I’d Like To Think My Years of Adolescent Tae Kwon Do Lessons Would Be Valuable In a Bar Fight, But I Doubt It


There’s an unoften noticed flaw to being stocky, husky, or any other adjective that describes me and my fellow people who are described as not tall, but also of a portly build: people want to fight you.

Maybe it’s not necessarily that they WANT to fight you, but it’s a fight that most people think they can win and they can do it without looking like they were drawing an easy confrontation. Nobody’s going to walk up and nail the biggest guy in the room, and picking on a liliputian nerd just looks lousy. Where are we? Middle School? You’re not going to be the hero putting little Winslow in his place.

Anyway, so I always get the feeling in bars and such that if anyone’s going to take a swing, it’ll probably be my dome on the recieving end. Call it neurosis. That and I have a proclivity to give a wet willy or two to bystanding jabronies. And while I haven’t been in a fight in years and years, I’m always assuming there’s one on the horizon.

I’d like to think my years of adolescent Tae Kwon Do lessons would help me in a bar fight, but I really, really doubt it.

Everyone has that Bruce Lee fantasy, one in which some big meathead comes in causing a scene, and you, like a silent knight, peacefully request he keep it down and be respectful. This only angers the oaf, who demands a fight. You say no, and begin to walk away. The bruiser stikes you – BEHIND THE BACK, THE COWARD - and only after drawing your blood will he suffer the jealous might of your fists, feet, and cunning. There may or may not be a fatality, depending on the atmosphere (club scene? No. All-male surroundings? Yes). But it will all be just. This is the dream of all Caucasians taking any kind of martial arts.

And this has never happened. First of all, even when I was at my most limber and doing all that, I never kicked. We’d spar and it’d just be a boxing match in which the other guy could kick and I couldn’t hoist my fat leg above my opponent’s hip. All this kung fu business also limits my inherent strength: sheer mass, enough of which to withstand even the mightiest of blows. Remember that guy who took the bowling ball to the gut? How tall do you think he was? About 5’10″, that’s right. Which isn’t short, by the way. It’s average.

I might be able to throw a nice block or two, HIYAH. But it wouldn’t be anything my opponent probably wouldn’t also have learned by playing a couple of hours of Mortal Kombat or Street Fighter. And there’s nothing in any known martial art to account for the two great factors of bar fighting: broken glass and bouncers. They are invincible.

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