Things you should know about the streets & how it works.

Road and streets are for commute, but some make it their home (not that they like it) and for some, it is their workplace. While we try to keep the commute as short as possible, but there are people whose livelihood are dependent on these streets, and for them, it’s the road all day.

If you carefully observe, you will notice that the streets & roads are a fusion of people & vehicles competing for space & infrastructure. There would be an innumerable combination of both verbal and non-verbal communication people have with others of different temperament & background. Types of vehicles on the roads, people inside those vehicles, the infrastructure, weather, and the time of the day to name a few make this cocktail explosive, and we often see some incidents unfold.

Typically, there are three type of people who use the roads / streets.

  • People who use the road to reach to their destination such as workplace or shopping
  • People who make their living on the streets such as Cab / bus drivers, street hawkers etc.
  • People who prey on others by stealing, mugging and physical / sexual assault. Now if we add the criminals & predators to the earlier equation of vehicle & people, then the situation becomes even more volatile.

Road rage has become more common now. People who are on the roads all day, such as drivers go through the grind and same for people who drive long distances to reach their workplace. Earlier it was just shouting and yelling, and now it has turned from fistfight to using sharp improvised weapons. I am sure there would have been more, but I remember two incidents clearly in one when a biker on the road argued with a cab driver was stabbed by a screwdriver. In another, a biker was stabbed by a knife a few hours after the incident by a gang.

So, what do these incidents tell us

  1. People who are on the road all day have a short fuse, and a simple altercation can become deadly.
  2. More worrying is the use of improvised weapons such as screwdriver or blades in road rage.
  3. Road rage is no longer an instantaneous response but can become a planned and calculated assault.
  4. It is never one on one fight on the road, and one must expect multiple attackers.

When you get into a dispute with a person who is on the road all day, the chances are this person is well prepared and would have some weapon at his disposal. Reason? A person who is on the road all day would face such incidents more often and is better equipped to deal with it.

Key takeaways for road rage

  1. Try and sort out the dispute calmly.
  2. Don’t show fear or aggression.
  3. Keep distance, in Krav Maga, we call this long-range or beyond “range of kick.” Maintaining this distance will allow you to see what is coming. If you can’t manage the distance, then keep your palm up to your chin level in close range, this will help you to block any potential attack.
  4. If attacked, use things at your disposal, such as helmet, backpack or anything with which you can shield yourself from blows or weapon.
  5. Exit if need be. There is no shame in going away from conflict. It’s not them; you are doing it for yourself and your safety.
  6. I would urge you to learn Krav Maga, it is made for the street and focuses on defence against multiple attackers with/without weapons. Its no-nonsense approach makes it easy to learn and lethal to execute. If you can’t find Krav Maga studio near you, then keep yourself fit by going for a Jog or taking up swimming.

Now let us look at the possibility of mugging & assault on the roads.

As I see it, every individual keeps his or her professional talent sharp by updating & gaining additional qualification & experience, and the same thing also holds water when it comes to criminals on the roads. These predators also update their knowledge about the person, place, timing, and tricks to get their deeds done.

Although there are a variety of crooks in society, most common are thieves & sexual offenders.

Thieves are mostly interested in material belongings and usually, do not harm the victims physically. When we come in contact with such people in the streets, it is often a good idea to give the belongings once threatened. Remember they will harm if you don’t comply and are most likely to be armed with some backup in case things don’t work out for them.

Off late, there had been incidents, when victims were beaten ruthlessly before even a demand was made. This tactic, which is commonly adopted by assailants is to soften the victim before robbing them. Bangalore ATM episode is one such example which comes to my mind & another where a pillion rider chokes rider to death for wallet and bike.

If we take sexual assault, the odds are that violence will be forced on the victim so that they become submissive and are easier to control. If the probability of violence in theft is 50-50%, then in sexual assault/rape, it will be 100%.

The common factor between brutal mugging  & sexual assault/rape is that both start with the aggressor trying to control the victim both physically & psychologically at the beginning itself. The other important factor is the element of surprise used by the assailant to dominate the situation.

If anyone of the above is perpetrated on you, then the only option left with you is to fight back with all the aggression, here trying to calm the attacker or using logic will not work. Be sure to finish the fight in such a way that the attack is either unable to or does not intend to pursue you.

Key takeaways for a brutal assault

  1. Be aware and observe your environment. This is called “passive self-defence,” where you do not allow yourself becoming a victim.
  2. Fighting is your only option during a sexual assault or brutal mugging. 
  3. Finish the fight. Your life depends on it. 
  4. Start looking at everyday objects in terms of potential weapons.
  5. Expect the assailant to be armed.
  6. Be prepared for multiple attackers
  7. Attack the vulnerable part of the body such as eyes, groin, knee to stop the assault.
  8. Exit from the place as soon as possible.

 Be safe & learn Krav Maga.

Additional reading