This morning I find myself ready to block out the first fight scene in the new book which usually involves me jumping around the house like an idiot, swearing at an invisible opponent and carrying on like a demented person. It may be crazy, but it works. For me. Your mileage may vary.
The first thing that came to my feeble mind was were some words of wisdom I once heard from my unarmed combat instructor many years ago. “If you wanna lose a fight, hit somebody in the cake hole with your fist.” Okay, I cleaned that up a bit, but you get the idea. The fistfight has become a trope, and a bad one usually. Since I’m not shy about sharing my views I thought this a good time to share them with you.
It seems that no matter what genre of fiction I read or write, or you read or write, except perhaps a treatise on the mating habits of fluffy blue unicorns that crap rainbows, there is going to be conflict of the more physical nature, like a fistfight. We’ve all seen it or read it, the brave protagonist thrashes his/her adversary with a series of thunderous blows that render the brigand senseless after which the hero sweeps their lust object into their arms, safe at last.
So, what’s wrong with that you ask? Just about everything.
Let’s get real for a moment. “Thunderous” blows only happen in sporting contests with rules, and usually involve padded equipment and a referee. You don’t believe me? Fine, go punch a brick wall with your bare fist and put everything you’ve got behind it. I’ll wait right here.
Done? Good. Now do you feel like grabbing somebody and kissing them, or are you at the “Shit on a stick I think I broke something!” stage? Believe me, there will be pain and tears and flowing of snot and blubbering, and much running to the Doctor to see why you can’t move your fingers before you feel like kissing anything.
Fists are not designed to hit jawbones, head bones or any other kind of bones. Finger bones will break and it hurts like hell. This little fact was the reason I laughed like hell when I first saw Han Solo punch the shit out of an Imperial Storm Trooper who was wearing a helmet. A Helmet! Are you fucking kidding me? If Han had really punched somebody wearing a helmet, little Yoda would be raking up busted finger bones for a week. I know it’s fiction, but come on! Let’s try for just a hint of realism here people.
So what do I do when my Heroine must fight off the Big Bad? Any damn thing she can to win, EXCEPT punch the motherfucker with her fists. He comes at her with his fists, she kicks him in the nuts and then stomps his head into mush. He pulls a knife, she pulls out a sword. He pulls a sword, she pulls out a fucking gun. He pulls a gun, she pulls out a canon and blows his shit up, and then roasts marshmallows over his smoldering corpse.
When fighting for your life, either in fiction or reality, there are NO rules, only the determination to stay alive and not get your ass killed. If you’re not willing to tear that son of a bitch a new asshole and skull fuck his rotting corpse, then just run away and hide and leave the fighting to somebody else. This of course does not make for exciting fiction, but it will keep you, or your protagonist, alive for another day.
People who fight with “honor” when their lives, or the lives of their loved ones, are at stake fucking deserve to die. It was beautifully summed up in the Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom movie where a sword wielding assassin rushes at Indie with this huge-ass scimitar. Jones watches the guy go though his kata, sighs, pulls his revolver, and shoots his ass dead. Not exactly a “heroic” move, but Jones lived to fight another day.
Of course, there’s always the Hero or Heroine with “sooper-sekret” magical powers who can coldcock a dragon with one right cross…but that’s a subject for another post.