How to win a fist fight
January 17, 2008 12:50 PM   Subscribe

How To Win A Fist Fight by Joe the Peacock (tip of the hat to CrossFitNYC)
posted by jason's_planet (77 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite

 
First, the fist:
1. Fold your four fingers downward into your hand
2. Place your thumb on the OUTSIDE of your fingers


Odds are, anybody who needs to be told the thumb goes on the outside WILL get the shit kicked out of them by anyone bigger and stronger than a malnourished six-year-old.
posted by dersins at 1:00 PM on January 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


Interesting stuff. High kicks are stupid, sure. A kick to the shin, or kneecap (or elsewhere), however, is a totally different matter.
posted by boo_radley at 1:00 PM on January 17, 2008


Exactly what I was going to say. Bruce Lee, who I trust more than this guy, advocated kicking the opponent in the shin and then running away.
posted by Astro Zombie at 1:02 PM on January 17, 2008 [3 favorites]


Interesting read.
posted by CitrusFreak12 at 1:05 PM on January 17, 2008


boo_radley : many people mentioned that a low kick would be an excellent idea. His response.
posted by suckerpunch at 1:06 PM on January 17, 2008


I know it's titled "how to win a fist fight," but I've found the best way to end a physical fight quickly is to hit your opponent with an object of some kind. Preferably from behind.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 1:10 PM on January 17, 2008 [5 favorites]


boo_radley : many people mentioned that a low kick would be an excellent idea. His response.

The problem with the response is that it doesnt sound that convincing. He sticks by his advice in the face of reasonable objections. This makes it less of a collaborative thing: "Ok, I've gathered comments from people even more experienced in this than me and beefed up the original advice even further..." and more of: Here's what some guy on the Internet says.
posted by vacapinta at 1:13 PM on January 17, 2008


Sweep the leg.
posted by sharksandwich at 1:17 PM on January 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


This is probably ok if the opponent has also gentlemanly agreed to keep it to a fist fight.
posted by Nick Verstayne at 1:21 PM on January 17, 2008


I prefer this stance.
posted by electroboy at 1:31 PM on January 17, 2008 [2 favorites]


I already wrote this.

Hey. Is that guy me?
posted by tkchrist at 1:34 PM on January 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


I've never been in a fist fight (thank god), and I found all the advice fascinating, including the comments and the poster's replies, which he links to after the post. Great FPP.
posted by misha at 1:35 PM on January 17, 2008


Masters John Otway and Wild Willy Barrett teach you the true secret of pugilistic hegemony.
posted by Abiezer at 1:37 PM on January 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


I thought this was about how to win at fisting. And I was all like, hey, whoa: it's not a competition.
posted by cortex at 1:39 PM on January 17, 2008 [20 favorites]


I kicked this guy's ass once. In sixth grade.
OK no I didn't, but somebody had to say it.
Fighting sucks, his advice is good. Especially about kicking, especially in light of his qualifications.
posted by From Bklyn at 1:40 PM on January 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


I can't imagine a circumstance where I would limit myself to just my fists. If someone were going to assault me in a bar, I would grab the first blunt object at hand and use it to expedite my escape.

I do agree with the point about knees and elbows though. If you know how to use them, they can be astonishingly effective, but if you don't, you really don't want to try learning against someone who is really trying to hurt you. It's a good way to look the fool right before you get your ass handed to you.

The thing is though, I've been going to bars for a lot of my life, and in that time, I've only been involved in a couple of minor scuffles, and all of those were my friends and I helping to separate the actual combatants. I can't understand how people let a situation devolve to the point where it comes to blows. If you have reached that juncture, you have failed; you probably should have walked away a lot earlier.
posted by quin at 1:41 PM on January 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


I would simply fend off the blighter with my stick, then summon the bobbies.
posted by everichon at 1:48 PM on January 17, 2008 [2 favorites]


He is right about kicking. Kicking people in the nuts works. But it's best if you do that as the opening salvo and by surprise.

Kicking, even low line or groin kicks, if you have not spent hundreds of hours training them on pads held by moving game opponents, heavy bags, is a colossally bad idea.

And even if you HAVE? Things can go terribly wrong.

Okay let me tell you a true tale. About a guy- I will call him Tom. Tom I know very well. In fact let's say I know him almost as well as I know myself.

Tom trained for many years in traditional Karate arts. In these arts the low line snap kick to the groin was a mainstay technique. Literally in almost every form and one step self defense technique. So he has trained these kicks over the course of five years over 500 hours. On bags. On pads. On partners.

But one thing Tom has not trained well is what happens when these kicks snag - when they are grabbed. Or throwing them on uneven surfaces. In dress shoes. With parked cars behind him. Every once in a while they may learn a counter to a grab. Or they may snag in sparring. But this not a part of the training every single time a kick is thrown. As it should be.

LSS. He tries a snap kick in an actual fight and it snags for a spit second. Wearing leather soled shoes on wet pavement he falls and if he didn't roll under a car he would have gotten his face pounded in. As it is he is crawling through oil stained pavement under cars trying to find a route to stand back and a very large pissed off dude is running around the parking lot trying to kick his ass calling him a faggot. Tom is very embarrassed.

The only way you should ever throw a kick in a real fight is if you have thrown thousands of kicks in full contact open rules fights and know what happens. Are there exceptions? Sure. But groin slaps are better than kicks for untrained people.
posted by tkchrist at 1:59 PM on January 17, 2008 [3 favorites]


If they try to poke you in your eyes with their two fingers, hold up the palm of your hand on the tip of your nose to block it.
posted by jefbla at 2:03 PM on January 17, 2008 [5 favorites]


So tkchrist, what did you think of his advice to stand with your strong hand/foot forward? I'd always been told to do the opposite, and it seems like you'd throw a better punch driving off your rear foot instead of the front one.
posted by InfidelZombie at 2:07 PM on January 17, 2008


I read this article a few weeks ago and really liked it.

I do agree with kicking as something you should never attempt without training.

Bruce Lee's idea is extremely effectively -- particularly if you rake down the opponent's shins -- it has the advantage of being very painful and very non-destructive, gives you a chance to run.

The other key thing to remember is that most people totally telegraph their punches -- but a few don't. I had an abusive girlfriend once who got me several times that way -- she'd be looking blank and then suddenly WHAM. She was a tiny thing, she only would ever get me with that first blow, but that one would be a doozy.

So if you're going to escalate, don't let anyone know -- just do it -- and then run away.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 2:07 PM on January 17, 2008


Odds are, anybody who needs to be told the thumb goes on the outside WILL get the shit kicked out of them by anyone bigger and stronger than a malnourished six-year-old.

How many malnourished six-year-olds could you beat up in a fight? We've created this website to...
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 2:10 PM on January 17, 2008


I can't understand how people let a situation devolve to the point where it comes to blows.

I've been mugged once, for example -- I was caught between two people and couldn't get away. I had an abusive girlfriend once (see above). This New Year's Eve, I got roughed up by a couple of people, one of whom has a grudge against me, when I was in a crowd and couldn't get away -- I came out pretty well on that one though.

(The grudge? She claims I called her stupid, once, when I broke up with her after going out with her for two months -- five years ago! And I don't even believe I did that.)

There are a lot of crazy people out there and sometimes you can't run.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 2:12 PM on January 17, 2008


The secret to winning a fight, as above posters have noted but the article author did not, is to hit your opponent before he expects it. So, throw your first punch from your waist (i.e. with your hands at your sides) to his chin or throat, and throw it while saying "look man, I don't want to fight you". When my nephew sucker punches me, it's usually incapacitating. And he's five.
posted by Nahum Tate at 2:13 PM on January 17, 2008


Nobody ever wins a fight. - James Dalton
posted by any major dude at 2:16 PM on January 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


and it seems like you'd throw a better punch driving off your rear foot instead of the front one

A lot depends on your definition of "better." You can throw a pretty good jab off your front foot that's fast and accurate. If you do it well, you can also either shoulder snap (if you're a boxer) or skootch forward from the hips (karate guy) for additional power. Or you can throw a reverse punch off your back foot that's slow, inaccurate (your opponent moves) but obviously much more powerful.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 2:17 PM on January 17, 2008


I'm seconding the advice to strike first. If you know there's no other way out besides fighting, getting the first hit in is a big advantage. You're opening yourself up to liability, but that's usually alot better than getting your ass kicked because you didn't want to hit them first.
posted by Crash at 2:21 PM on January 17, 2008


So tkchrist, what did you think of his advice to stand with your strong hand/foot forward? I'd always been told to do the opposite, and it seems like you'd throw a better punch driving off your rear foot instead of the front one.

There are lots of old timers who recommend this. I do not.

But I do understand why he says it. Defensively, since 90% of the people on the planet are orthodox, fighting south paw really fucks with people. It will work for the first one or two punches. If those land? Great.

However three punches in you will end up flatfooted and even stanced. It's an unnatural stance for righties. You wont be able to punch at all if that happens. And it will.

Worse. You CAN'T take a punch in the position. You will fall over.

Experiment - if your right handed stand right foot forward. Now have somebody chase you around. Try to keep that lead. Have them try to push you back wards in the center of the chest when they get close enough. Now do the same exercise orthodox (left lead). You will see quickly how much more you will end up your heels and stumble when pressured in the right lead.

I would ONLY recommend it if you were a varsity high school wrestler. Wrestlers have experience putting strong foot forward and it's AWESOME for setting up takedowns and tackles on an in rushing opponent. Even twenty years later that instinct sticks well.

I only recommend strong side forward if you have a knife in your right hand. But that is self defense. He is talking about ritual fighting and bar fights.
posted by tkchrist at 2:25 PM on January 17, 2008


At any point you get the chance, disable your opponent. Take out the eyes. Take away the breathing passages. Remove mobility.

This is absolutely terrible advice. If you do any of that stuff, including punches to the head, neck or throat, you can expect to end up in court. You don't win a fight if you get sued or jailed afterwards.

The only martial art I recommend is my own invention, Bletch-Fu. This new style consists of running several miles away from your opponent as fast as possible. Training in Bletch-Fu is very fun, healthy, requires no special equipment, and doesn't leave you with bruises. It's also the world's only martial art that doesn't get you sued if you actually use it.
posted by Bletch at 2:34 PM on January 17, 2008


Nahum Tate : The secret to winning a fight, as above posters have noted but the article author did not, is to hit your opponent before he expects it.

There is certainly truth there, but it also completely obviates any chance you have of calling the altercation "self defense". If you are the first to swing, you are the one that the cops are usually going to want to charge first. (Exceptions obviously apply, but generally, this is a quick and dirty way to an assault and battery charge.)

But if it's life and death (hyperbole aside) hit first, aim for the throat or eyes, disable them with your initial hit, and incapacitate them with your second (or instead of a second strike, run like hell if possible), but do this knowing that you are probably going to spend some time in custody.
posted by quin at 2:35 PM on January 17, 2008


Well, from the looks of a blog he's a judoka, and judoka like to stand strong foot forward because then they're already halfway into most forward throws. I don't know how natural it is for other people.
posted by Comrade_robot at 2:40 PM on January 17, 2008


If you don't take the guy out with the unexpected first strike, a good follow up strategy is to use your girlfriend as a human shield while figuring out your next move.
posted by psmith at 3:00 PM on January 17, 2008 [2 favorites]


I generally toss a baby in the air and run when my opponent is trying to catch it.

Of course, if my opponent is enough of a badass, he will just let the baby fall to the ground. That's when I surprise him by choking a poodle to death.
posted by Astro Zombie at 3:04 PM on January 17, 2008 [10 favorites]


anybody who needs to be told the thumb goes on the outside

You would be surprised how many people don't know this.

So if you're going to escalate, don't let anyone know -- just do it -- and then run away.

Add to that "Learn to avoid situations." and you have some solid advice. On preview:what alot of you have already said.

Now have somebody chase you around. Try to keep that lead. Have them try to push you back wards in the center of the chest when they get close enough. Now do the same exercise orthodox (left lead). You will see quickly how much more you will end up your heels and stumble when pressured in the right lead.

Are you sparring or fighting? That aside, I'm not a proponent of stances anyway, other than a place to throw your strike from.(Meaning I don't get in stances to fight.) Actually I don't spar either...(I know this puts me in the minority.)
posted by P.o.B. at 3:05 PM on January 17, 2008


That's a good idea too, Astro Zombie, but I was assuming our protagonist was untrained.

Choking poodles, even puppies, if you have not spent hundreds of hours training on pads held by moving game opponents, heavy bags, etc... is a colossally bad idea.

And even if you HAVE? Things can go terribly wrong.
posted by psmith at 3:11 PM on January 17, 2008 [4 favorites]


Again I think this article is about the subset of fighting... ritual fist fighting between largely voluntary combatants. It's not necessarily self defense. It's about dominance and it often ends by intervention of bystanders. It can turn into that kind of nasty SD thing if a weapon or several of the other dudes friends appear. But then you got a whole other set of concerns.

Nor is it combat. Combat is a defined battlefield where there is an enemy you have permission to kill from some sort of governing authority.

If you are in a bar and you step outside to fight or somebody goads you by calling you names - it's a voluntary action. even if they, say, push you and you punch them.

If somebody has to chase you down to "fight" you - then that is self defense and you can eye gouge, hit them in the throat, or pick up a bottle or what have you. And then you split the second they are no longer coming at you. So. No mater what it should appear like you are retreating.

Anyhow. I've said it before. All these types of "fighting" are tangentially related but not at all the same. They have to be trained differently.

True. The firstest with the mostest usually wins. In all these situations you ARE much more likely to win if you strike first.

But that really complicates things if the law gets involved. So.. you had REALLY better be in fear for you life if you go first with a bottle or even a throat punch. At the very least you should be practicing reciting a mantra in case any authorities do show up. "Officer. I was in fear for my life."

The only exception in my opinion in if a male confronts a smaller female. The IMHO she get a bye on hitting the fucker over the head straight out of the gate. I always tell my female students that the risks are too great that they can get hurt fucking around standing toe to toe with a man. Hit the fuck with something heavy and run.

If you just punch them? The law is not gonna like it but it sure as shit looks less aggressive to a prosecutor than poking a dude in the eye or hitting them with a lamp. The other issue is throat punches/grabs and eye jabs are very hard to land. They take a ton of practice. Punching is pretty easy. Though all striking is way over rated.
posted by tkchrist at 3:17 PM on January 17, 2008


I generally toss a baby in the air ... That's when I surprise him by choking a poodle to death.

Astro Zombie, how many times have we talked about this? Metafilter is not the place for your masturbatory fantasies.

No matter how hot they are.
posted by quin at 3:19 PM on January 17, 2008


"anybody who needs to be told the thumb goes on the outside

You would be surprised how many people don't know this.
"

You may also be shocked to discover there are several Asian Martial Art systems that specifically have the thumb between the index and middle finger.

Yes. It's idiotic.
posted by tkchrist at 3:20 PM on January 17, 2008


I choke the chicken. That typically short-circuits the fight quite quickly.
posted by everichon at 3:20 PM on January 17, 2008


This is just basically roaring and flashing your feathers.

The “facing a much larger / stronger / better trained opponent” section is odd. I mean, why would you knowingly face a much larger, stronger or better trained opponent if you had any choice in the matter?*

I mean if you’re initiating the fight, then you’re a real asshole (striking first is advantageous, not initiating the fight).
But choice is relative - there’s choice and there’s choice. Why not swallow your pride or run if you can?

Under final thoughts:
“At any point you get the chance, disable your opponent. Take out the eyes. Take away the breathing passages.”

That’s really not a friendly scrap anymore there is it?

Treat every uncontrolled physical encounter as a life or death situation. Otherwise you’re depending on the mercy of some stranger not to permanently injure you (say, give you a smiley) or kill you. At the very least you’d be missing some work. Why is some bully worth that?

Secure the upper hand before attacking. Evade until you can. Use whatever advantage you can. Why punch if you’re not good at it? There’s loads of dangerous objects in bars to hit someone with. If it’s an ongoing problem there’s the cops or...other methods.

But nothing you read is going to help you without real training and experience. And that’s usually better with someone who knows how to do whatever it is you’re looking to do.


disclaimer: In college I fought a larger stronger guy (6’6, 320lbs) who discovered me in bed with his GF. (I didn’t know she had a boyfriend). Pretty much just let him chase me around until he ran out of steam. Pretty easy to get someone exhausted dead to rights. Had I been on the offensive it would have been a different story, but then, I wouldn’t have with a guy who can bench press a Buick. And I didn’t want to really hurt him, since he was understandably pissed off.
But that was one of those deals that had a social component and we got it straightened out. Which is pretty typical in ritual (to borrow from tk) type fights, and much easier if you cut the “I can kick your ass” pride crap. People I knew talked to people he knew, people we both knew verified certain particulars (like I had no idea she was attached) and so forth. We all pretty much blamed her.
posted by Smedleyman at 3:21 PM on January 17, 2008


You may also be shocked to discover there are several Asian Martial Art systems that specifically have the thumb between the index and middle finger.

Yes. It's idiotic.


I've seen it, and I'm compelled to agree with you.

I choke the chicken. That typically short-circuits the fight quite quickly.

I've seen Self-Defense coaches actually tell women they should evacuate any bodily fluid they can to dissuade attackers.
posted by P.o.B. at 3:24 PM on January 17, 2008


That’s really not a friendly scrap anymore there is it?

Oh, do tell when you've seen one?
posted by P.o.B. at 3:25 PM on January 17, 2008


Well, from the looks of a blog he's a judoka, and judoka like to stand strong foot forward because then they're already halfway into most forward throws. I don't know how natural it is for other people.

Yeah.. I saw that... Probably not the best guy to give striking advice.
posted by tkchrist at 3:25 PM on January 17, 2008


Oh, do tell when you've seen one?

It's not in fashion with most middle class Americans anymore. But there are still plenty of places where you can walk into a bar and find a casual fight with trying very hard. And people don't get killed or hurt as often as you'd think. Pulling a knife or gun will get you shit stomped by everybody in the place.

Bar fighting. It's like a hobby with some people. A very stupid hobby.
posted by tkchrist at 3:30 PM on January 17, 2008


Some funny stuff here. 99% of the time the badest guy is going to whip ass.
posted by notreally at 3:31 PM on January 17, 2008


"A fight is not won by one punch or kick. Either learn to endure or hire a bodyguard."

- Bruce Lee.
posted by Effigy2000 at 3:37 PM on January 17, 2008


And people don't get killed or hurt as often as you'd think.

No, not as often as bar fights happen. With the proliferation of guns and other available weapons(in the past 40 years) it basically is fashionable to carry one. I'm also very aware of how easy it is for that to happen.
posted by P.o.B. at 3:44 PM on January 17, 2008


99% of the time the badest guy is going to whip ass.

I hath badest thou to whip thine own ass, thou base whoreson!
posted by dersins at 3:47 PM on January 17, 2008 [4 favorites]


“it basically is fashionable to carry one.”

Guns introduce a whole other level to the situation. But that’s not going to happen when two friends are fighting each other or some such. As tkchrist points out.
There are sets of social rules with those kinds of fights. I don’t buy into them, but then I’m not into BDSM and getting my nuts crushed for kicks on the weekends either. Doesn’t mean those types of situations don’t exist and have their own sets of mores.

I agree with carrying a gun for defense purposes if necessary. I think Joe the Peacock’s message is mixed in that one of the assumptions is that fighting is somehow necessary in some situations.
He gives lip service to the “avoid fighting” but then says if diplomacy fails, you might have to go to dukes.
I myself could care less what any given person or group of people think of my manhood so if diplomacy fails, I can just split.

I mean why does anyone NEED to win a ‘fist fight’? Other than ego? So I pretty much would only engage if it was necessary (e.g. self-defense). But it doesn’t mean other such circumstances don’t exist.
posted by Smedleyman at 4:02 PM on January 17, 2008


If I'd known that everyone one at Mefi was such bad asses I'd have been a lot less lippy at the Meet-ups.
posted by oh pollo! at 4:25 PM on January 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


OK, this is almost totally off topic, since we're all about physical violence on this thread, but, in my previous profession as bar musician, I was directly or indirectly threatened with the exciting prospect of a fight many times. WORDS (usually funny or sometimes just plain weird) ALWAYS ended up defusing the situation.

Now that I'm 55 and not a working bar musician (weddings don't count; they are usually pretty peaceful aside from ritual Jewish glass breaking and single women fighting for the bouquet - an ugly affair), I'm not too worried, but I'll try to remember the info. You never know. Of course, as a AARP member I'll probably forget all this stuff anyway.

BUT this is a far more interesting read than how to get ahead in office/academic politics!

Thanks.
posted by kozad at 4:25 PM on January 17, 2008


As tkchrist points out.

tkchrist referred to bar fighting, which is what I was referring to.

If I'm messing around with a friend that's a different story.
If a friend escalates to a point of fighting me, then again, it is a different story.

I've known people who fought "friends" when they were drunk, and the story did not end with them high fiving each other and getting a beer afterwards.

Regardless, I'll stand by what I wrote in my first comment:

"So if you're going to escalate, don't let anyone know -- just do it -- and then run away.
Add to that 'Learn to avoid situations' and you have some solid advice"
posted by P.o.B. at 4:37 PM on January 17, 2008


"You may also be shocked to discover there are several Asian Martial Art systems that specifically have the thumb between the index and middle finger.

Yes. It's idiotic
"

Which ones would those be? I've seen a variety of fist formations in different arts, but I've never seen anything like that.
posted by tdismukes at 4:43 PM on January 17, 2008


And people don't get killed or hurt as often as you'd think

So, it's kind of like the flu. Most of the time, it'll just make you feel bad for a while. Occasionally, it will kill you.

Nothing to worry about, right? Move along...
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 5:19 PM on January 17, 2008


Which ones would those be?

One variation would be:

Curl your four fingers(fist-like). Raise your middle knuckle. Place your thumbpad onto the middle fingers nail(approx.) with your thumb across your pointing finger to stabilize. The point of impact would be the one middle knuckle. Training this type of punch will almost insure hand injuries.

Actually most types of MA training require the hands to go through some type of toughening up process, but some require turning it into a blunt object without much other use. If you were a monk in the 15th century this would make sense. Nowadays...not so much.
posted by P.o.B. at 5:22 PM on January 17, 2008


OK, this is almost totally off topic, since we're all about physical violence on this thread, but, in my previous profession as bar musician, I was directly or indirectly threatened with the exciting prospect of a fight many times. WORDS (usually funny or sometimes just plain weird) ALWAYS ended up defusing the situation.

I have the particular mixed-blessing of being a constant shit-talker and good at talking people down. So in the past, in bars, I've often brought people to the edge of wanting to fight me and then talked/joked/shamed them out of it. I don't do it anymore, even though it's fun, because it's mean and silly.

On the rare occasions where I couldn't talk them out of it, or we were going to fight before I even said anything, I suggest hitting first, with a chair and leaving, or learning to enjoy a beating. It really doesn't hurt as much (in the moment) as it seems like it's going to hurt.

The three times I've been mugged or jumped where I had a chance to fight back (because no one had me dead to rights with a gun or knife) I fucking well broke fingers, poked eyes, bit noses and ears, squeezed balls and generally sold myself dearly, but your mileage may vary. It's pretty easy to avoid a fight if you don't really want one, but then sometimes you can't and there you are.
posted by Divine_Wino at 5:25 PM on January 17, 2008


So, it's kind of like the flu.

Taking your vitamins and washing your hands = avoiding a fight through diplomacy.
posted by cortex at 5:26 PM on January 17, 2008


“tkchrist referred to bar fighting, which is what I was referring to.”
Yeah, you missed the “or some such” part of that statement.

“I've known people who fought "friends" when they were drunk, and the story did not end with them high fiving each other and getting a beer afterwards.”

Swell. Well, I’ve been a bouncer, a sport fighter, a hand to hand combat instructor and I’m a combat veteran, so I’ve been in or witnessed nearly any kind of altercation you can anecdote.

So let’s break this down -
You disagreed (with me) that friendly fights happen.

tkchrist said casual fights can and do happen with general support of weapons being out of bounds.

You - apparently - agreed with the fact that people don’t get hurt, but asserted - again, unless I’m wrong - that firearms were fashionable ergo more ubiquitous and accepted.

I disagree. Someone drawing a weapon in a bar, at least one with security, gets an overwhelming “gloves off” response. I’ve been in those situations. They’re not pretty. I’ve also watched 1%ers deal with their own fights and again, weapons not allowed in the fight even though they carry them, it gets you stomped.

By the same token I agree that when those rules aren’t in effect (or there’s no one to enforce them) firearms are very much a possibility. But there is a difference between the more ritualized socially supported fighting and other kinds of brutality.

I further agree that avoidance is the best policy (with the caviat that you drop the fear along with pride and don’t run just out of fear. If you have to fight, project it onto your opponent, but yeah, better to split if you can)
What I’m unclear on is what your disagreement with my statements are.

tdismukes - I’ve seen the same thing. Been a while. I want to say black tiger kung fu has the goofy fist. I know in monkey style they don’t clench their fist until they strike. Snake has some odd hand techniques. I’m not certain. I do suspect it’s Chinese though.
posted by Smedleyman at 5:38 PM on January 17, 2008


WORDS (usually funny or sometimes just plain weird) ALWAYS ended up defusing the situation.

Reminds me of a story my father told me: Years ago he was at the bar in some honky-tonk having a drink (knowing him, probably a scotch), when some big-ass hairy good ol' boy plonks down next to him and starts talking shit, just some random asshole bored and looking for trouble. My dad turns to face him, gives him the most businesslike "I may be about to tell you to suck my dick" look and says, "Are you talking to me?"

"YEAH!" barks this asshole.

Dad (there's no way to convey this adequately via text, but he's a master of this move), immediately puts on his biggest, friendliest, Jethro Bodine shit-eating grin, and declares "That's what I thought!" And just grins and grins at this redneck.

In the space of two seconds, this idiot goes from wanting to crush my father's nose out of sheer boredom to laughing, clapping him on the back, and buying him another scotch. He declared several times for the rest of the night what a great guy my dad was.

Dad's a decorated veteran who served in the Army with the Big Red One during Vietnam (specifically, the Tet Offensive) and was nearly killed at least twice, so he both understood the value of avoiding violence whenever possible and had mastered the art of remaining cool under pressure.
posted by middleclasstool at 5:42 PM on January 17, 2008 [3 favorites]


How many malnourished six-year-olds could you beat up in a fight?

I just finished reading Off Season by Jack Ketchum today, and I've had to downscale my answer radically.
posted by Bookhouse at 5:43 PM on January 17, 2008


First, you gotta shriek like a woman and keep sobbing until he turns away in disgust. That's when it's time to kick some back. And then when he's lying down on the ground, kick him in the ribs, step on his neck, and run like hell.

I'll type up lesson 2: When to scream "I'm a hemophiliac", when I get the chance.
posted by markr at 5:47 PM on January 17, 2008 [2 favorites]


Smedleyman , I pretty much agree with eveything you said. I was only trying to add to the conversation. I did not get into much detail in my post, but I will let stand what I've said.

Swell. Well, I’ve been a bouncer, a sport fighter, a hand to hand combat instructor and I’m a combat veteran, so I’ve been in or witnessed nearly any kind of altercation you can anecdote.

Fantastic. You are alot alike me and many of my friends.
posted by P.o.B. at 5:56 PM on January 17, 2008


“I was only trying to add to the conversation”

Fair enough. My mistake.
posted by Smedleyman at 6:01 PM on January 17, 2008


Crash's guide to winning a fight:

Always start out by announcing loudly "I don't know karate, but I know crazy!"
Don't be afraid to use your timeouts, that's what they're there for.
If you must fight, fight dirty.
Remember, you can swallow a pint of blood before you get sick.

Regarding the fpp, if you don't know how to make a fist, don't even bother trying. Because if you can't make a fist, you obviously have no idea how to throw a punch. Instead, you'll be throwing a very weak closed handed slap. If that's you, try screaming loudly for smedlyman.
posted by Crash at 7:30 PM on January 17, 2008


You know that episode of Fresh Prince where Will teaches Ashley (why in god's name do I remember that she's named Ashley?) how to fight/stand up for herself and she ends up looking completely insane because, you know, wacky sitcom hijinks?

If someone could link a rip of that, I think it'd be a valuable addition to the thread.
posted by cortex at 8:17 PM on January 17, 2008


Remember, you can swallow a pint of blood before you get sick.

I'm willing to bet folding money that vomiting that same pint back onto your assailant is pretty much gonna end the fight all by itself, too.
posted by pax digita at 8:29 PM on January 17, 2008


Thinking back on the last time somebody tried to hit me, I realize how lucky I was that I got his arm in a lock and kicked the backs of his knees before he could pivot around. For all I ever knew he might've been carrying but I never got around to letting him have a chance to prove it.

One thing this writeup didn't really discuss much is that unless your hands are toughened up considerably, you're likely to hurt them when you go using them as fists. If things have gotten this terminal, I'd rather take my chances with the results hitting somebody's Adam's apple than breaking my fingers (again). YMMV considerably.
posted by pax digita at 8:33 PM on January 17, 2008


tkchrist wrote:

It's not in fashion with most middle class Americans anymore. But there are still plenty of places where you can walk into a bar and find a casual fight with trying very hard.

Seems like someone needs a refresher on the first rule of Fight Club...
posted by any major dude at 9:00 PM on January 17, 2008


So is the Lion's Roar a myth or not?
posted by homunculus at 10:27 PM on January 17, 2008


Oh come on, a witty riposte surely..
posted by strawberryviagra at 4:00 AM on January 18, 2008


SV:
I prefer Monty Python's Self-Defense techniques
posted by Crash at 7:15 AM on January 18, 2008


I just finished reading Off Season by Jack Ketchum today, and I've had to downscale my answer radically.

But those children aren't malnourished. On the contrary, they're rather too well nourished.

Also: don't pick a street fight with Alfie Lewis. The last person to do so was killed by a single punch.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 7:18 AM on January 18, 2008


The secret to winning a fight, as above posters have noted but the article author did not, is to hit your opponent before he expects it.

I once listened to a tape - I think it was Monty Python, but I haven't been able to find it since - that spoke of a Scottish self-defence technique that was based on not just hitting the other guy before he hits you, but hitting him before he has any intention of ever attacking you. That's how you win fights.
posted by martinrebas at 11:36 AM on January 19, 2008


Here's a question not addressed in that piece: I keep my fingernails long. Hate it when they're short, it changes the way every single interaction with object in the world feel off. That said, the bit on the space in your hands when you make a fist doesn't really work for me. If I make a fist tight enough to grab the meat of my hand, my fingernails dig into my hand, and are bent over uncomfortably (my fingernails naturally having a great deal of flexibility to them). The way to avoid this is to close my hand with the top joint of my fingers straightened, leaving the nails on top of the palm and a rather large space in the middle of my fist. Is it better to do this or to tighten the fist and deal with the cut up hands and seriously broken fingernails it seems would result if I tried to hit anything like that? Anyone know?

That said, my fighting strategy is a mix of screaming, running away, and curling up into a ball and sobbing, as a appropriate. Deliberately trying to harm another person is not something I want to ever do. I don't know what happens if I'm pressed, and am just as happy to never find out. Still, curiosity calls.
posted by Arturus at 2:55 AM on January 23, 2008


As usual I will defer to W.E. Fairbairn and his "Get Tough!" booklet. Certainly learning these techniques will ensure victory in the face of the Nazi hordes.

Don't use these techniques unless you are happy facing manslaughter charges though.
posted by longbaugh at 6:07 AM on January 23, 2008


Oh and martinrebas - you sure you don't mean LLap Goch, the Welsh martial art?
posted by longbaugh at 6:08 AM on January 23, 2008


Arturus, make a proper fist and deal with the cuts. If you use the fist you described, there's nothing to stop your fingers from sliding down your palm if you make contact with the back of your fingers and not your knuckles. It seems the worst case scenario would be to dislocate all four fingers, but that probably depends on how hard you can hit.
posted by Crash at 1:34 PM on January 23, 2008


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