“Learn from other people’s mistakes – you won’t live long enough to make them all yourself” – A meme-friendly quote to live by.
So I came across this video on YouTube the other day, and I while watching everybody follow the Black eyed Peas advice of “get stupid”, I started wondering what lessons I should be learning (as opposed to sniggering at the fight like a schoolboy).
Lesson number 1 – Biggest pre-assault cue of them all
Ok, first lesson I got from this video was from watching the black guy get out his car and walk up to the white guy. Lesson no. 1: Marc MacYoung is right again. The biggest pre-attack indicator of them all, the absolute best way to make sure you DO get punched is … be an asshole. A very large percent of the violence in the civilised world (or almost civilised – TIA after all) is stereotypical bar fight monkey dance type stuff. I don’t know if the white guy was giving him shit first, but I can definitely see from the video that the black guy was being an asshole when he walked up to him. Witness the “gun” fingers, the jabbing at the other guy, the walking right up close to violate typical western culture personal boundary space. Add these up and what do you get? An asshole. Really – go read the opening quote here.
From early on you can see the white guy was also pissed off and getting ready for a fight. Check out his foot placement. Maybe it just happened, but he’s standing awfully bladed. And frees his hands up when he puts the squeegee down. (Although using a squeegee in a fight would be very creative and would definitely earn you an extra 50 000 views.)
Lesson number 2 – Walk away from your emotions
Next lesson I saw (and hopefully have internalised by now) is that there was plenty opportunity to walk away. But the white guy was pissed off, and the black guy wasn’t exactly calm and rational either. So I’m guessing both of them only knew their anger. To paraphrase Tony Robbins “You are not your emotions”. But by the time it gets to this point it’s hard to see your anger as different from you. There’s a “trick” I adapted from a MacYoung essay I’ve used to great effect in the past. MacYoung was writing about how emotions (and anger) can be like a flash flood that sweeps you up and carries you along. So after reading this I started visualising a flood of water washing over me. When I visualise this the water is my anger and then I visualise myself physically stepping to the side and not being in the way of the water anymore. And the key for me is that I watch it go past me, without feeling the emotion that’s in the water.
So my second lesson was – it’s important to be able to walk away from your emotions and look around you for other options. There are 2 common things that happen in life that let you practise this. Number 1 – marital fights. This is THE time to practise visualising yourself stepping out the way of a flood of anger going past you. Number 2 – being pissed off with your computer. Instead of slamming the mouse on the table, push your chair away, stand up, and physically walk away. Sometimes I find this harder to do than controlling my anger when fighting with my wife. Maybe it’s because the stakes are lower (a computer mouse isn’t too expensive these days).
Lesson number 3 – Tunnel vision is a bitch.
Long ago I had the conversation with my wife where I told her that if anything’s going sour and I’m in the middle of dealing with someone boisterous, that her job was to keep an eye on the bigger picture and tell me what I haven’t seen. Exhibit A is the black dude continually looking away from the white dude. I found myself cringing every time he looked away – I kept expecting him to turn his head right into a fist or a brick or something not as creative as a squeegee.
Also – who “technically” threw the first punch? Some random 3rd dude who rocked up halfway through everything! He didn’t even once look at or see the guy who hit him first.
Lesson number 4 – I spend way too much of my life watching asinine YouTube videos. Although that last headbutt was funny.