Picked up this book a few days ago. The full title is called "A Los Angeles Bouncer's Guide to Practical Fighting: Learn No-Nonsense Fighting Tactics from a Professional Bouncer"
Catchy right? Sounds like it is filled with all the deadly secrets of a real life Road House-esque "cooler" right? Well after reading it I find myself disappointed (and out of $14.94...) Nothing but worthless and shitty techniques. Basically just to review and critique:
The author is Noah Knapp. He states to have served as head of security and/or bouncer at a number of popular LA night clubs. Among them are The Playroom, A.D., The Gate, The Lounge and Balboa. He has over 24 years of martial arts exeprience holding a 3rd degree black sash in Northern Drunken Style Kung-Fu. He also has training (though doesn't specify the rank) in Kenpo, Karate, Aikido, Kali, Silat and Tai Chi. The book also states he is a 2nd generation instructor at his family's own kung fu studio as well as instructor of the STAR martial arts program. No website or contact information is listed so if you're curious it looks like Google is your best friend in finding out any more information. Now unto the book content.
The guy talks about his experience as a bouncer, tossing out unruly patrons, assisting other members of the security team, breaking up and escaping violent altercations etc. All fine. First thing that made me raise my eyebrow was his explanation behind what he calls the "ward off position". It is basically a fighting stance, though deviates from what many of us have been trained. Instead of placing the hands up, chin tucked in, elbows in tight, shoulders relaxed and turned slightly sideways. He states this is not only incorrect, but one of the most foolish things ever. Reason being? It leaves as he explains, the spine exposed. He instructs to place your hands forward (ward off), drop one foot slightly back giving a small bend in the knees, keep both shoulders forward and elbows bent then turn the toes inward to avoid a break from a kick. He states it to be "one of the most easily defensible positions ever conceived". Nothing too major, I found it a little eccentric but kept reading.
Next was talk about awareness and positioning when faced with a potential threat. Again nothing major just about being aware of all your surroundings. Now comes the hand and arm attacks. Before explaining each technique he talks about his first time as Head of Security for a club. On this night he was told by the manager to "send a message" in regards to security and amount of force used to cover a huge promotion coming in to celebrate. Simply put: Loud angry drunk ass people acting a damn fool. May sound pretty typical but he insists up to this point the club was relatively clean and had a good record.
Now for the actual techniques. First is "whole fist"; a standard punch. Details it normally, using not just your arms but hips as well to generate power. Next is "half fist"; Closing the hand as usual but utilizing a half twist and leaving the thumb pressed on the top of the hand. The next technique is back fist, against pretty standard. Next was something I have never heard of, "knuckle fist". Open a half fist, exposing the middle knuckles for an elongated attack. Knuckle fists are described as attacking the opponents chest. What comes next is the "Star Fist/Eagles Beak". At that point I stopped to see if I picked up a Street Fighter manual by mistake. This is basically same as knuckle fist with greater focus on the middle knuckle. Described as perfect for pressure points such as the sternum and temple.
Finger gauge comes next. Now, I'm not a bouncer and I don't know very much about bouncing but I am pretty sure you're not supposed to gouge out a customer's eyes. No matter how unruly. I could be wrong but to me that just sounded like some bullshit reality based defense program where the guy stresses "the real deadly". Noah at this point again referred to a previous incident where he used a finger gauge to subdue a very large, angry and aggressive man that had been swinging punches at security and several patrons. In his words, "My years of training had impressed me a vital piece of knowledge. You can't build muscle over your eyes"* Gee....I assumed that was just common sense. Never knew it took 20+ years to learn the eyes have no muscle built over them in layers. He describes this deadly technique in that the simplest poke will subdue the most powerful adversary. Right, moving on.
Next was thumb spike. Take your thumb, extend over the index finger keeping it tight and jam it underneath the ear lobe. Then palm strike, here I thought "Ok finally a technique that isn't bogus" Wrong. "This attack is perfect for heart strikes.".....what? Is this a book about open heart surgery? Does it talk about using a scalpel and slicing the heart open? Basically take your palm, extend the heel of it towards the chest and strike over the heart. Next was simply "claw." I actually laughed out loud when I read this. Same as palm strike but instead you swing in scratching at the face, stomach or back. A bouncer talking about clawing some drunken fool. Sweet. Next is whip hand attack. The whip hand is described as "Not only being the ultimate slap it has many times served as the ultimate intimidator." Again I may be wrong but pretty sure bouncers aren't supposed to bitch slap the patron that chugged a bottle of Jack Daniel's and pissed all over the stool. The whip hand attacks with the finger tips. Lastly was yup you guessed it.....CHOP OF DOOM!!!!! Same as knife hand it uses an arcing motion with the underside of the hand, right at the unlucky bastard's neck (his NECK damn it!!)
I could go on. The book moves on with arm attacks (wrist attacks, forearm, "acute and obtuse" elbows). Then some **** about upper body manipulations (which looked like trapping) then some poor kick techniques and how to escape grabs. Overall, I'm kind of curious on how tough being a bouncer is if you can just Star Fist some SOB.
I read the article and once I was finished, this was my expression:
Good read. You SHOULD go on! You have a nice writing style that communicates your mirth without being overly sarcastic. To the Reviews section!
Wait, where's the part about Alucard619 kicking several guy's butts with his awesome martial skill? All his other threads are about him schooling three or four other guys with his deadly kicks.
^ Yeah, I think those stories are more interesting to read.
So what does this Noah bloke say you should do if, i dunno, some douche picks a fight with you at the cinema?
Oh, and NECK BREEEEAAAAAAAK!!11!
I read a similar book by Marc "Animal" MacYoung. That one was more "trick technique" oriented.
My observations lead me to believe that most bouncers rely on size and simply being able to lead/push a problem patron out the door. You start getting into martial arts moves and you're begging for a lawsuit, especially eye gouging and joint hyperextention.
Guy sounds like out and out bullshit. The root of this kinda BS is the assumption that certain professions make you an expert at combat/martial arts/self-defense because it is presumed that people who have to deal with potentially violent people should know how to. Which is true BUT its only true for the sphere they worked in.
A bouncer knows how to deal with people in the context of bouncing. Not a mugging, a rape attempt or some other situation that does not involve removing a drunk from a bar.
Likewise a police officer would have a lot of experience with street violence but again they are limited to the experiences they dealt with and likewise they are limited to the confines of their profession. In which they are generally trained not to strike an assailant and if it comes to that level of conflict the rule generally is shoot or tazer not single combat.
Or for another profession that these con artists like to draw on there is always the former special forces story. Again this falls flat of being a good information source for self defense but is presumed as otherwise and so is exploited. Like the bouncer or the police officer special forces deal with hostile targets and situations but the context is vastly different than a home invasion, mugging or other self defense related situation.
All of these professions would add to someones experience and aid them in teaching others how to protect themselves but that doesn't make that profession a complete education on the subject in and of itself. Its like asking a surfer to teach a scuba diving class. They operate in the same environments but with vastly different situations and goals.
People like this author pray on such assumptions to sell their snake oil. Its dishonest, irresponsible and can lead people into actions that can get them sued, arrested or killed.
Also does anyone else find it hilarios that the only art he claims rank in is drunken kung fu? How fitting for a bouncer.
If you want a good read about life as a bouncer then you should check out any book by Geoff Thompson. I own this one and although some of the stories are a bit repetitive he kinda tells it how it is
Watch My Back: The Geoff Thompson Story: Amazon.co.uk: Geoff Thompson: Books