I've been curled up in a ball on the ground with 10 people kicking me before. Never had my nose broke or lost any teeth, so I call it all good. But I've also beat the living **** out of some people who sorely needed it. And that trade off is 100% worth it.
ive never been on either side of a "beating".....but i have never backed down from a situation where either were imminent. ive diffused many an altercation with words only, which to me is the best result. being 6ft, 240lbs and covered in tattoos also helps. that came in handy on new years with a drunk bro dude that was a bit too touchy and aggressive with a girl i was with. i was decently gone by that point, but judging by the looks on the faces of those nearby, i got the point across for him to GTFO quite well.
The closest I've come was getting kicked in the head while I tried to break one up. It was more of a glance and I was fine, but a couple other guys got pissed and beat the hell out of him. They were on the university wrestling team, and from what I could tell, lived for getting in fights. Strange existence.
I went to a really rough school outside Philadelphia from sixth through eighth grade. I was the second smallest kid in the class at 4' 7". I averaged 1-3 fights per day, for those three years. I studied Tang Soo Do for about two and a half to three years to learn how to defend myself. Between the ****ty school an Karate class, I have literally been in hundreds of fights.
The owner of the Karate school was an Korean War vet who taught us a combination of martial arts and street fighting. I learned a lot of nasty ways to hurt someone. His idea was to always be aware of your environment and to utilize anything that can be used as a weapon. There is no such thing as a "dirty" fight.
As an adult, I have not been in a fight and would like to keep it that way. But if the need arises, I hope my training comes back to me.
I used to go to a lot of hardcore punk shows when I was younger and definitely saw the FSU guys a few times. They are completely nuts! At one show we witnessed an all out brawl between hardcore kids and skinheads (around 15 people on either side).
I've always been more of a pacifist but I've had to step up to help out a friend more than once if they were outnumbered.
I was close childhood friends with the high school drug dealers and thugs. We stopped hanging out together as we grew up, but they always looked out for me...not that I ever really got into trouble anyway.