Being in the bar business, and just in general being in bars, I’ve certainly started my share of fights. And I regret every one. In fact, except for certain soft-penised, large-muscled, Brobdignagian in both size and ego, worthless douchebags who go to bars with the intention of smashing flesh and property, I doubt there is any person on earth who is glad they were the asshole that started the fight that ended the night and therefore, everyone’s good time.
To be clear- I’m not saying there aren’t guys out there that don’t need there head stoved in, it’s really a time and place sort of call though, and seventeen beers in is never the time, and an establishment that people made a concerted effort to be welcoming and an enjoyable place to sap on a beer and shoot the shit is never the place. So on to my point-
Breaking up fights. I’ve got some general rules for you, a few tips from experience, and then I welcome any suggestions from people who know better than I.
- Whenever possible, work in pairs.
- Work in from behind. Step in between two guys and you’re likely to take one on the chin, just ask Mr. Gilligan, my freshman year English teacher. (it wasn’t me that did the hitting)
- Be quick. The earlier on into the engagement, the easier it will be to turn it into two dudes talking shit as you escort them in opposite directions. The minute one guy thinks he got better than he gave, he’ll be that much more insistent on continuing.
- Put them on the ground whenever possible/necessary, but don’t hit the ground yourself. On the ground you’re vulnerable. At the very least the guy you put down is gonna have to get back up, giving you time to take care of the other one.
- Try not to throw punches. The minute you do you stop being the ref and start being a combatant.
- That being said, realize that some people are ungrateful, and may turn on you. If/when that happens, be ferocious.
- Realize that at some point, if things get out of hand (12 guys are now fighting), the best solution is to get yourself and your staff behind the bar, lock the register, close the hatch, and call the cops. You’re not Superman and you and those you are responsible for’s safety is more important than the assholes who want to measure dicks.
Pro Tips (I’m not a pro, these are mostly stories that happened)
- Personally, I’m a big fan of belittling the beligerents. I usually go with something along the lines of, ‘What are you, twelve?’ Insults to their maturity.
- As much as hitting the floor is a bad idea, if your two pugilists are wrestling around like prepubescent boys, I mean, come on, how often to you get the opportunity to tackle someone as hard as possible when they’re not ready for it?
- If there is a point of connection between the guys, find it and attack. This guy had the other guys tie wrapped around his hand as he was being pummeled. I jumped on the pummeler and started punching the pummelees hand until he let go of the tie while yelling at him for being a moron and to let go so he can stop getting his face pureed.
- Watch their hands. I mean, also watch their eyes and the guys’ friends and the last ten seconds of Celtics/Heat, but hands hold things like bottles and knives and usually when they’re clenched they’re eager to use it as a punching-type of device and your face might be the target. If they’re open, or open and up, they’re more than likely not too keen on some knuckles.
- Get them OUT. Get them the fuck out of the bar, the party, the subway. Get them out of anywhere that would make them your problem. They want to throw down in the street and bleed out over the gutter, well, your taxes pay those street sweepers for a reason. Get them going in opposite directions if you can, but definitely tell them to fuck off down the road.
- In terms of physically manipulating them, three things- 1) As an experiment, get a friend. Stand behind them, and relatively gently, knee them directly behind their knee. Watch how much that unbalances them. And balance is the thing. They’re off balance, and you put your hands on them, they’re yours. Off balance, you give them a tug and they’re suddenly off their feet and you’re dragging them out the door. 2) Same idea as before, go up behind your friend, this time (and do this gently, because it is devastating at full speed), step on the back of their calf. They will be on the ground on one knee instantly. Keep this one in the holster unless it is absolutely necessary, because they won’t be using that knee very efficiently/painlessly anymore, probably ever. But the important thing is they’re down, and they’re not going anywhere, now go take care of the guy you didn’t just cripple. 3) There is a pressure point in the V of your skin between thumb and pointer. Pinch it with your fingers. It is brutal. This is not personal experience, but my badass cousin Tommy from this blog’s initial post, who has run a bar for 30 years, he has used it to great effect. People always want to shake hands in these situations for some reason if you’re not their intended target. Act like you’re going to and then pinch that nerve. They are now putty and you are a ball-peen hammer. Do your worst. Walk him slowly to the door then put a boot in his ass, it’s the American way.
I imagine there’s some stuff I’m missing, but I welcome your comments, opinions, and most especially to the guys that will inevitably call me a pussy because they love barfights. To you all I say- Nice head tattoo.
Anyways, watch yourselves out there, it’s a big world.
The Tip- Break ’em up quickly and efficiently.
Have I Done it Yet- It’s in my job description.