Who Eats First And Why It Matters To Self-Defence

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This blog has covered a lot about the hidden culture of self-defence.

The reason is that culture or tribes as you might call it dictates so much around combat.

The gang that attacks us, the stranger that robs us do so because they see us as different to them.

And for that reason violence is not as straightforward as people think.

However, to simplify things, I use an analogy:

“Who eats first”.

And in this article, we will look at the importance of this in relation to self-protection.

The First Bite

If you have ever watched the social dynamics of a group attack, you will see what I like to call ‘the Alpha’ effect.

Often with any group, you have a hierarchy, they have leaders and followers, almost a pecking order and if this were a long time ago the leader would, of course, eat first!

We see this in the animal kingdom all the time.

The leader of the pack eats the meal, and the others have the leftovers.

And when it comes to violence, this ‘hierarchy’ needs to be maintained.

Ok so let’s use an example.

You are walking through the park when you walk past a group of about 8 teenagers.

One of them blocks your path and says “this is our park, to get past you have to pay.”

With a lot of group attacks, you have an ‘ankle biter’.

The ‘runt’ of the litter that is trying to move up the ranks within the group.

It is this person that is looking to ‘show off’ and boost his status and generally will be on the lookout for opportunities to gain favour.

This ‘first biter’ is the one that would say ‘what you looking at’ to you in the pub.

And what you do next will change how things go for you with the rest of the group.

Maintaining Status Of The Leader

When the first bite occurs, how you deal with this matters.

Because you have to remember this person is doing this to move up or maintain their status within their group.

If you challenge them back a few things will occur.

Firstly you are not challenging that one person; you are challenging the entire group.

And secondly, if you challenge the group, you are by default challenging the leader.

I am not saying you should let people say and do what they like, but I am explaining the social dynamics.

This how you will end up being attacked by a group when just one of them had a go at you.

How To Have 1 Fight Instead Of Several

We have all seen movie fights where the hero is attacked by a group, what happens?

They attack one at a time, in reality, this is unlikely.

You will probably end up fighting the ‘first biter’ and as you get the better of him the rest of the group will descend on you like a pack of wolves.

You are in the midst of a group attack.

But there is a way to stop this from happening.


Attack the leader.

Of course, I am not saying just run over and punch him or her in the face, and I am talking about first isolating the leader and then causing them to have to engage with you.

How To Isolate The Leader

Sometimes spotting the leader of a group is easy.

They are the one looking cool, have members of the opposite sex around them, are dressed better and are often physically stronger/ look stronger in appearance.

But this is not always the case.

So sometimes you have to find out, and the best way to do this is asking.

“Who’s the leader?” is one of the best questions I ever used when dealing with large groups.

It works because it forces the group to ask itself a question that they have probably never verbalised themselves.

They look around at each other because the second someone says “I am” you have just created a leadership challenge.

“Who says you’re the leader?”

“You’re not the leader.”

I have heard these internal debates a lot of times when I worked as a policeman and had to approach gangs of youths on my own.

And when you did that you had to take the advantage where you could.

On certain times the leader presents him or herself without peer challenge, and this makes life a lot easier.

For you, this could mean saying ‘I don’t want any trouble’.

And now you activate something very powerful which we will look at next.

The Power Of Leadership

If you find yourself able to address the leader of the gang you are in with a shout to escape this incident without any further issues.

Because the leader cannot be overruled.

Could you imagine the situation? You are in the park when the first biter stops you and tells you that you can’t pass without paying them.

You look at the leader and say “I don’t want any trouble, can you let me past please?”

At this moment you have reinforced their position of leader, bypassed the ‘first biter’ and in many ways enhanced his leadership by giving him the power to let you pass.

Or in other terms, you have let the leader eat first.

And if he won’t let you past then you now know who to deal with first, because if you deal with the leader you will find the others back down.


The ‘who eats first’ dynamic is not a way to ensure you ‘avoid trouble, but by realising what goes on with a group, you do have a chance.

You have a chance both to avoid trouble and also if you choose to, to deal with the leader.

Either physically or verbally.

I have seen these dynamics play out countless times with gangs/ groups and observed first hand the leadership battles that go on.

This is not a foolproof system, if a group engages you, the chances of you walking away without it going physical are slim.

And if that happens, you need the type of skills that Defence Lab will give you.

Those skills will allow you the greatest chance to deal with the threat of a group attack.

To allow you offensive and defensive opportunities.

Learn online, learn at a Lab, the choice of yours.

Thanks for reading.