What do you Do if he Took Your Best Shot!?

Posted by: John W. Zimmer
Under: Self-defense
27 Aug 2009


I have a recurring dream where I am fighting for my life and I come up against this big guy that is running at me. In my dream I think, cool, I’ll just hit him in his bread basket or nose and take him out! You know in real life, if someone is running at you – this is one of the easiest kind of fighters to beat! Just step off and nail the SOB!


Well in my dream I would hit the guy, kick the guy and nothing happens! It got me thinking about real life – what if this really happened!? In this article I will talk a little strategy and how to overcome a seemingly invincible behemoth! I will also look at a video of one guy that was totally impervious to pain as well as relate some stories from my life. Here is a quick into video from Moonraker and how James Bond dealt with this.





What would you do if you were fighting a guy you could not seem to hurt (and he did not have metal teeth)? Well first of all I am happy to say that guy does not exist. Normally people cannot overcome their reaction to pain when you hit them. You might not hit the guy in a vital area so try some more vulnerable areas would be my first suggestion.




I once almost had to fight with a muscle man that really looked intimidating. He looked like my punches would have no effect! I was able to talk my way out of the situation but what would you do if you had to fight a guy that might not feel your punches? Watch this video about this guy on PCP to start getting an idea what I am talking about. Then I’ll start talking about how to overcome someone seemingly impervious to pain.



Well this guy was feeling no pain! Cops have a tough job – they have to intercede if someone is a nuisance and they have to deal with whatever they find. This guy did not care that he was sprayed with pepper spray. PCP or Angel Dust is actually a horse tranquilizer. People on that stuff can seem to be super human. It took six cops to overcome this guy!


My friend, Larry McCraw had to deal with a biker high on PCP. The guy took offence at Larry and Larry apologized once. The biker came at Larry so he (Larry) punched him without any effect at first. The guy kept coming so Larry had to start breaking legs and such to keep the guy off of his feet. The cops soon came and hauled this animal off but Larry handled the situation the only way he could since the guy did not feel any pain.


By the way that would have been my plan if I had to fight a muscle man… just take out his legs. My legs although not as well muscled as the bodybuilder,  are certainly strong enough to break a leg at any point providing it does not give.


I had a buddy when I was a brown belt ask me what I would do if a big guy stood right next to me and was going to crush me in a bear hug! I told him that I would probably throw a elbow to his jaw. It is kind of funny but a few weeks later he told me that while he was carrying a keg of beer to the bar – a big guy came up, grabbed the keg and tossed it aside like it was nothing. He then came at my buddy so he (my buddy) torqued a full-on elbow to the guys jaw and dropped him! That got me a free pitcher of beer for my advice!


So if you ever end up defending yourself against a big guy, remember the age old mantra, “The bigger they are, the harder they fall!” I found this Spanish version of Davi mata Golias for the closing thought (the basic story is the same in any language). So if he takes your best shot – give it another try!


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8 Responses to “What do you Do if he Took Your Best Shot!?”

  1. Martial Arts News 8.28.09 « Striking Thoughts Says:

    […] John Zimmer ponders taking on a larger opponent. I once almost had to fight with a muscle man that really looked intimidating. He looked like my […]

  2. Wim Says:

    Loren Christensen is writing a book on this subject right now. How to take on those big guys who are high as a kite or just impervious to all your nifty pressure point attacks.
    Not sure when it’s coming out but you might like it.


  3. John W. Zimmer Says:

    Thanks Wim,

    I look forward to reading it.

  4. Matt Klein Says:

    Hi John. A good poke to the eyes evens up the odds. You cannot fight what you cannot see. Like a side kick to the knee as well (like Larry) because it’s hard to fight on one leg.

  5. John W. Zimmer Says:

    Hey Matt – great point (pun intended). :)

  6. Zara Says:

    I’d say run, if you can’t do that hit him with everything you’ve got. If you keep hitting his head with the hardest parts of your body (elbows, knees, forehead) he’s bound to go down. A knock-out doesn’t rely on pain but on the brain being tossed around in the skull so it wouldn’t really matter if he’s high or super-pissed or not. Another tactic would be to take his balance and throw him, throws work pretty good on big people and once he’s down you can either stomp his head or run like hell. Drugged-up people make very dangerous opponents (no matter what size): people on cocaine, pcp or speed are actually far more dangerous than drunks.

    Any stimulant raises your adrenaline, your pain-tolerance grows immensly, your muscles are primed and ready to go… On top of that they’re so hyped they pretty generally do not experience fear or self-doubt and confidence and resistance to pain is what wins fights in the end. Locks are pretty much useless against these people since even if you manage to break an arm they’ll still continue. Your best bet would be to stay away and attack his legs (as suggested several times in this tread), the last thing you want is to grapple with someone alot bigger and stronger than you, with no pain-respons to boot. That would be my nightmare: ending up on the ground with such a monster. If there’s no intervention this could actually kill you: he’ll be so high and psychotic his conscious is gone and he simply won’t have the sense to stop once it’s clear you’re down and out. All the usual tricks like strikes to the vitals and submission-holds won’t work, you’re struggeling for air and space… The only thing that might actually save you is a carotid-hold. Again this does not rely on pain-compliance: if you manage to close the choke and hold it in place for a few seconds he’ll go to sleep, not even a drug-crazed criminal can live (let alone struggle) without enough blood and oxygen flowing to the brain.

    This is my take on the problem presented, just hope it never happens to you as it is one of the worst self-defense situations imaginable. In any case I’d never rely on pressure-points strikes: it’s a fact they only work on a certain percentage of people (let alone intoxicated ones) and you really cannot afford to muck up your first strike. Just aim for the jaw, chin, eyes, balls and knees, fire away (don’t rely on just one strike either) and it’ll get the job done. Why complicate things?


  7. John W. Zimmer Says:

    Hi Zara,

    Thanks for sharing your insights. It is not an easy situation to face if someone is not feeling pain. I agree that running would be the best way out many times! But if you have to stay and end up grappling – I like how you pointed out that the choke would still be effective if you are caught. The only worry I would have is crazy and drugged out people can seem super strong.

  8. Zara Says:

    There is indeed the problem of strength and size (always a problem, especially in ground-fighting): he will be pumped up and give it all he’s got and this will complicate things. I didn’t say it would be easy (there simply is no magic bullet in fighting, especially not in those desperate situations) but with training and experience you’ll at least have a fighting chance. If you do nothing you’re dead anyway, might aswell put up a struggle. Strength and size can be negated (up to a point anyway) by superior technique and experience (in sparring, tournaments), this is why it pays to spend at least some time learning the basics of groundfighting (proper positioning, a few basic submission-combo’s and a few escapes will go a long way against someone with no training at all). What I would do (theoretically speaking, I’ve never been in a fight with a bodybuilder on dope) is to go for the triangle from the guard (if you’re quick and shift your bodyweight properly there’s a good chance you’ll get it) and choke him out. Another option I like (basically the first defense we were taught from that position) is put one foot on his hip, control the arms, push him away, bring the other leg over and kick him away. This may not take him out but at least you’ll be able to get back up and run or continue the fight on your feet. It’s always a good idea to grab and control the head (if it is within reach, otherwise use your hips and arms to bring it there): this does not rely on strength but basic body mechanics and you’ll be able to turn him over. From there I usually go for the double forearm carotid-choke or you can just smash his head into the ground. Again relying on the principle that a knockout relies on the brain getting pounded against the skull, not on pain-compliance. I know this sounds easy enough but it is hard to do under realistic conditions, that is wy you need to train alot and spar every once in a while. This is still not a garantee it’ll work for real but at least you upped the odds and this is truly all the MA can really give you, the rest (balls, heart, fighting-spirit, will) must come from within you. I think you know that better than most.