Say you are on the deck of a star ship, away from your home planet for the first time and you need to blow off some steam with your buddies. Why not stop in at the intergalactic watering hole? But what do you do if you find a creature hankering for a rumble? That is the subject of this post – what you can do to survive the bar fight – anywhere in the universe!
I come to you as a quasi expert in so much as anyone can be an expert because in my youth I was a doorman at a fairly rough bar. I talked my way out of a fight at least every other night in my capacity as a doorman because most people just want to be dealt with respectably. I will relate a few stories about some altercations that I could not avoid and some that I handled poorly (yes I too was sucked into some meaningless tussles). But first watch this excellent video on how to avoid a fight (at least for a little while)!
Did you notice how calm Scottie was and how he consoled Chekhov to remain calm? After all the Klingon was only insulting them with words. And then the Klingon figured out what Scottie considered, “fighting words!” As funny as this episode of Star Trek was, it did roughly mirror real bar fight scenarios.
People all of the time get caught up into silly arguments that seem so important at the time but in reality do not matter much. As an example, on of the toughest fights I’ve ever been in started stupidly. A stocky guy and his woman came into bar and ordered “tall” drinks. The bartender happened to be black and I know he was a great fighter.
The guy yelled at the bartender that these drinks were not talls and told him to make them again. The bartender made the “tall” drinks again in front of the couple and the guy started yelling. The bartender refused to make the drinks again and I walked up from the door to see what was up.
The guy started cussing out the bartender with racial slurs and I noticed the bartender just shrugged it off. I asked the guy to calm down and was about to explain to the dummy that he should have ordered doubles instead of talls (double the alcohol) but he started cussing me out.
I got pissed off and without thinking I picked up the guy from behind and stated to take him outside. He still had the drinks in his hand and was trying to escape. I used his head as a battering ram and open the push bar on the back door and threw him outside. I turned and walked halfway back to the door (I figured it was over) and I heard my buddies tell me to lookout.
I spun around and saw the two talls flying right at me! All I had time to do is two double inward-blocks and luckily the glasses shattered on my forearms without effect. I charged and the fight was on. I soon discovered why the guy was stocky – he was a wrestler. I punched him a few times on the noggin and he went down – grabbing for my legs. I sprawled back and he got a hold of my sash (of my sweater).
The fight was tiring and tested my stamina. I was raining down punches on the back of his head and he would try to come up and I would knee his nose. He was a tough bugger and finally a couple of my friends pulled him back and he left. His woman was upset because she understood why I threw him out but did not understand why I chased him down outside after it was over. I showed her the glass over the right side of the bar and she understood.
Still I felt had I been a little more diplomatic – this whole fight could have been avoided. But like Scottie, I had been triggered by the wrong thing. That is no excuse though so as time went on I honed my conflict resolution skill set.
Here are my list of things to do to avoid a bar fight.
Don’t hang out in a dive bar
Don’t gravitate to the trouble but away
Diffuse the situation verbally and leave if need be
If it looks like it is going to get ugly – find your distance
Verbalize that you don’t want any trouble
Look for an out all the while defending yourself
If it comes to a fight – make your move and get out of Dodge!
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I’ve lived by rule number one for a long time now and have only been in two near fights in 29 years! My former boss did not understand one night when I told her that I normally did not hang out in these kind of bars… I think I offended her but so what!
Now by now you have noticed that I have not offered any fighting advice but just some winning strategies. I assume that everyone has some level of training nowadays unless they have lived a sheltered life. But rest assured that the kind of guys that fight in a bar cannot generally fight their way out of a paper bag. Why else would they wait until they were drunk to pick a fight? They are hoping the next guy will even be drunker and they will be bragging rights or some similar “logic.”
Now in closing I will first tell you again that the simplest way to avoid fights is not not hang out in dive bars. Find a high-end classy restaurant bar to meet people and you be happier.
Now for the dumbest fight I was ever in for your perusal. I was a new bouncer, just one month into the job. I invited a few of my friend at the karate school after a Thursday night workout. Terry made me promise that I would not get into a fight. I swore that I would be good (I was a brown belt at the time and really liked fighting).
The four of us went into the bar as I led them through all of the people. About halfway to the table a guy I know came up and patted me on the shoulder a little too hard and said.. heeeyyy! I smiled and patted him a little harder on his shoulder and said… hhhhheeeeeeeeyyyyyy!!!!
The guy stopped smiling at me and started to do a two hand shove at my shoulders. I met his shove with a reverse punch to his nose and he dropped in convulsions on the floor! At the time I just walked around him and Terry could not believe that I had still ended up in a fight – even after I promised not to! Hey I did not ask for the fight? Or did I?
Anyway the guy was dragged out as he came out of it, 86′ed for the night and the bartender bought us a pitcher on the house. I seemed to have lost the focus of this post along the way. This kind of reminds me of the Ikigai post entitled, “Do all martial artists love violence?” I commented that the younger me only have to believe that I was in the right but the older me might have to do the same, but I’d worry about the opponents family and friends.
So there you have it, my take on bar fights. While I personally loved to fight when I was younger – part of the reason I took a job as a bouncer – the older me has learned lots of valuable life lessons and now I am a strong believer that one should avoid fights if possible because once you are in them – the outcome is not assured!