Surviving a bar fight by Bruce Nettles

On April 30, 2011 by Master Bill


How to survive a bar fight seems to be the latest hot topic currently making the rounds in the street fighter world, and now someone kicked over my log and asked my opinion of the subject. I’ve heard the current school of gurus say things along the lines of act real crazy, maybe pick up a barstool and scream like a Banshee or throw a drink in someone’s face, etc.
Well these are really more along the lines of tricks and not techniques. There’s a big difference between the two and I strongly suggest using techniques.
I have an old buddy that’s an “adventurer” and from the time he spent as a deep penetrating ranger in Viet Nam to the time we spent together working in various parts of the world he always had his Rule Number One. He never enters a building without knowing where the exit is located. Great rule and it has served him and I well over the years. If you go into a bar look around, know where the doors are located, and know how to get in and out.
He once worked as a consultant for a Robert Deniro movie, Ronin I believe, where his quote was used by the actor in the film. So if you feel you’ve heard this before that may be the reason why.
If you want the safest location to sit while at a bar or night club that would be somewhere that your back is covered and you have a good view of the floor as well as the exits. Now this may be along the rear wall of the bar. Then you’ll need to tip the waitress well so you get served in a timely manner. This is the part of the lesson that few ever seem to pick up on.
Placing yourself where cocktail tables, pool tables, counters, and short walls will give you the best cover and present an obstacle to someone trying to hit you should be kept in mind. Use your surroundings to your advantage either as cover or concealment or to make it difficult on your opponent to reach you. This is known as Battle Field planning 101.
It should also be mentioned that you should have a dependable partner to go with you. That way you can watch each other’s backs. And since it is rare that a bar fight is ever one on one the group that comes after you just might be more than you can handle alone.
Oh, here’s another point about partners watching out for you. The restroom is a common place to get jumped. It’s away from the sight of other people and you are in a confined space that could put you at a great disadvantage. If your friend watches you enter the bathroom and three guys that you just argued with follow you in there, it might be nice if he gets up and see’s if you might need some help.
And one last technique that is very important….if you do get into a fight then leave immediately. Remember Rule Number One about exits and use them.
Never drop someone in a bar and stand there waiting for applause, or be cool and walk over and finish your drink, or try and get some girl’s phone number. Stop the jerk and hit the bricks. This isn’t running away from the fight this is part of surviving a bar fight.
If the jerk had friends they will come after you and maybe with weapons. The bouncers will come after you and don’t forget the cops that will respond to the phone call the bartender just made. And never, never, never forget the jerk’s girlfriend. Some of them carry guns. The point is, if you are in a fight, do what you have to do and leave.

I was in a biker bar one time when the small group of guys I was meeting had one mouthy young man with them. The mouth started some trouble and quickly got his face sliced open by a biker with a very large knife.

I got the knife away from the biker, dropped him to the floor, grabbed the mouth and pulled him from the bar, just as the local sheriff’s department showed up with their head thumping team. Boy, I’m talking fast! Never seen cops arrive anywhere that quickly.

Anyhow, I got the mouth safely away and patched up. And I went home rather than be detained all night long answering questions and so on. Stop the jerk and hit the bricks. And, yes I used the rear exit (see Rule Number One).

Now these are just a few techniques that will up the odds of surviving a bar fight. Like any technique they need to be practiced and understood. They can be applied to any location at any time, not just a bar room. Meanwhile, I’m going back under my log.

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