Anyone who's been in a real rumble will tell you it's a far more brutal affair than your choreographed fantasies of kicking ass like Patrick Swayze in Road House. "A fight is a no-win proposition," says Peyton Quinn, 57, self-defense instructor, former bouncer, and author of A Bouncer's Guide to Barroom Brawling. "You either go to jail, the emergency room, the courtroom, or all three." Thus Quinn's first rule: Avoid potentially violent encounters. Failing that ...
- Insults are intended to intimidate and elicit reaction. "You're being interviewed as a potential victim," says Quinn. Don't ignore, insult, or challenge an aggressor.
- Remain calm, look the guy in the eye, and respond assertively, giving him an honorable exit. Apologize if you were the one asking for it.
- If he's bent on an attack, hold your hands open at eye level, palms toward him, and yell, "Stay back! I don't want to fight you." You'll draw attention and set up your legal defense.
- "If it does come to blows, you have to go off 110 percent," says Quinn. The aggressor will likely throw a wide right hand first. As you deflect it, counter with an open palm or forearm (not a closed, breakable fist) to the bridge of the nose, a knee to the groin, a head butt to the bottom row of teeth.
- Keep it up, be sure to breathe, break his balance, and shove him as hard as you can while screaming that you don't want to fight.
- Then you just haul ass.