Kick to the Face!

Do you remember the video where a man was forced to defend himself on his own porch step? That was a pretty serious self defense situation, and since it was caught on tape we had a chance to watch the man’s mental decision process as he ultimately decided to use physical force to protect himself.

This week a different video was sent to me, and I think you are going to enjoy it.

This clip comes from a TV Show somewhere in Belgium. It is a candid camera program that annoys people in obnoxious ways (standard affair really). One fateful evening the show decided to visit a mall and harass local shoppers. The ‘host’ proceeded to throw a net on a man, taunt him, and then run away. Unfortunately, to bystanders, it looked as if he was either robbing or accosting the local shopper. One bystander in particular didn’t take kindly to that kind of criminal activity.

Check it out –

That kick was huge. I don’t like to glorify violence, but I do appreciate good technique.

From a martial arts perspective, it is clear that the individual in the striped shirt studies a form of Savate, Tae Kwon Do, or other such style. Clearly his training has not been for waste because he hit a moving target right on the money. Of course…that target didn’t see it coming…which brings us to the moral catch-22 of this video.

The Civil Assistance Conundrum

The big, $50 question to come out of this video is: Was that man right in using violence to defuse the situation?

Let’s look at it first from the kicker’s perspective. Somewhere behind him he hears a tussle. When he glances back he sees a shady looking individual sprinting away and another man chasing him angrily. From the context clues he assesses that the man trying to escape is some sort of robber (a scene all too familiar with many people that live in cities) or vandal.  With a grand total of 2-3 seconds to consider his actions, he decides not to let the criminal get away with it. He then proceeds to utilize a non-lethal yet damaging technique to floor the ‘bad guy’.

Part of me applauds him for his quick thinking and desire to help make the world a little more scum-free. It takes courage and conviction to step in and aid your fellow man. Furthermore, his technique selection was probably a good one – if he tried to tackle the guy, he ran the risk of getting stabbed or shot while tussling. If he tried to stand in the bad guy’s way non-violently he would have gotten bowled over or pushed aside.

Unfortunately, as we see in this video, quick acts of effective violence are sometimes misplaced. As it turns out, there was no theft occurring, and the man in the leather jacket was angry and loud because he was annoyed at the childish prank pulled on him. The striped-shirt-kicker made a big leap in judgment assuming that the man trying to escape was both a.) a perpetrator of crime, and b.) the actual bad guy in the situation (he might have been trying to escape a bad situation himself).

Furthermore, the kicker took the law into his own hands and introduced violence into a non-violent situation. In a crowded mall like that, it is very possible to grab the attention of nearby security and alert the authorities to a crime in progress. In most large shopping centers there is both mall security and real law enforcement officials nearby.


It’s amazing how one well-placed kick to the face can really put a modern day issue into perspective. In times past the kicker’s actions would have been unquestionably justified and celebrated, as law enforcement could not possibly have arrived in time. However we live in a legislative, hands-off world where we have to weigh our role as citizens with that of the moral obligation to help others.

Where do you stand on this situation? Would have stepped in to help (and do you think you would have had the quick-response-instinct to do so?)