Thanks for your post, you also come across as being a 'reasonable' chap, and I didn't think you were being rude.
Please don't misunderstand my stance. I would use violence in order to defend myself, but only as an absolute last resort and then only to defend myself not someone else, if someone else is taking a pounding its their problem I don't see any reason for me to risk getting damaged to save somebody else's arse or face. I'm not in the services or the police force, I don't get paid to fight on someone else's behalf and I'm not some thrill seeking adolescent. The term I believe is SELF defense!!
You see unlike some others, I do not subscribe to the notion that 'the attack starts way before a punch or kick is thrown'. It is impossible to read an other's mind, and that is precisely what some schools teach is possible to do. Rubbish. Until someone launches one at you, you (or I) do not KNOW. We might suspect but we don't KNOW. Supposition is not enough reason in my book to do physical harm to another. Yes I know some go on about 'body language' and all the other phsycobabble crap, watch for when the shoulder dips, skin colour, dilation of eyes ad nauseum. These are all excuses for pre-emption used by those who are enthused at the prospect of taking it to the physical level.