Self-defense: brawl in front of a grocery store

The self-defense scenario

In this article, I will describe a personal defense situation that happened to me (Kongling) in front of a grocery store. Unlike what I have done previously (read for example Self-defense: aggression in front of a supermarket), this time, I will not go into too much detail (in order to protect the privacy of the people involved).

The background (in short):

  • I was about to start my evening Kung Fu practice (read Practical examples of daily training time subdivision)
  • I receive a phone call from a girl (a friend of mine) who, with a trembling voice, asks me to join her immediately because there is a man who bothered her
  • I do not lose a moment and I go to the place of criticality (I was relatively close to her store)
  • Unlike other situations that unfortunately I lived, this time, I was about to start my training so my adrenaline levels were skyrocketing

The situation that has triggered the criticality:

  • This friend of mine (with her children), coming home (by bike) after shopping, came across a drunken pervert
  • It was not the first time that this man was bothering her but normally, he just made some vulgar appreciation and then moved away
  • In this case, however, the man had “crossed the line” (perhaps encouraged by the state of jest) and had followed the girl up to her store
  • The girl had tried to sow him but the man was young and fit while she was with her son and some bags

Trying to break down sequentially everything that happens next, let’s see what my analysis of the situation (based on the S.A.F.E. method of 6 Dragons Kung Fu) has been. Needless to say that everything happens in a matter of minutes.

The application of the S.A.F.E. method


  • Arrived on the spot, the first thing I did was try to identify the subjects and assess the danger level of the situation (number of people involved, eventual weapons, damage to things or people, etc.); all without attracting the attention of the two parts, like a simple passerby (read Be invisible in the crowd: eyes and attitudes)
  • I found myself faced with a “deadlock”, the man was on the opposite side of the street talking to a person in a bar and the girl was just outside the door of her shop; apparently, it seemed that the problem was being resolved by itself (apart from the fact that the man had identified the girl’s workplace)
  • In reality, the stalker had been temporarily moved away from the store by a passer-by (the man he was talking to) but being in a state of altered consciousness, he suddenly becomes aggressive; that was enough to scare his interlocutor and get him away
  • After freeing himself from the passer-by, the man, at a determined pace, went back to the store to start again to annoy the girl; at that point I decided to put myself between him and the girl, “revealing” my presence
  • At a safe distance (read Ideal distance from the opponent during a fight), I immediately focused my attention on what he could have in his hands and wearing (pockets, etc.); it was hot and the man wore only jeans, sandals and a tank top (apparently, he seemed to be unarmed)
  • At the same time I have rapidly analyzed the size, the physical shape and any possible sign of danger; in the present case, the man was slovenly, muscular and with the same height of mine (read Recognize the opponent s preparation level)
  • Although he did not seem willing to act against me (read The guide to the signals of aggression), I immediately assumed a defensive but neutral and not aggressive stance (read A little trick: the secret guard of the 6DKF)


  • My problem was that I was very “charged” and inside me, I realized I wanted to fight so, I took a moment before starting to speak (giving him time to elaborate my presence and to calm me down)
  • Being faced with an unexpected obstacle, the man first backed away and then started talking “Who are you? What do you want from me?” (actually, the stalker had heard the girl call me)
  • After a deep breath (I’m not ashamed to admit that, since I was very attached to the people involved, if I had not done so my voice would have trembled), I said “I’m a friend of this family, what’s going on here?”
  • At that exact moment, also the girl intervened with a voice partly broken, partly screaming saying something like “this man has followed me up to here, he has made obscene proposals, tried to touch me, offense me and does not want to go! It is not the first time that he bothers me but this…”
  • The man did not let the girl talking and he (ridiculously) tried to deceive me “I’m just walking freely, this woman is crazy, I did not do anything!”
  • In the meaning time, I took advantage of this short span of time to calm myself completely (up to a moment before I was moving “like a tiger in a cage” and if this, on one hand, can instill fear on someone, on others can stimulate aggressivity)


  • My goal was to send away the man from the shop where the girl and the child were, everything that could be done later (complaints, etc.), at that time, was secondary (also because I had already seen him often before and I knew where he worked)
  • Trying to speak slowly, simply and calmly (read /// Subscribe (it's free!) or Login to see this content ///), I said “I’m not interested in matters of reason or wrong, if what you’re saying is true, go ahead, there’s no reason to stay here and continue to discuss”
  • Unfortunately, while the situation was apparently about to resolve, the girl (who was in a very strong emotional state) intervened saying “No! You have to apologize! You can not pass it that way!”
  • As a reaction, the man, trying to push me away, put (violently) a hand on my chest to get closer to her but I moved again between them saying (firmly and staring into his eyes) “please, I ask you not to touch me”; at the same time I waved to the child and the girl to enter the shop with my hand


  • The man started to shake his arms screaming furious “let me pass ****! You must not obstruct me!”; by an almost frightened tone, he had quickly switched to an exponentially aggressive growing; beating his index finger on my chest he said: “I want to fix that little ****, let me pass ****!”
  • Removing his finger (with an open hand and with a slow, gentle movement) I repeat “Keep your hands down, let’s finish it here, it’s time to have dinner”
  • The fact of having removed his finger (albeit without any aggressiveness) triggered in him the desire to attack me; with the other hand he threw a fist towards my face
  • Fortunately, the man was drunk and despite the physical athleticism, he had no experience of fighting (read Personal defense: parry the first attack); he telegraphed me the typical hook punch loaded behind the back
  • At the moment of the loading, I grabbed the hand with which he was pointing at me and instinctively I reacted; I aligned the bones of his arm and leaning on his supporting leg, I made him lose his balance by dropping him (read Chin Na)
  • While I had already consciously chosen my position within the fighting scenario (making sure I was safe from obstacles, etc.), behind him there was the step of the footpath (potentially preconfiguring for him an impact with the ground very dangerous, read The fundamental concepts of the fallings)
  • By quickly assessing the situation, I thus avoided dropping it ruinously and kept my grip, thus accompanying his fall (read What are breakfalls and how to learn them)
  • Not having fully realized what had happened, the man appeared frightened and raised, he began to speak more calmly; again, it seemed that the situation was resolved, in reality, the man continued to argue with me for various minutes, apparently regaining courage

The final result

How the scenario has been solved:

  • He was actually looking unconsciously for a “dignified” exit; he told me things like “I’m **** and I’m not afraid of anything!”, “I can make a phone call and get a hundred people here!”, “I’m not afraid to die, I’m ****!”
  • Time passed and the situation was not unlocked, indeed, he no longer touched me but he was still approaching me saying “you can not always be here! Tomorrow you’re not there!”
  • I replied to him (in part lying) “Yes, instead, I live here and if these people still call me I’ll be back but I will not be as polite as today.” and him: “Now I go but I come back, I’ll come back and see if you’ll be there… I remember your face, you have to be careful, I have nothing to lose.”
  • This last sentence gave me the opportunity to conclude the quarrel by saying: “No, you’re wrong, I know who you are, I know where you sleep, I know where you go to work every morning, you live **** and work at **** … “
  • The fact of having adopted the construct “where you sleep” instead of “where you live” was not casual, it had visibly frightened him (I really knew where he lived / worked); despite the drunkenness he had connected 3 key elements, he had perceived my determination to defend that family to the bitter end, he realized that I had some kind of martial preparation and above all he knew that I could (potentially) find him at all times
  • His attitude changed suddenly and he tried to say phrases like “I did not do anything, I’m sorry for this”, “we’re friends if you agree” (etc.); this as he staggered away walking backward, with me silently maintaining a strict contact with his eyes (never lose eye contact and above all never give the shoulders, I learned this at my expense in another situation that unfortunately is not ended so well, we will talk about it in the next articles)
  • I no longer saw this man, either at his workplace, or near his house (in front of which I forcibly pass with my car) and above all, my friend has never seen him again; he is a foreigner (I do not want to say from where to avoid easy generalizations, read People who find the differences), probably he has gone on another city

Final notes

Some things to think about:

  • Unfortunately, although in a very limited way I had to resort to physical contact, if I had strongest negotiation capabilities and focusing, maybe I could have avoided it (read The 6DKF s diagram about the use of violence)
  • The determination that I have expressed has worked but only because mine was not a fiction at all (I was talking seriously); again, if my eyes had betrayed fear or (worse) if my action had turned out to be exaggerated, things would have been different

To conclude, I would like to list some realistic “alternative endings”:

  • He falling ruinously – A day at police headquarters, accusations, complaints, remorse, acts of revenge (read Best martial arts for self-defense)
  • He able to fight – I was very lucky, if this person had not been in an altered state of mind and / or had martial knowledge, things would probably have been different; it is for this reason that violence must be avoided as much as possible, in any case

A note by Master Kongling – The photo is not related to the real event.

In the next article of this series, we will analyze other cases of personal defense (and not only) ended badly, so as to work not only on hypothetical situations but amalgamating theory and practice through a concrete basis of real events (if you want us to give priority to this topic read Learn Kung Fu online: request a specific article).

In-depth articles


Reply in the comments and share your experience:

  • How would you have behaved in such a situation?

Author: Master Kongling

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