Tired of getting your ass kicked in bar fights? Or just curious about how to behave in a hypothetical pub scuffle? The new book Bar-Jutsu: The American Art of Bar Fighting is not a masterpiece, but it does offer some useful tips should you ever find yourself in a Road House-style barroom brawl. Here are 14 of the best. Who knows, one of these may save your life one day. Or at least keep you out of the ER.
1. Most confrontations can be diffused verbally. Tell the guy you’re sorry (with sincerity) and offer to buy him a drink. Nine times out of ten, that’ll do the trick.
2. You should only get physical after someone else attacks you. In other words, never strike first.
3. Never take an argument outside. This puts you at risk and gives your attacker a chance to prepare. The situation should always be resolved where it started.
4. If a fight breaks out, there’s nothing wrong with heading for the door. It is no more cowardly than making your way to the emergency exit on a sinking ship.
5. Always punch with your entire body. A jab from your elbow won’t get the job done.
6. If an intoxicated opponent’s behavior seems too good to be true, it usually is. Remain alert for a surprise attack.
7. If you find yourself in a fight with someone, assume he is right-handed and expect an attack with his right hand.
8. Never underestimate odd behavior. Odd can turn to angry, which can turn to an attack.
9. When someone attacks you, try to destroy his balance as soon as possible.
10. Contrary to popular belief, it’s okay to have your back against a wall in a fight. You’ve just cut in half the amount of space you need to defend.
11. Never attempt to disarm someone who is brandishing a knife or a gun unless it is very clear that your life is in direct danger if you do not act immediately.
12. If someone attacks you with a broken beer bottle, do this: as he cocks back to swing at you, step in before he finishes and place yourself between him and the bottle. As you step inside, capture his wrist and stop the swing. Cover his face with your hand (aka, “Pie Face” him) to blind him and create confusion. Place your right leg behind his right leg and sweep him off his feet. Once he is down, take away the broken bottle. Sit on him and wait until police arrive.
13. Provoking aggression is no better than starting it. Never instigate an attack with taunts, stare-downs, insults or rudeness.
14. Punching someone’s rib cage is nearly guaranteed to drop him.
For more information, see Bar-Jutsu: The American Art of Bar Fighting ($14, Tuttle Publishing)