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Man Skills: Avoid… talk… or run like hell.

Hey, it’s Jimbo here.

As one of the owners of FightFast and TRS, (and as an overall reckless dude willing to take insane risks), I’ve helped track down some of the most dangerous men on the planet to get them to reveal (and teach on camera) their most simple and effective fighting secrets.

As our reputation grew over the decades, some of these fighters began tracking ME down, which can be a little unnerving. (“Hello Jimbo? I can kill a man with my bare hands. Can we meet privately?”).

Yes, we’ve uncovered some interesting characters.

One dude we hired earned spare cash in back alley FightClub style pit fights. (How good was he? Well, he still has ALL his teeth, that’s how good).

Another is a decorated combat soldier who fought on the front lines of every U.S. conflict since Grenada. (For you youngsters, that’s a Caribbean island, not the red stuff you mix into a tequila sunrise).

And yet another served 2-tours in Vietnam as a “tunnel rat”, crawling through enemy tunnels with a .45, actively hunting the Vietcong in pitch dark terror. (Surprisingly he’s the nicest guy you’d ever want to meet… though I admit I’ve been extra-careful to stay on his good side).

But the one thing that ALL of these combat instructors consistently teach is this:


  • If you can avoid a confrontation, do that.
  • If you can just diffuse the situation and walk away… do that.
  • And if there’s no way to avoid the fight, do what you gotta do and, if you can escape… do that.

Why? Because they all know from brutal experience that a fight can go sideways in a hurry in ways you could never predict.

  • Avoidance: How did you not see that coming?
  • Talk your way out: Please don’t make me kill you.
  • Escape: Do what’s necessary… and get out.

Avoiding The Confrontation:

Can’t We All Just Get Along?

Most adversaries you’ll face will NOT be well-trained fighters. That’s the good news. It means that learning some basic fight skills will instantly place you ahead of most guys.

But before you get too cocky, the bad news begins when a trained fighter starts believing he can’t be hurt by an untrained fighter.

FightFast instructor Mark Hatmaker points out that he’s witnessed complete rookies (with no fight experience at all), worm their way out of “impossible” Brazilian ground fighting holds.

Other instructors attest to skinny runts displaying superhuman strength… meek women suddenly brandishing a deadly weapon… and quiet “shy” dudes showing incredible boldness and courage in battle.

Expect the unexpected. (I once got a ”thank you” from that snarky gum-snapping checkout girl at the supermarket. Sooo unexpected).

A fight — any fight — can quickly turn into a desperate life-and-death struggle, (like dinner at the in-laws with one last pork-chop on the table).

You must assume your opponent will fight for his life, just as YOU should fight for yours. There is no such thing as a “casual” ass-kicking. It’s an all-out fight or nothing — and the end result could mean serious injury or death.

Another thing, (why is there always “another thing”?): Avoidance means making good decisions. A student once asked a FightFast instructor what to do if he were surrounded by goons in a dark alley on the wrong side of town at 2 in the morning.

The answer: What are you doing in a dark alley on the wrong side of town at 2am?

Point is: Use common sense and always be aware of what’s happening around you. Situational awareness can completely avoid most scrapes.

Paying attention can make a big difference.

(Which is why this recent staring-at-your-cell-phone-like-a-zombie-while-walking-down-the-street thing is creating such easy-pickings for predators).

Select a seat in a restaurant where you can see who comes and goes, (including any ominous visits from the health department)… keep your head up and out of the phone… take a 360-degree look around you while pumping gas… and never allow suspicious tuffs asking dumb questions get too close, (especially if they’re hawking copy-toner).

Common sense strategies can stop trouble before it even begins.

Alright… last thoughts on “avoidance”: Don’t be a “Dominator”.

Here’s the true story: “Big Joe”, (a friend of my business partner), truly believed he was the “big brother” of all his friends, relatives, even casual acquaintances.

As a result, he was continually in the middle of some conflict or another. (“Becky should’ve never told Sarah’s cousin about her brother-in-law’s affair with Bernie’s ex-wife. I’m on it!”).

One evening at a restaurant in Memphis, Big Joe felt the need to “break up” an argument between two guys he didn’t even know, (last pork chop thing again)… prompting an unexpected reaction.

One of the guys stabbed Big Joe in the heart.

This is tragic, but a couple strangers bickering at a restaurant was not something Big Joe should have gotten involved in.

Learn from his mistake and Big Joe’s death won’t be in vain.

Talking Your Way Out.

Don’t Make Me Kill You, Man.

One thing about learning some simple fight moves is that it gives you confidence.

And confidence allows you to walk away from silly confrontations knowing that you’re probably doing the guy a favor, (although snapping his neck would be pretty sweet too).

As FightFast instructor Richard Ryan once pointed out, being confident, calm and firm — especially with an “emotionally highjacked” character — can actually help diffuse a situation.

You’ll need to be the judge on this. But like I said, if you’re pretty certain you’re dealing with an Emotionally Hijacked individual, (the frothy unhinged ranting, swearing, chimpanzee-like baby-rattling and stench of poopy diapers are all good indicators), then by all means, use the following de-escalation techniques.

It’s important that you not overreact. (Knowing some fight techniques should provide you with the mental security you need to keep your cool).

Your adversary could be yelling, cursing, possibly threatening you, but again, if you’re certain he’s simply acting nuts because he feels you’ve “wronged” him, then simply remain calm.

Do not buy into his emotions and yell back to defend your point of view no matter how right you may think you are. (“I am perfectly within my rights to key any car that parks too close to my Vett, you Emotionally Highjacked idiot!”).

Instead, try and understand why this person is so upset. Only THEN try to be understood yourself. You should follow these 4 steps, in this order:

  1. Get him talking.
  2. Keep him talking.
  3. Summarize his feelings so he knows you’re listening.
  4. Acknowledge and respond.

Okay… so far it probably seems like you’re bowing down to this jerk, (and doing everything possible to look like a sniveling wimp).

But staying calm and allowing the emotional outburst to pass is better than a fight that could wind up with someone hurt or dead. (“Well officer, after keying his car I just found it easier to kill him rather than endure his erratic behavior. Was that wrong?”)

Stay calm. Show confidence, (not fear). Keep your distance. And be ready to fight or escape.

The Great Escape

Fight If You Must, Then Get Outta There.

Sometimes there is just no getting out of a fight. (You’ve finally downed that last pork chop and there’s just no blaming it on the dog.)

You should assume that you’re only seconds away from fisticuffs if your opponent shoves you… or if he goes from loud and animated to stone-cold quiet… or tucks his chin and begins toward you.

If that happens, you should seriously consider escaping.

Which brings me to the “John Wayne Syndrome”. Basically it can be summed up in the phrase: “A real man never backs down”, (also called “only a pus*y runs”).

If you really believe that, then turning and running is going to be a problem for you. It means no matter what — even if the guy is twice your size, wearing a “Hell’s Angels” jacket and holding a sawed-off shotgun — your belief system demands that you fight him, (even if there’s a well-lit “exit” sign with flashing neon arrows guiding your way out).

Most guys, if they’re honest with themselves, don’t subscribe to the John Wayne Syndrome. (Like my brother-in-law, who told the wife that the sooner she figured-out who the boss was… the sooner she could give him his orders).

Some guys run from a fight only to get hung up on grief and sleepless nights. That’s pointless drivel. Get over your bad self.

Sit down and come to grips with your own beliefs beforehand – it’ll save you from making a stupid decision, (like fighting a Hell’s Angels armed with a sawed-off shotgun), or the agony of dealing with internal conflict.

Simply escaping is a viable strategy, especially if your opponent is armed… and if there are no loved ones around to protect… and if you’re not in a command position where you can’t back down, (like a cop, or a prison guard, or that TSA guy who feels-up folks at the airport).

If there is no escape and the fight is on, try to hit first and do NOT stop until the threat is removed — whether that threat is removed because you’ve created an opening to bolt… because your adversary is on the ground writhing in pain… or because he’s unconscious. (We’ll cover specific combat techniques another time).

Do not stop your attack to “assess” the damage. This is very common with rookie fighters – especially if they are winning the fight.

Bad move that opens you up to a counter-attack.

Do not wait for him to recover… do NOT wait for his buddies to show up… and do NOT wait for emotionally “pumped up” bystanders to attack you, (yes, it’s common for onlookers who have no idea what’s going on, to jump in and start reliving the glory days of a good ol’ fashion Jerry Springer brawl).

So do what you gotta do, then leave the area as quickly as possible. You can call the cops later and tell them you left the scene for your own safety.

More to come, so keep your eyes peeled.

Stay Manly,


Jimbo, Editor
Man Skills

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