Category Archives: Street Fight

Training to fight multiple attackers

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multiples1 Training to fight multiple attackersTraining to fight multiple opponents is an aspect of martial arts that is covered in many styles with varying degrees of validity. A trade off between safety and ‘reality’ or validity is required to train for multiple attackers. Too little validity/reality and the training has minimal transferable value to a real life situation. If safety is completely compromised for the sake of making the training directly transferable the outcome would result in the loss of training partners to injury.

There clearly is a market for ‘keeping it real’ and judging by the price of the equipment it’s making someone a decent wedge! There will always be arguments over the veracity of using protective equipment such as Tony Blauer’s High Gear. Because although full force, or at least near full force strikes can be absorbed the use of any safety equipment skews the training away from ‘reality’ to some degree. Put simply, there has to be some form of trade off.

In contrast, an overly safe approach to multiple attacker training can have close to zero or even negative transfer to the real world scenario. If multiples training were to simply comprise of three man Ippon Kumite, similar to what you can still see at demonstrations it would have negligible real world use. That’s a bit daft but there you go. In fact, that sort of training could be counterproductive as the practitioner might even decide to fight several attackers instead of running due to overconfidence in his/her ability.

I intend to cover the way in which we train for fighting against multiple attackers. We manage this without specifically running a multiples program as such. This means we cover the skills required to fight multiple attackers through a mixture of drills gleaned from internet articles and clips, taking stuff from training with Steve Morris (who has never specifically covered multiples with me) and others and adapting regular training drills but without bringing in a self defence expert and buying expensive protective equipment. There’s a huge amount of information available on multiples training but to get value requires sorting the wheat from the chaff.


My favourite clip of successful defence against multiple attackers is the one of an altercation in the middle of a busy road in Turkey. It’s been around for a few years now and shows an argument leading to one bloke fighting multiple opponents amongst parked cars and traffic. The bloke on his own has clearly trained, probably boxing, and deals with the three attackers pretty comfortably. He’s a flurry of continual movement, striking and defending on the move. It’s an excellent example of how to defend against several opponents.

So information from this and other sources will do a reasonable job in my mind. A series of posts will follow this that address the issue of training to fight multiple opponents without an actual program to train for multiple attackers as such. Does that make sense? Anyway watch this space.

Originally posted 2010-05-25 23:55:58. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Gregory McCalium beaten

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greg mccalium Gregory McCalium beaten

Gregory McCalium

Sense prevails! With the justice system often favouring the perpetrator, or so it seems, it’s refreshing to see the opposite. McCalium was not the victim in this instance, he broke into the house of neighbours armed with a knife. Pensioner Frank Corti defended himself and his wife by giving McCalium a few licks.

Former soldier Frank Corti subdued his attacker before the police arrived, “The jury might well have concluded you got what you deserved,” prosecutor Angela Morris said to McCalium during sentencing. Indeed, I bet they did. Although 72, Frank Corti was able to use his former boxing skills to sort out the 24 year old burglar who ended up being sentenced to 4 and a half years. Cool, age is just a number then!

Originally posted 2009-07-15 09:10:51. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Freeze, Fight, Flight and Martial Arts Training #2

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The first freeze-fight-flight post described the physiological events triggered when threat or danger is perceived by humans. This post continues with the theme that the response is an essential part of evolutionary survival. We can think of the stress response as being responsible for surviving external threat, while the immune system counters internal threat.

 Freeze, Fight, Flight and Martial Arts Training #2

All charges against Omari Roberts dropped

In both cases the objective is to protect the system from threat by rearranging resources as appropriate. While an internal threat may trigger a withdrawal response when not feeling well, the external threat of a predator spied in the distance may evoke a freeze response, as movement is easier to detect in peripheral vision. Whatever, the desired outcome is survival of the system.

In terms of self-defence the stress response plays a key role. If attacked it renders us better prepared to respond as intended by evolution, with enhanced strength, speed or power. Undoubtedly, for Omari Roberts, returning home for lunch only to find burglars in his mums house, the stress response kicked in, he fought for his life and managed to survive. He went with nature.

In society there can be a mismatch between the drive for survival and the Law, which only allows the rather ambiguous reasonable force. If Roberts had worried about the consequences of overstepping reasonable force he may not have survived the attack. As it was one of the bad guys died in the struggle and eventually, Roberts was arrested and charged with murder and assault. The case was withdrawn before the trial commenced.

ground n pound Freeze, Fight, Flight and Martial Arts Training #2

Ground and Pound

In another recent case Munir Hussein and his brother ended up chasing and beating a burglar who had held the family hostage while ransacking their house. Clearly, evolution does not account for reasonable force, just survival. In anyone’s book the severe beating the brothers gave the burglar was NOT self-defence, nor simply survival for that matter. In this instance going with nature led to prison for Hussein as he went too primitive for societies liking, well the Judiciary ‘s liking anyway.

It seems that the whole thing can fall apart when a situation does not work out quite in line with evolution. If a person finds him/herself in a threatening situation it may not be appropriate to fight in the first instance, there are occasions whereby doing so would land the person in court, see above. Flight, although not always possible, would hopefully result in survival. This option might well achieve survival at the expense of the ego which is a small price to pay.  The consequences of an inappropriate freeze response could be much worse. There’s an almost limitless list of situations that could trigger an suboptimal freeze, fight or flight response, not least faulty appraisal of a dangerous or threatening situation or tactics from an experienced, ruthless attacker to name two.

Previous experience of surviving situations that cause the stress response to kick in is to the external survival system what surviving illness is to the internal survival (immune) system. For example, an experienced police officer is more likely to successfully deal with a violent confrontation than a receptionist, while a fireman is likely to deal with a fire disaster better than a librarian. If similar useful life experience has not been gleaned it is essential for a martial artist to build the equivalent into their training. Otherwise years of training could be rendered useless by the incompatibility of evolutions survival system with the foibles of modern society. The consequences of this could be dire.

Originally posted 2010-05-09 01:32:03. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Freeze, Fight, Flight and Martial Arts Training

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This is the first of two posts that describe the wonders of the human response to stress. Many people in martial arts refer to the stress response (or freeze, fight or flight) in a pretty negative manner. ‘Adrenaline dump’ is a term used to highlight a detrimental natural phenomenon that needs to be overcome during a self-defence situation. In fact, the stress response involves a complex integration of the body’s systems involving a powerful mix of neural and hormonal factors, preparing the system for survival.

caveman bbq Freeze, Fight, Flight and Martial Arts TrainingOriginally coined by Harvard physiologist Walter Cannon “fight-or-flight” response, later extended to include freeze, describes the body’s automatic response to perceived threat or danger. A product of evolution this in-built safety mechanism is designed to protect not harm us. For the caveman, threats were best dealt with by freezing, when movement could alert the threat to his presence, by fighting if the odds were in his favour, but if not by fleeing.

fightorflight Freeze, Fight, Flight and Martial Arts TrainingFor instance, when a caveman’s BBQ bison was on the go and a nearby monolithic bear smelt it, wanted it and came charging into the party uninvited, it’s a fair assumption that running away was the best option. If your survival mechanism wasn’t up to scratch you were bear food. Survival of the fittest ensured the stress response evolved to the marvel that it is. Unfortunately, in today’s society where bear threat is low, social stress and the freeze, fight or flight response are not compatible. Chronic social stress is a killer but acute stress in the form of danger from a potential attacker or impending disaster is not only valid but also highly valuable.

The stress response gives us the strength, power and speed to avoid physical harm to ourselves or significant others when we perceive danger. The sympathetic branch of the autonomic nervous system (the part responsible for subconscious body maintenance) initiates the fight-or-flight response, while the parasympathetic branch returns the body to homeostasis, calming us down and bringing everything back to normal in both emotional and physiological terms.

We perceive threat or danger, real or imagined and the sympathetic nervous system sets off a flood of emotional and physiological activity which enables us to increase power, speed and strength as required. The amygdala ‘sounds the alarm’ and the hypothalamus notifies all the other systems in the body via the nervous system, while instructing the endocrine system to begin the secretion of powerful hormones, mainly adrenaline and cortisol. These flood into the bloodstream and activate cells to aid the preparation to freeze, fight or flight.

This internal activity results in many complex changes with the purpose to divert resources from unnecessary functions to systems vital in the process of increasing speed, power and strength. These changes include increased heart rate, blood pressure, breathing rate, brain activity and blood flow being redirected to the muscles (vascular shunt) while digestion, the immune system and the reproductive system for example are switched off. We are hardwired to resist threat and be able to protect ourselves from danger. This system is poetry in motion, the stress response is a powerful, useful process which kicks in as reliably as flicking a switch once danger is perceived.

Martial Arts and the Freeze, Fight, Flight system part two

Originally posted 2010-05-03 00:58:24. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Self defence moves – successfully fighting multiple attackers

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Successfully Fighting Multiple Opponents

On Facebook, (again!) this great example of one man overcoming several in a real life incident was found (thanks Steve). Although the actual incident seems to be a little dodgy, the bloke attacked may very well have been in the wrong, it is a great example of getting out of a potentially difficult situation intact.

Give the video player a chance it is a little slow to buffer and the sound is way too loud!

Self Defence Moves for Multiple Attackers

The bloke attacked here is able to demonstrate that a mixture of throws, punches and kicks are all valid self defence moves, particularly if coupled to great movement. It looks a bit grim for him when he is taken from the car, however, he manages to gain space and fight on the move. In the Fighting Multiple Opponents post I explained the use of Darren Laur’s SCAR principle – screening, cracking and redirecting – all of which this victim manages to employ to find space and range to strike and throw, on the move.

The victim clearly has some martial arts experience and blends the striking and throwing very well. The throws are set up or applied as the situation dictates in a very fluid manner and he is never tempted to follow the attacker to the floor. He doesn’t want to end up on the floor with one attacker thereby allowing the others to kick his head in.

MMA and ground fighting for self defence?

That’s obvious of course but sometimes there is the assumption that throwers or ground-fighters ALWAYS want to go to ground. This is something I disagree with in the video, as can be in the cage, fluid transition between strikes and throws is successful. The experience of fighting in the cage provides more useful experience than not, so long as the difference between the cage and a real street fight is realised. This is particularly important when fighting multiple attackers.

In this instance the victim comfortably managed to deal with all three opponents and despite clearly having a lot of throwing experience was able to resist the urge to go to ground and once successful left the scene sharpish. Fair play!

There are several more posts on how to fight multiple attackers on Epic Martial Arts Blog take a look at these by clicking here.

Originally posted 2011-04-07 04:52:59. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Self defence assault, self defence murder or just self defence?

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You pop home for a bite to eat and notice the patio window is smashed and there are burglars still ransacking the place. Not a good situation. But in essence this is what faced an apprentice builder, Omari Roberts, just over a year ago in Nottingham. Tragically it ended with one burglar being stabbed in an altercation, the wounds from which were sufficient to lead to his death. The question is was it self defence, assault or murder?

 Self defence assault, self defence murder or just self defence?

Omari Roberts

The other burglar, who also suffered injuries, told lies in his statement which resulted in the builder being charged with GBH and murder, seven months after the incident. Denying the charges the case took a year to go to trial but on the opening day the prosecution dropped the case because new evidence came to light. It seems that the police went to re-interview the accomplice/witness who then told them a completely different story as he was unable to remember the lies he’d told them in the first place.

On the face of it this case has similarities with that of the two Hussein brothers who were jailed for beating a burglar after a raid. The main difference is that the accused in this instance, Omari Roberts, did not chase the burglar down the road. Rather he was attacked in his mothers home and, as his lawyer said

He had no option but to defend himself. Everything happened in a split second. He’d just returned to his mum’s house for a little bit to eat and found himself in a terrible position


Omari was put in a position in which he was fighting for his life. He had no option but to defend himself – he was in a struggle for his life and this could happen to any one of us.

This case has again highlighted the issue of home owner’s right to defend their property and self defence in general. In this instance, in my opinion, the law of using ‘reasonable force’ has been adequate. While Roberts had to go through the hassle of being on restrictive bail and the ordeal of being charged with murder at least, eventually, the charges were dropped and he has been exonerated.

 Self defence assault, self defence murder or just self defence?While the CPS do seem to have been overzealous in this instance, the real shame is that a 17 year old boy has lost his life while taking pert in a very stupid crime.That aside, the CPS took the word of the accomplice who was at best a dodgy witness and a well known criminal, it seems strange that they took his word against that of a young man who had enver been in trouble before. To charge him with murder and wounding with intent is a bit rich, seeing as it was after all nothing more than one word against another. I’m no legal expert but I can’t see that there was ever a case.

For me the Law worked, eventually, the problem is with the CPS which seems to have been erroneous in taking the case in the first place. If there needs to be any investigation it needs to involve this decision.

Originally posted 2010-04-19 17:53:36. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Assault/defence update

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 Assault/defence update

Lord Judge

A recent post concerned the imprisonment of the two Hussein brothers who beat a burglar in response to him being part of a gang that imprisoned Munir Hussain’s family and threatened them with death. Last week Munir was released on appeal, his sentence was reduced to a suspended sentence while his brother’s sentence was dropped to 24 months, meaning he will be released at the end of this year, dependent on good behaviour.

Sense has prevailed, it would seem. In this case there were no grounds for appeal, reports the Guardian, but as the case was heard by the Lord Chief Justice he was able to show clemency by ignoring the sentencing guidelines in section 142 of the 2003 Criminal Justice Act. Lucky fella! In a radio interview some further details of the crime appeared. It seems that the time from when Munir Hussains youngest son escaped and raised the alarm to when the police arrived was a matter of only a few minutes.

The 999 call was logged at something 59 (I missed the exact hour) with the police arriving at 03. Great response from the Police there and they were able to stop the assault on the burglar pretty soon after it started. The interview revealed that the Lord Chief Justice decided that Munir’s involvement in the assault resulted as a reaction to the extreme provocation of the original crime (obviously), rather than simple revenge. From the Times report on the release

Lord Judge, sitting with Mrs Justice Swift and Mr Justice Sweeney, described Munir Hussain’s case as one of “true exceptionality” and announced: “The plain, simple reality is that Munir Hussain was acting under the continuing influence of extreme provocation.

Involvement in this serious violence can only be understood as a response to the dreadful and terrifying ordeal and the emotional anguish which he had undergone.

His family had effectively been kidnapped in their own home: “He feared for their lives and the honour of his wife and daughter.”

In the original post I mentioned the potential problem with vigilantism, if Conservative changes to the law were introduced. That is if those using self-defence could do so at a level which is not “grossly disproportionate” to that inflicted on them. These concerns have been echoed by Paul Mendelle, QC, chairman of the Criminal Bar Association who said

You would have, in effect, sanctioned extrajudicial execution or capital punishment for an offence, burglary, that carries a maximum of 14 years

The “grossly disproportionate” level of force is no less ambiguous than the “reasonable force” level currently in effect. In the same article in the Times Mr Wolkind, QC, the defence barrister for Munir Hussain, is also sceptical

If I manage to tackle a criminal and get him to the ground, I kick him once and that’s reasonable, I kick him twice and that’s understandable, three times, forgivable; four times, debatable; five times, disproportionate; six times, it’s very disproportionate; seven times, extremely disproportionate — in comes the Tory test — eight times, and it’s grossly disproportionate. It is a horrible test. It sounds like state-sponsored revenge. I don’t understand why sentencing should take place in the home. Why can’t it go through the courts? Why can’t the jury, as they always do, decide what is reasonable?

The Law is not perfect, far from it, but it seems to work fairly well. The simple fact is if you beat a burglar to a pulp it’s not self-defence and neither is it reasonable force, except in extreme circumstances. Catching a teenager breaking in and then rendering him brain damaged will likely result in your imprisonment, as would over-responding to a similarly misbehaving teenager throwing a punch at you in the pub.

Originally posted 2010-01-25 14:07:27. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Fighting Multiple Attackers – More Video’s

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This post builds on the recent multiple attackers series of posts with further real life and training video’s. Not all of these examples are as good as those in th original series, although lessons can be taken from these, both good and bad.

Multiple Attackers Videos

Racist attack in fast food car park


The skill level of the protagonists in this video are much more comparable than in the Turkish video in the first multiple attackers post. The attackers in this incident manage to jump on the victim while he is on the floor, although they fail to cause him much damage. Once again the single victim is constantly moving, faces his opponents and strikes on the move. He gets in trouble when they catch him after a stumble but he manages to escape.

Skater provoked into a fight


As in the Turkish video the skill level of the single fighter is beyond that of his attackers. The single fighter is a skater who really takes the fight to the opponents with good use of aggression, moves well and switches between his opponents, enabling many one-on-one instances.

In all of the video examples (including the Turkish clip) there is plenty of space for movement, the out-numbered fighter generally has a higher skill level which helps him ‘win’ (survive) by using the indicated tactics.  In confined areas the tactics would have to change.

The best video example of multiple attacker training I have found is that which I used in the third multiple attackers post, which highlights excellent footwork combined with deflections and striking at a pretty useful level.

Sub-optimal Multiples Training

There now follow two substandard examples of supposed multiple opponent training; these are pretty typical of two major errors.

Regular drills made physically more demanding


This video shows someone performing regular knee strikes on two people holding kick shields. There is no attempt to simulate the movement required or attacking or defending movement required in a real situation. Sure the drill is physically demanding but it is not representative of any of the skills on show in the real life video’s.

Martial Arts Film style attacks


This video is demonstration style multiple attacker re-enactment. This has very little value with absolutelty no attempt by the attackers to attack except in turn. Choreographed rubbish with inappropriate strikes from the lone fighter. Very limited value other than as an example of a lot of what is available but useless. Avoiding useless training methods is recommended!

WARNING – Using the recommended training tips in this and the multiple opponent series will NOT make you invincible in a multiple attackers situation. These are only intended as a starting point. It is strongly recommended that you avoid confrontations in general but especially so against multiple opponents.

Originally posted 2010-10-10 19:23:05. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Self-defence or assault……?

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A subject of relevance for all regardless of any martial arts participation. A recent story on Radio Five Live detailed how two blokes chased another, beat him with a cricket bat and a metal pole, rendering permanent brain damage; the cricket bat actually broke in three pieces! The accused, two brothers, were sent to jail after being found guilty of GBH with intent. An open and shut case, fair enough, but was it?

The ‘victim’ in this instance had been involved in a burglary where an entire family had been tied up and threatened with death as their house was ransacked. During the burglary the teenage son escaped and raised the alarm. An uncle, living two doors away, and the father managed to catch one burglar with the outcome being the two brothers received jail sentances while the perpetrator, unfit to plead to charges of false imprisonment, was merely given a supervision order.

Reports in The Sun and The Times suggest this is a terrible injustice, however, Hussein and his brother were not acting in self-defence. They left the scene of the crime, chased and caught Walid Salem and brutally assaulted him. It’s easy to be outraged, the preceding crime is horrible and can leads us to think Walid Salem deserved everything he got. He may well have deserved a kicking, but I have to agree with the Judge who said that people cannot be allowed to take the law into their own hands, inflciting instant, violent retribution IS outside of the law.

On the back of this case the Tories are trying to get political advantage by suggesting they will put the right to defend property back in the hands of the vicitm. However, this is nonsense, in Britain we ARE allowed to protect ourselves and our property, but we are not allowed to take things too far, being restricted to ‘reasonable force’. Chasing a perpetrator with weapons and beating him/her to a pulp is obviously beyond reasonable. The Hussein brothers could have overpowered Salem and simply held him until the Police arrived, thereby acting within the law.

A reasoned article in the Telegraph argues succinctly that the judge was correct in his assertion and cites instances when even fatal outcomes of self-defence are not taken to prosecution. A Hungarian business man caused a neck injury to an intruder which resulted in death, but this was shown to be an outcome of reasonable force in self-defence.

There are those that will suggest that Salem got what he deserved and the Husseins should be set free, they do have  right to Appeal. While the deifinition of reasonable force can be open to interpretation, we cannot allow vigilante style retribution to persist. If it is allowed, where will it stop, Charles Bronson in Death Wish?

 Self defence or assault......?

The Death Wish reference is an overreaction but last week I saw a short report in the Independent outlining the number of lynchings in Guatamala. It showed a picture of a woman bloodied on the street, doused in petrol after bus passengers accused her of involvement in an armed robbery. Local media claimed 219 lynchings had occurred in 2009 with 45 of them being fatal, a quick google search provides evidence of the prevalence of Guatamalan lynchings, indicating that such ‘justice’ is on the increase. This may be a large extrapolation from the Husseins case but allowing this type of incident to go unpunished could potentially lead to an environment similar to that supporting the para-Military knee-capping justice in the 70′s. The Law provides the right to trial for everyone accused of a crime, vigilantes and lynch mobs do not.

Aside from this case, there are implications for those practising martial arts. Don’t over do it if you catch a criminal! Obviously, we have to train for worst case scenario but its important to ensure we don’t end up as the accused if involved in such a scenario.

This post has been up dated on the release of Munir Hussein from prison. Click through to read more.

Originally posted 2009-12-24 12:53:13. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Brutal Knife Attacker Shot in Self-Defence

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KnivesCostLives Brutal Knife Attacker Shot in Self Defence

Knife Crime Info

Somebody put this brutal video (see below) on Facebook. It’s a pretty vicious knife attack perpetrated by a clearly psychotic criminal, who attacks everyone in a shop. This incident does not seem to be financially motivated, there’s no opportunity to hand over any cash, it’s simply attack, attack, attack! Maniac rather than robber.

Obviously, the outcome was a lot better than it might have been. It’ not difficult to imagine a fatality or two if certain factors were different. As the cashier had access to a gun and had the strength of mind to use it he was able to save his assistant and himself. No doubt that this was self-defence, reasonable force, rather than Hollywood style execution, was used to defend his colleague.

WARNING – this is a real life incident, showing real life violence. So if you are squeamish or easily shocked this video is not for you

If the cashier had been alone, however, things may have been different. The attacker was well on top and it was only the fact he’d moved onto the assistant that the cashier had the time to get the gun. Alone he would probably have died, all things being equal.

If he had grabbed the gun immediately, as soon as the maniac had slashed the throat of the shopper he would have had the opportunity to shoot before he received stab wounds. Also the cashiers huge belly served as protection from the stab wounds. If he had been slim they may have caused more damage, but that’s a moot point.

Then, of course, there is the issue of the weapon. Clearly, the gun laws in Turkey allow a shopkeeper to have one. If we are to believe Hollywood pretty much every shop in the US has a gun behind the counter but here in the UK guns are not allowed.

At the risk of starting up the old gun law debate, I am pretty glad that guns are not freely available in this country. It would just make it easier for criminals and maniacs to wreak their havoc. If the attacker in this case had been armed with a gun there would have been a completely different outcome; three fatalities. That much is certain. The flip side is that without the gun the shop staff may have been killed.

If a similar incident had occurred in a UK shop the staff would have been in much graver danger. Without the gun to be used in self defence the attacker would have had free reign on the assistant and would probably have returned to the cashier after finishing with his colleague.

Any kind of martial arts training could have helped in that situation with knife specific training being most appropriate, of course. Failing any knife combat training the next best thing would be good old brawling training, some kind of ‘chaos’ preparation would surely have helped.

I once attended a course with a famous ‘bouncer’ who was sharing his real life experience with us. When asked about a knife combat training he told a story about when he was attacked with a knife. His training went out the window and he simply grabbed the knife arm and shoulder charged the bad guy pushing him into a shelf on a wall. He than was able to disarm him.

The training techniques may have gone out of the window but the survival skills kicked in. Surely that survival training would have been handy if the situation in the video had happened in the UK, although not many members of the public are able to draw on years of ‘door’ experience. Good old brawling experience would probably be the next best thing, allowing the cashier to spring into action immediately. But that is NOT to say I am advocating taking on a maniac knife attacker and trying to brawl with them!

Originally posted 2010-10-07 16:15:33. Republished by Blog Post Promoter