A free-for-all fight broke out at the European Kung Fu championships a few weeks ago.
Apparently an Armenian participant had been taunted ringside by the Azerbaijani camp, igniting the long-standing tension between these two groups (and countries). Dozens of people got involved, with improv weapons such as chairs and sticks being used. Even the European Kung Fu Federation head was hurt as he tried to intervene. The Azerbaijani team was eventually disqualified from the competition for “unsportsmanlike behavior.”
Notice how all of the fighting is at a very amateur level. Wild unbalanced swinging. Wild kicks that are easily caught and held. People falling down without assistance. The typical brawl atmosphere.
Yet many of these people are trained martial artists and coaches competing internationally!
I don’t mean to criticize them but to point out two things.
One, people can usually take more abuse than you expect. I am always amazed in actual fights how much people can take, or even how they seem insensitive to the blows. In a movie, if someone gets hit over the head with a pool cue, they fall down and don’t get up. In real life, you see people hit so hard it breaks the stick and the victims don’t even seem to notice.
Adrenalin-responses are funny that way. People can get stabbed, shot, or clubbed and not even feel it. “I didn’t notice I was shot until after,” is a common statement. And these are not fighters in training, but ordinary people. So file that away and don’t expect opponents to fall down from one or two strikes. The movies skew our expectations of what fights are like.
Two, people’s fight strategies go out the window. Even someone who was minutes ago fighting in the ring with some degree of poise starts flailing like a crazy person is a real-life amped up brawl. This is where it is very important to develop of cool mental attitude and work on developing fight triggers which will switch you into the correct space where you start fighting as you were trained.
Mental preparation is key.