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When the Monkey Dance Escalates and Choice Ends

Chris Ranck-Buhr, the founder of Injury Dynamics based in San Diego states: "Violence starts where choice ends." It's a great expression and packed with wisdom. Essentially it means that most violence is avoidable. The violence that we usually witness is between two males vying for dominance and social standing. It's a familiar refrain: "what are you looking at???" (insert chest bumping/hard staring). We have a choice with this type of encounter and it involves simply walking away. It may mean being brought down a notch in the social standing of male primates or losing face in some social circles. But it is a choice to not escalate. In contrast, we train for when choice ends. Those crucial seconds when all of our focus is on getting the first injury, and the one after that so that we can achieve serial injury. We prepare mentally through visualization and physically on the mats through slow practice and deliberate targeting. The attached video is graphic but it captures the dangers of the monkey dance. One party thought he could intimidate. The other figured he could injure. Lessons? Avoid the monkey dance. Or as Theodore Roosevelt once said, "if you hit a man, put him to sleep." Once that social line is crossed, there is no telling where it will end.


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