I thought that the stupidity of getting in fights would be extremely self evident until I had a conversation with my youngest brother over the weekend.‚ We were watching UFC matches on television when he asked me why I didn’t train in any of the mixed martial arts fighting style since I “go to bars and get in lots of fights”.‚ I stared at him incredulously and then started laughing.‚ He has some serious misconceptions about several issues that I think many people share.‚ I will try to dispel those misconceptions in this post.
First, I should make it clear that I rarely have ever been in fights with strangers.‚ Sometimes I horse around with friends, but that is always good-humored and does not become violent or dangerous.‚ If a stranger acts aggressively towards me, I get away as quickly as possible.‚ Only a couple of times have I ever thought I had to defend myself and there was nothing pleasant or good about those situations.‚ As a matter of fact, I probably should have simply escaped.‚ All I have to show for it is a broken tooth and a jaw that clicks.
When I was 15, I have to admit I thought being able to being in fights and winning fights would make someone a badass.‚ However, observation and experience has taught me otherwise.‚ If you win a fight in real life, at best your only reward is avoiding injury.‚ At worst, you serve hard time in prison and pay large fines.‚ If you lose a fight, you still could go to prison if you are lucky enough not to be severely injured.‚ Either way though there is nothing to gain and a lot to lose.
Another point to think about is that even if you ARE a hardcore fighter, if you look for fights you will eventually run into someone who is either tougher than you or far more desperate and you will severely injured or killed.
For instance, a fellow member of my fraternity was the four-time national heavyweight karate champion.‚ He has been mentioned in Sports Illustrated, had his fights televised on ESPN2 and fought all over the world.‚ He was the nicest guy to his friends and people who knew him, but he loved to fight people who showed even a little hostility towards him.‚ He looks like a fit guy who works out, but if you saw him in a bar and he picked a fight with you, you probably would have no idea what happened if you responded violently.‚ I watched the Black Rooster play around sparring with him once and watching Karate Kid’s inhuman speed and power even at play was frightening.‚ I’ve watched fight videos of little 12 year old’s knocking each other out and giving each other concussions… imagine what happens when a grown man hits you in the face.
The person you are fighting doesn’t even need to be big, strong, tough, fast or smart.‚ All they need is a little luck to catch you by surprise or throw a fortunate punch and you can have permanent facial or brain injuries.‚ I was standing outside of a bar one night, innocently chatting with a couple of friends when a guy with short man syndrome came up behind me and sucker punched me in the jaw.‚ I now have a jagged tooth and my jaw made annoying clicks for a few months.‚ Bad things like that will happen often enough in life, why go seeking out more?
The biggest question you may have is, “What about if someone attacks me and I have to defend myself?” Every person must answer this question for himself, but I can share with you my current solution:
A) Back away.‚ You almost always can escape simply by leaving the situation.‚ There is no shame in avoiding prison time or serious injuries.‚ Your buddies may call you a wuss, but at least employers won’t be calling you a convicted felon or you mother won’t be calling you a vegetable.
B) If there is no way to quickly exit the area and you are cornered, use pepper spray.‚ Pepper spray quickly disables people without causing permanent damage and permits you to leave the situation without getting physical.
C) Scream like a school girl.‚ Keep screaming for help until it comes.
D) Worst and last option: fight back.‚ If you do find yourself in cornered with no available help and no escape, fight back as violently and as fast as possible.‚ Do not be stupid and try to be a “gentleman”- use whatever tactics and available weapons you can find.‚ Fight like a vicious beast.‚ The goal is to win the fight as quickly as possible and then escape to a safe place.
To be honest, I doubt you will ever be in a situation where you truly have to fight back and can’t just walk away.‚ Usually you will fight back because you get mad or you are trying to back up a friend- which leads me to more good advice: Don’t be friends with guys who start fights.‚ I had a buddy who started a fight with two guys by yelling and making fun of them.‚ When one of the guys slammed his forehead into my friends nose, I dropped my beer and wrestled the other one to the ground so it at least would be one on one.‚ While holding the guy down, a third friend who was a beastehemoth bodybuilder came over and kicked me in the head.‚ I was fine, but that kick could easily have left me a drooling idiot in a psych ward.‚ Not worth it.‚ Be smart about who you spend your time with.
The smart people avoid situations in which they potentially be accosted altogether.‚ I rarely visit bars in Pioneer Square, because on weekends many drunk ghetto people mix with crazy homeless people and just walking around risks you getting assaulted.‚ When I go to bars, I try to go to areas that have a better reputation like Capitol Hill, Fremont and Ballard.‚ I prefer to dance, talk with my friends or talk to ladies and to avoid fighting if at all possible.‚ I highly recommend that you do the same.
P.S. Professional fighters very frequently suffer severe concussions and head injuries that affect their intelligence and personalities.‚ Boxing, MMA, etc may be fun to watch, but actually participating is really dumb.