"I'm sorry sir, but I'm going to break your leg."
January 30, 2007 8:45 AM   Subscribe

"Everybody underestimates the kick to the groin." The venerable Bas Rutten, three time King of Pancrase, former Ultimate Fighting Championship Heavyweight Champion, and actor teaches you how to survive a bar fight and deal with jerks. Bas does not promote violence, but if anyone touches you or your family, he gives you his blessings to take him out.
posted by reformedjerk (122 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite

I love these. That guy ought to host the Oscars.
posted by Bookhouse at 8:53 AM on January 30, 2007

Is there an introduction where he tells you to try diplomacy first? 'cause I was a bartender for several years and most of the time this stuff is a lot of chimpanzee bluff and bluster. When it does get down to actual fighting one or both parties are already drunk and no good at it.
posted by Captaintripps at 8:54 AM on January 30, 2007 [4 favorites]

It was surreal watching those videos while the Beatles youtube sound was playing in the background.
posted by notsnot at 9:00 AM on January 30, 2007

pull de pants down an hide de spice bottle.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 9:11 AM on January 30, 2007 [2 favorites]

My teacher always stressed that everything is a weapon. Bas does a good job of illustrating that as well. Hilarious videos. Thanks.
posted by sarcasman at 9:15 AM on January 30, 2007

I got beat up by a guy in a bar who "used the ambiance" once. It sucked. I was picking alligators with sunglasses, humorous liscense plates, and old photographs out of my scalp for the next two days!

The dude must have been a student of Bas's.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 9:15 AM on January 30, 2007 [2 favorites]

warning: maxim propeganda.
posted by jeffamaphone at 9:16 AM on January 30, 2007

When crushing a wine carafe into an assailant's face, be careful not to let the glass shards shred your hand.
posted by wsg at 9:21 AM on January 30, 2007

God, how many people have gone out and gotten the shit kicked out of them after watching these videos? Hilarious.

Me, I'll stick with the Bobby Hill school of self-defense.

It was surreal watching those videos while the Beatles youtube sound was playing in the background.
Dude, I was listening to Belle & Sebastian.

posted by Alvy Ampersand at 9:23 AM on January 30, 2007

'cause I was a bartender for several years and most of the time this stuff is a lot of chimpanzee bluff and bluster. When it does get down to actual fighting one or both parties are already drunk and no good at it.

I'm pretty much an unapologetic pacifist who believes the best fights just aren't fought at all, and the vast majority of it is simply "chimpanzee politics". There are the occasional stupendous badasses, and sometimes they're generally not who you'd expect at all.

I briefly met a friend of a friend who was actually a righteous badass. Went by the name "Spider". Army Ranger, two tours with the French Foreign Legion, malformed adrenaline gland, possible attitude problem and/or possible Napoleon complex from being, well, short and wiry - but otherwise generally harmless and all around nice guy.

People talk a whole lot of talk. It's almost always bullshit. This guy hardly ever talked, but I once watched him, somehow, go from a standing start to flying horizontally feet first at someone else's face alll the way across a large living room.

So, this guy basically had three, maybe four vices. Smoking, coffee, his overpowered cafe bike and maybe kicking ass. So one day he's quitting smoking, hasn't had any coffee and his bike was in parts on the garage floor. We were going up to his place to work on it. Some jackass nearly hits us in a driveway. Words were exchanged. Next thing I know Spider is getting dragged down the road at 50+ miles an hour 'cause he's hanging on the open window with one hand on the driver-side of the guy's truck and proceeding to efficiently push the driver's face in with the other.

Which is to say two things: One, yeah, there's some crazy mofos out there, but you can't always actually spot them. Two, sometimes crazy shit actually happens that looks like it belongs in a bad action movie.
posted by loquacious at 9:23 AM on January 30, 2007 [8 favorites]

No one else will want to read this, and you may not as well, but Notsnot, when I was in college, I was at a party where, as a band called Johnny Mucus and the Membranes played, a fistfight broke out. As it was being broken up, they started to play "Dear Prudence."
posted by AJaffe at 9:26 AM on January 30, 2007

Is there an introduction where he tells you to try diplomacy first?

Halfway through the last video. Sort of.

Right after he tells you, in the second video, to give a knife to your victim so you can claim it was self-defence to shoot him.

I love this asshole.
posted by hoverboards don't work on water at 9:27 AM on January 30, 2007

You may want to take some tips from Eugene (Oxbow)Robinson's classic article Vice Guide to Getting Beaten Up
posted by The Straightener at 9:28 AM on January 30, 2007

Boot To The Head, La La.
posted by spicynuts at 9:31 AM on January 30, 2007 [1 favorite]

Cool! I need to study these so my body can finally cash those cheques my mouth keeps writing.
posted by gomichild at 9:31 AM on January 30, 2007 [3 favorites]

locquacious, those are always the guys I suspect at first. Of course, it took me about three months of bartending to suspect them first. Strangely enough, if you've cultivated enough respect for yourself as the bartender amongst customers, it usually works pretty well in the realm of chimpanzee displays. I only had two or three fights actually break out inside the bar during my tenure.
posted by Captaintripps at 9:42 AM on January 30, 2007

Ah. Bas.

This made the rounds a while back.

Bas is one of my hero's. He made marching across the ring and punching the fuck out of people back in vogue. A concept I understand. Plus I love his voice.

And the humorous point he is making is fighting out of the ring, or off the mat, is pretty stupid and everybody wants to know the "secret". And the secret is: Smack them over the head with something.

Shill Filter: I do Bas's workouts at least twice per week. It's just Shadowboxing. You'd be surprised how taxing it is. Very simple in structure and oddly motivational. You don't need any room. Equipment. Or much experience with technique to do them. It's dance aerobics for tough guys. And it's a blast. The guys is sitting on a goldmine.

Here is a guy doing them.
posted by tkchrist at 9:54 AM on January 30, 2007 [1 favorite]

From the Vice link: You are going to think this is strange, but it works every time. You tell the guy you’re going to count to five. You don’t say why. You just do it. “ONE,” then, while apparently inhaling for “TWO,” you fucking tear out of there and run as fast as you can. No idea why this works, it just does.

Oddly this actually does work. The alternate is is to punch him on two. But you better know how to punch.
posted by tkchrist at 10:00 AM on January 30, 2007 [1 favorite]

Where are the resident psychos martial artists?

Well, I'll chime in.

These clips are a bit of fun, but in no way whould be treated as self defence information. Bas has alot of energy and enthusiasm, but his advice certainly should be taken with a pinch of salt. I thought they were parodies at first.

tkchrist (probably) said it best when, I paraphrase, he said the first thing you need to defend yourself against is heart-disease. So get healthy and then start thinking about other health aspects, one of which could be self defence.

Captaintripps is right, diplomacy first, then flight. If neither of those options is open then you may have to consider physical defence. The distraction technique is a good start.

Also, drinking and self-defence do not do not mix, if you have impared judgement you cannot expect to be able to execute any techniques with success. Quite apart from the fact that you cannot expect your reasoning and logic to be working at peak efficiency.

Personally, I disagree with Bas as to the efficacy of a kick to the groin. Evolution has favoured the males who have a good flinch reaction to such attacks, unless you are covering their eyes you will not get the attack in effectively. Also, it is not guaranteed to floor them, if they are drunk or otherwise anaethetised they may not care*, or it could make them more angry.

Giving someone a knife so that you can shoot them in self defence is clearly cold-blooded behaviour with murderous intent. Testifying against your loved one in court will be sure to bring them running back into your arms, oh yes.

I would suggest that the principles of physical self defence would be more akin to michimi (sticking), tai sabaki (body position), kuzushi (unbalancing) and using gross motor movements.

You need to be aware of your surroundings and people who are around you. This will pre-emptively arrest any likely attack so that the physical stage will not even be a posibility. You cannot however predict or detect the actions of a truly psychopathic individual because they will not exhibit any of the behaviours that act as tell-tale signs that violence is going to occur. They will remain calm and detached as they stab you in the eye with a cigarette/pen/fork/chop-stick/whatever and your flinch reaction will not even be fast enough to avoid this. So relax and don't take it all too seriously.

*Or they might just be fucking hard, in which case you now have an angry fucking hard attacker who has good cause to feel your groin is a fair target for his frustrations. If they are in a normal fighting stance, the groin kick will be a difficult target anyway.
posted by asok at 10:01 AM on January 30, 2007 [1 favorite]

Time spent typing allowed one of the residents to arrive on thread. *waves at tkchrist*
Why doesn't it supprise me that you have a soft spot for the Tasmanian Devil stylings of Mr Rutten?
posted by asok at 10:06 AM on January 30, 2007

Metafilter: Pull de pants down an hide de spice bottle.

posted by Turtles all the way down at 10:06 AM on January 30, 2007

Yeah, but ya know what Indiana Jones would do to this guy.
posted by disgruntled at 10:06 AM on January 30, 2007 [1 favorite]

"and again, remember, use the ambiance."
posted by OmieWise at 10:09 AM on January 30, 2007

Right after he tells you, in the second video, to give a knife to your victim so you can claim it was self-defence to shoot him.

Mmm, reminds me of a guy I knew from high school, but a few years after. Guy picks a fight with him at the local bar, so they take it outside. Starts heading across the parking lot, so the guy follows. Gets to his car. Opens the trunk. Pulls out baseball bat. So now the guy's saying "whoah, hey wait a minute..." Well he hands the bat to the guy and says "Here -- you're going to need this."

Heh. He was a bit crazy. Did I mention that?
posted by dreamsign at 10:10 AM on January 30, 2007

As an erstwhile kung fu instructor, may I just echo what has been said before:

Diplomacy first, flight second. Fight only when it's necessary.

The highest form of martial arts is being able to defuse a fight long before it starts. The highest of the highest is being able to turn your potential adversary into a friend.

Let me know when Bas or anyone else releases a video showing those techniques. They'd be worth something.
posted by darkstar at 10:11 AM on January 30, 2007 [2 favorites]

That Vice article was awesome.

When someone says, “I am going to fucking kill you,” think of it more as “I am going to audit you,” because all he’s really doing is adding a huge mundane thing to deal with into your next 24 hours.
posted by Bookhouse at 10:14 AM on January 30, 2007 [1 favorite]

*Or they might just be fucking hard, in which case you now have an angry fucking hard attacker who has good cause to feel your groin is a fair target for his frustrations. If they are in a normal fighting stance, the groin kick will be a difficult target anyway.

My old karate instructor used to practice receiving groin kicks with one of his other students. Before my class started they would be facing one another taking turns kicking each other in the junk.
posted by mkb at 10:18 AM on January 30, 2007 [1 favorite]

tkchrist, out of interest, have you seen people floored by a kick to the groin? My sensei, who has some years experience in sport/wado/shotokan/karate and tae kwon do and working as security at music venues claims that he has been kicked in the groin several times, but that the pain has never been enough that he couldn't ride it (at least for 5 mins or so).
posted by asok at 10:21 AM on January 30, 2007

“I am going to fucking kill you,” think of it more as “I am going to audit you,”

Yeah. That is good.

But make sure everybody else heard it too. Since I'm not imposing and look nerdy I used to make a big show of somebody saying something like that. I would squeal like a ten year old girl and act really afraid (I usually was). That way if I had to hit them over the head with something I could tell the cops I was in fear for my life.

Asok. Bas is just fucking around with most of that.

The highest form of martial arts is being able to defuse a fight long before it starts. The highest of the highest is being able to turn your potential adversary into a friend.

You should already know how to do that, right? Isn't that what kindergarten is for? You already do that 24/7. Think about it.

Observe any other pack animal - takes dogs for instance. When a foreign dog comes into another dogs territory there is a careful LEARNED ritual to avoid a fight. Many times they fight anyway. Because the ritual was not enough. They have to fight in order TO establish common ground. To know who is on top. And 99% of the time it's who ever is fitter wins. Once they know that they don't fight anymore. Everybody is friends.

If you didn't learn the human ritual for introducing yourself and dealing with conflict - conflict is around us all day you just don't notice it - and accepting status you would be fighting ALL the time.

In male ritual fighting it's usually fairly easy to turn most situations around. With humor. That is how and why I evolved my sense of humor. To stop getting beat up as a kid. But occasionally a real bully used that against me. So I had to fight.

Diplomacy. It can backfire. it can be seen as weakness. If you're really out of your depth. Outside your culture. Especially in a pack situation with like teenage kids. Little you say will make you their buddy.

You should always deescalate situations and there are lots of guys who train that out there. But most of that is simple common sense and keeping your cool.
posted by tkchrist at 10:35 AM on January 30, 2007

For more Eugenisms please see the Oxbow Newsletter which unfortunately hasn't been updated very recently.

(off topic, sorry)
posted by The Straightener at 10:37 AM on January 30, 2007

Just don't try doing this to Iron Balls McGinty.
posted by schmedeman at 10:38 AM on January 30, 2007

tkchrist, out of interest, have you seen people floored by a kick to the groin?

Floored? No. Wished I was dead? Yes.

Good story. Once there was a gal taking an advanced belt test. She was pretty tough. Very Diesel Dyke-ey - not an insult btw. She WAS a motorcycle mechanic.

Anyway. I was one of the guys sent in to fight her. Full contact. But with a smaller person you don't load 100%. you want them to pass, after all.

She was stocky and strong - weighed maybe 160. I was a fit male 185. And first thing as entered the floor and bowed she leaps forward, kiyaps, and NAILS me, full on, in the balls. I had a cup on. Fat lot of good it did.

But. Here is the deal people. There is a narrow window where a guys adrenaline spikes and masks the pain and before the damaged nerve suppresses the breath. In that 2 seconds sometimes you have fueled your opponent. This was one of those times.

She was standing there, and she dropped her hands after the kick. In that 2 seconds I reacted without thinking and shot forward with a cross and knocked her out. I mean OUT.

Though at the time nobody blamed me. Still. It was a girl. And felt pretty bad about it. After her test (yes, she was expected to finish when she came to) she came up to me and said "Thank you. Now I know. I never really been hit by a guy before full out. Now I know."

I am unfortunately still known as "lady killer."

Oh. And afterward. Yes. I couldn't breath I had to go lie down. No, stand up. No, lie down. And. My nuts swelled up like oranges and I didn't train for three days.
posted by tkchrist at 10:50 AM on January 30, 2007 [13 favorites]

Never heard of this guy before, but I love the video (especially the way it's punctuated with the BOOM groin-kick move). He's got a sense of humor and a great line of patter. I don't ever expect to be in a situation in which that kind of fighting is called for, but if I am, I know what I'm going to do. Yup, that's right: pick up the phone and tell Bas to get his ass down here!
posted by languagehat at 10:51 AM on January 30, 2007 [1 favorite]

My son started taking Kung Fu when he was five. His instructor, the last practitioner of the family art, was tough as nails and didn't take any crap from the kids. You know you're in a disciplined school when a firetruck goes by outside, and the two little boys in the back that looked get 50 pushups.

I admired the class for 2 things: By the time my son was 11, his Sifu, a 6 foot tall man, could stand on my son's abdomen; the other thing was that on Fridays, they practiced general evasion. Sifu would stand in the middle of the room, and the little kids would try and run by him while he held a nerf bat and swatted them in various areas.

Screams and giggles all around, but after doing that for a few years, my son and his classmates could effectively dodge the nerf bat.

His two mottos, while teaching these kids were: Kung Fu is for self defense only, and there is no fight large enough from which you cannot run. It was an impressive enough philosophy that my son, now aged 14, has yet to get into any physical altercations at school, even though he now attends a school where there's an incident of violence at least once a week.

[shill] My son's Sifu, at the time, was Vincent Lyn. I don't know if he still teaches in a classroom setting [/shill]
posted by thanotopsis at 10:56 AM on January 30, 2007

That's a cool story tkchrist.

Did she pass?
posted by aerotive at 11:00 AM on January 30, 2007

I'll have to check the youtube links at home.

And, as usual, tkchrist has added some great (though painful) stuff. (added to contact list...)
posted by ObscureReferenceMan at 11:26 AM on January 30, 2007

I subscribe to the Rex Kwon Do self defence school
posted by Megamix at 11:27 AM on January 30, 2007

It's always the little wiry ones. They may not start shit, but by fuck will they finish it. Every bouncer I've ever known treats the small ones with kid gloves, because they're the ones who will go batshitfuckinginsane. Think Gaz, form Trainspotting.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 11:35 AM on January 30, 2007

Did she pass?

As far as I was concerned she did. That test and any future ones. As long as I didn't have go out there.

Yes. She did. She got up. Rested for a minute. Did her forms. And fought four more people. Not full contact, of course.
posted by tkchrist at 11:40 AM on January 30, 2007

Man. You guys are all so serious. Bas is a rare bird, in that he's a top nhb fighter, but has the charisma of an actor, and on top of that he's totally nutso. He's a ton of fun to watch.

Here's more Bas. Highlights, another highlight, and here's Bas talking about the IFL, an organization he coaches in.

And of course, his most recent fight.
posted by HighTechUnderpants at 11:59 AM on January 30, 2007

I used to fight a lot, and then I stopped when I realized that I was a bit too loco for it, and it would end up with me or someone else getting seriously injured. That said, I've been a pacifist for about 11 years now. On the other hand, I have a fair amount of martial arts training, so I've worked with training some King of the Cage guys, locally. Nothing big, no big names, but fighters nevertheless.
All that aside, let me tell you how a pacifist wins a bar fight.
About a month ago, I went to the bar to bid farewell to a friend of mine who was moving. At some point during the evening, a very drunk guy comes up to me and starts being very verbally aggressive with me. I taunt him a bit, verbally, but don't give him the opportunity to start anything physical (I'm pretty good with words). Long story short, I got him so worked up and bothered that he walked off and, I kid you not, 30 seconds later he was being dragged to the bathroom with a 6-stitches split lip he got from the guy he started crap with after leaving me.
And THAT is how a pacifist wins a bar fight.
posted by eparchos at 12:05 PM on January 30, 2007

You mean Begby from Trainspotting? The Robert Carlysle character?
posted by vbfg at 12:08 PM on January 30, 2007

I stopped taking this video seriously in the first 30 seconds when he demonstrated butting someone's head with your own head. I'm not saying it isn't a fun video, but I don't think it's very useful either.
posted by rolypolyman at 12:13 PM on January 30, 2007

Dude, I was listening to Belle & Sebastian.

I'm pretty sure you just kicked your own ass.
posted by srboisvert at 12:16 PM on January 30, 2007 [1 favorite]

If you're not squeamish and you've had any bayonet or pugil-stick training, ain' nothin' wrong with carrying an umbrella, John Steed style, even when rain's not in the forecast. Ram that sumbitch into the miscreant's eye socket, rupturing the eyball, and that fight's won and over.

But it's much more fun to deflate the would-be bar brawler by asking, "Hey, what's your brand, man? Let me buy you a round."
posted by pax digita at 12:17 PM on January 30, 2007

Also for what it's worth, there is some story I ran across about the founder of aikido who defused a fight on a subway train by sympathizing with the person and finally getting him to vent his troubles verbally. I'm not sure if it's just a legend and I can't even seem to Google the story, but it's a memorable one and I wouldn't dismiss the idea of it working in some stupid types of fights.
posted by rolypolyman at 12:19 PM on January 30, 2007

The best advice: If you can avoid a fight then avoid it or just run!

What Bas Rutten does not tell your with his great "kick to the groin": This is not MMA and the other guy wears shoes. If the other guy knows what he is doing he will stop your kick with his own kick (WT, Krav Maga).
posted by yoyo_nyc at 12:21 PM on January 30, 2007

rolypolyman - I've always liked that story. It's Terry Dobson, not Ueshiba.
posted by ObscureReferenceMan at 12:29 PM on January 30, 2007

Anyone else see The Smashing Machine?

I highly recommend it as a rental. Althogh Mark Kerr's story is specific to him, I think it's a lot closer to the life of people like that than a clip from an 'instructional video' by Bas.

Don't get me wrong, Bas is a good kind of crazy, but I sure wouldn't want his life. And I don't look to people like that for advice.

I doubt he has that much peace and I don't even know that he is actually happy. Looks like a lot of covering up for something.
posted by django_z at 12:31 PM on January 30, 2007 [1 favorite]

Everyone underestimates the kick to the groin?

...That’s like 6.5 billion people.
posted by Smedleyman at 12:46 PM on January 30, 2007

(I’ve always thought many people underestimate the rising palm)
posted by Smedleyman at 12:48 PM on January 30, 2007

I've never been in a fight. I taught some basic self defense courses, I've helped break up other peoples fights, but apart from sparring, I've never had to throw a punch in anger.

Someone once remarked that I was the last person he would ever want to fight. As I am a skinny beanpole of a human, I was curious as to why; Apparently it's because I struck him as the kind of person who would take getting into a fight personally, and then take it waaay to far.

I was never sure if this was a compliment or an insult.
posted by quin at 12:51 PM on January 30, 2007

Smashing Machine is a great documentary.

Other ones worth seeing are Choke and Day of the Zen.

If you can get a subtitled version, the CroCop one where he swaps jobs with a postman is funny.
posted by the cuban at 12:52 PM on January 30, 2007 [1 favorite]

"You can spray blood in his face, then you can go over with punches"

takes notes
posted by A Thousand Baited Hooks at 12:56 PM on January 30, 2007

Also for what it's worth, there is some story I ran across about the founder of aikido who defused a fight on a subway train by sympathizing with the person and finally getting him to vent his troubles verbally.

That one was posted here, actually. Let's see... here it is!

I will not taunt you with how easily I found that. I do not want to get into a bar fight!
posted by furiousthought at 1:04 PM on January 30, 2007

Ow! My balls!
posted by tittergrrl at 1:07 PM on January 30, 2007

Personally, I disagree with Bas as to the efficacy of a kick to the groin. Evolution has favoured the males who have a good flinch reaction to such attacks, unless you are covering their eyes you will not get the attack in effectively. Also, it is not guaranteed to floor them, if they are drunk or otherwise anaethetised they may not care*, or it could make them more angry.
My self-defense classes suggested scraping the sole of a shoe down the assailant's shin or stomping on the instep. Seems groin shots frequently miss or fail to sufficiently incapacitate the assailant. On the other hand, injury to the leg render the assailant less able to run after you as you flee.

(Another odd technique that was suggested for larger women was, if you can't pull free, fall over on them. A couple hundred pounds of dead weight can do a fair amount of damage.)
posted by Karmakaze at 1:09 PM on January 30, 2007

This has always been my second-favorite method of avoiding bar fights.

My first is not going to bars.
posted by Durhey at 1:23 PM on January 30, 2007

My cousin got into it with a bunch of people back when I was growing up. We were shooting pool, four of us, and this guy behind him bumps into him while he’s lining up his shot. It’s sort of a tense neighborhood (Chicago isn’t split into ethnic sections as much as other cities, it’s spotty). And the guy said something like watch your big ass, so my cousin said something like ‘f’ing niggers’ and the guy (who was black) got pissed and his group of guys got up. Pretty much upped the already touchy situation in the place to begin with. My cousin is a short guy, but not a pushover, in fact he hits the weights pretty hard, but I suspect he wouldn’t have been as mouthy if I wasn’t there (which says something about people knowing you know how to trade hands). So it looks like there’s going to be a fight and my cousin starts apologizing profusely. He’s saying the other guy said something racial first and blah blah blah they’re both wrong and it just slipped out because he thought the guy was making a joking crack and he’d be nuts to seriously start trouble with him since he’s half the size of this guy (true) and so he said what he did because it’s so ridiculous and so forth. No one really wants to fight (good money on the tables) so my cousin says he’ll take care of his games the rest of the night and the guy’s ego is placated. Swell, we’re all friends now. So a bit of time goes by, my cousin buys him the next game. We’re standing around them watching when it’s not our turn and my cousin has been watching particularly intently for some time like he wants to play them. And when the big guy bends over to line up a shot my cousin cracks a cue over his head, jumps on the table and starts pelting him and his crew with pool balls. And the place erupts. So the other guys we’re with jump in and stomp the guy and start on his friends and my cousin jumps on top of him from the table with both feet and I hear something crack. I’m just standing there like a goof because I still think he was out of line in the first place (not to mention this whole thing). I mean he’s my cousin and I’m not going to let him get killed, but I’m not going to back him up on this. So I ease toward the back door and, as is inevitable, someone pulls out a piece and everyone scatters. I hear some gunshots and I’m out the fire door first, one of our guys goes gets his car, his head is bleeding, bunch of other people run out with various bruises or torn shirts, my cousin comes out last, not a mark on him. Now I don’t agree with my cousin on a lot of things, but it did give me an appreciation of treachery. My cousin took a lot of time and effort to manuver himself just so - talking, joking, getting drinks, just to put the guy and his people at ease (‘we’re all friends now’) and find/force that opening. Not as subtle as eparchos’ style of course, but hell, he’s my cousin and even I didn’t expect it. About that time I started sitting with my back against walls. In fact I think I stopped shooting pool about then too. Anyway, coupled with suprise, nearly any technique can be dangerous.
posted by Smedleyman at 1:24 PM on January 30, 2007

Did you stop going to bars with your cousin?
posted by languagehat at 1:30 PM on January 30, 2007

I went to see Bobcat Goldthwait (sp?) last year at a comedy club. It ended up getting sold out and the line to get into the final show was all f'ed up. Some people just wanted to get in and stand at the bar, others were trying to get in first and get the best seats. I wanted a drink. Standing there I noticed this old dude just glaring at me, muttering obscenities. His face was literally red with anger. He thought I was trying to jump the line. I told my friend that we might get in a fight tonight.

But then for some reason I got strangely calm, approached the guy and just said something like, "Hey friend, I'm not trying to take your seat, I just want a drink, can I get you one?" (or something like that). The dude just melted. As I walked back I heard a couple of people in the line saying "I love that guy" and similar shit. I can honestly say that I have never felt like more of a badass in my life.

But if I am ever in a bar fight, I hope tkchrist is right there beside me.
posted by vronsky at 1:36 PM on January 30, 2007

tkchrist, yes, knowing how to defuse or avoid a fight is often practiced inherently by people. But it is seldom trained. And - like many othher aspect of martial arts - there is a lot you can do to train skills and attitudes to do it far better than our instinctive animal behavior.

As far as handling a gang of obnoxious teenagers, I've actually been in that situation and defused it. Cross culturally, too. By the end, we parted friends.

Of course, folks won't learn those techniques if they just think they're already innate, "common sense" and thus take them for granted. Or if they think that showing diplomacy is a sign of weakness.

Instead, they will get into a fight, thinking there was nothing they really could have done to defuse or avoid it, when in fact they stepped past half a dozen opportunities to transform the situation into something other than necessitating a fight.

Sometimes, you may have to fight. And when you do, you will have to fight hard.

But there's a reason I referred to avoidance and transformation as the highest of the highest of martial arts. Sun Tzu understood. Morihei Ueshiba did, too. Bas Rutten, for all of his fighting skill, probably would not.
posted by darkstar at 1:49 PM on January 30, 2007 [1 favorite]

Dang, furiousthought! I even posted in that thread, but forgot about it. Good catch!
posted by ObscureReferenceMan at 1:51 PM on January 30, 2007

vbfg writes "You mean Begby from Trainspotting? The Robert Carlysle character?"

Yes. Doh. He was Gaz in another movie, right? Right? I'm not just going insane?
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 1:52 PM on January 30, 2007

I think you all are ignoring the first rule.
posted by found missing at 2:00 PM on January 30, 2007

"Everybody underestimates the kick to the groin."

To put that in context, Bas kicks hard. One of his kicks anywhere on the body will drop most people who aren't pro fighters. If he nails you with a kick to the groin, you're almost certainly going down.

That said, I agree with others who have pointed out that a groin-kick isn't a guaranteed fight-stopper in general. Most of us can't kick as hard as Bas can.
posted by tdismukes at 2:26 PM on January 30, 2007

This thread is waiting to erupt into a vicous virtual battledance at ANY SECOND.
posted by The Straightener at 2:30 PM on January 30, 2007

“Did you stop going to bars with your cousin?”

I’ve pretty much stopped hanging out with my cousin altogether. For a variety of reasons. Getting into “trouble” sort of loses it’s allure as you grow up. Although the definition of “trouble” sort of changed for me as well. Break your cherry in a firefight and someone saying “I’ll kick your ass” doesn’t really give you an adrenal rush. Differentiating between the posturing and people actually trying their damnedest to kill you is pretty easy. And it’s easy(er) to just split even if everyone thinks you’re a coward. He still gets into brawls. To be fair he’s got an internal chemical problem. Meh, it was a lot of fun as a kid. Not so much now. Now I think “Don’t they have to go to work next week?”
But that’s the thing about guys like Rutten, this, for them, IS their job. So when is he going to be in a compromised position? Maybe if he’s got diarrhea that day or something (actually...slip something into his drink a half hour before you square off - NOW who’s the tough guy?). But really, if you’ve got kids to take care of, a job, etc. etc. you rarely have the time or are in a position to deal. Better off evading and/or calling the cops. But when you can’t do that, when you’re cornered I’ve always advocated a lethal response. It’s not just you suffer in the hospital or your ego gets bruised or whatever as when you’re younger. As an adult it’s someone taking bread from your table because you’re out of work, maybe hurt bad and can’t perform at the same level. Like chess - it’s not just taking the piece, it’s the threat of taking a piece and the time it costs in moves. Best to stay out of a position where you can be threatened, particularly where there’s nothing tangible to gain.
posted by Smedleyman at 2:34 PM on January 30, 2007

Conversation I had long ago:

Me: What's the best weapon to use in a bar fight? Like, how about that bottle of Galliano? That thing looks like you could swing it like a sword.
Him: How about your shoes?
Me: What do you mean? Like, you kick him?
Him: Use your shoes ... to run away.
posted by frogan at 2:37 PM on January 30, 2007

Hey darkstar, can you elaborate on your anecdote? Sounds like a good one.
posted by Captaintripps at 2:38 PM on January 30, 2007

tkchrist, yes, knowing how to defuse or avoid a fight is often practiced inherently by people. But it is seldom trained. And - like many othher aspect of martial arts - there is a lot you can do to train skills and attitudes to do it far better than our instinctive animal behavior.

Ok. True. Here is what I was getting at: What people don't practice - in terms of conflict de-escalation is - two things that involve our instinctive behaviors:

1. Divorcing themselves from their ego. IE: Wanting to "Win."

2. And talking to somebody when your afraid and adrenaline is dumping into your blood stream. you know when your mouth goes dry and all that.

Those two things are detected as aggression or weakness by hostile or fearful males. Otherwise we all know how to make friends. See what I'm saying?

Your ego wants victory. Your cortex can be telling you "Talk your way out of this..." but your Medulla oblongata is screaming Hit or run. This not only confuses you but the other guy who is likely going through the same thing.

So yeah. That stuff takes practice. But what helps a great deal is ... well... practicing physically. Like fighting. You learn to stay calm. You learn getting hit is not the end of the world. And you can talk better. Me talk better. Me use brain!

I'm not sure MA are the most qualified to be teaching the finer skills of diplomacy and creating peace. i wouldn't expect them to be. I'd be skeptical if they claim they CAN teach these things.

Bas IS a fighter. He makes his living smacking dudes and teaching people how to smack dudes. One should not expect him to help heal anyones inner pain.

I have real problem with Martial Arts being elevated to this kind of this pseudo-philosophical path to inner peace higher consciousness kind of practice. That's certainly a potential by product sometimes.

But. You know almost any physical pursuit can help you achieve that spiritual plateau. Anything that pushes you beyond the expected limits of your body... forcing you to use your will and spirit. Running. Biking. Any of that. And in those nobody is looking to a wizened Sensei to show the way.

MA ultimately is about fighting. How far you wanna take it is up to you. fighting with your self is really what you accomplish. But let's not be surprised when dudes who fight are not the most enlightened people on the planet.
posted by tkchrist at 3:50 PM on January 30, 2007

Diplomacy first ...

Diplomacy is the art of saying 'Nice doggie' until you can find a rock.

~Will Rogers
posted by bwg at 3:51 PM on January 30, 2007 [1 favorite]

Last month I got to sit in the back of a Masters' Martial Arts Seminar. One of the more memorable moments was then the multi-striped black belt in charge -- who has been teaching Kung Fu since I was a fetus -- said "The overwhelming majority of street fights start with a big roundhouse punch. Believe me." He then demonstrated how to use an overhead x-block to deflect this punch. And if you happened to deflect it into a nearby wall, break them. I think we all winced when he demonstrated this on a mere second degree black belt who was assisting him.
posted by ilsa at 4:32 PM on January 30, 2007

I love the Groin Whisperer!
posted by staggernation at 4:52 PM on January 30, 2007

He then demonstrated how to use an overhead x-block to deflect this punch.

Must resist urge to...

It burns the flesh! It BURNS THE FLESH!

Not the dreaded X-block!

Lisa you seem like a very nice person. If you can remember that Kung-fu dudes name and the school he is from I'd love to know. Yes. I will keep you out of it. Because if that is same X-block I was taught in 12 years of Martial Arts I can tell you from experience it is indeed nearly worthless against a real punch from bigger person and should never be taught in Self Defense.

But, I could be wrong, if it is NOT the same technique then I must have it. It will be mine.
posted by tkchrist at 5:13 PM on January 30, 2007

Like this one?
posted by tkchrist at 5:16 PM on January 30, 2007

Those sure are interesting videos, but...

... for a guy who goes out of his way to talk about avoiding violence if at all possible, he sure has gotten into a lot of street fights.

I have never, never, in my adult life, gotten into a fight.

And you know what? I also have never avoided one.

This guy is looking for it, his protests to the contrary notwithstanding.
posted by Flunkie at 5:31 PM on January 30, 2007

Another martial artist perspective on street defense...
Diplomacy can easily turn against someone, especially when it comes off as weakness. I have seen fairly harmless situations escalate because someone has taken their nice guy routine too far against a thug.

Martial arts and my teacher -who not only knew fighting but understood human emotions- have taught me how to engage. Training, sparring and experience teach you what works, but also to brave what would normally frighten you. Once facing down group of 5 teens, the only thoughts in my head were tactical, plus the "how the fuck am I going to get out of this." By engaging, being willing to fight but giving an out, it was settled with -seriously- a hand shake. giving an out, as my teacher called it, meant saying in that situation, "look all I'm asking for is respect same as you.." providing a reason not to fight. This even worked once when a gun was pulled on me. No fighting would've meant anything there.

For people who've never had to deal with such a situation, great, some suburbs are safer than others. But many inner city areas aren't so and thus other workable methods come in handy. Sun Tzu's 'cowardice may become courage' is applicable in dangerous situations, when you learn to face it, but not need to fight.

Tkchrist, your input is always spot on. I would add that for separating ego, losing helps, be it in sparring or chess. Learning to lose has been a great ongoing lesson in dealing with what life might bring.
posted by sarcasman at 7:16 PM on January 30, 2007

One of the great things about aikido is it gives you the confidence to talk your way through the situation, and the ability to still get out of it if talking doesn't work (usually with a minimum of force). And the even best part about it, is done right, it looks like you haven't done anything at all. Great for avoiding assault charges.

I've gotta start up with that again.
posted by Eideteker at 7:26 PM on January 30, 2007


Your story reminds me of something which happened to me when I was younger and more full of myself. When walking down the street with my gf at the time, and these two "thugs" were walking towards us. Now, I'm a big guy, and these two weren't. I decided to be all macho and I just kept walking. They didn't move aside, and neither did I. Long story short, I was the bowling ball and they were the pins.
This turned into a verbal confrontation. One of them pulled a knife, I pulled out mine, and the other raised his shirt to show the butt of a gun. At that point, I realized that I'd lost the arms race, and started talking my way out of it. The interesting part is HOW I talked my way out of it.
I also grew up in a rough neighborhood, so I had this sort of macho attitude about "respect" and not backing down. So, despite the fact that these two clearly had me outgunned, I maintained my aggressive posturing, only I modified it with respect for them. I said "Where the f**k are you from?" and they replied to the effect of San Diego, and I replied with "Oh, I know some cool guys from down there, do you know them?" and the situation cooled off. The next day, I ran into these two again and they tried to get me to pawn a leather jacket for them.
posted by eparchos at 7:43 PM on January 30, 2007

As long as it's not a "nice guy routine" it works. When it's a routine, it's fake.
posted by Captaintripps at 8:15 PM on January 30, 2007

FLUNKIE: This guy is looking for it, his protests to the contrary notwithstanding.

Or it - fights - come looking for him. People ALWAYS want to challenge the big dog.

You're right. Where these guys go, the places they inhabit, are not the same places you inhabit. Be it by social class, ethnicity or choice. They live in a different world. One not so easy to just leave.

Just as your environment isn't some lucky accident it's also not as simple as a choice. A choice of what bars to go to and what friends to have. Some people are not as "lucky" as you.

Your same statement can easily be transposed to fit inner city gang kids too who have a murder rate 100X yours. They don't choose that as much as some want to believe. You see how over simplistic that can be?

Yup. A great deal of things you do boil down to choices. Good and bad. But to somebody grown up on the wrong side of the tracks your safe yuppie choices may seem just as alien and absurd.

I've hung out with these cats. Sometimes you think "what the fuck is wrong with you guys?" But other times it's exciting and full of life.

Not my scene. I'm not built that way by temperament or size - nor was I raised in that world. And I want to live to be a healthy 80. But. You can't deny the attraction.
posted by tkchrist at 8:16 PM on January 30, 2007

Captaintripps, it was in the parking lot of the Ste. Marthe train station, just outside of Marseille. Nighttime, about three years ago. Four rambunctious teenage North Africans decided they wanted to take the pizza I'd just bought at the kiosk.

My interaction with them was not mealy-mouthed and I don't think it could possibly be mistaken for weakness or cowardice. That seems to be a misconception in what some people think good "diplomacy" is about. It was a robust engagement with them that diverted them from the incipient violence they had in mind and transformed the interaction to one in which they were reacting to me, instead of having the initative.

It started with me asking a forceful and disarming diversionary question that disrupted their momentum. I didn't let up, maintained the initiative. I established quick mental control of the situation and they fell into reactive mode.

I've used this same technique while being interrogated overseas and while being mugged in LA. The interrogation ended with the Lieutenant inviting me to share tea with him. The mugging ended up with the would-be mugger shaking my hand and not taking any of my money. This is not accidental.

All those things people study on the physical side of martial arts - take the opponent's balance, use his momentum against him, follow-through, don't let up - those apply to the mental and verbal side of things, too. The martial artists that think that these thinking elements are somehow not part of legitimate martial arts and are, instead, more akin to warm-and-fuzzy spiritual stuff really do limit themselves and sell martial arts short.

The encounter ended with all five of us sitting in the train station, discussing Osama bin Laden, examining the cut one of the fellows got on his leg from a moto fall and joking about women, with me finally shaking their hands as I got onto my train heading north. I never gave them any pizza, actually.

No, mentally and verbally transforming a potential fight into something else won't always work. Sometimes, you may just have to fight. But if your only tool is a hammer, well, you tend to think that the only solution is to pound your way out of a problem.
posted by darkstar at 8:31 PM on January 30, 2007

eparchos, your experience is a good example of the kind of transformation I'm talking about. Well done!
posted by darkstar at 8:34 PM on January 30, 2007

Ajaffe: I met Johnny a few months ago. He threw a papasan chair at me. And told me about how he can piss over his shoulder.
posted by sanko at 8:57 PM on January 30, 2007

"Tkchrist, your input is always spot on."


I cant remember where I read this, but it said that most of what is taught in MA schools is bs. That the people who really know how to fight , know that it is all about knees and elbows. They went on to imply that this is how you would be taught in the CIA or similar places. I recently watched The Bourne Identity and was captivated by his fighting style, which did involve a lot of knees and elbows. Anyone know anything about this?
posted by vronsky at 9:09 PM on January 30, 2007

Whoa. That's a mean lookin X-block.

posted by LordSludge at 9:29 PM on January 30, 2007

vronsky, lots of knee and elbow work in our style, but not exclusively so. We also have, among other things, eye gouges and going for the trachea. The latter two seem to be artificially limited in most competitions. So, needless to say, we don't compete for points.

I was doing some groundwork with a jiu-jitsu fellow one time and, trained to his style, he slid into a guard position (on his back, with me straddling him) from which to work his tech. In doing so, his trachea, eyes and testicles were within easy striking range of my fingers, elbows and knees. It just never occurred to him that I'd go for one of those targets, since they're off-limits in his training.

So I shot in a grab for his trachea. His eyes got wide as my fingers clamp down around his windpipe. When he regained his composure, facilitated by the fact that I hadn't actually crushed his windpipe but had instead just held my grip there, he put an arm bar on me. When, a few seconds later, I tapped out, he smugly said something about arm bars being the downfall of kung fu practitioners - having completely forgotten that, had I wanted, he would have a crushed windpipe and be dead.

Mind you, jiu-jitsu is a superb art. But one of the limitations of competitive martial arts is that it can train you to completely ignore some of these vulnerabilities.
posted by darkstar at 9:31 PM on January 30, 2007

eparchos, your experience is a good example of the kind of transformation I'm talking about. Well done!
Well, I do have the advantage of having studied martial arts since I was 7 years old... in order to learn to control my anger :).

Kali is the Filipino martial art which Matt Damon uses in The Bourne Identity, vronsky.
posted by eparchos at 9:37 PM on January 30, 2007

Also known as Eskrima, more popularly in the martial arts community. Honestly, I'd recommend looking into Muay Thai or Kenpo if you're interested in a hard martial art, though.
posted by eparchos at 9:39 PM on January 30, 2007

The best part about Bas Rutten is that he sounds exactly like that Dutch porn star who's afraid of getting "The Gush" in Chris Morris' Jam.
posted by redteam at 10:05 PM on January 30, 2007

...then comes out black, then red.
posted by asok at 2:58 AM on January 31, 2007


Once, this guy suddenly went a bit weird, and next thing I knew, he had a knife at my throat. "What would you do if I cut your throat?" he asked.

"Bleed", I said.

End of issue.

(Washington Square Park, NYC, one night. I used to do some weird shit)
posted by Goofyy at 4:32 AM on January 31, 2007 [1 favorite]

I appreciate the link and the answer and all eparchos. But aren't you supposed to be on the Tree of Woe? Contemplating, and such?
posted by vronsky at 4:33 AM on January 31, 2007

"Take a look at what I'm wearing, people. You think anybody wants a roundhouse kick to the face while I'm wearing these bad boys?"

This guy made me laugh like the MA instructor from Napoleon Dynamite.
posted by BrotherCaine at 4:39 AM on January 31, 2007

Semi-offtopic, but continuing the theme of eye-watering male organ crushings:

I seem to remember an anecdote that the British army in colonial times developed a special type of bullet, a man-stopper that would cause so much sheer damage to a body that continued fighting would be impossible. The reason? There was a type of resistance fighters that would tie up their scrotums prior to an attack using leather straps - this would cause almost unbearable pain, but also make them ignore all "lesser" injuries.
I can't find any link now, and don't really know if it's just a folk tale, but just thought I'd mention it...
posted by PontifexPrimus at 4:58 AM on January 31, 2007

Re: fights coming to find you..

I used to work with a guy 6'8" (I'm not small at 6'2"). He mentioned that he got into a lot of fights as a younger adult, which really blew me away. I've gotten in 0 fights as an adult, and this dude was very, very mellow. His explanation for it was that because he is so tall that people seek him out to test themselves. Which brings me to a story my father told me...

My father's oldest brother was a short but muscular man. Also a drunk. On friday night he'd hit the bars, get drunk, find the tallest person in the bar and beat the crap out of them. Well, usually he'd win, because he was good at it and well practiced. This was his friday night fun. This is the same uncle that once handed me a loaded 38 special right in front of my mother (yes, he was drunk at the time).

So, for some people the fights do come to them without them doing anything.
posted by e40 at 7:32 AM on January 31, 2007


This was Professor Mattera of United Studios of Self Defence. Their online magazine with more interesting tidbits is here. I agree that unless you have a second move in mind, the x-block is a poor defensive choice. There you are with both arms occupied, way up in the air, blocking one of your opponent's 4 limbs. And that's assuming you only have one opponent. What now?? That's why I've usually seen it used as just a showy bit at the beginning of a form.

The Professor also said he found it a little frustrating studying in China because the masters would never tell you "why" anything should be done; they would insist that the move would "reveal itself" to you. Unfortunately this might take years, by which time you might already have needed it. So he always makes a point of telling people "why".
posted by ilsa at 9:53 AM on January 31, 2007

So I shot in a grab for his trachea ... [snip] I tapped out, he smugly said something about arm bars being the downfall of kung fu practitioners - having completely forgotten that, had I wanted, he would have a crushed windpipe and be dead.

Sorry. I gotta stop this. Please listen to me. Please. I beg you.

You know how many times I have heard anecdotes like that, darkstar. 100 times.

You know how many times the same people have rolled with me have been able to duplicate these anecdote's? Zero. And I suck at BJJ. SUCK!

If you are in Seattle I will spar you anytime. You can trachea crush and eye poke the shit out of me and I promise I won't hurt you. But you will lose WAY more than you think.

My first question is this: How do you KNOW you would crush his trachea? Have you ever crushed a trachea before? Have you killed somebody this way? I'm betting no. I'm betting you THINK you can because some idiot told you could. And you bought it.

I know I can get an arm bar on you. I have done it hundreds of times. People told me I could. And then I did it. So I know for sure.

Unless you are excessively strong crushing somebodies throat by grabbing it one handed is exceptionally hard to do. It may hurt. It wan restrict breathing. But it's is very hard to kill somebody that way. This is another martial arts myth. And frankly one only shared by beginners.

Second with your arm extended that way in my guard it is exactly what I WANT you to do. The leverage you have in my guard from that position is minimal. I will break your posture. It's EXACTLY what I want. I can then isolate your arm and arm bar you.

Yours were purely rookie observations. It's a shame you didn't learn what that BJJ guy was trying to show you.

That he put you in guard demonstrates a couple of things to me:

1. you may be bigger.

2. he is a beginner and that is a beginner position.

3. he was playing with you.

Otherwise HE would be on top and all your trachea crushing wouldn't amount to shit.

If I practice positional control all of the time as the dominant strategy of my art in one range - the ground - what makes you think you will have any advantage there?

If I can get positional control of you on the ground I can gouge YOU. I can crush YOUR trachea. You will be at MY mercy.

And he was surprised because that was an asshole thing to do. Next time let him know before throats crushes and eye pokes and anal rape are all okee dokee. Then see who walks away limping, my friend.

Now. That said. Yes. On the bottom in BJJ you have to look out for gouges and strikes if your used to fighting out of the sport form. Yes there are things they don't train for. Not a startling revelation.

What is important though:
You just went on and on about how you despise fighting adn about fighting de-escalation but then bragged about LOSING to a BJJ guy because you THINK you "could" have killed him in a friendly sparring match?

My god, man. Don't you see what a total fucking douchebag thing that is? Please. THINK about it. Please. I'm not trying to be an asshole. THINK about it. It's all EGO.

I am so sick of coming across guys like you on the mat who think this sort of crap. Your egotistical. you refuse to take the lesson of losing for what it is. So you make up a myth about KILLING somebody. Jesus. You will never learn anything but more god damned myths.

If that is what you want - to feel like a bad ass - then keep telling your self you can kill with one hand, etc. But if you actually want to learn. Forget what you think you COULD do. Concentrate on what you CAN do. Forget about if there are sport rules. What? You going to Falujah? You don't NEED to be a killer ninja.

Mind you, jiu-jitsu is a superb art. But one of the limitations of competitive martial arts is that it can train you to completely ignore some of these vulnerabilities.

But you know what 99% of Kung Fu doesn't train for? Actual fighting.
posted by tkchrist at 10:11 AM on January 31, 2007

Anyone else here wet?
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:27 AM on January 31, 2007

And just in case anybody else is wondering, let's dispose of a few other Martial Arts Myths:

Bullshit #1: It only takes 5lbs of pressure to break the knee joint.

Bullshit #2: A palm heel to the nose will drive bone fragments into the brain.

Bullshit #3: Flying kicks were devised to knock cavalry off horse back.

Bullshit #4: There are "no touch" knock-outs using chi.

Bullshit #5: George Dillman is for reals, yo.
posted by tkchrist at 10:48 AM on January 31, 2007

Thanks ilsa. I will read up on Master Mattera. That shows real integrity that you would post that.
posted by tkchrist at 10:52 AM on January 31, 2007

Also known as Eskrima, more popularly in the martial arts community. Honestly, I'd recommend looking into Muay Thai or Kenpo if you're interested in a hard martial art, though.

eparchos - I think that Kali is like the broader term for FMA (Filipino Martial Arts). Under it are all the sub-arts - like Eskrima (stick fighting), Dumog (wrestling), Panantukan (or Sunantukan: empty hand), etc. They even have like blow gun training in there.

Kali is excellent. But hard to find. There is a great deal to the art so it can be hard to study as a part-time dilettante. You have to break it down to it's sub-arts that makes it much easier.

I go to an Inosanto lineage Kali school run by the admirable Andy Wilson, for the Boxing and Thai Boxing. Only occasionally do I sit in on the stick and knife work. Very, very, interesting stuff. I notices the guys that did that program for a long time developed really good foot work for their boxing later on. Lot's of great angles. Hard to corner. Pretty neat really.
posted by tkchrist at 11:12 AM on January 31, 2007


No problem. I notice you are Seattle area (I'm a bit north). If you want to know a whole lot more, I recommend dropping by the Redmond Dojo, as I think that is where the local regional director is spending most of his time. He earned his 4th stripe at the Shaolin Temple last summer. Nice guy, amazing watching him run through katas.

As for your "Bullshit" calls, are you honestly trying to tell me that all those energy blasts in Dragonball are made up??? I'm so dissapointed! =D
posted by ilsa at 11:18 AM on January 31, 2007

ilsa. Thank you. I will check that out.

are you honestly trying to tell me that all those energy blasts in Dragonball are made up???

I was flabbergasted by that too. Damn it.
posted by tkchrist at 11:26 AM on January 31, 2007

“Unless you are excessively strong crushing somebodies throat by grabbing it one handed is exceptionally hard to do.”

Well, it is hard to collapse the trachea, but it can be done one handed. Granted it’s all cartilage so it’s not “broken” per se, but once it’s deformed it’s extremely hard to breathe in and does lead to death without medical attention. High enough value as a target. Even a tracheal fracture is up there with a shot in the huevos, not to mention the possibility of a tear, all harder to do with a strike. Particularly a slower broad surfaced one like an elbow. I’ve seen a guy take an elbow in the throat playing rugby who wound up getting a tracheal stent - no damn fun. I wouldn’t compare that to a fighting situation though, just interesting that it can be cracked that way. But we’re in agreement on tactical (typical), I’d do it either from behind or close in with second hand support, not with an extended arm. (Or a fishhook - for fun). And we agree on what’s practical.
Although I do like Jademan kung fu comics
posted by Smedleyman at 2:21 PM on January 31, 2007

I appreciate the link and the answer and all eparchos. But aren't you supposed to be on the Tree of Woe? Contemplating, and such?

You'd be surprised at some of the amenities round here, they've really done well with the place! I am currently typing on a brand-new Vista laptop while suspended upside-down and having my testicles slowly nibbled on by a flock of razorbeaked hummingbirds and my feet skinned by the sultry lickings of a sandpaper-tongued armadillo. I mean, FREE WiFi?!?!?!!! What a great place! Oh, and they serve a GREAT latte!

Kali is excellent. But hard to find.

And that's one of the reasons I recommended looking into Kenpo or Muay Thai, much easier to find.
I think you're probably correct on the names there, but I find most Americans just refer to Kali as Eskrima, since the knife and stick fighting techniques of the Phillipines are really the most famous ones.
posted by eparchos at 3:09 PM on January 31, 2007

Well, it is hard to collapse the trachea, but it can be done one handed. Granted it’s all cartilage so it’s not “broken” per se, but once it’s deformed it’s extremely hard to breathe in and does lead to death without medical attention.

Think about from inside somebodies guard, though. In the BJJ guard. His legs control your hips.

Now fatally damaging a trachea from the front one handed is not like crushing a beer can... especilly if the neck or your hands are sweaty or the guy is fat or has a muscular neck. It takes more than a few seconds and a good grip.

If he has you in guard he can contract his hamstrings to break your posture - bring you down into him - so you will have to post with another hand on the floor to stay up. You need leverage to really get that grip on the throat. Unless you have 4 inch long finger nails or something.

Or you will have to resort to more of a two handed strangle, which is more effective for crushing the throat in that position, and use the leverage against his neck to keep your posture up and pin him down. However, his legs around your waist will still be able to take you off posture unless you are insanely strong or huge.

If you have one hand on my throat and I have you in guard that means, unless you have monkey arms, you are bent forward slightly. Even easier to bring you down. Or. I can stretch you back out very easily with my legs and sweep your single had away with BOTH my hands. And my throat is out of reach.

Or I can again collapse you down on top of me. Get an over and under, or gable grip your head. Keep you low. Tire you out as you build up posture to hit or strangle again.

If you then insist on a stiff arm grab at my throat you get arm barred easily. I want you to try this I am looking for it.

I capture your arm, post a foot on one of your hips bring the opposite leg around your head and WULLAH! Arm bar. Which sounds like what happened to darkstar.

So darkstar was theorizing about what he could have done. But he still lost. And, over focusing on being deadly, he didn't understand WHY.

The BJJ guy did exactly what he was trained to do. Wait for somebody to post that arm. Theorizing about the deadly stuff you have no experience doing but COULD have done, in my mind, is contrary to the point of the sparring exercise. He should have thought more about what he DID do.

I can theorize that I can pitch a no hitter at the world series. It IS theoretically possible. But I would be better served pitching for my Dominoes Softball League a while first. See if I can strike one person out there first.

Now going for the throat can solicit a good response... the top person can use that to snag a wrist and pin it to the floor and do other stuff. Or he can bet he will be brought down and then, while he is down, he can sneak his other hand inside the opposite collar of the guy on bottom and when he pushes back up do a lapel choke. Much easier to hold than the throat itself.
posted by tkchrist at 4:24 PM on January 31, 2007

"Now fatally damaging a trachea from the front one handed is not like crushing a beer can... especilly if the neck or your hands are sweaty or the guy is fat or has a muscular neck.
It takes more than a few seconds and a good grip"

I'm not debating tactics or application. (Indeed, we're generally concerned with two different environments and sets of circumstances) There are several hand positions that allow for a very quick collapse of the trachea, muscle and fat don't enter into it because it's exposed cartilage. It's not a neck strike or a one handed grab on the cartoid, it's not a sleeper hold. There's a difference between this and an air or blood choke. I grant in many air chokes you can dislodge the lingual bone, but you want to aim for the thyroid cartilage. It's two different types of damage and it can cause a spasm in the muscles linked to it. It doesn't take more than a half second and can be done in a rush moving from striking range to clinch, say. What you're saying is correct in terms of tracheal compression - it's easier to compress the carotid arteries or jugular vein (about 5 lbs of pressure per sq inch) vs. along the airway which requires about 32 lbs (although you can get 32 lbs out of your jaws easy). It's not instantly lethal, but with the right technique you can start them gagging, cause the airway to swell up (which can kill them), any number of nifty things to set up something else. No grip needed. In terms of when/where/how of the application, whole different ball game. And no comment on your or darkstar's experiance. I'm just saying it's not that hard to do, is potentially lethal (particularly if you have the time), and the gag reflex has as much use as the pain from a nut shot. And as you said, going for the throat is a nice way to make an opening. And obviously if someone has the dominant body position you do something else. Meh, we speak different languages of fighting. Everybody underestimates the buddy with a rifle hidden a long way off.
posted by Smedleyman at 8:06 PM on January 31, 2007

Hell, cervical locks get the same rap. You see them 500xs in movies where it's a half second move to break someone's neck. But you don't see them in competition much because it can be career ending. Or rather, you see them done slowly as submission holds.
posted by Smedleyman at 8:23 PM on January 31, 2007

tkchrist, notwitstanding your vast experience, you're unfortunately misinformed about this particular point. Smedleyman is absolutely right.
posted by darkstar at 11:02 AM on February 1, 2007

Recognizing the conciseness of that comment, which was meant more to simply state a fact rather than to be terse, and in the interest of trying to shed more light on this particular encounter, I may note that tkchrist seems to have misunderstood what I was saying.

I didn't just try grab the guy's neck. I had already succeeded in gripping his trachea in my fist. My fingers were actually already behind the notch in the thyroid cartilage and digging into his hyothyroid membrane.

It's not a matter of how difficult this is to achieve. It may or may not be difficult, depending on your skill, the other guy's neck, etc. But the fact of this particular encounter, which seems to be glossed over in tkchrist's analysis, is that I had already done it. Perhaps that wasn't clear in my earlier comment.

If you'd like to understand this better, check out some anatomy charts and see where the thyroid cartilage is. Try this, very gently, on yourself: there is a notch above it that is perfect for slipping your fingers in. Place your thumb on one side and your middle and ring finger located on the other. They should feel perfectly situated in that notch.

Once you're there, try very gently applying even the slightest clamping pressure. Now try adding just a little twisting motion. See how very little pressue it takes before your brain starts to override what you're doing? Note what happens to your breathing with even the most minor disruption to this anatomical feature?

Note, too, that you don't need leverage or position or anything else, once you get your fingers wrapped around the cartilage of the windpipe in this way. All you need to do is clamp. If you're in someone's guard, you don't need to post to keep up or maintain position or leverage at all in order to apply the pressure...it's all coming from the simple action of clenching your fist. If your fist is around the guy's trachea, it doesn't matter where the rest of you is.

When I visited the fellow in this encounter, I told him at the beginning that "sparring" is an artificial training modality (as they all are), but that the kind of sparring that he does severely restricts me from employing some of my most useful techniques. I can't shoot a claw into someone's eyes when they try to get me into a guard. I can't bite the back of their leg when they try to set an armbar. I can't knee them in the balls when they lay down on their back in front of me and try to pull me on top of them. I can't grab their trachea. It's like a python fighting a viper, when the viper has been defanged and had its venom sacs removed. The python will win every time.

He pressed me to spar with him anyway, so I said sure. But I wanted to give him a sense of what it might be like to spar with someone that wasn't artificially limiting their techniques. So I shot in this trachea grab. And for a couple of seconds, the guy knew I had him. He was petrified until I released the pressure and it became clear I wasn't going to compromise his breathing or fracture his trachea. That's when he went for the armbar and patted himself on the back for his ground technique. Again, completely forgetting that I had already won, but graciously chose not to seriously hurt him for the sake of "winning the sparring" with him.

And, tchrist's offer notwithstanding, I'm simply not going to gouge a training partner's eyes with my thumbs just to prove to them that it can be done and that, for most folks, it would end their fight pretty quick.

Hopefully, that helps address some of the misconceptions that may have been introduced in this thread about the encounter. Of course, if anyone thinks it's all still too theoretical, then feel free to gouge your thumb deep into your own eye socket, or grab your own trachea in your fist and wrench at it viciously. Then you can gauge the results for yourself.

I won't fight just because some guy gets belligerent with me. I'll negotiate first, if I can. And run if I can't. I've had a drunk guy get in my face and start poking me in the chest, red-faced, and still been able to defuse the situation without a fight. Folks like Bas Rutter don't seem to be the kind of fellows that are internally capable of doing that. So they may prefer look down their nose, in doubt and disgust, at people who ARE actually good at it.

And if it DOES come to fighting, I'm not interested in playing "hide the spice bottle" or uttering macho verbiage while I slam someone's head on the table repeatedly. I'm inclined use treachery, surprise, evasion and whatever else I have to do, as well as the physical aspects of fighting, but I can't imagine getting into a situation where I would feel the need to add insult to injury. I believe I'd be more horrified of what I'd had to do than glibly swaggering about how I did it.

So I tend to think that Smedleyman and I have a closer view of what fighting means for us than what some others may, with all due respect to their significant skill and experience.
posted by darkstar at 12:31 PM on February 1, 2007

To be fair darkstar, my comments weren’t directed in terms of tactics or what either one of you have experianced. I have no criteria on which to judge your sparring match with this other guy so I can’t realistically comment. In the same way, tkchrist’s comments are valid given his premises, which however, as you’ve pointed out, don’t match your situation. My comment was just on the anatomy. And that it’s worked for me outside of competative circles so that bit of your experiance jibes with mine, but again, I have to limit my comment to just what I’ve seen and done. I will say the value of certain targets do shift according to circumstance, type of engagement, objective, what’s at hand, etc. A knife fighter who aims for your carotid artery or your axillary in your armpit is much more dangerous an opponent than the Norman Bates overhander or the Segal wannabes. But your armpit is not a target in unarmed hand to hand. Or with firearms. So objective is a major componant and tkchrist has made quite clear his opinon on the difference between fighting and self defense and combat (et.al). Which I think is a bit of the misunderstanding (search for tkchrist and ‘fighting’ - loads of good info). Indeed, he is a bit of a purist and passionate about the many pitfalls of traditional martial arts but I respect and admire him for that as much as I respect honest dedication and pursuit of excellence and purity in any worthwhile endeavor. And this is a somewhat limited medium. Particularly in discussing physical scenarios so there’s bound to be some distortion in our mental pictures of what someone else is trying to say. And most particularly if we have prior experiance and strong success in that experiance. Acrimony only adds to the distortion...although I certainly can’t be accused myself of refraining from it’s use. The objective is to share info and get feedback, not necessarily advance any particular individual experience as superior. And, as with my comments on general fighting concepts and anatomy, that’s not pointed at anyone in particular, just observation.
posted by Smedleyman at 5:09 PM on February 1, 2007

Agreed, smedleyman. I was trying to elucidate the anatomy of it in my latest post, as well.

And I would also note that I don't think I've been acrimonious in describing my encounter, nor in correcting what seem to be some misconceptions about it. I hope not, anyway. I don't think you were intending to imply that I was, but just want to be clear.

In my experience, some people get as fanatical about martial arts as some others do about religion, politics, operating system, etc. To the point of arrogance or insulting other people who don't agree with them or simply whose experiences have differed. It's one reason why I tend to not even engage in these kinds of discussions, too much.

I can't tell you how many times I've had someone tell me that their style of art or mode of training or whatever is vastly superior than something else, when they're basing it on their own limited experience (however significant it may be). I really have very little interest or time for that kind of chest-thumping, though.

Anyway, it's all good. Bas is a real bonebreaker. tkchrist is clearly experienced, too. I wouldn't want to have to fight either of them (or anyone, for that matter). But it is a little laughable to completely and condescendingly respond to a report of an encounter - at which you were not present - with your own assumptions about what would and could happen, and then accuse the person who was actually involved as the one being theoretical, and suggest that he's the one that has failed to learn for being so closed-minded. :)

But that's okay - there's room for all kinds. Suffice it to say, not all of us have the same approach to martial arts, nor the same goals in studying them.
posted by darkstar at 6:21 PM on February 1, 2007

darkstar. Please. You're missing the point entirely.

Dude. I trained for over a dozen years in Traditional Arts. We had tiger mouth strikes and throat grabs. Blah blah blah. All of that stuff. I DO know your experince.

And I am telling you. It's not that easy to pull off. I have tried them too. Unless you actually HAVE done it - actually crushed a trachea - you are theorizing. I have never crushed a trachea.

Some theories have a success rate at a higher percentage than others. I'd say that air chokes are a valid defense move. But still it's theory in way you descibe unless you have actually done it to completetion. In fact if you could point to me ONE fatality from that exact move I would be amazed. From guillotines and from forearm pressure. You bet. One handed? Where are these deaths?

So the question arises can you grab some guys throat in a friendly sparring match. Well. DUH. You did. That proves almost nothing.

Imagine if I used a tennis racket when were playing ping pong. Dig?

This BJJ guy clearly didn't know that kind of thing was gonna be on the menu. And then you accuse HIM of being smug?

I think you are being smug. Who cares about the other guy. Think about you. It was an asshole thing to do.

I didn't want to go here. It will sound like bravado. But I told this story before. I HAVE broken a guys arm for something similar to what you did merely out of reaction. Only he, a ninjitsu guy, did it when he was on bottom and I was in mount. WAY more stupid for him.

I had warned him once to knock it off. He FISH HOOKED ME! And he wouldn't let go.

He grabbed my throat EXACTLY like you described. Yes. It hurt. Yes it was hard to breath. He was stronge. And because the asshole would not let go I couln't put the brakes on when I went to arm bar. His arm caught in my Gi. And it snapped. All over a stupid sparring match.

I am alive. My trachea did not crush. It hurt. But it was his fucking arm that broke. I had a sore throat. He had his arm in cast for three months. He wanted to really hurt me. Look what happened.

I am sick of bad ass kung fu ninjas who theorize. It's you guys who end up getting hurt or hurting other people over your egos.

You need to lose. And get over it.

Can one crush a trachea? Sure. HAVE you? No. You're still theorizing. But you DID get arm barred. Do you understand this important distinction?

Quit fixating on what you COULD have done. You should have thought abot what you could do to avoid the arm bar outside of theory. Like learn to pass the guard.

The point of sparring excercise, and my comment, you totally missed.

You were not in a fight for your life. You were sparring. And then you tried a "fatal" move? You don't thank that is a douch-bag move? Well. I do. And so does anybody who spars or fights regularly.

Only people who don't know how to fight think that stuff is important to use to "win" in a sparring match. Nobody WINS in sparring. it is for learning.

But you were "sparring" a guy who you knew from the get go was from a sporting form. You know his rule structure is limited. As is YOURS when you spar in kung fu. I mean you don't gouge out peoples eyes THERE, either. But you went for the throat? To what end. To "show" him a thing or two.

No. So you could feel like you won?

You were afriad of losing when you were placed in an unfamiliar position. So you decided to pretend it was about "killing" the other guy? Since when? I mean, fuck, if it was self defense practice why not have knives and bats and shit? See?

There is not a BJJ guy on the planet that doesn't realize what the limits in the sport form are.

Sorry to harp. But it's for your own good. I'm trying to help you here.
posted by tkchrist at 11:41 PM on February 1, 2007

hey darkstar, stop shitting on BJJ.

or i'll send this guy after you ;)
posted by the cuban at 11:58 AM on February 2, 2007

posted by cavalier at 1:16 PM on February 2, 2007

Seriously guys. Both of you. Lose the ego to win. XOXO
posted by cavalier at 1:17 PM on February 2, 2007

Seriously guys. Both of you. Lose the ego to win.

I am trying. I am trying.

or i'll send this guy after you ;)

Joey Karate! My Sensei!

You know what's funny. Guy's like Joey Karate used to be common in Karate. You'd be on the floor sweating like a mother fucker in some crazy stance and out would march Sensei from his office. Belly drooping over his belt, reeking of tobacco, and he would yell for you to get lower. Scream in your face. Or hit you with a baton on the legs.

Then he would go back in his office, light a smoke, and re-read the latest issue of Kung Fu magazine. Though some of those guys were pretty bad ass they really hated and resented that they had to teach kids at all and treated us like vermin.
posted by tkchrist at 2:31 PM on February 2, 2007

I don't think I've expressed much ego. I've merely pointed out that tkchist was not there and I was.

He seems to be doing his best to refute an event that took place at which he was not present and of which he therefore has no direct knowledge. And in doing so, he's been grossly condescending. That would seem to be much more egotism, in fact.

In any event, everyone is entitled to their opinion! :)
posted by darkstar at 4:36 PM on February 3, 2007

Oh, and no hard feelings. Here, have a baby panda!
posted by darkstar at 7:10 PM on February 3, 2007

Everybody underestimates the baby shield
posted by Smedleyman at 8:58 PM on February 3, 2007

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