Friday, November 29, 2013

The Knockout Game

In the past couple of weeks the media has been running stories about what appears to be a growing trend in the urban jungle. Young hoods are targeting solitary victims with the intent to render them unconscious courtesy of a well placed sock on the jaw. Here's a typical scenario: A pack of jerks are strutting down the street while an unaccompanied mild mannered citizen minding her own business walks out of a pub or a deli and gets brutally punched in the face just for kicks. There's really nothing new about this phenomenon; a few years back it was called "Happy Slapping" in the UK. In New York in the late 80s something similar was called "wilding."

Supposedly "The Knockout Game" is gaining popularity in big cities in the US. Gun rights advocates claim that if more people were packing heat the perps would think twice about trying to assault someone for sport.

The problem with this is that if the target can't pull his weapon out in time he gets KO'd and some crazy kid gets a free gun.

Reports from law enforcement on the "game" aspect of random violence invoke skepticism. Police say these types of attacks - whatever the motivation - have always been with us.

Somebody once asked me what karate has to offer in the event of an ambush. This person was looking for a block-and-strike technique or some other maneuver, but the truth is there isn't one. It's a surprise attack; if you're lucky enough to see it telegraphed then it's not really an ambush.

So what do you do? Your best weapons are common sense and preventive measures. When you're out and about (especially in the city)...

  • Cultivate awareness. Keep your head up and pay attention to your surroundings.
  • Avoid distractions such as texting or talking on your cell phone.
  • If you must tread unfamiliar or uncomfortable territory such as a parking garage or dark alley bring a friend along or some other escort.

Be careful out there.

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