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Old 07-02-2006, 03:12 PM   #1
Barry Cooper
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It popped in my head today that one of the BENEFITS of fist fighting is the reduced hazard of fatalities, especially in alcohol fueled bar fights. I throw my haymaker, you throw your haymaker, we grab each other, fall on the floor, roll around, somebody winds up on top pounding somebody, and his buddies pull him off. We may both have bloody noses, black eyes, and a number of bruises, but we're going to be OK by next Saturday.

This is why homicide detectives don't have added work every Sunday morning at most of the rougher bars around. This method of fighting allows people to blow off steam, without intentionally trying to kill each other. It's a system that has evolved that has positive benefits. I would hazard a guess that when knives get pulled, they are mostly used for slashing, and guns usually are intended to end fights through intimidation.

I'm contrasting this with things like eye gouges, punches to the throat, chops to the neck, and various methods of breaking arms and legs. This sort of knowledge is not needed to survive a bar fight, in most bars, in my opinion. Now, I've only been in two bar fights in my life, but I don't think I'm too far off the mark.

My sort of behind-the-scenes thought is that we spend a lot of time discussing real world application, and see phrases like "people that know", and it just seemed funny to me that the types of fighting we see out on the "street" have a purpose, and that purpose is normally other than trying to kill the other guy, or even to put him in the hospital. Guns are better for that. It's mostly to make you feel better, and to show someone else who's boss.

Thinking about it further, I don't think you can really differentiate the thinking between people who knowingly hang out in places characterized by fights EVERY Saturday night, and the nerdy techno-dudes on that Fight Club post. I'm not going to comment on the psychology of it, but I think my description of it is accurate.

Obviously, there are a lot of people here with much more knowledge and experience than me, so I'd just be curious what folks think.
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Old 07-02-2006, 07:35 PM   #2
Jim Aldridge
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Hell, you sold me on it. Bar room fist fighting ain't so bad after all, so let's all just belly up to the bar, pour another drink, and tell the ol' boy next to us to "put up his dukes." But, then again, I'm from the South, so we never really doubted the value of a good ol' bar room brawl anyway. Just kidding.

The problem is that nowadays most people don't approach it that way. When I was a kid, we would get in a fight in high school, shake hands afterwards and move on with life. Here in Memphis, we have had three young people killed in the past three weeks. Currently, conflict resolution has been dramatically impacted by the decreased amount of value our culture puts on human life. People argue, skip the fisticuffs, and go straight to shooting into crowds of innocent people in the hopes of hitting the one person who "hurt their feelings."

As for me, I've done enough CPR on kids. We have to regain the days when human life had value and things could stop at the level of a bar room fight or a school yard scuffle. But we ain't there yet.
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Old 07-02-2006, 09:18 PM   #3
Adam Noble
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If only it stayed that simple. I own a bar and can tell you that it almost never ends in a handshake and a mutual drink anymore. Usually someone mentions shooting someone, or blasting them; and this seems an acceptable threat for something as simple as being asked to leave at closing time. Granted at my bar it has never come to pass, the closest was some idiot with a plastic gun. However when did this become an acceptable threat? I just turned 32, and growing up this would never have even been considered; but it seems the norm now from 21yr old rookies to professionals in suits. It just doesn't even phase me any more when someone tells me they are coming back to "blast me". Maybe this is an L.A. thing but, everybody also likes to claim gang affiliation i.e. "you have to leave now sir, x behavior is inappropriate." "Don't you know who I'm with, I'm (insert street number or something else stupid)"
Sorry for the rant, I got into the bar business because I like to see people having a good time, and its pretty fun providing that. Its just the downward spiral of common courtesy and manners gets to me somtimes.
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Old 07-05-2006, 02:07 PM   #4
Barry Cooper
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It seems to me we live in an age where most things that are not concrete, are considered unimportant. What's important is BEING rich, not how you go there. Profits matter, quality doesn't. The pride in work well-done, the pleasure of work well-done, seems to be vanishing under the weight of MBA-led get-rich-quick schemes.

If you devalue social processes you don't really understand, in favor of just results, you get the results, materially, but impoverish yourself in everything that can't be bought. There can be beauty in inefficiency. The richest nations have the highest suicide rates, the poorest, the lowest.

The Gansta is just a ghetto CEO. It seems to me in many cases that the ethics aren't all that different, even though the methods obviously differ. When you're "pimpin", what are you doing? Feeding your ego, by getting others to prostitute themselves to make you rich.

Hip Hop is popular even with rich white kids--who have no ability to relate to it, experientially, at all--because it strikes a resonant note with the materialistic undercurrent prevalant in our culture.

Bar fighting used to be a way to let off steam, at least in places like Ireland and Australia. It was a process, a game. You bring guns in, that's a focus on result.
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Old 07-07-2006, 07:49 AM   #5
John Walsh
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Interesting topic. My family has been in the bar business since the prohibition era and have always operated what we called in Irish a “sha-bean”, meaning a dive bar or place of ill repute. These were rough places and still are. I have an uncle that says it was worse in the old days in terms of the violence and that running a dive bar is becoming too much of a liability. The difference was that when two thugs killed one another back in the old days no one cared. Now it’s big news and a big lawsuit.

I seem to remember plenty of fist fights and broken noses, a few murders but they were rare. I don’t ever remember anyone shaking hands and having a drink afterward. The intention was always to harm the other guy. I remember this being a real pain in the *** when I used to work in bars.

I’m not around bars anymore or situations where fights are bound to occur but it does seem like punks are more prone to shooting each other at the drop of a hat. I live in a neighborhood rated as tough but I rarely see kids fist fighting like when I was a kid.
I don’t think kids can throw down anymore. I see lots of posturing and empty threats.

Let me date myself. Long ago in a school yard fight some kid was getting the better of me. I was on the ground and he was kicking me with his boots. An adult intervened, with a crew cut and a cigar butt, and said, “I don’t care if you boys fight but none of that karate kicking sissy stuff. Now get up and fight like men (which meant fist fighting).”

I may be waxing nostalgic but it seemed to me there was more honor when fighting in the old days.
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Old 07-07-2006, 04:14 PM   #6
Mark Dowst
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I am not a large man, at 5'7" and 140lbs physical confrontation naturally scared me. My sense of humor and general cocky party attitude got me into alot of situations. Some situations I could verbally resolve and some I was thrown on the ground and attacked. This is how I spent my highschool days. Upon reaching college a few years ago I began grappling with a MMA team for self defense. After about two weeks of the stress of boxing/grappling/wrestling physical confrontation ceased to scare me and I finally understood how people could enjoy fighting. Self defense is an afterthought now to me, I have a sport fueling my training and confidence now. I still can't understand how someone could get enjoyment from hurting someone, but the enjoyment from besting someone in a fight is obvious now to me.
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Old 07-16-2006, 02:21 PM   #7
Bobbi Beglau Salvini
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Interesting thread. I read a book called Hard Ball for Women. It is a practical guide for women that want to fit into the corporate world and understand the men they work with. It has a section that describes the one ups man ship men play on the sports field, in the bar and in the office. It is all the same. Many are trying to figure out which is the winning team so they can be on it, and then they want to place themself in the team in the pecking order. It kind of reminds me of pack dogs, constantly nipping at each other to establish the alpha dog. In pack animals if one kills another, all in the group will retaliate and take out their own pack member. Loyalty is the game, so the pecking has limits. So, most bar fights are just dust ups, but now days, it seams men are so beaten down and blamed for everything..... we no longer honor men, and so honor has slipped away.
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Old 07-16-2006, 05:39 PM   #8
Mark Dowst
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Serious injury is rarely sustained during a normal fight, real fight related injuries are done after someone has already won. Spend time at any good surfbreak and you will see this in action. The average human body is a hundred times tougher than the average human will. Most of the dirty lifesaving techniques martial arts propose will only escalate a fight that you were already losing, save them for a real lifethreatening situation.
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Old 07-16-2006, 06:48 PM   #9
Matthew Nielsen
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Barry, have you ever been in a fight?
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Old 07-17-2006, 09:18 AM   #10
Allan Talusan
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Fist fighting would be great if there were agreed rules to abide by. You typical college bar would not per say have a knife weilding attacker waiting in the alley for you (but you can't be too relaxed to think that the bad guy is NEVER there. Luck favors the prepared). Vigiliance and training and having a code yellow awarenenss can assist in sensing this but simple fact of the matter is that fighting in any non sport scenario can quite quickly escalate the danger and violent injury.

IMHO, if i could only fight in fist fighting then that would be great and many times that would be the only necessary protocol (i.e. if the guy is drunk and wants to let off steam, my knife never would enter the picture) but as it gets progressivley (and many times abruptly) more violent, then you have to change your hat from gentlemen fighter to survivor.

I wish it could only be fist fighting, because lumping someone up isn't a big deal, but the scar on the back of my head and stomach has taught me otherwise.
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