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A video of a road rage fight shows two people, Mendez and Ramirez, who were arrested on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon. The man who was beaten in the video was Jerry Patterson. In a Huffington Post article about the incident, Patterson states,

"I made a simple driving mistake and cut them off unintentionally, and it just escalated from there," Patterson told the television station, "It just spiraled out of control, and I felt I didn't have any choice – either get beat up in my car or get out and fight."

It's clear the situation should be avoided, but assume it couldn't be, what would you do in terms of handling such a situation based on your martial arts knowledge? Assume that you cannot run away, call for help, etc.

My personal conclusions based on this movie, on what I've learnt and of my meager fight experience would be:

  1. Always try to keep one opponent between you and the other guys.
  2. Never kick, for fear of losing your balance.
  3. Try to target the alpha guy first.
  4. Try to be really fierce, to be feared. For example, go for the eyes.

So, what's your take?

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How about not being an arse? –  Sardathrion Jun 25 '12 at 6:46
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I wouldnt say never kick. Kicks are extremely effective, and important when trying to keep an attacker away from you. Never kick like that, perhaps. –  GrandmasterB Jun 25 '12 at 22:17
    
Why are you excluding the best possible answer to the question? It's so easy to avoid a road rage fist fight (which, btw might be a tire iron fight) by keeping your doors locked that finding some bizarre scenario in which it's impossible to stay in your car just smells like looking for an excuse to fight. –  Robin Ashe Jul 3 '12 at 22:44

4 Answers 4

up vote 11 down vote accepted

OK, I've just watched the video. This situation was ludicrous.

  • looking at the body language of the participants as the car approached, this probably could have been defused with a simple apology - there were words being flung but little more than that
  • those two wanted to fight. They rolled up their sleeves and squared off.

I'm going to refer to the participants as BG, MG#1 and MG#2 (black guy, mexican guy, etc.). Before I answer, let me state my unequivocal opinion:

BG is an ass and he escalated that situation, he needs to man up and admit that he made a mistake and that he probably deserved the kicking he got. He should think himself incredibly lucky that none of his opponents produced a weapon. If he came to me to be taught I would turn him away.

To answer the question of "If you were BG, how would you have handled this?":

  • he had ample opportunity to apologise and walk away. He admits he made the driving mistake, he should have been man enough to say sorry to the other guys
  • he should never have tried to kick MG#1. His kick were very sloppy and he didn't retract his leg quickly, he left it hanging out there for his opponent to grab
  • once he had MG#1 in a head lock, he suddenly found he had no hands to deal with MG#2 who was simply stepping in to help his mate

There are numerous ways to lock someone up and still remain capable of defending yourself. You can escalate your level of defence as the level of the attack grows - this means if you have multiple attackers you may need to start disabling them one by one.

This was a quite expansive and long fight - they had plenty of area to fight in, and it was a clumsy brawl more than a fight. If you are trained you should look to end this as quickly as possible. Your observations about taking out the alpha attacker and keeping someone between you and the other attackers is quite correct. Your observations about never kicking, going for the eyes and being quite fierce are quite incorrect.

  • "being fierce" is only applicable if you are not trained and it is the only weapon you have.
  • "going for the eyes" (testicles, whatever) is also a bad approach. While it may work, your chances of pulling it off are actually quite slim and you should never concentrate on just the one target or vital point
  • kicking is a legitimate way of striking, you simply need to be prepared in case it doesn't work (which is the same for any type of strike you use). The only time you should never kick is if you kick like a retarded monkey, or your opponent is already on the ground and the fight is over.
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Nice answer. However, I don't agree that the fight is over when your opponent is on the ground. IMHO it's only over when he's not longer a danger. –  Avi Jun 24 '12 at 7:58
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@Avi You are correct, but I was referring more to the extra few kicks the MG's delivered to the BG once he was on the ground - at that point he was not a threat, the kicks were simply wanton retribution. –  slugster Jun 24 '12 at 11:33
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MG#1 puts up his guards first and throws the first punch, a sloppy punch but clearly a punch. There is no clear audio, but judging only from the body language, BG weren't the one to escalate the level of hostility, he only matched MG#1's. If you were trained, you probably know how to raise a guard without raising hostility, but he weren't trained and so responded in the only way he know of. –  Lie Ryan Jul 1 '12 at 6:30

How to handle a "road rage fist fight" ?

Don't get in one. Keep driving. Here you clearly have a choice - you're in a moving vehicle. None of that "sucker-punched from behind in a bar while telling my friends a joke". You have no reason to actually get involved.

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Keep driving.

If they follow you in their car, drive to the nearest police station. Or your dojo. (True story).

The real answer: meditate daily as part of your martial arts practice.

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I've also found that driving back to your barracks, getting out and casually walking over to the smoking area where a dozen of your Army buddies are hanging out works well too –  Kevin Aug 16 '12 at 21:37

He had a choice, he made it by stopping his car, getting out of his car, by allowing his monkey brain to take charge.

Talk about some stupid commentary afterwards by the newscasters.... Geez...

Plus didn't Patterson have past issues with road rage/DUI's? As Marc MacYoung said the number one pre-attack indicator is you being an asshole. I doubt Patterson was totally innocent in this situation.

So what would have done? try not to be an asshole, not stop the car, not get out of the car.

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