27 July 2013

The King Hit


A Mother speaking about her 17 year old son -
"I remember shouting out to him something about there not being enough hair product in the world to save his hair", she says. "He was well known for spending five minutes in the shower and two hours fixing his hair. 
"He left and the whole bathroom stunk of Garnier Fructis hair gel. I shouted out, 'Be careful, be safe.' He replied, 'Yeah, yeah, yeah'."
The young man in the story above was killed that night at a girl's 17th birthday party. He was fatally hit with a king hit.


The young man in the image above, Charlie, was king hit inside a nightclub, fell to the ground and stayed there for one hour while paramedics worked on him. The delay was due to trying to figure out how to get him out of the club where the only access was via a narrow staircase. The fire brigade ended up extracting him through one of the nightclub windows and he was then taken to hospital for emergency surgery.

He left hospital one year later.



On a monday morning it is common for a maxillofacial surgeon to have an in-tray of 60 files for face trauma patients of which it is normal for 75% of those cases to be the result of fist fights and king hits.

Most of the cases are from men being bashed in pubs and clubs on friday and saturday nights.

Between 2010 and 2011 it is estimated that 3,451 Australians were hospitalised with brain injuries caused by assaults.

Many of the details in this article were obtained from a book called 'Real Heroes Walk Away'. It is completely free and was published as part of a national campaign from various newspapers and websites some time ago aiming to raise awareness of the dangers of king hits and pointless violence.

KING HIT STATISTICS

The media have done some decent research into king hits. News Limited collated data from 175 king hit attacks reported in the media between 2005 and 2011. They determined the following:

  • 99% of attacks were committed by men
  • 96% of victims were men
  • 49% of attackers were aged between 18 and 23
  • 94% of attackers were with friends or in a group
  • 82% of attacks occurred on a friday or saturday night
  • 71% of attacks were between the hours of 10pm and 4am
  • 12% of king hits resulted in death

The above are interesting facts.

They are very much in line with statistics we have previously identified about assault in general. These are detailed in the Human Combative Behaviour Manifesto and the Slideshow.

Common themes are that young men are generally those who get involved in violence. We can see clearly that this form of assault is very much alpha male in nature. 94% of attackers were part of a group. No surprises there for most of you I am sure.

Reputation is at stake...

Friends and others are watching...

Alcohol has been consumed...

Emotions are high...

It is very difficult to back down in these circumstances…

The one interesting fact I haven't seen before is that 12% of king hits result in death. That figure is high but not really surprising once we think about the anatomy of a king hit. Many king hits that were not fatal would have resulted in either temporary or permanent brain damage.


Assault, and in particular a king hit, is serious stuff. It is often not the punch that causes the brain damage but the head hitting a hard surface such as a footpath or road or gutter when the victim falls to the ground. Most happen in an environment where hard surfaces are everywhere. We rarely fight on soft dirt, grass or sand unlike in ages gone by.

As men we pretend that violence isn't really an issue. You can almost hear it,
"What, are you scared of being beaten up? Wuss. I'm not scared, I can take care of myself."
But how important is it that men fight others on friday and saturday nights?

What is the higher purpose?

PETTINESS

Surely everyone can agree that reasons for assaults happening are usually petty. EXTREMELY petty.

  • A spilt drink
  • A look
  • Bad taste in music
  • An argument over a girl they hardly know
  • A normal discussion that escalates through misunderstanding purely because both parties were intoxicated

Are these world changing events that need to be fought for?

Are these men fighting for our freedom?

Are these men protecting society?

Hardly.

The above reasons are petty. And that is the really sad thing. Men are dying for nothing. Worse than nothing, they are dying for stupid reasons.

As well as the victim, the victim's families all suffer as well which we saw in the opening paragraphs. One minute a son is getting ready to go out and have a good time and just hours later they are in hospital or even dying. That is tragic.

Despite how pointless and tragic it is,

THE THREAT OF KING HITS IS VERY REAL

Subscribers of Low Tech Combat who have read the Human Combative Behaviour Manifesto will have a good understanding of the alpha male, how he operates, what he looks for and how to avoid him.

That knowledge is very simple to develop though there is one thing that bears repeating here again.

In a situation where assault transpires from a discussion to an argument to a heated argument to a physical altercation, it can be very hard to recognise what is happening and have the mental awareness and self control to back down and walk away; Possibly looking like a coward to onlookers.

You really need to ask yourself both now when you are calm, and when getting into arguments when emotional, the following questions:

  • Just how important is this argument to me and how much do I care whether an antagonist agrees with me or not?
  • Am I willing to die for this cause or am I willing to murder this person or cause him brain damage?

Looking at things in this light will hopefully trigger a little bit of perspective and lessen your chances of getting involved in pointless violence.

I fully acknowledge that it is easier said than done. Thinking deeply and rationally is not readily possible when high emotions are abundant. But we must try our best. The best solution here is to predict when these situations are likely to occur. This is not too hard to do.

When we know we are walking into an environment or situation where arguments can easily lead to 'fights' we need to mentally prepare to not get involved in arguments. Once involved in an argument and have gotten deeply involved, it will be very hard to recognise what is going on and break that magnetic path leading to useless and pointless violence.

ARE KING HITS A REFLECTION OF A CRUMBLING SOCIETY?

On life support from a king hit - Source
The head of emergency surgery at St Vincent's Hospital in Sydney says that he remembers a time when men fought and when one man was knocked down the other would help him up, shake his hand and commend him for having a go.

Today that felled man would get a dozen or so kicks while he is down as well.

That is an interesting point. The violent sub culture appears to have changed over time. There are certain 'norms' for how fights occur and it is these 'norms' that seem to have changed.

What has changed since those older more respectful days?

Violence has changed

Mass media is one. We are now much more aware of violence that happens around not just our own neighbourhoods and capital cities but the wider world as well. From hearing about it on radio we now see it in HD on our televisions.

Grossman would also argue that realistic violent video games desensitise people to extreme violence. When we see extreme violence so regularly and so realistically all of the time, it loses it's shock effect over time. This creates a new 'norm' for us.

Anonymity with no caring

Another argument could be that society as a whole is much more busier that it once was. Life is a little more hectic than it once was. People are living in densely populated cities where it is normal for people to not take any notice of anyone else around them.

Surely this aspect of today's life desensitises people about the plights of others?

Surely people care less about others they never even acknowledge?

Perhaps in years gone by a person living in a small city or large town viewed everyone else there as being similar to them? They are all from the same town. They are all part of the same group. Perhaps people were more inhibited to turn extremely violent against someone from their own town.

GROUP IDENTIFICATION

Identifying with others in your own area has largely been eroded. We are now much more likely to identify with people in a smaller sub group from within that wider society.

Today, others who are not part of that sub group are viewed as being from another group even if they are from the same town or city. 

Those who have read the Human Combative Behaviour Manifesto will know that members of one group are more likely to use extreme violence against members of other groups, especially rival groups, and use less violence against members of one's own group.

Perhaps that is why violence seems to be less respectful these days.

Another aspect that has changed over time are the actual alcoholic drinks people consume. No longer is it just beer or even simple spirits. Now many men drink spirits mixed with 'energy drinks' containing stimulants. Although often overlooked, as well as caffeine and taurine and all of the other stimulants, let us never ignore the effects of high levels of sugar as well. What we end up with is drunk over confident men who are not slow anymore, they are hyper alert. Sure the alcohol still acts as a depressant but there is now a counter effect caused by the stimulants.

I haven't seen any studies but it appears logical that combining energy drinks with alcohol are a contributing factor to useless violence around pubs and clubs on friday and saturday nights.

A TEST?


What of those men who claim they want to test themselves and their fighting prowess? Surely it is a man's right to put himself out there and test himself in order to get to know himself better? Surely a little scrap or fight here or there when out with mates is ok?

I have one thing to say to this argument.

If you really want to be a man, test yourself and fight like a man, start training in a combat sport and get in the ring against another skilled, sober, dedicated, capable fighter. That is how men fight.

Boys need alcohol to generate the courage to fight because boys are scared on the inside. Boys fight on friday and saturday nights and target drunk people. If you go out seeking trouble and fights when drunk, you are a little boy. Simple.

Man up and put your hand up. Fight in the ring.

If you really want to test yourself join the police or military.

King hitting other drunk people is a boy's game.

THE CULPRITS?

We've looked at the victims, what are the consequences for the culprits? What about those people who are doing the king hits? Let's have a quick look.

Example 1

Last year a 50yr old boxing trainer was found guilty of manslaughter after he knocked another man down with one king hit resulting in the man's death. The victim's skull fractured in two places from its impact with the ground. The offender was under the influence of alcohol and cocaine at the time.

The offender was sentenced to seven years in prison.

The result? One man dead and another man in prison. There are no winners here just two losers. It is tragic and completely pointless. Whether you think you want to hit somebody in the future or even just antagonise someone to 'wind them up' you really should think twice. There are very serious consequences for both parties. We are just looking at two parties here. We are not taking into account third parties who can come in from the side. Pointless violence is high risk at any time and ultimately, pointless.

Example 2

A man got into an alcohol fuelled verbal confrontation and king hit another man resulting in his death. The man the offender struck and killed was his sister's partner. He pleaded guilty to unlawful assault causing death and was sentenced to two and a half years in prison. Besides the prison sentence there is probably a lot of regret there as well...

The result? One man dead, another in prison and probably a torn family. Again, no winners here.

Example 3

An 18 year old man was punched with a king hit in Sydney and subsequently died from the injuries sustained. It was the victim's first night out in that area of Sydney. The offender had been charged with murder but through a plea deal had agreed to plead guilty to the lesser offence of manslaughter.

The victim's family are outraged that he would not be charged for murder now. The offender has also pleaded guilty to a series of other random assaults from the same night and is still to be sentenced.

The result? One young man no longer with his family and one man awaiting a prison sentence. Like most other similar cases, there are also a lot of affected family members as well. No winners here.

CONCLUSION

King hits are pointless. The arguments that often lead to king hits being thrown are pointless. Regardless of whether we are talking about the offender or the victim here one fact remains; King hits are dangerous. Whether you throw one or get hit by one, there are serious consequences. Go back to those questions from earlier and see just how important one argument is. One argument is not important.

For a potential victim, don't get into arguments. Learn about the alpha male and alpha male violence. Read the Human Combative Behaviour Manifesto. Don't 'wind people up' thinking it is fun. Leave a venue when Cinderella does. Look at the stats. Friday and saturday nights after 10pm are the high risk times. Ignore these stats at your own risk. It's not about counter attacking an aggressor, it's about not being there in the first place.

To a potential king hit thrower, you won't get away with it. There are CCTV cameras everywhere these days. Where there are not CCTV cameras there are smart phones. Every day there is less and less chance of someone NOT recording your actions and using that footage in court. If you find yourself getting angry when you are out, leave. Go home. Hit a heavy bag at home in your gym. Maybe drink less. Maybe look at your life on a bigger perspective and see why you get angry at times. Is something missing from your life? Know yourself and work on yourself. No matter how angry you get, if you hit somebody when you are out, know that there is a good chance you will be going to prison. You will also have to possibly live with the regret of having killed somebody, who probably had a loving family as well, for the rest of your life.

Whether the victim or aggressor, the consequences of king hits are severe, very real and will have a massive affect on your life. Is some argument you had while drunk what you want to define your life?

King hits. Pointless. Let's hope we see less and less of them in the future.

Image sources
Ring fight  - Boston Public Library
Street knock down - McBeth

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4 comments:

  1. This sounds like what we usually call a "sucker punch" in the US. It's probably one of the most common ways for a status fight to start because it lends a big surprise advantage similar to an ambush. You'd think people would treat this as cowardice to get in a first shot by surprise but people do it because they know they can usually get away with it. Peers are usually impressed by the illusory bravado and the boost to their perceived status and witnesses are usually too intimidated to do anything.

    I think gangs often treat this as a rough equivalent to the ritual practice the US Plains Indians called "counting coup," where a young male touches or hits an enemy to demonstrate his bravery.

    It is obviously not especially brave to pick out an unaware lone victim on the street or in a party and knock them out with a sucker punch, but I think the underlying motivation is very similar.

    They do it to affirm their status in front of their peers and intimidate others as well as to gain a sense of power and confidence.

    Knowing about this practice is a good reason to acquire the habit of being aware of people around us at all times and habitually establish and defend a reasonable space cushion. Easier said than done though sometimes when people are very good at setting you up in various ways using various social pressures and deceptions.

    ReplyDelete
  2. All good points Todd.

    The king hit gives a massive advantage to the initiator. There is a small chance of a victim of a king hit, or sucker punch which is indeed the same thing, coming back as the aggressor has a large advantage. Like all alpha male violence it is indeed about status. That status only applies to people who have a rather 'primal' nature as educated people don't really see a king hit or sucker punch user as having much to offer a group. But for a simple group where violence is normal, landing a king hit can be a claim to fame even if they are doing it out of fear.

    They often rely on the king hit because they do not want a fair fight as they fear their chances in a fair fight. Someone who is serious about proving their fighting prowess would pick the biggest and nastiest person around or fight a skilled fighter. No credit should be given to the user of the king hit. Although at the same time we should not underestimate a king hits effectiveness.

    Good points about maintaining awareness and a buffer.

    Regards,

    Adam

    ReplyDelete
  3. Two thoughts upon reading your article:

    1. The term 'King Hit' could be a small part of the problem. Can you imagine anyone bragging to his mates about having 'coward hit' some dude on a Saturday night? The term 'King Hit' contains just the sort of ego-propping language that these man-boys are looking for. There is nothing 'kingly' about it, so let's stop using the term. It's a coward's blow and that is all it is.

    2. You say these fights happen for petty "reasons". I believe a more accurate term would be 'pretext'. The pretexts *are* petty, just excuses, really. The reasons for the dysfunctional behaviour include those you allude to in your article: desensitisation, group dynamics, alpha male dominance posturing and alcohol. I would add others: poor role modelling by older men, the lack of avenues for safe non-sexual touching in Western culture, a culture that glorifies violent sports as some sort of aspirational ideal for men, whether on-field or on-line...

    While a lot of these causes may be hard to definitively prove, one way or another, I suspect that the secret ingredient in 90% or more of male violence is alcohol.
    The first part of the brain to succumb to the depressant effects of alcohol is the frontal lobe, which houses the neural centres involved in impulse control, conscience and self-discipline.

    thanks for the insightful article,

    Derry

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hi Derry.

    Yes the name itself is often looked at as part of the problem because of the term 'King'. I am not sold on that as being an issue though for sure it can't help to change it to coward hit as you say or even sucker punch as Todd referred to it as.

    Yes you are right, they often just pretexts or excuses that someone uses to start a fight as that is their intent. I agree with you that there are many reasons violence occurs and indeed alcohol is a large contributing factor.

    Thanks for your comments Derry they are quite insightful.

    Regards,

    Adam

    ReplyDelete

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