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TT #27: Let's Get Ready to Rumble!

24 Sep 2008

Fighting Mistakes in Books and Movies or How to Get Your Ass Kicked in Real Life

I’m in a rush, so everything’s a little jumbled.

Number 1
If you purposely handicap yourself by listening to your iPod while in the midst of battle, then you deserve to be taken out of the gene pool. I’m sure the product placement brought in a nice chunk of change, but your character is wholly in TSTL territory.

Number 2
Women with long hair leaving it down. It looks cool, until someone uses it to rip off part of your scalp. Remember Edna from The Incredibles? “No capes”? She should’ve added “No long hair,” but it just doesn’t roll off the tongue quite as well.

Number 3
High heels. Do I really need to explain this one? Unless you’re channeling Single White Female, no. Simply no.

Number 4
Tight leather outfits? Are you kidding me?!? Why would you purposely restrict your movements?!?

Number 5
Fancy jump kicks? Fly side kicks? They look good in the movies, but in real life, you’re just giving your opponent an opening to take you out because those fancy kicks usually take a very long time to connect with the target. And, writers, if it takes you more than four words to describe the kick, it’s too slow.

Number 6
It’s not always about strength. A lot of writers make the mistake of having muscle-bound heroes who can’t bend down to tie their shoelaces. You need flexibility and endurance as well as strength. I occasionally ref martial arts tournaments and it’s rarely the guy with the bigger muscles who wins.

Number 7
Keeping your hands down by your waist when fighting is only acceptable in the Olympics because hits to the face and back of the head are not allowed. On the street, anything is fair game. And the split second difference between shifting your hands from your face to your temple and shifting them from your waist to your temple is the difference between a bruised forearm and a concussion.

Number 8
Don’t hesitate. I constantly come across characters, usually the heroines, who hesitate in a fight and they’re just creating an opening for their opponents. Kick-ass urban fantasy heroines should know ahead of time how far they’re willing to go or they might as well just offer up their throats.

Number 9
Keep it simple. Really. Hollywood makes it look more complicated because it looks better. In real life, simple techniques can get the job done–and get it done faster. And if you make it too complicated in a book, it can slow down the action sequence because readers have to re-read the passage to figure out what’s going on.  Best way to break a stranglehold while your feet are still on the ground?  Lift an arm straight up and turn your entire body into hold.  The attacker will have to let go or risk a broken arm or wrist.

Number 10
A weapon can be anything. It’s amazing to me how many writers have their heroes running around looking for guns and knives while the bad guys are on their heels. You know what? A book can be a weapon in the right hands. Seriously, imagine how much it would hurt to take the edge of a paperback book to the throat. (Yes, I know it’s little scary that I spend time contemplating how to hurt people with simple things around my home.)

Number 11
Muscle memory is a wonderful thing. I’ve had to defend myself on more than one occasion and, unlike Batman, my brain isn’t quick enough to plot attacks and counterattacks, so I rely on my muscles being trained enough to react on their own.

Number 12
When surrounded, someone with a modicum of intelligence would maneuver until all the opponents are on one side because unless you’re the Incredible Hulk, the dog pile would flatten you like a pancake.

Number 13
Not all black belts are created equal.

9 Comments leave one →
  1. azteclady permalink
    24 Sep 2008 9:38 AM

    I’m in love.

    No, really.

    (“A weapon can be anything”–Beauty and the Beast, pilot episode)

  2. Ann Bruce permalink
    24 Sep 2008 6:46 PM

    Cool. 🙂 I didn’t know that.

  3. 24 Sep 2008 7:18 PM

    Very Cool!

    Happy T13!

  4. 24 Sep 2008 7:25 PM

    Definitely points to ponder. Thanks for the insight. Happy T13!

  5. 24 Sep 2008 7:28 PM

    Great list. I’ll keep it in mind when choreographing fights in my writing.

  6. 24 Sep 2008 7:49 PM

    Hehe, funny, and so true!

  7. 24 Sep 2008 8:39 PM

    Thanks! I’ll keep this in mind next time I want to write a fight scene.

  8. 25 Sep 2008 4:40 AM

    OMG I am lOL right now, great list. Happy T13. Mine are up at a Daily Dose.
    A Daily Dose of Toni

  9. 25 Sep 2008 9:08 AM

    I would classify this one as deep thoughts, unlike your header states, lol.
    I couldn’t fight, I’m way too out of shape.

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