Four practical tips to avoid a fight, Part Two

In Part one of Four practical tips to avoid a fight, I gave a couple ideas on how to avoid violent situations by spring-boarding off the advice Peyton Quinn gives. Peyton was kind enough to leave a lengthy reply in the comments section and instead of leaving it there where most people will miss it, I decided to do a follow up post with it. Peyton mentions a bunch of things I think are just as important as what is mentioned in my first post.

I’ll comment below but first, here’s what Peyton wrote:

Very well done here Wim and a real service to those who read it and take it to heart.

You are sure right its the ‘adrenal dump’ that often takes away people’s ability to think rationally and avoid the fight. They thus show ‘fear’, or ‘denial ‘or ‘anger’ all of which are so closely related as to be at times ‘inseparable’. None of these serve them either.

Only ‘measured assertiveness’ will serve them and its also the only one here that is really a ‘choice’ too of the ‘rational mind’. Because Fear, Denial and Anger are not choices that we consciously make at all, they are ‘knee jerk’ adrenal driven responses.

But the person of experience, well he or she has experienced all this before and learned to deal with that adrenal dump and thus show no fear, avoid disrespecting the verbal aggressor, and yet make it clear (non-verbally is best) that he or she still knows exactly what the aggressor is up too.

It is all part of the same whole, if the aggressor sees no fear or denial or anger he knows his attempt to ‘impair the person’s ability to defend’ has largely or entirely failed. He also knows (from experience) that the only people who can behave this way under his “woof” are ‘ the experienced and capable’ and thus too dangerous for him to play his game with.

Everything in your response must be CONGRUENT and ‘say the same thing’ though.

This means your eyes, face, body carriage, voice, tone etc. This relaxed but focused congruence alone will not go ‘unobserved’ by most human predators. They are constantly evaluating their prey’s possible danger to them. This is simply because they are afraid they might ‘pick the wrong guy’.

This is a key issue: everything needs to be congruent. If you are saying the right words but your voice is trembling so hard it sounds like a scared little boy afraid of the monsters in his closet, you will not convince your aggressor to leave you alone.

If you get the words and your voice right but your legs are shaking, the same problem arises. And so on.

Like Peyton says, every part of you needs to be saying the same thing: I am not an easy victim for you.

Here’s some more from Peyton: [Read more…]

Four practical tips to avoid a fight

A little while ago, I almost knocked somebody out for being stupid. I’m going to tell that story in a bit as it’s what triggered this post but first something else:

Peyton Quinn has some excellent advice on how to avoid fight (or to avoid getting beaten to a pulp; you’re not always going to win…) In a nutshell, he isolates a couple of practical tips that are easy to understand. He says that whenever you face somebody who is getting aggressive on you or there’s a potential for violence:

  • Don’t insult him.
  • Don’t challenge him or accept his challenge.
  • Leave him a face-saving exit.
  • Show (preferably non-verbally) that you know what they’re doing and give them no fear but a relaxed focus in return.


This is some of the best advice you’ll find out there but it’s also not always as easy to pull off. There are several reasons for this:

  • Lack of experience. For the most part, people don’t have enough experience handling these kinds of situations. So they don’t know how to handle the adrenal stress, can’t come up with a good solution or get the timing wrong.
  • The lizard brain takes over. You default to some primitive reactions, once again because you lack the experience to control them or perhaps because you don’t understand that another part of your brain is now in the driver’s seat. You think you’re thinking and acting rationally but reason and common sense already checked out and are only coming back once you calm down after it is all over.
  • Ego takes over. How dare he challenge/insult/threaten you like that! You’re not gonna stand for that, you’re gonna give him a piece of your mind. At which point fists start flying… You have to want to de-escalate a hostile situation. If you’re spoiling for a fight, you’re bound to get one.
  • It’s a bad day. Sometimes, Mr. Murphy comes along and you are faced with potential violence at the worst possible time: you’re tired, you’re sick, you weren’t paying attention, etc. For all sorts of reasons, you’re not on top of your game and fail to manage the situation correctly. Not because you don’t know how but because for some reason, other factors made it more difficult than on any other day. And that’s all it takes for things to go haywire.


We’re all only human and prone to make mistakes but if at all possible, you should always try to avoid getting into a fight. Simply because there is so little to gain and a lot to lose. Granted, sometimes you have no other option but to fight but in in the vast majority of situations, you can manage to avoid trouble when it comes your way. So it’s with that in mind that I’d like to add some additional practical tips to those Peyton already gave.

Here goes: [Read more…]

Book Review: “Real Fighting” by Peyton Quinn

Here’s another re-post of an old review: “Real Fighting: Adrenaline stress conditioning through scenario-based training” by Peyton Quinn. I tweaked the review a little bit as my opinion has slightly altered over the years. I met Peyton a few times over the years and visited his training center once. He’s a great guy to talk to and he does some excellent work in teaching you to transfer your skills from the dojo to the street. Enjoy the review.

The author of this book is what can be described as a “veteran”. He has seen his share of violence during his days as a bouncer in “problem bars” and lived to tell the tale. Peyton Quinn has martial arts training in Karate, Judo and Aikido, although he does not claim to be an expert. In fact, he will expose some of the problems martial arts have in confronting violent situations.

He has produced several books and videotapes focusing on a realistic approach towards defending against violence. He currently runs a training center in Boulder, Colorado (USA).

Peyton Quinn teaching at RMCAT

Peyton Quinn teaching at RMCAT

The book starts with an example of a violent encounter during Mr. Quinn’s childhood and uses it as a starting point to explain some fundamental principles of combat strategy: Control and use of the environment, continuous attack, etc. He then goes on to explain how fear and adrenaline are essential elements in a fight and how a “bully” exploits this to his advantage. A combat mindset is different from what is necessary in a martial arts tournament and we get another couple of funny examples to illustrate the point. The chapter ends with an interesting point, namely that concepts are more important than specific techniques.

[Read more…]