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Are there really “no rules in a street fight” ? - Rory Miller

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** Serge **:

--- Citation de: Rory Miller ---THE RULES

Are there really “no rules in a street fight”?

I think that this attitude is somewhat naïve. Of course there are rules of physics and biology that affect what is possible and effective. Any training that ignores that fact is clearly dangerous. But there are other rules, too- chemical, social and psychological rules that dictate much of combat. Most people are as unaware of these rules as they are of the grammatical rules of their native language- they are invisible, either innate or such a part of our upbringing that they are unquestioned.

Ffab asked me to lay out these rules as I know them. Here goes.

Let’s start with chemical, because it is easier and less subjective.

When subjected to a threat, such as real conflict, your body will release chemicals and these will affect your body and mind in certain specific ways.

Bruce Siddle has studied this phenomenon, and found that heart rate, measured in beats per minute, is a good barometer of the other effects. Note that this is a hormone induced increase in heart rate. BPM increases caused by other things, such as aerobic workouts will not have the same effect. Also be aware that a hormonal jump in heart rate can be almost instantaneous.

Here are the rules of chemical fear:

If you get scared enough that your heart rate goes over about 115 BPM, you will start to lose your fine motor skills. That means your precision grabs and locks are gone.

About 155 BPM, complex motor skills deteriorate- you lose your patterns, combinations, traps and sweeps.

About 175BPM, planning and thinking are severely compromised. You lose your near vision, peripheral vision and depth perception. Your hearing will deaden or be lost.

Above 175, if there is anything in your bladder, you will lose it. Most will freeze or curl up in a ball and wait for mommy to save them. Only the grossest of physical activity is possible- running and flailing.

In short, the more desperately you need your skills, the less you will be able to rely on them. If you ever hear or say or think, “If it was for real, I’d do better” know that it is a lie. When it is for real, you will do much, much worse than in practice. The belief that people improve under stress is a myth.

These stress levels can be induced in most people with nothing more than aggressive verbal threats.

The rest of the rules are both far more subjective and harder to say for certain whether they arise from biology, psychology or social forces.


Remember the saying: “When two tigers fight, one is killed and one is maimed”? That’s a lie. Like other mammals, when tigers, bears, dogs, etc battle their own species, they have a built-in ritual combat to prevent injury. Deer go antler-to-antler, not antler-to-ribs.

Humans are apes. Like most animals we have a built-in ritual combat to establish social dominance or defend territory. It is nearly always non-lethal.

The Monkey Dance is a ritual, with specific steps. The dance, I believe, is innate. The steps may be cultural. In my culture:

1) Eye contact, hard stare.

2) Verbal challenge: “What you lookin’ at?”

3) Close distance. Sometimes chest bumping.

4) Finger poke or two handed push to the chest.

5) Dominant hand roundhouse punch.

A Canadian friend informs me that step 4 in his neck of the woods is knocking the other person’s hat off. Like I said, steps may be cultural.

A few points-

-The Monkey Dance is almost always a male thing. I honestly don’t know the female equivalent either in humans or other animals.

-Most martial arts (and most adolescent combat fantasies) are based on this model. It is much easier to prevail in a scenario that is already genetically designed to be non-lethal.

-The Monkey Dance can almost always be circumvented by either lowering your eyes and apologizing or ignoring it entirely- keeping extremely relaxed body language and treating the verbal challenge as a serious, thoughtful question.

-If you start the dance, you will probably not be able to stop. You have 50 million years of conditioning to overcome. I usually tell my students that you don’t play the dance, the dance plays you.

-Most incidents are resolved by one of the parties backing down long before violence starts. As Grossman pointed out in “On Killing” even major battles are far more often won by display than by combat.

-A professional can finish an encounter quickly by jumping steps. In other words, if the threat is on any step below four and you take physical, decisive action, he will be unprepared. His mind expects all of the steps to be done before things get physical.


#1: You don’t know if you can do it ‘til you’ve done it. Despite all the posturing and talk, most normal humans could not kill another human. Maybe by pushing a button, certainly not up close and personal. Col. Grossman estimates that less than 2% of the population (whom he terms ‘aggressive sociopaths’) can kill without serious psychological repercussions, if at all,other than under extreme stress.

On a more personal level, one of the defining moments in a new officer’s career is the first big fight. There are three types of people: some run to the fight, some run away and some freeze. Despite any fantasy, bragging or even true confidence no one knows which category they are in until the first time. That’s why all old timers watch the new guy.

There is one more category- the one who can walk to the fight, but that seems to be a matter of experience.


In our culture, adults do not touch other adult’s faces. When it happens, it is a sign of great intimacy. Adults may, however, touch children’s heads and that makes it very powerful. Touching another adult’s face is a show of extreme dominance, showing that the toucher considers the recipient a child. Just tousling hair can cause extreme feelings of humiliation.

This has evolved in the prisons into a systematic attack- the “Bitch slap”. A slap to the face, properly executed, can be physically devastating. Even without proper technique it can be psychologically debilitating, shocking the victim into a child mentality, paralyzed and submissive.

This taboo is so strong that many people freeze when they strike another person in the face even in sparring. You may also.


Talking and attacking appear to be wired separately. What I mean is that I have never seen someone throw a sucker punch, no matter how subtle, while talking normally. Yelling, sucking in breath, suddenly silent, yes. Not talking. Right now, try to hold a normal conversation with your monitor. Talk about the weather. Throw a punch without a give-away in your voice. I can’t do it. Haven’t met anybody who can. New training goal.

Conversely, while the threat is talking is almost always a free shot. It seems to take a small amount of time to switch from conversation mode to defense mode.


Remember the Monkey Dance, dominance, non-lethal jazz? That all goes out the window when attacked by a group. You’re no longer a part of the contest to see who is the bigger monkey. The contest is between the members of the group and they will be competing on your body.


Though most martial arts train pretty well for the Monkey Dance, true predatory violence is another animal altogether. If a predator has targeted you, it is because he sees you as prey and he will stack everything in his favor. You will be smaller and weaker, injured or tired, distracted, unprepared. You will not see the first attack. You will not see the weapon. You will probably be injured before you are aware of being attacked. It will happen at a place and time of the predators choosing. Nothing will be in your favor. The initial assault will knock most people over the 175 BPM mark instantly, leaving only an uncontrolled, flailing berserk or a stumbling sprint as options.

Defending against the predatory attack, in my opinion, should be the aim of serious self-defense training. It is entirely different than training for the Monkey Dance. Not one instructor in fifty realizes that. You need to realize it.
--- Fin de citation ---

This is my first-ever online article, written at the request of Fabien Senna of Cyberkwoon. A lot of the thinking seems primitive and incomplete at this later date. Baby steps.

© - 2010 - Rory Miller

Merci pour ce texte, clair et intéressant.

tres interessant à plusieurs niveaux.
Le degres d'aptitude en fonction des rythmes du coeur peut etre extrapolé à n'importe quelle situation stressante ou l'on doit effectuer des gestes fins et
prendre des décisions.
D'un point de vue purement philosophique je trouve que à partir du moment ou on choisit de jouer la Monkey-danse c'est pas super sport d'engager avant d'avoir respecté toutes les étapes. Quand on se lance dans un rituel faut respecter, ou alors on y participe pas.

Définition de sociopathe

La sociopathie est à différencier de la psycoptahie, qui sont deux pathologies différentes. Il s'agit d'un trouble de la personnalité qui caractérise les personnes antisociales et particulièrement ceux pour qui les normes sociales sont ignorées et prompt, généralement à un comportement impulsif. La sociopathie peut être diagnostiquée notamment par le DSM-IV-TR ou le ICD-10. Les personnes diagnostiquées comme sociopathes présentent des troubles liés entre autres à l'expression et au ressenti des émotions humaines aussi bien à l'égard d'autrui qu'a eux même. Concrètement ils ne peuvent ressentir aucune peur ou crainte à la possibilité d'une quelconque souffrance ou douleur physique.
Test sociopathe
Diagnostic DSM-IV-TR

Des critères ont été associés aux troubles comportemantaux associaux dans la dixième révision de l'ICD, dont celles ci :

    * Aucun ressenti de culpabilité et aucune mise à profit des experiences et surtout aux possibles sanctions ou punitions
    * Peu prompt aux frustrations et faible seuil à la décharge de l'agressivité, y compris par la violence
    * Aucun signe d'empathie envers autrui
    * Irresponsabilité et irrespect des règles, normes sociales et engagements soutenus
    * Dédain quasi systématique de la responsabilité d'une faute commise, rejetant celle ci sur un tiers, ou tentant de la rationaliser par des excuses plausibles

Diagnostic DSM-IV-TR

Comme dit précédemment il existe plusieurs possibilités pour diagnostiquer un cas de sociopathie, notamment le manuel DSM-IV (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders), qui permet de détecter les troubles mentaux d'un sujet antosocial répondant au moins à trois (ou plus) des signes suivants :

    * Incapacité à prévoir à long ou court terme / Impuslivité
    * Problèmes judiciaires récurrents, incapacité à se conformer aux normes sociales et codes culturels
    * Irresponsabilité chronique, indiquée par l'incapacité à tenir des engagements soutenus ou d'honorer des obligations financières
    * Non respect de l'intégrité pour lui même ou autrui
    * Absence de culpabilité ou de remords, indiquée par l'indifférence ou la recherche d'excuses plausibles pour avoir porté atteinte physiquement à autrui.
    * Agressions physiques à autrui récurrentes dût à une irritabilité ou agressivité impulsionnelle


les regles dont il parle reste des signes pas des regles.

ce texte permet de mettre en evidence qu'il existe des redondances pour les cas d'altercation, comme le titre l'indique c'est vraiment du combat de rue, je trouve que la violence reste en second point.

il existe un fossé entre une personne qui rale pour: femme,terrain, argent et une autre qui veut te retirer tes organes.

ce n'est pas parce que une personne utilise un mode de langage que l'on doit utiliser le même pour etre empathique, clairement montrer que nous sommes de la meme espece.

et bien non rien ne nous y oblige, rien de rien.

si vous decidez de danser avec le diable pour repprendre une autre expression cela vient de vous.

vous pouvez l'éconduire comme n'importe qui .

Passez le cap de la première partie on attaque sur le predateur ou en effet la on parle de reelle violence, le predateur veut par definition vous tuer la ça change la donne.

toute votre reaction est dicté par la survie, la attaque le vrai héritage de l'humain.

ce qui me deplait dans ce texte c'est le fait de croire  que tout les hommes parlent le meme language corporl car on aurait les memes ancetres.

--- Citer ---Humans are apes. Like most animals we have a built-in ritual combat to establish social dominance or defend territory. It is nearly always non-lethal.
--- Fin de citation ---

--- Citer ---The steps may be cultural. In my culture
--- Fin de citation ---

mais cette citation me laisse a penser qu'il considère que sa recherche ne s'applique que pour sa culture et la cela changerait ma lecture. ;)

rien ni personne ne peut vous forcer a suivre des regles ou des codes, rien.



--- Citation de: leif le 10 septembre 2010 à 09:43:25 ---rien ni personne ne peut vous forcer a suivre des regles ou des codes, rien.

--- Fin de citation ---
sociopathe!!!  ;D


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