Podcast episode 22: Interview with paramedic Doug Wittrock on handling injuries suffered in training or street fights

Whatever martial art or self-defense system you train in, eventually you are faced with injuries. Either you suffer one or you have to help somebody else. In a street-fight or a self-defense situation, you or a friend or loved one can get seriously injured too. What do you do then? What should you do before the ambulance arrives or before you can get to a hospital?

In this episode, paramedic Doug Wittrock covers the most common injuries that result from physical violence and explains the best practices on how to handle them.


Podcast episode 22 - Interview with paramedic Doug Wittrock on handling injuries suffered in training or street fights

Doug Wittrock

Show notes:

1. Intro:

2. Training injuries:

3. Self-defense and street fight injuries:

4.  Doug’s photography site:

  • www.bokehimages.com Use promocode PODCAST50 and get 50% off on anything you buy, including merchandise.


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The brutal consequences of a street fight

Something that tends to be overlooked, in particular by young and fit men, is the potential brutal consequences of a street fight and just how extreme these can get. They’ve all seen videos of how a guy gets knocked out and then a few people step in before things get worse, thinking that’s how it goes. For sure, this happens. It happens a lot actually, in particular when you look at the typical dominance display and puff-up-your-chest fighting young, inexperienced men tend to gravitate towards. The critical mistake is thinking this is the only kind of street fight or violence that exists.

There are others.

Here is one such example. As always, a caveat:

  • We weren’t there. All observations on this video are nothing but an opinion, not a fact.
  • We don’t know what caused this. There is no way of knowing what was said, done or threatened to make this street fight happen.
  • I’m not making any judgements on who is right or wrong. I don’t have enough facts to decide on that. My comments pertain only to the incident itself.

Please keep this in mind when you read the rest of this article.

If the video starts from the beginning, skip ahead to 2min. 7sec. That’s where the incident begins.

Here goes:

Some observations about this video:

  • It looks like “No-shirt” wants to de-escalate things. We don’t know what he says, but he seems to want to avoid a fight and get away. He goes to grab his jacket and then attempts to leave.
  • The other guy escalates it. He gets in the way and blocks No-shirt in his tracks. He also closes into striking distance. No-shirt pushes him away and tries to keep going.
  • He strikes first. The other guy opens the fight with a backhand slap to the face and then it’s on.
  • Everything goes downhill from there. No-shirt quickly takes the upper hand and things devolve into the brutal consequences I want to talk about here below.

Some lessons we can learn from all of this: [Read more…]

From self-defense to excessive force

Here’s a great example of how your actions can take you from self-defense to excessive force in the eyes of the law. I’ve written many times about why this is important, but this video is a perfect illustration of the many factors involved in street violence. I’ll comment after the clips, but first a caveat:

I have no idea what started the confrontation.

I also don’t know if the man survived the beating he took.

There is the obligatory idiot screaming “Worldstar!” the whole time. You might want to turn down your sound.

That said, here are the two videos:


Some thoughts on all this: [Read more…]

Street Fighting Mistakes: Getting Involved

I posted an article on Street Fighting Mistakes last week and just found another video that qualifies for that category. In this one, there are several mistakes but I’d like to make a point that is often overlooked: the risks of getting involved.

Before I go on, lets look at the video:

As always, I wasn’t there and neither were you, so we don’t know what started this street fight. That said, we can still look at the mistakes the video shows in an effort to learn something. Here goes:

  • It looks like both guys have some grappling or MMA training. You can see attempts at sweeps, looking for dominant positions, side control, use of the guard, rear naked choke, etc.
  • It takes a long time. The fight lasts almost two minutes, which is pretty long for a street fight. This is in part due to the grappling (which inherently slows down a fight unless one person outmatches the other significantly) but also because both men seem to lack decisive power in their techniques.
  • Nobody gets involved at first. The crowd hangs back during the fight. You can even hear people shouting to leave it one-on-one. This is not uncommon but as you see near the end of the fight, you shouldn’t count on it…
  • It’s only when a “winner” emerges that the third guy gets involved. To boot, he takes a shot from behind as you can see by the blond guy stumbling forward suddenly. So the key thing to remember is to immediately do a 360 scan as soon as you can. Start from the assumption that there will always be more than one threat. If the scan proves you wrong, then no harm done. If you’re right, you at least have a shot at avoiding the sucker punch from the back.
  • No-Shirt quickly learns the error of his ways. He punches the blond guy and look what happens next: in the blink of an eye he gets punched and tossed to the ground. At least four people turn on him, one after the other. He’s pretty lucky that they don’t start stomping him.

Those are some of the key elements from the whole fight. There are two things I’d like to point out here. [Read more…]