Krav Maga Elite Logo

What should you do if you witness someone being attacked?

Jon BullockSaturday, 13th April 2019

You may remember in the news last Summer actor Benedict Cumberbatch, known for playing superhero Doctor Strange in the Marvel movies, fought off a group of assailants attempting to mug a Deliveroo cyclist in London

The driver was being attacked by a group and ‘the Doctor’ jumped out of an UBER to help, and fought off the attackers.

Imagine that, you’ve planned to rob the poor old Deliveroo Driver in the hope of a free meal. It’s all going to plan and next thing you know… a superhero is there busting you up!

Firstly, good on him. I imagine (and knowing London) that there were a fair few people who ‘walked on by’.

But it does raise the continued question about helping others in distress.

What should you do if you witness someone being attacked?

Should you intervene? Should you not? Do you observe and call the police?

.. walking on by is NOT an option!

There is a fancy phrase in the Self Defence world that considers helping others, it’s called ‘by-stander intervention’ that (I imagine) originated in the US.

Being honest, it is something that we should incorporate more into Krav Maga training but maybe not so much the physical actions as there are so many variables. But we could discuss more about how you make the decision to physically help or not.

There will be huge part of your emotional brain that will drive you to run head first ‘towards the problem’ without really taking stock of what’s happening, and that’s what we MUST consider!

What is ‘actually’ happening, compared to what we ‘think’ is happening.  There have been far too many incidents where by-standers have gone to assist, and ended up becoming the victim, because the situation turned out to be something different to what they thought it was.

Countless brave, chivalrous stories of by-standers coming to the aid of a defenceless woman being assaulted by a supposed partner, only for the partner AND the woman to turn on the hero and make them the victim!

Some which resulted in death of the by-stander.

Taking a couple of seconds to process what’s going is worth it!

I imagine that’s what Benedict did from the back of the UBER, he had time to see what was happening, rather than walking around a corner and it happening right in front of him.


If you decide to act in a physical manner, to intervene… you MUST consider what we call Impact Factors.

Your relative age, size, strength, skill, physical ability, and experience to deal with what’s happening!

Are you able to physically assist, or might shouting, getting on your phone, calling to others be a better option?

There are two types of people in this world… those who run towards the burning building and those who call people more capable.  We need both of those types to survive as a species.

Training in Krav Maga is likely to help your adrenal response stay under control, your physical abilities are more ‘tuned’ and above all, your confidence to do something will be much higher than those not accustomed to training for conflict.

So remember, assess what is happening, work out the impact factors and then do something…

You don’t need to star in a film to be a Superhero, in fact, you don’t even need to be Super, let alone a Hero to help someone… you just need common sense, to be mindful of the situation and take some action, based on who you are, where you are and what you are capable of and, above all… don’t become the victim.

Speak Soon



Learn practical self-defence skills, get fit whilst increasing your confidence.
Free class pass plus parent consultation with instructor.
CLASS FOR £19.99
Includes a video series called 'Getting Started' and a consultation with an instructor.