Response by Rory Miller
Violence is used for specific purposes. As such, it has its own logic. Incidents of violence are chaotic because you have multiple people in an adrenalized state that is unfamiliar to at least one of them. It’s not that violence doesn’t have rules, it’s that you likely don’t know them.
Remember, here, that I am not saying ‘rules’ in a game context, i.e. artificial constructs designed to control a person’s behavior. I mean rules in the sense that there is a cause-and-effect relationship. These are rules for prediction, not rules of behavior.
Violence is used for specific purposes. Each incident has specific goals. Dollars to feed a bad drug habit in resource predation versus gaining or clarifying status in a Monkey Dance for example. It also has specific parameters. With a few exceptions, the druggie wants to avoid withdrawals, so he doesn’t want to get caught (usually– see Fleisher’s “Beggars and Thieves” for the interesting detail that most hustlers choose to go to jail for specific reasons). He can’t afford to be injured, because then others will prey on him. In a MD, the primary parameter is to avoid humiliation at all cost.
Another factor mandating predictability is that violence is a high-risk strategy. When you are doing something that is dangerous, and you have a strategy that works, it is really hard and really dangerous to try something new and untested. MOs are reliable for a reason.
So now it’s about you. The goals and parameters paradigm create a subconscious risk-reward math for the bad guy. What rewards for what kind of crimes do you offer and what is the risk you present?
MD – Monkey Dance
Are you a young man? Who hangs out with other young men? While drinking? Do you go places where said young men hang out? Then there is some potential for MD. If you are a little older, your Monkey Dances are likely executed with words and office politics.
GMD – Group Monkey Dance
Remember there are three categories.
The bonding type is rare but can possibly target anybody. Your risk increases if you spend time where territories are in dispute (whether the edge of gang territory, war zones or sports bars) and/or you are easily identified as an outsider.
Boundary Setting should only come up if you regularly intervene in stranger’s problems. LEOs, Social Workers…
Betrayal. Partner, unless you are a member of a violent group AND they have reason to believe you have betrayed them, you don’t have to worry about this one.
EBD – Educational Beatdown
This one will only come up if you violate the rules of a group and will only go violent if you violate either a major rule (e.g. betrayal) or break the rules of a violent group. And how violent will depend on the group. So, as long as you stay in your group, you know how to behave and what to expect. Educational Beat Down shouldn’t be a problem. If, however you travel to or liaise with groups you don’t know well, there is some risk. Risk goes up exponentially with your arrogance.
SSS – Status Seeking Show
Because it is intended to break the rules of social violence, everyone is slightly vulnerable. That said, this is a pattern pretty much exclusive to violent criminal subcultures. If you don’t spend time around such people, your risk is minimal.
RP – Resource Predator
If you look like you have money (some money, not much– homeless people rob each other all the time) and you don’t look like you’d be a problem (easy to intimidate either psychologically or physically) you’re a target for muggers. There are lots of behaviors that can raise your risk– not paying attention, getting drunk, being alone in a high-risk locations. That’s all standard self-defense advice.
PP – Process Predator
In some ways, this is the hardest to narrow down the victim profiles. The process predator is idiosyncratic. For example, someone who gets addicted to the status seeking show (SSS) may prefer to assault, humiliate and kill or cripple big, strong, men. He has learned over time that sudden ferocity trumps skill or physicality and it is simply worth more reputation, and feels more satisfying, to beat a big man. Another may choose his victims for his own safety. An opportunistic rapist may target any vulnerable or small woman who piques his interest…and another rapist may only target women who subconsciously remind him of his mother. Generally, though, people who don’t look like they will put up a fight are the safest bet for the predator; and most want an inner weakness or emotional lability. They want to see a victim cry, scream and beg.
Most in-shape martial athletes are, at most, on the target list for a Monkey Dance. The safest and most avoidable. If you teach self-defense you have to look at each of your student’s with predator’s eyes (all the different types of bad guys) to determine what they are likely to face.