him kinda like the big guy who came out to save you.

that part of the story interests me, because I didn't start learning so I could become some big tough fighter, or even defend myself (although I'm learning alot about self-defence and I'm loving it) I joined so that if I ever saw one of my friends or someone else getting hurt that I might be able to defend them and if all posible put myself into a situation in which I can calm the assailant down and stop the fight...
of course thats not likely in a real situation... but its my personal motivation
 
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Bill Mattocks

Bill Mattocks

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Bill you have my respect. I now see why you advocated the points you do so strongly. To this date I've never actually been in a fight. So i always make sure to listen to those who have. thanks for sharing your story, and I am very glad that man saved you...

I'm pretty happy about it myself...

did you ever find out what happen to the guy who was being used as a roundhouse kick target? unless I am mistaken you went out there to save him kinda like the big guy who came out to save you.

I wish I could say I had some altruistic motive at heart, but I didn't. I went out there because I was ticked off that someone dumped a box full of busted booze bottles in front of my bedroom window, and I gave kick-boxer the hairy eyeball because I wanted to provoke a fight. Which I got.

I don't know what happened to the kid who was getting kicked like a ragdoll. He was pretty much out on his feet when I got there, and kick boxer just sort of pushed him over to end it when I hove into view.

If I had really been all that interested in doing the right thing, the way to go about it would have been to do as my savior did - jump in and do it.

I wasn't the hero of that story - I was the idiot with a big ego, enough training to be dangerous (to myself), and a desire to get my butt kicked.

that part of the story interests me, because I didn't start learning so I could become some big tough fighter, or even defend myself (although I'm learning alot about self-defence and I'm loving it) I joined so that if I ever saw one of my friends or someone else getting hurt that I might be able to defend them and if all posible put myself into a situation in which I can calm the assailant down and stop the fight...
of course thats not likely in a real situation... but its my personal motivation

I've been in more fights than I can count, but mostly in the line of duty, which kind of takes the fun out of it. The ones I've been in on a personal level have almost universally been stupid, caused by stupidity, the ante raised by stupidity, and I was more often than not the stupid one. I never wanted to be the one who backed down, you know? I never wanted to be branded a chickens*#(t.

As I got older, I guess I finally started putting things in some kind of perspective. Plus, the world got uglier. Used to be, a bar fight was something you got in and lost a couple teeth, or had to have some stitches, maybe broke your hand on some knucklehead. Now, you get in a fight in bar and the guy goes out to his car and comes back with his gat and sprays the place down. Here in Detroit (and thank goodness I never worked in law enforcement here), bar fights end in murder with a nasty regularity. One of the people I used to work with was killed for his car in the parking lot of a bar - he was just a member of the after-work pool league.

Fighting risks dying. While there are some things I'll die for, including defending the lives of innocent people, I don't want to die in a bar, killed by some idiot with a chair, or one of his drunken buddies with a gun. If there is a way to avoid that, I'll do it.
 

Raynac

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I'm pretty happy about it myself...


I wasn't the hero of that story - I was the idiot with a big ego, enough training to be dangerous (to myself), and a desire to get my butt kicked.


I've been in more fights than I can count, but mostly in the line of duty, which kind of takes the fun out of it. The ones I've been in on a personal level have almost universally been stupid, caused by stupidity, the ante raised by stupidity, and I was more often than not the stupid one. I never wanted to be the one who backed down, you know? I never wanted to be branded a chickens*#(t.

As I got older, I guess I finally started putting things in some kind of perspective. Plus, the world got uglier. Used to be, a bar fight was something you got in and lost a couple teeth, or had to have some stitches, maybe broke your hand on some knucklehead. Now, you get in a fight in bar and the guy goes out to his car and comes back with his gat and sprays the place down. Here in Detroit (and thank goodness I never worked in law enforcement here), bar fights end in murder with a nasty regularity. One of the people I used to work with was killed for his car in the parking lot of a bar - he was just a member of the after-work pool league.

Fighting risks dying. While there are some things I'll die for, including defending the lives of innocent people, I don't want to die in a bar, killed by some idiot with a chair, or one of his drunken buddies with a gun. If there is a way to avoid that, I'll do it.

sounds dangerous in your neck of the woods. Im sorry that you've had to go though some hard scraps in your life. Im glad that you survived them all those. you seem like you've gained alot of experience and wisdom for your troubles though.

it too bad we don't know who your saviour was though. for whatever reason after hearing this story i feel the strong urge to want to thank him. he saved a pretty good guy in my opnion. one that has passed some insights onto me so that hopfully I won't have to learn those lessons the same way.

catch cha later Bill

oh hey I just realised, my names Will, and bills another form of that isn't it. my grandfathers name is bill also. pretty neat eh? well maybe not, I'm just tired its 1:42am where i am and i still have to finish writing a science journal before class tomorrow. :( those things are long. im only halfway though.
 

mozzandherb

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Good story, I enjoyed reading it and I'm happy you came out o.k. Good lessons are sometimes the hardest one's to learn
 

jarrod

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good story, thanks for sharing. marc macyoung had a little article that talked about the difference between self-defense & a fight. one of the differences is that a fight is something you can walk away from, self-defense is not.

jf
 

Zero

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That was a good read Bill, an interesting account of a serious altercation you found yourself in - pity you never ran into the man-monster who saved your skin but then, maybe he had no need for thanks.
 

Andy Moynihan

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I'm pretty happy about it myself...

Me too. :)



I wish I could say I had some altruistic motive at heart, but I didn't. I went out there because I was ticked off that someone dumped a box full of busted booze bottles in front of my bedroom window, and I gave kick-boxer the hairy eyeball because I wanted to provoke a fight. Which I got.

I'm gonna chalk that up to the info you gave me( Just released from the Marines,at age 27 which suggests to me two enlistments, in which capacity you were an MP, and used to proactively entering dangerous situations as a matter of course as per the job requirements) and say that it was a case of you having spent 8 years in an extremely testosterone charged environment where gracefully backing down is far less of an option among fellow Marines than it is in general society, not having yet fully internalized that "you ain't a cop no more", and not yet having adjusted to civvie life to where you knew the appropriate level to "dial down" to for your particular area.

I don't know what happened to the kid who was getting kicked like a ragdoll. He was pretty much out on his feet when I got there, and kick boxer just sort of pushed him over to end it when I hove into view.

If I had really been all that interested in doing the right thing, the way to go about it would have been to do as my savior did - jump in and do it.

I wasn't the hero of that story - I was the idiot with a big ego, enough training to be dangerous (to myself), and a desire to get my butt kicked.



I've been in more fights than I can count, but mostly in the line of duty, which kind of takes the fun out of it. The ones I've been in on a personal level have almost universally been stupid, caused by stupidity, the ante raised by stupidity, and I was more often than not the stupid one. I never wanted to be the one who backed down, you know? I never wanted to be branded a chickens*#(t.

As I got older, I guess I finally started putting things in some kind of perspective. Plus, the world got uglier. Used to be, a bar fight was something you got in and lost a couple teeth, or had to have some stitches, maybe broke your hand on some knucklehead. Now, you get in a fight in bar and the guy goes out to his car and comes back with his gat and sprays the place down. Here in Detroit (and thank goodness I never worked in law enforcement here), bar fights end in murder with a nasty regularity. One of the people I used to work with was killed for his car in the parking lot of a bar - he was just a member of the after-work pool league.

Fighting risks dying. While there are some things I'll die for, including defending the lives of innocent people, I don't want to die in a bar, killed by some idiot with a chair, or one of his drunken buddies with a gun. If there is a way to avoid that, I'll do it.

Now you know. And like the old cartoon used to say, "Knowing is half the battle".
 
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Bill Mattocks

Bill Mattocks

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I'm gonna chalk that up to the info you gave me( Just released from the Marines,at age 27 which suggests to me two enlistments, in which capacity you were an MP, and used to proactively entering dangerous situations as a matter of course as per the job requirements) and say that it was a case of you having spent 8 years in an extremely testosterone charged environment where gracefully backing down is far less of an option among fellow Marines than it is in general society, not having yet fully internalized that "you ain't a cop no more", and not yet having adjusted to civvie life to where you knew the appropriate level to "dial down" to for your particular area.

Good deductive reasoning! Yes, I did two tours. And yes, 'backing down' isn't in the job description for Marines (or soldiers, sailors, airmen, etc). As an MP, we were not 'authorized' to lose fights, so we didn't - mostly (remind me to tell you about the bodybuilder who kicked the stuffing out of me in front of the band Cheap Trick in Okinawa sometime).

However, I really have to put the blame where it belongs - on myself.

Now you know. And like the old cartoon used to say, "Knowing is half the battle".

I wish I had learned the entire lesson from that one beating - but there were more to come. I was a bit slow to learn. It was the worst beating I ever got, though. That's for sure.
 

teekin

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I wish I had learned the entire lesson from that one beating - but there were more to come. I was a bit slow to learn. It was the worst beating I ever got, though. That's for sure.[/quote]

Your not the only one who is slow.:wink2: God has a wicked sense of humor, what ever we don't learn the first time or 2 or 3 will just keep getting taught to us over and over until we do learn it. I pretty thick headed too and need to be taught the same lesson a few different ways before it finally sinks in.:banghead: Thanks for sharing.
lori
 
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