Evolution Martial Arts & Fitness Academy

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Have you ever seen Road House?

If not go out and buy it (over 18’s only).

Road House was a film starring the late Patrick Swayze as a ‘cooler’ (head bouncer for us UK folk) for a violent bar in the USA back in the 80s.

It is packed full of great fight scenes and some excellent self-defence advice  (if you observe carefully).

In the film, we get to see several ‘good old fashioned’ bar brawls. Tables being broken, chair legs being used as weapons, bottles being thrown at the band.

Ahh, the good old days.

In reality, these ‘bar brawls’ are more common than you think. They happen in bars and nightclubs across the UK on an almost weekly basis.

So while the film Road House is set in the 1980’s (1989 to be exact), things have not changed that much.

(we just drink craft ales and Gin)

Now if you have been in one of those bar brawls they are scary as hell, and this guide is going to give you some tips on surviving them.

Please note, while we have talked about bar fights before, this is about bar brawls!

These are the mass fights that innocent people are badly injured.

So let’s get this right.

1. The Twister or The Hurricane

In almost all mass bar brawls there are two types.

I call them the Hurricane or the Twister (tornado)

The hurricane is a mass brawl that is wide and all-encompassing.

It is where everyone is in the fight/ area the fight is happening.

The Twister is where the brawl is happening in an isolated part, perhaps on the dance floor with people around it, watching.

Perhaps in the bar area.

But the differences are key.

Just like a Twister storm sucks things in, so can a Twister bar brawl, the Twister bar brawl moves just like a twister, and as it moves it smashes everything in its path.

The Hurricane, however, is far more extensive.

This is a fight with far more people, and it is occurring everywhere in the bar.

So how do the two happen?

A Twister happens when two or 3 people start to fight, and no one else joins in.

A Hurricane happens when two large groups start fighting, think groups of football fans, 2 stag (or hen) parties etc.

Due to the size of the hurricane, there is little chance to avoid the fight. It is going to affect you.

Now there is a huge underlying issue, land mass.

If you are in a small bar where there is little room to move the chances of you being involved in either incident shoots up.

But don’t worry we will cover everything.

2. Fight Off The Ropes

My number one suggestion for ‘bar brawls is simple, fight with your back to the ropes.

In other words, try and move to an area with a wall at your back.

My reason/ logic for this is simple. If you have a wall behind you, you cannot be punched from behind.

No one can throw a bottle at you from behind, hit you over the head from behind with a chair…. you get the idea.

Also when door staff or police come rolling in (and they will), you are going to be out of their way.

This means you will not get trampled on or grabbed because they think you are a fighter.

3. Don’t Run

The first response to a huge fight in a bar is to drag your ass out of there as quick as your legs can carry you.

Yes, get out of the way as quickly as you can.

But don’t try and sprint across the room.

For one, the girls in your party will have heels on and can’t run.

Second, you probably have shoes that have little or zero grip on them.

The floor of a bar when all hell breaks loose is about as dangerous a place as there is. Broken glass spilt drinks, think of it as an ice rink with smashed glass over it.

So move quickly but carefully. The last time and place you want to fall on your backside is when a huge bar brawl is beginning.

4. Keep Those Hands High

This is relatively obvious but when it all starts to turn into the wild west get those hands high.

I am not talking about ‘getting into shapes’, but I am talking about being able to get into a defensive shape faster than a Ferrari can go from 0 to 60.

Yet despite this, so many people still try to stand in bars with fights kicking off around them as if they are watching TV.

With glass flying everywhere having your hands up is a key tactic.

For a little fun, why not put your hands up and have your instructor throw an (empty) plastic drinks bottle at you, see if you can get into head cover before the bottle hits your head.

5. Understand They Run Out Of Steam Quickly

Like a lot of storms, these fights require huge amounts of energy to keep going.

A group of men or women, full of alcohol tend to gas out quickly.

So play the time game, do not think you are in a mass siege and panic, just try and get to a wall and keep those hands up.

6. Don’t Try To Stop The Fight

This is a major issue, don’t be a hero.

Not your job, not your bar, not your fight.

If you try and stop the fight, you WILL be getting involved in the fight.

Your job is to stay safe; there are door staff and police paid to deal with this stuff.

7. Realise You Are The Sleeping Lion

The Lion waits, he doesn’t need to prove his strength or skill. He does not need to show his size or prowess.

You are the Lion.

If these people come into your path you destroy them, you take them out one by one.

That is how you will handle them, if the storm heads your way, you drive through it with your skill and power.

You are the Lion, they are really the prey.


If you have ever been caught up in a large scale bar brawl, you will know just how scary this is.

It is like a nightmare with people flying across rooms, bottles flying, tables flying and the only thing not flying is you (or time).

So what you need to do is be careful and be tactical.

At Evolution Martial Arts Academy, we train for bars and nightclubs, we understand the 3-dimensional nature of combat.

Because you can rush in and join the fight, or you can be careful, apply your mind and walk out safely.

Thanks for reading

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