Nov 26

What The Knockout Game Teaches Us About Self-Defense

If you’ve paid attention to national media this week, you’ve more than likely heard about the “knockout game.”

According to reports by CNN, the Today show, USA TODAY and others, the game takes place when young people randomly assault strangers in an attempt to knock them out with one punch.

Source: USA Today

Well, that certainly sounds terrifying.

Surveillance video screengrab of a knockout game victim

This screengrab from Yahoo shows a victim of the knockout game.

NBC’s Today Show first alerted me about this supposed game. But after some online research, I discovered that – like always – there’s always more than one side to a story.

Yes, The Daily Beast reports an increase in this type of violent crime:

Overall, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s 2012 crime report, there were an estimated 127,577 assaults with “hands and fists” in American cities with more than 250,000 people, a 0.7 percent increase from the previous year. The “knockout game” may or may not be a new phenomenon, but with a few instances out of tens of thousands of assaults, it’s not a trend, and media outlets shouldn’t treat it as one.

However, the New York Times contains a segment that seems to have been ignored by some mainstream media outlets:

[P]olice officials in several cities where such attacks have been reported said that the “game” amounted to little more than an urban myth, and that the attacks in question might be nothing more than the sort of random assaults that have always occurred.

In fact, Slate has even gone so far as to say that the right-wing media are further stereotyping black youths:

Crime happens to every type of person, and is perpetrated by every type of person. What makes the false narrative of the knockout game—or any “black mob violence” story—crop up every year is the fact that some people will always believe the color of someone’s skin predisposes him to commit a crime.

Because “crime happens to every type of person, and is perpetrated by every type of person,” take some steps to protect yourself from this supposed knockout game.

  1. Walk in a group so they can attend to you immediately if you are hit.
  2. Stay in a lit area when possible. Video cameras and witnesses will be able to see the altercation more easily.
  3. Maintain the three principles of self-defense: stupid stance, dumb distance and helpless hands.

If you’re interested in learning more about joining our kids or adult karate classes, contact us!

Adam Bockler

Sensei Adam Bockler is a 2nd-degree black belt in karate and the owner of Metamora Martial Arts. He's been in the martial arts since 2003, and has received instruction in tai chi chuan, Hsing-i chuan, judo, tae kwon do and XMA. Sensei Bockler was inducted into the 2014 USA Martial Arts Hall of Fame as Karate Black Belt of the Year. He is the communications manager for Float Mobile Learning.

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