I’m standing on the platform in the evening rush hour minding my own business when I notice a large man on the other side of the platform is talking into his earbuds, wearing sunglasses.
I wonder if he’s looking at me – I can’t tell, because of the sunglasses, so I am just chilling. I look at my phone, I check out the office girl on my platform, then I look back. He’s staring at me. Still talking. He mouths “I’m going to fuck you up”. Can he really mean me?? I take my headphones off and look at this guy more directly.
“Do you mean me? You’re going to fuck ME up?” I inquire. “Yea, I’m gonna kill you, staring at me. Do you think you’re bad or something?” This guy is shouting at me from ACROSS the train tracks. There are at least about 20 people watching this exchange.
It seems that while I hadn’t even looked in his eyes (because of the sunglasses), he had got the impression I was staring at him.
I immediately adopt a submissive / apologetic posture and go into defuse mode. “Sorry, man. I don’t know you. I have no problem with you. Let’s leave it.” etc etc
This unfortunately seems to have the unwelcome effect of growing his already swollen confidence.
At this point, he decides “I’m fucking coming to get you. You’re dead.”
He was a big guy, bigger than me, and seemed used to intimidating people to get his own way. I am not a confrontational person, and was not thrilled at the prospect of a fight with anyone, let alone this larger, stronger specimen.
He then marches up the stairs. And me and 20 other people watch to wait and see if he crosses the bridge and comes down the stairs onto our platform.
First, we hear him. He’s continuing his bad boy rant. Then he appears, striding down the stairs with purpose, directly towards me. Thanks EVERYONE at the station who just literally turned away from this aggressive and physically imposing young man. Big help. (FYI Londoners are basically New Yorkers)
At this point, I explain very calmly that I’m peaceful, I don’t know him, I have no interest in fighting him, and I didn’t even realize he was staring at me because he had his sunglasses on.
Again unfortunately, in saying these things I think I gave him the impression that I was an easy target and a pushover. He continued bullying, shoving, talking aggressively about how I was going to be dead soon and violating my personal space.
Eventually, we had the eternally classic exchange, Me: “Hey dude, get out of my face, back up a bit” Angry guy: “No, I’m not gonna get out of your face, what are you going to do about it?”
He was so close he was already walking me backwards, and the more submissive I was, the more aggressive he became, so I eventually I thought: I’m just gonna take care of this real quick. I did what I had learned on the mats. He was already too close to shoot in by this point, so I dropped and pulled an extremely iffy de la riva, tangling our legs up and basically getting him on the ground. He was so close, there wasn’t any distance to close.
Then I took side control, then mount. With NO fuss. I have to say that everything worked EXACTLY as I had been taught. And it was way, way easier than even sparring with white belts. The guy was floundering. And even though he was physically much more imposing than me, I had him giftwrapped within about 10 seconds, and then we waited for the police with varying levels of calmness while I rode that mount like a rodeo pig.
He was taller, broader, and way more muscular. Any casual witness would have had their money on me getting my head cracked on the concrete. I am so, so grateful to have been involved with BJJ and to have been able to not only defend myself but keep my composure, think clearly and stay rational and controlled during the whole (frankly harrowing) experience.
Again, thanks to all the coward Londoners who did absolutely nothing to jump in, or even call the police.
I did lose my shoe somehow. Not sure how. Will check the tape.
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