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    A recent experience

    Rob Poyton

    Posts : 9
    Join date : 2010-07-11

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    Post by Rob Poyton on Thu Aug 12, 2010 7:26 pm

    Just posted this on my blog. Normally, shared experiences stay in the class, but I though this one raised some interesting points. I realise it's small beans compared to some experiences here but nonetheless interesting I think


    We always share real-life experiences in class - they either come out during the training or in the circle-up at the end. It's a very important part of the process as it means we can draw on the collective experiences of everyone in the session - not just for "fighting", but so much information also comes back on awareness, fitness and general "life experience".

    Normally these experiences stay in the session, but one of the lads had was involved in an incident a couple of weeks back that I thought should be shared with a wider audience. It raises a number of interesting points and, most importantly, the only person who got hurt, short and long term, was the guy who instigated it.

    Our man "X" has been training in the group for around a year and has no previous martial art experience. He is 30-ish in age, just a regular guy. A few weeks ago he was walking through the car park of a large supermarket at 3.30 in the afternoon. He had just finished making a call on his mobile. He heard someone say "give me your f------ phone". He turned to see a young guy approaching. His first reaction was that this was some kind of joke so he aked "What?"

    The robber repeated his demand, more aggresively. X laughed and told him to "f----- off". The robber now shouted his demand, put his head down and charged forward. As he did, his right hand dropped to his belt/pocket

    X without thinking shot a kick to the knee and as the robber went down, X punched him in the face. The guy was now laying on the some discomfort. Next to him lay an opened knife

    People nearby rushed over. X, thinking quickly, loudly said "did you see that, he had a knife! He was going to stab me". He also began acting shaken up and scared. Within seconds all the people were agreeing with him, they all said they saw the knife even though most of them were some distance away

    Now the police arrived. X was told off for "talking to witnesses". The robber was claiming he was "just mucking about" . X continued to act scared and unsure of himself and repeatedly pointed out the fact the robber had a knife. The robber was taken to hospital, he had some damage to his kneecap

    The police asked X if he wanted to press charges. He said no, as far as he was concerned the thing was over. So the police arrested X. That was the end of the actual incident


    A few days later X saw the robber again, this time with a friend. He approached the robber from out of line of sight, then put his arm around him and said "remember me?" The robber was clearly worried and his friend kept saying "we don't want any trouble!". X told him that they shouldn't go out robbing people then and it was left at that
    In the meantime X had a two week wait while the CPS decided whether to go ahead with the case against him or not. Eventually it came through that no charges would be pressed

    In terms of his actions and re-actions I think X did very well . Perhaps the only thing you could say was he didn't do initially spot the robber - but then again at half three in the afternoon in a busy place you wouldn't expect it (which is perhaps a lesson in itself). His physical response to the threat (and who knows what the guy would have done with the knife) was perfect - delivered naturally, precise, effective and appropriate. It is also worth noting that the knife was unseen until it was dropped onto the floor by the robber

    However where I thought X really shone was in his "post-event management". He could have boasted about what he'd done to the witnesses or, even worse mentioned his Systema training! Instead he handled the situation very well, everyone supported him - and rightly so, after all. But I can tell you from my court days how easily events can be twisted in the hands of a good brief. The important thing is what you say - that is what gets noted most. Actions can be interpreted in different ways, if you speak with clear intent it is more difficult to distort

    The next interesting thing was the fact that he got arrested, despite all the evidence at the scene. I'm not sure if this is procedure or down to the discretion of the officers on the spot. To be fair they have to make a decision based on only seeing the aftermath of an event.

    Finally I thought X handled seeing the robber again very well. He could have gone aggressive on him, or even been scared of him. Instead he gave him some brotherly advice (that will hopefully be heeded). This should curtail any future come-backs or thoughts of revenge on the part of the robber. This is something that's often overlooked in self defence, especially when the emphasis is all on "turning into a wild animal and savaging your opponent". When you come out of that, back into the real world, there can be significant consequences to deal with

    Anyway the important things are that no-one was too badly hurt, X kept his phone and is not being charged and a young man has perhaps learnt the error of his ways. Hopefully this will provide some food for thought for all of us and some lessons that can be fed back into our training
    Peter Skillen
    Peter Skillen

    Posts : 612
    Join date : 2008-06-16
    Location : Loughborough

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    Post by Peter Skillen on Sat Aug 14, 2010 10:29 pm

    I think x did all the right things in the initial attack but knowing that the attacker hadn't thought twice about pulling a blade on him before it was a bit of x stupid to assume he wouldn't do it again just because he had given him a hiding before. If anything the lad now has more of a reason to draw a blade because he knows he can get his arse kicked by x so turns back to the blade or something worse to even up the score.
    I also think that your man x should have pressed charges all the way to send a message out to others that carrying threatening and using blades is not expectable the lad might now think well if i do it to someone else ill get away with it AGAIN!
    Al Peasland
    Al Peasland

    Posts : 1051
    Join date : 2008-06-15
    Location : Northampton

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    Post by Al Peasland on Tue Aug 17, 2010 4:30 pm

    Thanks for sharing this Rob

    A great story - and nice to hear things turning out for the best from time to time.

    Definitely did great at the initial onset of the attack (when the guy charged at him)
    Won't bother to mention the obvious (X had just finished talking on his phone - so had probably been a little switched off during that time) - I'm sure he knows that and it's a little patronising to mention it when he's just dealt with someone wielding a knife

    Great stuff after the event too - definitely a lesson to everyone that you need to be able to control your aggression and adrenalin and be as good at switching it back off as you are switching it on.
    If he hadn't been able to gain composure very quickly he wouldn't have been able to cognitively think about his subsequent actions and would most definitely have appeared more hyped, less calm and less like the victim. he probably wouldn't have had the clarity of thought to say the right things to the witnesses and the first attending police officers.
    So all credit to X for being able to compose himself and look like the innocent party that he obviously was.

    Not sure I weould be so keen to "put my arm around" the guy if I seen him again - not through lack of compassion but through the risk of getting too close to a known knife carrier.
    However - perhaps we're just playing with the words of the story there and the fact that X showed the attacker some compassion is a real credit and a sign of a good man.

    Thanks again Rob - feel free to share any links to your blog on here if you haven't already done so and want to bring a few knew viewers along to it - me included Wink
    Rob Poyton

    Posts : 9
    Join date : 2010-07-11

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    Post by Rob Poyton on Wed Aug 18, 2010 2:33 pm

    Thanks for the comments - I agree with you Peter about pressing charges, I probably would have done. I think on approaching him again - it was in a "safe" place and I think he wanted to make the guy both nervous and make him think about what he did. Could have backfired I suppose but I guess it's down to what you feel at the time. He's more forgiving than me lol

    My blog is at I've been a bit slack in posting there but hope to get writing more regularly!


    Posts : 9
    Join date : 2010-09-03

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    Post by Stu on Fri Sep 03, 2010 11:33 pm

    Nicely done, though like others I'd have pressed charges but Mr x's probably a nicer chap than me and thinks the young scrowt will change his ways (god I sound old).

    The "reunion" bit at the end reminded me of when I was walking down the high street at chucking out time one Saturday evening. A large crowd of blokes were heading in the opposite direction to me and were a bit rowdy. As I passed through the crowd, they were spread out across the pavement/road, a fist came flailing out. As I was open to the possibility of an issue I managed to avoid a hit and the arm scuft off my shoulder. I spun round and he was being grabbed by his mates and shouting off at me. They kept hold of him, laughing as the went on their way, and I carried on to the chip shop, I was hungry.

    All was forgotten the in one of those lovely things that happens every once in a while I had started to see a young lady and she invited me to her house. I arrived and she introduced me to her brother and his mate who as you'll guess was the chap from the previous week. I smiled and introduced myself to him, infront of everyone there as the guy he'd tried to punch. The chap went white, my girlfriend nearly wet herself laughing and suggested I should be allowed to "get one in". I think he thought she might be serious, she may well have been biker chicks can be a bit like that. Anyway got huge appology and a big laugh out of it.

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