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Monkey Dance


What is the monkey dance?

I think it was Lawrence A Kane and Kris Wilder who coined the phrase monkey dance in their little black book of violence.

Kane and Wilder describe it as metaphorically beating one’s chest and throwing grass in the air, they said it is done to get your own way or to avoid a fight by intimidating the other guy. You can see it when someone puffs his chest up, gets in your face and yells promises of the ass kicking that’s going to follow.

You can also see it in animalistic threat displays from the school yard bully to the football hooligan or a loud mouthed drunk in the local bar.

angry monkey

Monkey Dance

Kane and Wilder suggest that until a blow is thrown you can usually walk away from a monkey dance.

What I have noticed is there appear to be a few variations on the way a monkey dance is played out, posturing or power tripping is a large part of the performance ritual, staking imaginary territorial claims and rights over petty objects such as a bar stool or sun lounger, other component parts to the ritual can include the phrase, you lookin at me, or what you fukin lookin at?

One of the favourite words used by the monkey dancer is RESPECT, unfortunately they haven’t a clue what it means, this is because they have a distorted sense of EGO.

Working on the door, you would meet, the safe distance monkey dancer, this could be the lad that waits until they have walked a comfortable distance down the road before turning around and shouting to let you know what they think of you. Or it could be a pissed up punter after being asked to leave the club because he was falling asleep or general making a nuisance of himself, when you get him out the door and have wished him a safe journey home, he would cross the street turn, and call you for all the expletives he could lay his tongue to, knowing that there would be no repercussions for him, and next week he would be standing in the queue at opening time, because he knew that we understood he was posturing in order to, in his mind, save face for being escorted off the premises.

On other occasions you would see two monkey dancers, both in each others face, each not wanting to back down, but neither one seriously wanting to hurt the other, they would just go around and around, building each others dance steps, before the pantomime falls apart.



Then you get the monkey dancer who picks his target, they have a well choreographed routine, they find an excuse to start the ritual, and even if his victim tries to avoid conflict, the monkey dancer wont let it go, he is on a roll, and if he is brave enough or spiteful enough he takes his shot, to the un trained eye it could look like the blow came from no-wear, a cheap snipe, the victim goes down and the monkey starts jumping up and down.

You can see the evidence of the monkey dance on your TV, the caught on camera shows, that often highlight brutal but uncoordinated actions played out on Friday and Saturday night.

Have you noticed that the person who is filming the Scene may only be a short distance away from the action but very rarely gets caught up in the actual violence. Is this because the monkey dancer is happily playing to his audience?

Erle Montaigue said that self defence is not pretty, it is not easy, it is ugly and requires ugly methods to successfully defend against ugly people, there is no easy way nor is there any way that one is able to put someone down without hurting them, sure a drunk in a pub, but the person who is really trying to get you, you really have to use dire methods to defend yourself, and its not pretty.

I think there is a definite difference between the average monkey dance, and when someone really wants to rip your head off and shit down your neck.

Sometimes you meet people who are focused, and determined to do you harm, this is not a dance.

This is the time that you hope all those years of training are going to be worth it.

The time for de-escalation strategies have gone, you can try talking to them but you know your wasting your breath.


So what now?

Our workshops look at the what now!, or holy shit! moments, and the pre- incident time line.

If you want to know what now!, call 01244 546908 and book your one to one.