Those based in the UK should watch this Channel Four documentary: “One Killer Punch” (available online for a couple of weeks). If you are not able to view the documentary, then you should read the Guardian newspaper’s review.
“This documentary explores the phenomenon of a one punch kill, by examining three different assaults: single hits with dire consequences, often in innocuous locations and circumstances”
The documentary looks at how a loss of control and a single punch can result in a life ending and long prison sentences. It also shows how ego, fear and anger can result in things spiralling out of control very quickly. Other issues touched on include alternate versions of events, the law in action, the need to ensure people get medical attention when hit, the key role of witnesses and video, and many more very important aspects of self-protection and violent crime.
Above all, the documentary (which is not comfortable viewing) shows how vital it is to have a very high threshold for violence i.e. only get physical when it is legally justifiable and truly necessary due to an unprovoked immanent threat to our wellbeing. “Standing up for yourself” in response to perceived slights and verbal insults can end in universal tragedy.
The final one of the stories told concludes that the person who threw the fatal punch (a trained boxer) acted in self-defence; however, it went to court as manslaughter before that conclusion was reached. He did make a comment in earshot of one person which led to the confutation, but he can be clearly seen trying to defuse the situation before acting, and he wisely reported what had happened to a police officer the instant he had left the scene.
What is hard to watch is the retelling of when the wife of the deceased guy asked to meet the guy who threw the punch, that killed her husband, so she could tell him she held him blameless and forgave him. The emotional pain around these situations, even when people have acted legally, can’t be underestimated.
This really is a must watch show for all involved in the field of self-protection.
Two main points raised by the documentary:
1 – Instilling the importance never acting unless you are genuinely in danger should be a must in all self-defence training. The traditional values of the martial arts need to be emphasised and not just given lip-service. A failure to do so, which results in people acting out of ego or anger, will see lives ruined. The “antics” we see at the press conferences of combat sports should not be emulated in the real world. Being a “tough guy” and “taking no s###” are dumb and destructive courses of action which should not be encouraged. Instead, be a smart guy and if taking some s### means you don’t up neck deep in the s### then it’s the smart thing to do. Walking away from provocation is the sign of a controlled and intelligent human being.
2 – If you are legitimately acting in self-defence, even if the other person dies, then the law is on your side. However, you can’t act out of ego or anger (as opposed to a genuine treat to your wellbeing) and then hope to claim self-defence. Two of the cases try that, and it does not cut it. Conversely, the person who does act out of fear for his wellbeing – and can be clearly seen to be doing so on CCTV and mobile phone footage – can legitimately claim self-defence and ultimately finds himself on the right side of the law.
Well worth a watch.
All the best,