Under: Self-defense
18 Sep 2009

7 Responses to “Bouncing; Martial Arts for Self-Defense?!!!”

  1. SueC Says:

    Hi John, You know I’m not so many years behind you but in the eighties our backgrounds would have been worlds apart – many worlds apart. If I’m honest, back then I would have given a guy like you a wide berth. But martial arts is a real leveler and brings people together. Now I don’t think we would be so far apart in our outlook on life. Thanks for sharing your story and being so honest.

  2. Neal Martin Says:

    Hey John. Great post as always. I think some people see bouncing as being a somewhat glamorous job, which as you pointed out and illustrated quite well with your anecdotes, it certainly isn’t. I only did the job for a couple of years but I did it long enough to know that I didn’t want to do it again. It’s boring and the hours are terrible, not to mention the low pay. It’s fine if you want to test yourself for a while, maybe gain some experience and boost your confidence, but apart from that I see no other reason to do it. I find a lot of guys get addicted to it and don’t know when to quit. They end up doing it for many years. My dad has been bouncing now for over twenty years at weekends. Approaching sixty (though you wouldn’t think it to look at him or fight him) he’s still at it, mainly because he has gotten so used to the money.

    As for martial arts training, well it definitely helps, but you have to modify it a bit for it to work, simplify it. It certainly helped me out of a few scrapes. I think you’re better of knowing it as not knowing it. You also need a fair bit of diplomacy and a bit of wit about you. You can’t go in all guns blazing all the time.

    Incidentally, the guy who wrote that short film, Geoff Thompson, has in my opinion, wrote the definitive account on bouncing and the life that goes along with it. That film was based on “Watch My Back”, the excellent book Geoff wrote on his experiences as a bouncer. I suggest anyone interested in bouncing or anyone who is thinking of becoming one, read that book. It articulates very well the reality of the job.

  3. Neal Martin Says:

    By the way, I didn’t have you down as a fan of the Evil Elvis!

  4. Wim Says:

    Great post John. I didn’t work as a bouncer too much but the last time was enough. Due to the organizing party fucking up, I was alone for a crowd of several hundred. Ended up putting out little fires all night before it got hairy: me against about ten guys. That’s when the owner finally stepped up, joined me and had already called the cops. No blood was shed but with my first kid on the way, I vowed never again.

    The relevant point here: the main thing my martial arts training gave me was enough self control to listen to all the verbal abuse and not rip their heads off. :-)

    Wim
    .-= Wim´s last blog ..So you want to be a writer, Part 7 =-.

  5. John W. Zimmer Says:

    Hey Sue! Honestly I was worlds apart from most people at the time. I lived, breathed, and slept fighting… I only had respect for fighters – if you were not a fighter – we could not be friends (I was a snob!) Well luckily as most kids do – I survived my youth! And my two boys are not bouncers!
    .
    Hi Neil! I felt the need to inject a face to the bouncing thing as it was big part of my life for a while. It was great to “test” myself because it gave me the confidence to know my training really worked. I always wonder when other folk muse about this subject (to me it is not a question). That video Geoff Thompson sure said it the way it is! I found the music video on you tube – the song and fit my mood as I was writing about bouncing – Evil Elvis?
    .

    Hey Wim! Sounds like you came to the same point as I did – not wanting to fight other peoples battles/gigs! Although martial arts schools tell people about using self-control, some do not practice. You obviously were wise to keep things in check as much as possible because as you stated – you were “supervising” several hundred… not a good place to be for anyone! Glad things went well.

  6. Adam @ Low Tech Combat Says:

    Crikey John. Sounds like you’ve learnt some lessons the hard way hey? Interesting reading. It certainly is a thankless job. From where I’m from the law has really cracked down on the entire security industry now. Correct use of force and that good stuff. I don’t think people can get away with as much stuff these days. The law is a big threat…

  7. John W. Zimmer Says:

    Hey Adam,

    Yep, the school of hard knocks. :)

    Today with all of the camera phones and traffic cameras – you really have to be careful. A bad viewing on a video could be taken totally out of context. Better to avoid if at all possible.