Kate and I were talking as we drove to work on Friday. It was early, I had a 7am start at my Community Transport gig, and I drop her at a nearby school down the road where she teaches Year 3/4 composite. Her students are suspended if they hit each other. We routinely punched up when I was at Crown Street Public in the 1960's. And I regularly hit my younger brother, as I experienced the new emotions of jealousy and competitiveness. At school the cane was dished out for years 5 and 6.
Kate wondered what it was like. I explained the streets of Darlinghurst were violent places - Yank G.I.'s would fly in for 7 nights of R&R and get wasted. If they crossed lines they would be torpedoed out of Whisky Au Go Go on William Street, stomped on and left bleeding for their Military Police - driving US registered Police vans - to scoop up and chuck in the brig. Gangs were knifing each other as they battled for control of the various brothels surrounding our house. And kids would pick on other kids in the street.
Worst of those gangs were the Maltese boys who delighted in having their youngest members trained up, using a captured me as a punching bag. I learned to run fast and where all the escape fences, drains and hiding places were. Back at school I learned to fight as a defence, one or two well-staged after school biffs would keep the bullies in line. It never went beyond a split lip or a black eye and after a few punches it'd break up.
As I grew up and started doing lightshows, the bouncers used violence as they saw fit. There was no 'assault complaint' culture unless someone was badly hurt. And on the other hand, some of the skinhead and sharpie gangs were really Clockwork Orange bad, quite ready to stomp on heads. So they needed force against them.