the fighting skills of the average man

My suspicion is that the average man would be about as effective in a fight as the average “Good Guy with a Gun” - i.e. not very. I’m not saying that it’s not possible for a mostly-untrained person to prevail, even spectacularly, in a high-stress situation, but I think it’s unlikely. Secretly, we’re all a lot closer to Walter Mitty than Bruce Lee.

I think what happens, at least with the dudes I’m most likely to get into a fight with, is there’s a bunch of flailing until someone gets a bloody nose and then the bleeder crawls off like he’s been hit by a truck and the victor feels like Muhammed Ali. Personally, I just don’t get sideways of people who are more dedicated to a fight than that.

That’s the difference between rugby fans and hockey fans? :smiley:

Maybe its more the coal fields/mill town mentality but I’m a bit older and if push comes to shove I don’t necessarily win but I can still give some accounting. Average guys and big guys don’t frighten me; its the little 5-foot-nuttin guys who bring on my pucker factor. Some hulk doesn’t have anything to prove - hit each other a couple times and go back to (or become) friends. That little guy is another story. Get into it with him and it won’t be over until someone stays down.

I’m so old & stove up that “From behind with a pair of .45’s” is all I got left.

I agree about the flailing about, but the usual outcome IME is that both run out of gas in about a minute, and then one tries to tackle the other and fails and then they flail a little more before their friends drag them apart.

The average guy is not in the kind of shape you need to really fight, never mind his skills. But then again, the average guy doesn’t start fights, and the people who do start them tend to get better with experience. As well as being an angry asshole, which correlates IME with winning street fights.


Perhaps not, but if his opponent is also equally unskilled, then it might not make a difference.

I think a lot of people like to examine deadly confrontations post-mortem to armchair theorize about what they would have done in that situation - and they might judge the actions of the people actually in that situation to be irrational or suspicious without truly understanding what happens to people physiologically when under that much stress. (Not to get political, but we might apply this to the scrutiny of every dubious decision by soldiers, cops or rape victims.) The brain in that state is way beyond rational analysis and perception is narrowed to include what (to the surviving organism) are deemed only the most critical details.

It would be like expecting an accurate prediction of what you would do in a life or death situation while on cocaine or some other perception-distorting substance. Until you have personal experience with that ‘‘substance’’ there is no way of really knowing how you would behave.

I’d say more likely it would be cowering in the fetal position.

The average man lives in a civilized century, where barbarians are rarely encountered.

Fighting is a unique experience. A guy who has had a lot of fight over his life may have less than 1 hour total fighting experience as opposed to a guy who practices the piano who may have thousands of hours. 1 hour of fighting experience will teach you a lot more about fighting than 100 hours of piano practice will teach you about playing the piano. Or for that matter 100 hours of karate practice.

A work hardened laborer who has had his share of fights can be a formidable opponet. He may have little formal skills but he knows how to pace himself and a little pain doesn’t deter him.

A typical encounter, two guys will start swinging within seconds the guy getting the worst of it will grab ahold of the guy beating him and try to take him down. Once they are down one guy or the other will usually have the other guy in a headlock and pop him a few times in the face and he will submit. If one guy happens to be a jerk he may just beat the guy to a pulp so becomming engaged in a fight can be seriously dangerous business.

While Seals would be in good shape and have some rudimentary hand to hand skills I’m not sure they (or any Armed Forces personnel) really train intensively for real world hand to hand combat. I would think most experienced bar fighters in decent shape would have a better than even chance of beating up a Navy Seal one on one in a street or bar confrontation.

All this talk of the average man not knowing how to throw a punch has me wondering. I have always wondered what ‘natural’ combat is - like if you stripped away ones knowledge about boxing, martial arts, hollywood films, all of that… What is left? Is punching ‘natural’? Say two unarmed cavemen meet in a dark forest, neither of whom have ever given a second thought about how to hurt somebody else in their life, suddenly decide that a desperate battle is on between them. How do they go about fighting? My guess is not punching, but some combination of wild eyed wrestling and eye gouging. Would the average person today do the same, if all the chips are down?


Let’s start with the fact the your typical guys who signs up for the SEALS are not exactly cream puffs. Most of them have probably been in more than a few scrapes already. Mostly the toughest of the tough.

Next, they go through endurance training that would literally kill a lot of us.

And finally, they are trained to in actual REAL hand to hand combat. Intensive training. For guys who have already had military training. Trained to fight against people who are trying to kill them.

Pick a fight with a SEAL, you better be paid up on your insurance.

I watched 2 drunk Okies fight once, they were very average guys, they traded a couple wild punches, one kicked the other in the chest, then they wrested around til one choked the other out. His airway was obviously compromised so I stuck my fingers in there and fished his tongue out and he immediately started gasping air in. 2 average guys but one would have killed the other in under 2 minutes if I hadn’t intervened.

I’d like to know where these bar fighters are? In my experience, you start a fight in my neighborhood, ( formerly Detroit ), you have a very good chance that the other guy has a knife or more likely a gun. Getting stupid gets you killed in my experience. I wouldn’t want to fxxk the Seals, as they are trained to fight. I assume they are usually going to kill their opponents.

I highly doubt that. Commandos are trained to kill and kill quickly.

I’m kind of fortunate I didn’t find out today. A couple of guys tried to mug somebody across the street from our house. I was half asleep on the couch after three days of driving, but my when my wife went out and yelled “what are you doing?” they jumped up and ran away. If it had been me I probably would have tried to intervene physically. I’m in good shape for a guy my age, but it probably wouldn’t have ended well. I did get up in time to call 911 while I could still see them and was able to tell where they were headed. My instinct would probably be to get someone off his feet and clamp on a headlock or front face lock. If another inexperienced fighter were flailing away there’s a slight chance it would be effective.

I don’t have any remarkable fighting skills. I would scarcely have needed any were it not for the hostility of other male people who took a visceral dislike for guys who didn’t share their notion of the right way to be male. I take pride in my ability to cope with whatever I must, but I have no particularly central pride in my ability to hit people with my fists or otherwise do violence. I can do a marginally mediocre job of it if I have to, but it’s a stupid activity and any chimpanzee would do a substantially better job of it than any of us do.

I could probably beat up most wheelchair users. :smiley:


I disagree that the most important fighting skill is running away. If you get yourself into the running away situation, you’ve let things get out of control.

Virtually all modern men (and women) have instead perfected a different set of fighting skills: avoiding violent drama and de-escalating when you encounter it. That is, if some asshole is all aggro, there are ways to minimize the chances that the asshole will notice you, will decide to start something, and will decide to escalate to violence. These techniques include everything from knowing which neighborhoods to avoid at night, to not getting in stare-offs with assholes, to leaving a hinky situation, to calling the cops.

And I’ve got these fight skills in spades, as do most of us. If an actual fight starts? I’ll last about as long as a fart in a hurricane.