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senka
06-19-2011, 04:37 PM
In my story there is a woman who is 1.) a skilled fighter (hard training over many years since teenager) and 2.) quite well-conditioned. She is very athletic, could e.g. run a marathon and is rather strong. Of course you can see muscles on such a person, but she's not supposed to be like a body builder or something. Looking like that, maybe: http://static5.depositphotos.com/1049184/516/i/450/dep_5160375-Muscular-woman.jpg
She is also rather tall, around 5'10'' and in her 20s.

My question is now how strong she would be in comparison to a man. Let's say I'd take an average healthy non-overweight male American in the middle of his 20s, maybe doing some sports, but no more than the "average paper-pusher doing some jogging as a hobby", like that. Say he's had some military training as where the story takes place you have to do universal military service for two years when you're 18.
How would his chances be to kill her or take her captive in a fight under equal conditions (meaning both had had enough sleep, food, rest etc), without weapons?
And assuming the same man would somehow get ahold of her and try to hold her down, would he probably be strong enough to do so?

And then if we take a male athletic fighter and soldier of average height and imagine the same scenario, what would you say how her chances are to win the fight/break free? Would you say the man is always stronger and if it isn't for pure luck or much better fighting skills she'd not stand a chance, or is it more like equal opportunities?

I'm sorry if that question seems stupid but I'm totally unathletic due to a slight disability and thus I really can't imagine these things and I don't wanna write something that's physically impossible... don't like her to be an unrealistic Lara-Croft-like character who knocks down 20 men in a row or something...

mirandashell
06-19-2011, 04:53 PM
Hmm.... tough one. She would pretty much kick the butt of your average man, I guess.

But remember, fighting doesn't come down to just physical strength. If she's a skilled fighter with years of training, why do you think the average joe could beat her just cos he's got bigger muscles. Bit insulting to her, really.

Anne Lyle
06-19-2011, 04:58 PM
Just my inexpert opinion, but I would have thought that a woman with that kind of training would have a good chance of fighting off a desk-jockey, even one with some basic military training (presumably several years ago?) but much less of a chance against a good male fighter. Women naturally have less upper body strength than men - even if they take steroids, their muscle tissue just doesn't respond to it with the same intensity as a man's. She would therefore need better fighting skills in order to level the playing field, I think.

Maryn
06-19-2011, 04:59 PM
I'm no expert, but a reasonably strong man is stronger than a very strong woman nearly every time, in my experience. Guys have the testosterone for muscular development and it takes them much less work to 'grow' a muscle. Bigger muscles are stronger muscles, period.

Of course, her training, skills, and speed are huge factors, but when it comes to strength and only strength, your fit guy wins. He'll throw a harder punch, a faster chop, a more powerful kick, strictly based on the size of his muscles.

There's a physiological reason women don't compete in men's sports. No matter how dedicated the woman, she's at a physical disadvantage.

Of course, we outlive them, so who's laughing now?

Maryn, who used to work weights and was quite strong--but not as strong as the somewhat slothful Mr. Maryn

Max Vaehling
06-19-2011, 05:06 PM
Of course, her training, skills, and speed are huge factors, but when it comes to strength and only strength, your fit guy wins. He'll throw a harder punch, a faster chop, a more powerful kick, strictly based on the size of his muscles.

So he'll beat her at thumb wrestling, but in combat she could still out-fight him with speed and technique. As any martial arts pro will tell you, pure muscle mass won't make you a better fighter. Unless you train your agility, chances are it'll just slow you down so you won't even get to the point where you throw your heavy punch or kick your powerful kick.


There's a physiological reason women don't compete in men's sports. No matter how dedicated the woman, she's at a physical disadvantage.

In sports, both will probably have the same training, shaping the same muscles and practising the same techniques. In combat, you succeed by playing on your differences. Do the stuff the other can't beat you at, make it your game.

AmsterdamAssassin
06-19-2011, 05:11 PM
You're asking to different things: all things being equal, men have more muscular mass and will be physically stronger. However, in a fight other qualities are more important than pure physical strength. Technique, mental attitude, and ferocity count for much more than strength.

Apart from that, the training people do can decrease their fighting capabilities while increasing their 'strength'. I've bested several body builders because their pumped up muscles, while advantageous for bench pressing, were not really conducive to the onslaught of punches, kicks and the bio-mechanical torsion of aikido techniques. Indeed, aikido is more effective on stiff muscular persons than on a supple loose-limbed ballet dancer.

senka
06-19-2011, 05:18 PM
why do you think the average joe could beat her just cos he's got bigger muscles. Bit insulting to her, really.I do not think that, I asked you for your opinion ;)
As a person who has never been able to beat any healthy person no matter how unathletic on physical terms, with nothing but the background knowledge "women are generally weaker than men" I just didn't know what is realistic, thus I asked.

I expected she'd be able to beat the normal guy and might have problems with the trained guy, though.
But what about holding her down? That's when only physical strength matters, right? I mean, assuming she is pinned to the ground or the man is already holding her while both are still standing... what about "normal guy" and "trained guy" then? I guess she'd certainly not beat the trained one in that case, but what about the normal one?

shadowwalker
06-19-2011, 05:21 PM
I think I agree with most of the others - the female could definitely take the desk-jockey; the male soldier would depend on other factors. Both were trained fighters, so it would depend heavily on the skill level, and not necessarily physical strength. A smaller male with a higher skill level can take a physically stronger but less skillful attacker, so obviously the same would apply to a female. Also, women generally have more stamina than men, so in a lengthy confrontation (such as a foot chase, or climbing), the woman would gain the advantage over time. However, if the male soldier managed to get her down, strength would probably have the advantage over skill or stamina.

Don Allen
06-19-2011, 05:32 PM
There are a couple of tried and true rules.
First, a big man will beat a small man in a fight 90% of the time, the exceptions are entirely based upon the skill, dexterity, and core strength of the smaller man.

This holds true in your scenario as well. The physics out weigh the training when both a man and women engage in battle.

With the possible exception of extreme martial arts capability, a women doesn't have the weight to apply enough torque and leverage to inflict massive or debilitating injury to a man much larger than herself.

As a personal trainer, I have trained some very strong and athletic women who compete in a variety of sports, but its the match ups that make or break your chances in hand to hand combat.

We all love to see the small guy kick the shit out of the big brute, but the science is all on the bigger guys side.

The exception as I mentioned would be the nature of her Martial arts training, but what most people don't realize about Martial arts, is that the training is primarily Defensive in nature, not aggressive as we see in kung foo movies.

So, here's another scenario for you, though she might not be able to beat these guys to a pulp, she most certainly could use martial arts training to escape while giving them something to think about if they were her aggressors. IMHO....

AmsterdamAssassin
06-19-2011, 05:34 PM
If a stronger person kneels on the upper arms of a prone weaker person, the weak person wouldn't be able to do much. But if the arms are free, it's quite easy to do some real harm to the stronger person.

Unless it's pure strength vs. strength, and it hardly ever is, a stronger person will best a weaker person.

Psychomacologist
06-19-2011, 05:40 PM
I used to do a lot of karate, and in my experience a woman with enough training can beat a man who's bigger than her. Even if he's also had training. (Also, when I did karate my arms were WAY bigger than that pic you posted!)

As a general rule in fighting, bigger people (especially men) are slower and less agile. Smaller people (read: women) have less physical strength but are usually much quicker. That speed makes a lot of difference - I used to spar off against big men (I'm five foot nothin') and I could get a shot in on target before they finished taking a step forward.

Also, martial training teaches someone to focus power and strength into a blow. It's about focusing power into the fist/foot etc. at the time of making the strike. So even a small person/a woman can get a lot of power into a blow if they've done enough training. And if you know where to strike the blows, you can do a lot of damage.

Your female fighter should easily beat the desk jockey. In theory she'd be fast, agile and could land a solid punch; she could run rings around a guy with no martial training. I imagine she'd have him face down on the floor in an armlock before he even realised he was IN a fight.

She could also beat a much stronger man (even if he has had fight training) as long as she kept her wits about her. Remember, she can use her speed to dodge his blows. The key to winning a fight is to turn defense into offense; you counter immediately upon blocking (if you're super-good, you turn a block INTO a counter-strike). She can out-move him (especially if he's big) and as long as she manages to avoid his blows and is prepared to fight dirty she stands a good chance. He launches in for a power attack; she quickly side-steps and karate-chops him in the neck. It's about speed and precision vs. brute strength.

She would, as you say, be at a disadvantage if he managed to get her pinned down. Then his weight and strength would give him an obvious edge. She might be able to break his grip, depending on her training style (Judo is all about grips and locks and breaking them). Or if she poked him in the eyes or something. But she would definitely be at a disadvantage if she let herself get pinned.

I hope this is helpful :)

AmsterdamAssassin
06-19-2011, 05:40 PM
With the possible exception of extreme martial arts capability, a women doesn't have the weight to apply enough torque and leverage to inflict massive or debilitating injury to a man much larger than herself.

As a personal trainer, I have trained some very strong and athletic women who compete in a variety of sports, but its the match ups that make or break your chances in hand to hand combat.

Sports training is different from combat training. If the fighting is a game or competition, women will not win from a man. If the fighting is combat, life or death, simple strength is not decisive.

newbound
06-19-2011, 05:42 PM
I'm sure everyone else has already said this, but a woman would have to be fast and able to duck and weave to avoid being hit. One well placed punch and she'd go down. So she would have to be fast and strong and get her punches in as well as wearing him down. I think that was even in Rocky or some other boxing movie I once saw when the male defendant was smaller than the opponent. He had to tire the bigger guy out, so it would be easier to bring him down. Same goes for a woman.

Don Allen
06-19-2011, 05:44 PM
Sports training is different from combat training. If the fighting is a game or competition, women will not win from a man. If the fighting is combat, life or death, simple strength is not decisive.

But if all things are equal, the advantage goes to the larger individual.

AmsterdamAssassin
06-19-2011, 05:53 PM
@Psychomacologist,

I agree with most of your post, except for two things:

A) a no-rules combative martial art like krav maga, or a bio-mechanical 'no strength' martial art like aikido, would be preferable to karate as far as true combative skills are concerned [this is not meant to be derogatory towards karateka, but we're talking about combat, not competition]

B)
He launches in for a power attack; she quickly side-steps and karate-chops him in the neck. It's about speed and precision vs. brute strength.
If you replace the bold part with 'punches him in the throat', and you do some serious damage. A karate-chop in the neck depends for effect on the muscles in the neck protecting the carotid artery. The throat cannot be protected by building up muscles, so it's a vulnerable spot in every human being, trained or not. Punch someone in the throat and you hit the trachea. Even if you do not break the cartilage of the trachea, it will still incapacitate someone.

AmsterdamAssassin
06-19-2011, 05:58 PM
But if all things are equal, the advantage goes to the larger individual.

Yes, but rarely all things are equal. For instance, in true combat situations, you have an adrenalin dump - your whole system floods with adrenalin for a fight or flight response. If you're not used to this adrenalin dump, it can freeze you, make you slow and complex motor skills will go out of the window. If you've been repeatedly subjected to adrenalin dumps under training and real combat situations, the dump will become progressively less debilitating.
Thus, training in combat is nice, true combat experience will be better. If two fighters will lock in combat and one has more skill, but the other more combat experience, my money is on the latter.

AmsterdamAssassin
06-19-2011, 06:00 PM
I think that was even in Rocky or some other boxing movie I once saw...

Boxing is a sport. With rules. And gloves. And movies are fiction.

senka
06-19-2011, 06:01 PM
With the possible exception of extreme martial arts capability, a women doesn't have the weight to apply enough torque and leverage to inflict massive or debilitating injury to a man much larger than herself.Well, remember that she's almost 6 feet tall so there should not be that very much difference in weight between her and the male counterpart.


So, here's another scenario for you, though she might not be able to beat these guys to a pulp, she most certainly could use martial arts training to escape while giving them something to think about if they were her aggressors. IMHO.... In case of one of the men it's not that they'll actually have to fight for life or death, they team up after a first conflict (she wins) and he'll just have to be able to... uhm... stop her, kind of, whenever she freaks out and threatens to beat up the weaker protagonists (she's a brute, really). My problem was, if everyone else in the group (which are three women, an old man and a man without legs) is physically weaker than her, no one could stop her from bullying the rest.

The fighter will have to defeat her in combat and take her captive and be brutal while she's in his custody but as I read here this should not be a problem.

AmsterdamAssassin
06-19-2011, 06:04 PM
Well, remember that she's almost 6 feet tall so there should not be that very much difference in weight between her and the male counterpart.

If you need a second opinion on scenes in your manuscript, let me know and I'll look them over for verisimilitude.

senka
06-19-2011, 06:07 PM
@AmsterdamAssassin: Thank you very much, I haven't finished those scenes yet, just done an outline and trying to figure out what is possible, but as soon as I wrote them down I might ask you if you're still willing to help me :)

mirandashell
06-19-2011, 06:09 PM
But what about holding her down? That's when only physical strength matters, right? I mean, assuming she is pinned to the ground or the man is already holding her while both are still standing... what about "normal guy" and "trained guy" then? I guess she'd certainly not beat the trained one in that case, but what about the normal one?


Hmm... that depends on two things. How he's holding her down and how nasty she is prepared to be. If she is prepared to go for the soft bits like eyes and throat and is not scared of using unexpected bits as weapons, like her teeth, then yeah, she could make him let her go.

Psychomacologist
06-19-2011, 06:33 PM
@Psychomacologist,

I agree with most of your post, except for two things:

A) a no-rules combative martial art like krav maga, or a bio-mechanical 'no strength' martial art like aikido, would be preferable to karate as far as true combative skills are concerned

Oh sure. I just used Karate because that's what I had experience in. In fact, if you're constructing a fictional character from a fictional culture, you could go so far as to say that her culture had developed a martial art specifically for women, designed to give them a fighting edge. It would depend on the culture and setting though, obviously.

I agree about the punch to the throat though. Karate-chop? What was I thinking?!? ;)

whacko
06-19-2011, 06:59 PM
First, a big man will beat a small man in a fight 90% of the time,

I'd put it the other way around. ;)

From experience.

Small chaps can be wild.

mgnme
06-19-2011, 07:00 PM
remember what we learned from The Hunger Games: strategy and skill often trump brute strength. :) i think it sounds like you could find a way to make it believable.

shadowwalker
06-19-2011, 07:55 PM
There are also hand-to-hand training vids on youtube, including (or used to be anyway) a series from US Special Forces. Very informational as to techniques and maneuvers.

senka
06-19-2011, 08:14 PM
In fact, if you're constructing a fictional character from a fictional culture, you could go so far as to say that her culture had developed a martial art specifically for women, designed to give them a fighting edge. It would depend on the culture and setting though, obviously.It's scifi but no aliens and stuff, thus it's just human culture and it is not sooo very far in the future... but as she is part of an elite team trained to fight and assassinate I guess the people who chose and trained her might have considered she's a woman and might have teached her some technics that will help... The government of my future nation can't be as stupid as not to take this into account ;)

WriteKnight
06-19-2011, 08:55 PM
"All things being equal - which is faster, a jeep or a corvette?" - These sorts of scenarios are a set up for failure. You can't make 'all things equal' because you have two different vehicles.

In an unequal situation, it's easy to make the call. Off road, the jeep wins. ON a paved strip - the corvette. Same reasoning follows in your scenario.

The desk-jockey bites it, - because he's not TRAINED for combat, regardless of his strength.

Assuming the two individuals have the same set of training - both soldiers - the SMARTER opponent will win - regardless of strength. How can I say that? Easy - the person who loses, made the wrong choice. Timing, position, distance - whatever. They made a choice that the other opponent was able to exploit because it was 'wrong' - a miscalculation, a misplaced assumption, a moment of indecision or distraction - and the opponent exploited it. End of fight.

"All things being equal" - the outcome is nothing happens. A perfect blow is met with a perfect block or slip. A perfect counter strike is met with a perfect duck and counter punch - which is met with the perfect avoidance. "It's a perfect dance, until someone makes a mistake, and is hit." - The person who is hit - has made a mistake.

You can't make people 'equal' because they are individuals. They think and react differently, they have different mindsets in a fight.

Combat IS different from sport - because sport has rules and constraints. In that case, the 'stronger' will usually win. Men are physically stronger than women - and comparing top record holders in similar sports - track, swimming, weight lifting for instance - the men's records are always higher. That's as close as you will come to 'all things being equal'.

Bigger is also not NECESSARILY slower. It depends upon the action. The same strenth of muscles on a thirty seven inch arm - deliver the blow at the same speed as a thirty one inch arm. The duration of the punch for the shorter arm is shorter, hence less 'time' but not any stronger - in fact the mass being less - given the same speed - the force is greater for the 'longer/heavier' arm. However the DISTANCE of the blow is different and distance, a sense of 'measure' is a HUGE part of most martial arts.

In short - you can write your scenario to come out any way you want - simply by making the 'winner' smarter than the loser. A weaker, less trained opponent must not fight on the stronger, more trained opponents terms - IF you want the physically weaker, less trained person to come out the victor.

AmsterdamAssassin
06-19-2011, 09:06 PM
If your deskjockey suddenly grabs one of these:
http://media.vega-direct.nl/media/catalog/product/cache/33/image/9df78eab33525d08d6e5fb8d27136e95/Z/e/Zettelspieer_2_1.jpg
And jams it into the opponent eye, the deskjockey will most likely win.

Amadan
06-19-2011, 09:23 PM
As a general rule in fighting, bigger people (especially men) are slower and less agile. Smaller people (read: women) have less physical strength but are usually much quicker. That speed makes a lot of difference - I used to spar off against big men (I'm five foot nothin') and I could get a shot in on target before they finished taking a step forward.

Sorry, but that's nonsense. Not your personal experience -- perhaps you are a very fast individual -- but it's simply not true that "big" = "slow" especially if you're talking about big muscles. Muscles are what give you speed. Also, a big man has a longer reach, which is also a huge advantage in sparring. The image of the small guy (or gal) zipping in and stinging like a bee while the larger opponent lumbers around swinging clumsily and unable to connect is a popular one, but in general, quite unrealistic.

I've done kendo -- probably the martial art with the highest percentage of female competitors, who compete at the top ranks -- and it's also a martial art that equalizes men and women to a large degree; men's natural size and strength advantage is less decisive in kendo. And even there, all other things being equal, a larger person has an advantage, because he has a longer reach. There are very, very fast women in kendo, but they aren't faster because they're smaller, and the bigger guys aren't slower.


remember what we learned from The Hunger Games: strategy and skill often trump brute strength. :) i think it sounds like you could find a way to make it believable.

Katniss was using a bow. Ranged weapons are always a great equalizer.

mgnme
06-19-2011, 11:05 PM
my point was that katniss was a trained fighter. largely self-trained (and a little by her father, before he died), but she had a great deal of experience and skill with a bow. same as this person's character has experience fighting. so if you take into account all that muscle memory (fighting reflexes, instincts, tricks, etc), it's believable.

also, there were many times when katniss won out against bigger, stronger opponents using her strategic skill (dropping the wasp nest, sticking the arrow into cato's hand so he'd let go of it) and that was believable, too. unless these two characters are fighting in a completely empty room, it's possible there's something she could use to her advantage if it came to that.

lol, i'm not trying to to all Rabid Hunger Games Fan on you. but sometimes it helps to study another case where something "worked." (for example, if you were wondering about whether writing in omniscient third person could work, people would certainly tell you to read lots of books written in omnisicent third.)

skylark
06-20-2011, 12:13 AM
The holding-down thing's also going to depend on technique. Does he actually know how to hold her down, or is he just relying on strength and weight? Because if he isn't actually doing it right, she may still have the upper hand if she's highly trained in grappling techniques.

I think what I'm saying is that you could make either plausible. He gets her on the floor and subdues her with his superior weight and strength...or he gets her on the floor and she simply flips round and reverses their positions.

backslashbaby
06-20-2011, 12:56 AM
There are all kinds of combinations that could work, imho. Training is obviously a huge one.

For the size thing, let me give you an example that may help. If we are just taking 2 individuals, 1 male and 1 female, the overall trends can be erased if you like. My brother is taller than me, but I have more muscle mass. Usually this is the other way around, of course, but I have a high level of androgens whereas he grows that thin, lanky kind of muscle for whatever reason. It drives him crazy, lol.

OTOH, he can kick my ass. He's taken years of Kung Fu. He took it so that he could kick ass even though he doesn't build big muscle.

If you are talking about a situation where they pick the best of the best of each gender, then gender differences will obviously really matter. They wouldn't pick my brother for something where you need bulky muscle.

But can a female build muscle similar to a male? Maybe not similar to a male who builds huge, bulky muscles, but how women build muscle is a continuum, too. Some women have higher male hormones. Some men have lower amounts of these.

Of course, things like body hair patterns start to change, too, so you might not want to go crazy with that if you use it, lol.

Goldenleaves
06-20-2011, 01:02 AM
Depends who's the craziest.

rugcat
06-20-2011, 01:12 AM
As a general rule in fighting, bigger people (especially men) are slower and less agile. Smaller people (read: women) have less physical strength but are usually much quicker. That speed makes a lot of difference - I used to spar off against big men (I'm five foot nothin') and I could get a shot in on target before they finished taking a step forward.Depends of the size and strength difference as well as training .

For example, a professional lightweight boxer will take out a very much larger untrained opponent in a fight.

But the world champion lightweight has no chance whatsoever against any average professional heavyweight.

Amadan
06-20-2011, 01:52 AM
my point was that katniss was a trained fighter. largely self-trained (and a little by her father, before he died), but she had a great deal of experience and skill with a bow. same as this person's character has experience fighting. so if you take into account all that muscle memory (fighting reflexes, instincts, tricks, etc), it's believable.

also, there were many times when katniss won out against bigger, stronger opponents using her strategic skill (dropping the wasp nest, sticking the arrow into cato's hand so he'd let go of it) and that was believable, too. unless these two characters are fighting in a completely empty room, it's possible there's something she could use to her advantage if it came to that.

lol, i'm not trying to to all Rabid Hunger Games Fan on you. but sometimes it helps to study another case where something "worked." (for example, if you were wondering about whether writing in omniscient third person could work, people would certainly tell you to read lots of books written in omnisicent third.)


Yeah but...

1. Hunger Games is fiction, and not realistic. Citing Hunger Games as evidence of anything but a type of a story is kind of silly. (Also, Katniss wasn't a trained fighter. She was a trained hunter. She knew how to use a bow. That's not combat experience.)

2. The OP is about a physical contest where strength matters. If you've got weapons (especially ranged weapons) you're no longer talking about a purely physical contest and of course the equation changes radically.

senka
06-20-2011, 02:56 AM
"All things being equal - which is faster, a jeep or a corvette?" - These sorts of scenarios are a set up for failure. You can't make 'all things equal' because you have two different vehicles. (...)
"All things being equal" - the outcome is nothing happens. A perfect blow is met with a perfect block or slip. A perfect counter strike is met with a perfect duck and counter punch - which is met with the perfect avoidance. "It's a perfect dance, until someone makes a mistake, and is hit." - The person who is hit - has made a mistake.
You can't make people 'equal' because they are individuals. They think and react differently, they have different mindsets in a fight.What I meant with "equal" is equal starting conditions which is why I wrote down the examples in brackets. This means: Both are healthy both have had a fairly equal amount of sleep, food supply, physical exhaustion and so on before they start to fight (which is because they actually travelled together). I wrote this because I didn't want people to answer things like "Well, it depends if the man hasn't eaten and slept for three days and ran a marathon just before the fight he might probably loose" or "If the woman just had ten cheeseburgers with five beers she will loose because she's gonna throw up on his shoes after the first punch".
That's all about the equal-thing.

By the way, thanks for your many answers so far. It really helps to figure something out.

debirlfan
06-20-2011, 02:58 AM
Remember, too, that us girls tend to fight dirty. :) We bite, we kick, we pull hair and we gouge with our nails. Not that guys -can't- fight that way, but most of them just seem to think they can overpower their foe and they -don't- fight that way.

ironmikezero
06-20-2011, 04:56 AM
Whoever delivers the maiming/disabling/killing blow first wins. There are no rules. It's not a sport, game, or contest - it's survival. Keep the tension that high in every fight scene and you'll have your readers by the throats.

AmsterdamAssassin
06-20-2011, 11:30 AM
But the world champion lightweight has no chance whatsoever against any average professional heavyweight.

In a competition fight.

In a no-holds-barred-no-rules fight... I put my money on the one who wants to survive.

Psychomacologist
06-20-2011, 05:47 PM
In a competition fight.

In a no-holds-barred-no-rules fight... I put my money on the one who wants to survive.
I've seen a five-foot-five lightweight guy draw blood from a six-foot-six instructer who's built like a brick outhouse. They were sparring in class without gloves. The little guy was quick enough to get through the big guy's guard.

It really just comes down to who's the most vicious. And that's usually the one who wants to survive at all costs.

AmsterdamAssassin
06-20-2011, 06:04 PM
It really just comes down to who's the most vicious. And that's usually the one who wants to survive at all costs.

Like I said before:


You're asking two different things: all things being equal, men have more muscular mass and will be physically stronger. However, in a fight other qualities are more important than pure physical strength. Technique, mental attitude, and ferocity count for much more than strength.

I've known quite a lot of little feckers who could intimidate bigger guys. As it happens, I myself am almost 1.90 meters, and I've had some bigger guys back down just because I stared at them.

If an opponent perceives you to be an absolute nutter, they will either shoot you down like a rabid dog or back down.

And that is without a fight.

If it comes to fighting, I only have one goal: the other person ends up bleeding on the floor, not me. I don't fight for sport. That's not fighting, that's playing. If I fight, I'll use anything I can get my hands on to get an advantage and I never ever underestimate someone.

Last time I underestimated someone, my four-year-old got me in the nutsack. :)

glutton
06-20-2011, 07:28 PM
"If the woman just had ten cheeseburgers with five fifteen beers she will loose because she's gonna throw up on his shoes after the first punch".

The woman can still win if she weighs 350 pounds. :D

thebloodfiend
06-20-2011, 08:41 PM
Big muscles don't necessarily mean strength either. Body builders might look like they're really strong, but they build for the visual appearance of strength, not for actual strength.

Take my stringy, kind of short taekwondo teacher. He might not look it, but he could kick some ass. All the strength in the world wouldn't help you defeat someone trained in judo.

Also, men and women have different centers of balance. For men, it's in the upper body. For women, it's the lower body.

I know this is probably useless repetition of what other people have already said, but it really depends on your characters.

Of course, this is all without weapons. Bring a gun into a fight, and a trained ten-year-old could defeat a martial arts master with no gun experience.

Amadan
06-20-2011, 08:54 PM
Big muscles don't necessarily mean strength either. Body builders might look like they're really strong, but they build for the visual appearance of strength, not for actual strength.


That's not entirely true. There's no such thing as "decorative muscles."

It is true that a bodybuilder, with his balloon-like steroid-enhanced physique, won't actually be as strong as a professional weightlifter, who exercises for strength, not size, and may well have a layer of fat and a pot belly over his muscles. But bodybuilders still have to do a lot of pumping iron to get those muscles, even with help from steroids.

thebloodfiend
06-20-2011, 08:59 PM
That's not entirely true. There's no such thing as "decorative muscles."

It is true that a bodybuilder, with his balloon-like steroid-enhanced physique, won't actually be as strong as a professional weightlifter, who exercises for strength, not size, and may well have a layer of fat and a pot belly over his muscles. But bodybuilders still have to do a lot of pumping iron to get those muscles, even with help from steroids.

Of course. But the point is that they aren't building for the same type of strength. They want the visual appearance of huge arms and abs. They don't necessarily train to lift weights in an sporting event. I never said that they weren't strong, just that visual muscles don't always indicate strength.

AmsterdamAssassin
06-20-2011, 09:26 PM
Raw power is useless in a fight. Focused power is much more decisive. I've tangled with body builders, and I didn't need strength, mass or weight to best them. Body building is decorative, no matter your personal opinion. A body builder wants to look good. A fighter couldn't give a damn.

Amadan
06-20-2011, 09:51 PM
Raw power is useless in a fight. Focused power is much more decisive. I've tangled with body builders, and I didn't need strength, mass or weight to best them. Body building is decorative, no matter your personal opinion. A body builder wants to look good. A fighter couldn't give a damn.


Yeah, dude, look, I get that you are Billy Bad-Ass with eyes of steel and a stone-cold killer's heart and you shit wolverines, but you keep missing the point.

"Well, superior strength is an advantage..."
"Oh yeah? Well what if you stab him with a paper-holder? What if you intimidate him with your Bushido Stare?"

Yeah, someone with martial arts training will beat a bodybuilder with no training and bigger muscles. Duh. But absent superior training (or a killer instinct honed for survival on the wild, bloody streets of Amsterdam), bigger/stronger guy usually wins.

AmsterdamAssassin
06-20-2011, 10:22 PM
Yeah, dude, look, I get that you are Billy Bad-Ass with eyes of steel and a stone-cold killer's heart and you shit wolverines, but you keep missing the point.

ROFL. I shit rabid hamsters, but you're quite close to the mark. And I'm sorry if I got your goat by making derogatory remarks about the useless muscles on body builders. I had no idea you liked admiring your pumped up physique in the mirror.


But absent superior training (or a killer instinct honed for survival on the wild, bloody streets of Amsterdam), bigger/stronger guy usually wins.

So, Amadan, how many fights have you been in, that you can make this 'factual' assumption? Apart from big and strong not being a factor in a life-or-death fight, in fights experience makes the difference. And since big strong guys don't get into as many fights as smaller wiry guys, who learned from their experience not to pussy-foot around, make every punch count and know how to handle the adrenalin dump.

Amadan
06-20-2011, 10:29 PM
ROFL. I shit rabid hamsters, but you're quite close to the mark. And I'm sorry if I got your goat by making derogatory remarks about the useless muscles on body builders. I had no idea you liked admiring your pumped up physique in the mirror.

I'm not a bodybuilder. In fact, I'm one of those small, mean guys you keep talking about.


So, Amadan, how many fights have you been in, that you can make this 'factual' assumption? Apart from big and strong not being a factor in a life-or-death fight, in fights experience makes the difference. And since big strong guys don't get into as many fights as smaller wiry guys, who learned from their experience not to pussy-foot around, make every punch count and know how to handle the adrenalin dump.

I've done martial arts off and on for a very long time. Your experience that small guys are more likely to get into fights than big guys does not jive with mine.

Obviously, experience makes the difference, but if you look at any martial arts competition between two people of roughly equal skill, the bigger, stronger person wins more often than not. Everyone loves underdog stories, but the little wiry guy only takes down the big bruiser if he's a lot better, or luckier.

WriteKnight
06-20-2011, 10:42 PM
So we all agree, the 'smarter' fighter wins... no? Smart in this context being superior spirit, knowledge and training. The ability to comprehend the strengths and weaknesses of your opponent, and exploit them immediately.

backslashbaby
06-20-2011, 10:46 PM
So we all agree, the 'smarter' fighter wins... no? Smart in this context being superior spirit, knowledge and training. The ability to comprehend the strengths and weaknesses of your opponent, and exploit them immediately.

In a street fight, yes, imho. That's the problem with sports ;) There are so many darned rules!

eta - I'm serious about the sports comparison, btw. If someone could use their superior strength, opponents will use tricky ways to balance the playing field in a street fight. In a competition, half the time those tricks aren't allowed. I do think it skews our view of how much strength alone matters.

AmsterdamAssassin
06-20-2011, 10:47 PM
I'm not a bodybuilder. In fact, I'm one of those small, mean guys you keep talking about.


Well, good for you. So, how did you get so mean, I mean, without getting into fights? Natural born cruelty? Or bullied a lot at school? That's how I got it. If anyone fucked with me in the school yard, I'd blindside them and bash their heads into the pavement. Sure, it would get me the nickname 'psycho', but after you get the rep, those bullies find other victims.


if you look at any martial arts competition between two people of roughly equal skill...

I thought we'd agreed NOT to consider any competition with rules, which rules out any boxing match or martial arts competition. I was talking about a fight. And with a fight, I mean combat. Not martial artists facing off in a well-lit sports hall with onlookers and a referee, but a dimly-lit alley with a guy who will break your kneecaps if you don't first punch his trachea into mush.

AmsterdamAssassin
06-20-2011, 10:51 PM
So we all agree, the 'smarter' fighter wins... no? Smart in this context being superior spirit, knowledge and training. The ability to comprehend the strengths and weaknesses of your opponent, and exploit them immediately.

Exactly.

No scruples and ferocious viciousness will win over brawn and muscles. And I'd like to emphasize the last bit of your quote: "Exploit them immediately", which means without any hesitation.

Amadan
06-20-2011, 10:59 PM
Well, good for you. So, how did you get so mean, I mean, without getting into fights? Natural born cruelty? Or bullied a lot at school? That's how I got it. If anyone fucked with me in the school yard, I'd blindside them and bash their heads into the pavement. Sure, it would get me the nickname 'psycho', but after you get the rep, those bullies find other victims.

I thought we'd agreed NOT to consider any competition with rules, which rules out any boxing match or martial arts competition. I was talking about a fight. And with a fight, I mean combat. Not martial artists facing off in a well-lit sports hall with onlookers and a referee, but a dimly-lit alley with a guy who will break your kneecaps if you don't first punch his trachea into mush.

If gladiatorial death matches with no referees and no rules whatsoever were legal, do you think you wouldn't still see the bigger, stronger guys winning more often than not?

Ruthlessness and viciousness works as well for the bigger, stronger guy as for the smaller guy, and thus preserves the natural advantage of strength.

Your personal experience may be that smaller guys are always meaner and more experienced fighters and bigger guys have coasted through life on their intimidating presence, and that is certainly true for some individuals, but I don't think it's accurate as a general statement.

AmsterdamAssassin
06-20-2011, 11:10 PM
If gladiatorial death matches with no referees and no rules whatsoever were legal, do you think you wouldn't still see the bigger, stronger guys winning more often than not?

The closest you can get, legally, were the cage fights and MMA matches. Who won? Gracie, the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu guy. And not because he was bigger and stronger, but because he was trained how to use someone's strength against him and attack on that which cannot be strengthened - using the body's biomechanical weaknesses.

Gladiators also had weapons, but even without weapons, it wasn't always the bigger and stronger guys who won, but the smartest fighters. Brawn is nice, brains is better. Strength is fine, viciousness is better.

It's in the will to survive. That's also why experienced martial artists can suddenly be defeated by non-MA people who just managed, in their fear and panic, to do something unexpected.

In regards to the OP question, a woman can best as stronger man, if she is resourceful and willing to do anything to survive.

Soccer Mom
06-20-2011, 11:16 PM
Enough with the personal sniping. I don't care who is the bigger badass. In this realm, the mod with ban button wins.

Just play nice and address the OP, not one another.

backslashbaby
06-20-2011, 11:38 PM
Unless I'm missing something about the biomechanics, which is entirely possible, I'd be afraid of the stronger guy who also knows every trick in the book, yeah.

Now if there is something about strength that correlates with less speed, etc, even when experience and technique are the same, I could buy that.

But even if she's meeting up with a skilled opponent, you could write her to know more tricks, you know? There's skilled and then there's amazingly skilled.

Or, if he needs to win, make him know all the tricks and be stronger/faster.

Either way could make sense, imho.

AmsterdamAssassin
06-20-2011, 11:46 PM
A lot has to do with the mental attitude. If you take an SAS/Navy Seal type of soldier, and you square him against a bigger stronger opponent who has martial arts skills, the soldier will think differently from the martial artist.

If a woman is combat trained, like female soldiers from the Israelian army, and you let her fight with a European body builder, the body builder gets creamed.

So if you can write that into your female character, she can definitely kick male butts.

WriteKnight
06-20-2011, 11:47 PM
When I write a fight scene in fiction I try to show the 'fatal decision' - depending on which 'head' I'm in. What choice did the victor make or the vanquished, that led to the killing action?

In a screenplay - where we don't get to be inside the actor's head - it's all about SHOWING the decision. What advantage does the victor exploit? What is the flaw that leads to the vanquished's defeat? How doe we see that the outcome was determined by that choice?

By the way - interesting article today about a Gladiator's headstone deciphered. Seems that even in 'life and death' gladiatorial combats - there was a referee. "Screwed by the refs" has a different connotation, no?

http://www.livescience.com/14650-roman-gladiator-tombstone-epitaph.html (http://www.livescience.com/14650-roman-gladiator-tombstone-
epitaph.html)

he tombstone was donated to the Musee du Cinquanternaire in Brussels, Belgium, shortly before World War I. It shows an image of a gladiator holding what appear to be two swords, standing above his opponent who is signalling his surrender. The inscription says that the stone marks the spot where a man named Diodorus is buried.

"After breaking my opponent Demetrius I did not kill him immediately," reads the epitaph. "Fate and the cunning treachery of the summa rudis killed me."

The summa rudis is a referee, who may have had past experience as a gladiator.

Vaguely Piratical
06-21-2011, 12:42 AM
Why does everyone think larger people are slower than smaller people? I'm talking larger with muscle, not being over weight.

Muscle is what allows you to move . Longer limbs increase your reach and your stride. As long as the person works out properly and includes proper stretching in there routine more muscle mass provides more speed.

I'm not saying that a body builder is going to be faster than a runner because they have more muscle mass. There is a point of diminished returns, and ten extra pounds of neck and arm muscle aren't going to make you run faster. But more well conditioned muscle mass in a muscle group makes that muscle group function faster and better. Stronger legs run faster, stronger arms punch faster.

Smaller people who have better reaction times than bigger people don't have it because their small frame makes them quicker. In a fight it's about processing information and reacting faster, which is a cognitive advantage. Or as everyone was saying, the smarter opponent wins.

If the smaller opponent does not have the advantage of vastly superior training, experience, or a much quicker reaction time (which does not come standard) the bigger, stronger opponent has a strong advantage. They will probably win.

alleycat
06-21-2011, 01:02 AM
Enough with the personal sniping. I don't care who is the bigger badass. In this realm, the mod with ban button wins.

Just play nice and address the OP, not one another.

Hey, you can't say that!

:-)

Soccer Mom is right. You can disagree and have different opinions, but it's generally better to do it as you would with a close friend you are having a drink with. Okay, that may not be the best analogy, but you get the point.

Just tone down the emotions a bit is all we ask.

thebloodfiend
06-21-2011, 01:14 AM
But let us not forget this.

The guy with the gun will probably beat the gunless, red belted, katana holding, buffed out ninja. Situations and weapons determine everything.

If you have long nails, you could claw out your opponent's eyes. If a guy isn't wearing a jock strap, you could kick him in the groin. If you're the average woman (or man), protecting yourself from a rapist, mace might just give you the advantage. There are so many different variables that go into fights besides strength, experience, and intelligence.

What if you're both in the desert (equal strength, intelligence) but one of you has been trained to resist the heat and wind?

What if you're in a cage fight and one of you hasn't been trained to ignore the trash talk from the side?

I've no doubt that a stronger opponent could win in an equal fight. But I don't agree that someone bigger could. Bigger how? Wide and tall? Tall and thin? Short and wide?

AmsterdamAssassin
06-21-2011, 01:19 AM
You can disagree and have different opinions, but it's generally better to do it as you would with a close friend you are having a drink with. Okay, that may not be the best analogy, but you get the point.

Anything I said to Amadan, I would've told him over a beer, while I held him close and burped in his ear. I think he knows that, if he ever comes over to Amsterdam, I will offer him some doobie and show him the mean streets. I may chain him naked to a lamppost, but I do that to all my close friends.

Amadan
06-21-2011, 01:28 AM
Anything I said to Amadan, I would've told him over a beer, while I held him close and burped in his ear. I think he knows that, if he ever comes over to Amsterdam, I will offer him some doobie and show him the mean streets. I may chain him naked to a lamppost, but I do that to all my close friends.

You make it sound so tempting. :P

Seriously, I didn't think either of us were being emotional.

alleycat
06-21-2011, 01:34 AM
Great then.

Have a drink!

Invite the moderators.

senka
06-21-2011, 06:04 PM
Lol. I hadn't expected to read so much about fighting here. Well, there will a few fights during the story and she's a MC so everything I found here is helpful. I just needed to know what could be possible to avoid letting her do something ridiculously unrealistic. She has learned enough tricks and has a lot of experience, is more than ready to fight dirty and would claw and bite and scratch eyes out and she doesn't care about killing or mutilating her opponents. So I guess I can let her go and kick ass.


The woman can still win if she weighs 350 pounds. :D
Mwahaha. Rolling over him and crushing him to death?
Well, seriously, such things have happened in reality! A few years ago they sued a woman who was living in a town not far away from me cause she had just sat down on her boyfriend when she got mad at him. He nearly died.

backslashbaby
06-21-2011, 11:38 PM
I saw a 'true video' show where a cop was trying to arrest a guy, and the guy was beating her up and trying to grab her weapon. This big girl nearby (a very big girl!) saw what was up and just basically sat on the dude, yeah.

Hey, it worked!

Fade
06-22-2011, 12:08 AM
I expected she'd be able to beat the normal guy and might have problems with the trained guy, though.
But what about holding her down? That's when only physical strength matters, right? I mean, assuming she is pinned to the ground or the man is already holding her while both are still standing... what about "normal guy" and "trained guy" then? I guess she'd certainly not beat the trained one in that case, but what about the normal one?

Actually, there are still techniques you can use when you're on the floor/held down by someone. (sorry if someone else mentioned this, didn't read the whole thread).

If he's holding down her arms down while sitting on her stomach, she can yank her arms toward her body (sorry if the mental image is hard to get; I'm having a hard time describing it) while bucking her hips to toss her off. Of course, she still is at a disadvantage because physical strenght still counts for more on the ground, but there are still ways to escape.


Skylark:
The holding-down thing's also going to depend on technique. Does he actually know how to hold her down, or is he just relying on strength and weight? Because if he isn't actually doing it right, she may still have the upper hand if she's highly trained in grappling techniques.


Aha! That's what I was trying to say, only a thousand times less awkward.

Also, don't have her hit bigger guys straight in the stomach. Have her hit them in places where they're vulnerable, like their faces (palm heel to the nose, split finger eye-strike to the eyes), or their ears (bear hand to the ears can disorient someone and possibly pop their ear drums)


AmsterdamAssassin:
If you replace the bold part with 'punches him in the throat', and you do some serious damage. A karate-chop in the neck depends for effect on the muscles in the neck protecting the carotid artery. The throat cannot be protected by building up muscles, so it's a vulnerable spot in every human being, trained or not.

Or, as AmsterdamAssasin said, punch him in the throat. Continuing with the fighting mean trend: kick him in the side of the knee. If he grabs her, have her hit a pressure point while she tries to escape.

And I think I've exhausted all of the nasty things I can think of to do to people.

Amadan
06-22-2011, 12:26 AM
Meanness is certainly a factor. One of the reasons why fights between kids are usually relatively bloodless is that even bullies usually aren't hardened enough to throw punches that will really do damage. At that age, a smaller meaner kid who is actually willing to punch someone in the throat, jab fingers into the eyes with real force, or grab balls and twist, will be terrifying and can probably fight off a larger bully (and then be sent for a psych evaluation...). Most kids would balk at that level of extreme violence -- so would most adults.

However, I maintain that if you've got two opponents equally willing to seriously hurt each other, and with roughly equal levels of training, the bigger, stronger one wins.

AmsterdamAssassin
06-22-2011, 12:32 AM
At that age, a smaller meaner kid who is actually willing to punch someone in the throat, jab fingers into the eyes with real force, or grab balls and twist, will be terrifying and can probably fight off a larger bully (and then be sent for a psych evaluation...).

Stop looking at me.

JohnLine
06-22-2011, 11:01 AM
This sounds like an interesting character point. You should have her think about this throughout the book. Each fight could examine how she nullifies her attacker's advantages. Also be sure to check out Fight Quest's "Krav Maga" episode. There's a woman on that show that matches your description and seems good at beating the tar out of men.

She's on the last half of this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EyaK5thQii0

If I were writing it, I'd build up to a plot point where she faces a man she can't beat in hand to hand, none of her tactics work, and then she has to figure out another way past him. (Get the police on him or outrun him to some tactical objective, or maybe he's a hired goon and she robs his employer so he doesn't get paid and quits.)

tim290280
06-25-2011, 03:29 PM
Having read through this thread I'm a little surprised by the responses. Ask yourself the question: why are their weight divisions in every combat sport?

If there is any rule in fighting it is that the bigger person wins. This is especially true the longer the fight lasts. The bigger opponent can weather more blows, has more weight behind blows and has a larger strike zone (hard to keep away from). The more skills the smaller fighter has the less impact the size difference has, but it doesn't level the playing field in a longer fight.
A great example is seen in the Shamrock and Gracie (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ken_Shamrock#First_UFC_rivalry:_Ken_Shamrock_vs_Ro yce_Gracie) UFC fights. Gracie got pounded in UFC5 because he was smaller, despite being the far more skilled fighter.

The next factor is sex. Take two people of similar height and the man will be carrying more muscle, strength and bone thickness/density. This is why men who are skinny will weigh more than women who look bigger. So the man has the advantage.

The real difference will come in how quickly the female fighter can take any advantage away from their opponent. Even then, if someone is squared off for a fight, the bigger guy will win most times. If the woman takes the lead and stuns someone not ready or thinking of fighting then she can win easily. This is the advantage of the aggressor.

I've read a few hand-to-hand combat books - Krav Maga, Write the Fight Right, How to Kill, etc, etc - and it is worth reading some. Hollywood is rife with rubbish on fighting.

AmsterdamAssassin
06-25-2011, 04:39 PM
Having read through this thread I'm a little surprised by the responses. Ask yourself the question: why are their weight divisions in every combat sport?

There is no such thing as combat sport. There's sport and martial arts, with competitions, and there is combat.
In combat, there are no weight divisions. Nobody will stand on a battlefield and say, 'hey, this soldier only weighs 120 pounds, he should have an opponent of similar weight'.

And it's not a matter of semantics: anything that has rules, like 'you're not allowed to gouge out eyeballs', is a sport. Combat has no rules. That's why combat is not a sport and why it doesn't matter if you're big and strong, your trachea will splinter just as fast and your eyeballs won't be able to deflect thumbs.

Please do not equate reading hand-to-hand combat books with being in a combat situation. If you've seen combat, you wouldn't make assumptions that assume any form of fairness in fighting.

Amy LaBonte
06-25-2011, 04:43 PM
As my kung fu teacher always told us, if you can avoid a fight, do so. Run like hell. If you can't avoid a fight pick up the first object you see and use it as your weapon. This gives you a bit of an advantage. Especially for a woman. A woman who has been well-trained in defensive real fighting WILL be able to incapacitate her opponent if he has had no equally intensive training. In addition a very well-trained fighter knows a few tricks and can incapacitate an opponent with a couple of moves. The guy never knows what hit him. So it's up to you. Do you want her to de-activate him or not? In a protracted fight, the man is more likely to win since he has more physical strength.

tim290280
06-26-2011, 10:11 AM
There is no such thing as combat sport. There's sport and martial arts, with competitions, and there is combat.
In combat, there are no weight divisions. Nobody will stand on a battlefield and say, 'hey, this soldier only weighs 120 pounds, he should have an opponent of similar weight'.

And it's not a matter of semantics: anything that has rules, like 'you're not allowed to gouge out eyeballs', is a sport. Combat has no rules. That's why combat is not a sport and why it doesn't matter if you're big and strong, your trachea will splinter just as fast and your eyeballs won't be able to deflect thumbs.

Please do not equate reading hand-to-hand combat books with being in a combat situation. If you've seen combat, you wouldn't make assumptions that assume any form of fairness in fighting.
I'm sorry you don't agree with the terminology used, but that wasn't my point, merely the most easily interpretable wording.

I agree that you should never underestimate your opponent, but in general a smaller opponent is at a huge disadvantage due to the force they can deliver, the force they can absorb and the strike zone they can use. I've been hit in the trachea and I was still up and about (having trouble breathing and it took ages to recover) because the opponent was much lighter than me and despite the direct hit was only delivering a stunning blow.

The reason I recommended the books was that, as you point out, people assume some sort of egalitarian fighting and that a smaller opponent isn't at a huge disadvantage. I would also recommend going and picking some fights as part of writing research, but most people wouldn't enjoy the hospital or coffin time. If you are fighting for your life then the only rule is survive and the bigger person has much more in the armoury.

AmsterdamAssassin
06-26-2011, 01:30 PM
I'm sorry you don't agree with the terminology used, but that wasn't my point, merely the most easily interpretable wording.

The reason I rail against it here, is because we are writers and thus the correct terminology is important.
Sport is sport.
Combat is combat.

Someone who has been in combat, knows it's not sport. Not about who weighs how much and how strong they are. You use your strong points and try to hide your weaknesses.


I agree that you should never underestimate your opponent, but in general a smaller opponent is at a huge disadvantage due to the force they can deliver, the force they can absorb and the strike zone they can use.

Of course someone who isn't strong is at a disadvantage when strength is important. However, my experience is that in real fights [no rules, no audience], strength is not half as important as being determined and ferocious.


I've been hit in the trachea and I was still up and about (having trouble breathing and it took ages to recover) because the opponent was much lighter than me and despite the direct hit was only delivering a stunning blow.

If you're standing after a direct hit in the trachea, the person who delivered the blow didn't know how to hit. I invite everyone reading this to push their knuckles into their trachea. It doesn't take tremendous force to make painful. A blow to this area will be debilitating.
Like I said before, if someone knows how to fight, the punch into the weak area doesn't need strength, just focus.

Most people don't know how to fight. Most punches I've seen thrown have no real force behind them, not because the puncher lacked strength, but because their technique sucked.


The reason I recommended the books was that, as you point out, people assume some sort of egalitarian fighting and that a smaller opponent isn't at a huge disadvantage. I would also recommend going and picking some fights as part of writing research, but most people wouldn't enjoy the hospital or coffin time. If you are fighting for your life then the only rule is survive and the bigger person has much more in the armoury.

A smaller person is at a disadvantage in a fight where everything is equal, but that rarely happens. If someone is about to rape and kill someone, and the victim knows it, the victim's survival instinct is a distinct advantage over the rapist's need to rape and kill. Catch my drift? It's rare for two people to be fighting for survival. Most of the time, one person instigates the fight, and the other, often weaker person, is trying to survive. If their will to survive is strong, it can easily overcome the strength of the agressor.

tim290280
06-26-2011, 08:26 PM
Ok I'll bite.

The reason I rail against it here, is because we are writers and thus the correct terminology is important.
Sport is sport.
Combat is combat.

Someone who has been in combat, knows it's not sport. Not about who weighs how much and how strong they are. You use your strong points and try to hide your weaknesses.
In writing the goal is to be as specific as necessary for an audience who may or may not be familiar with the topic you are writing about. Since combat is French for fight and typically defined as violent conflict, people will understand the terminology. Combat sport evokes the correct visual image, as opposed to martial art or some other term.


Of course someone who isn't strong is at a disadvantage when strength is important. However, my experience is that in real fights [no rules, no audience], strength is not half as important as being determined and ferocious.Yes being determined, etc, is adventitious. But strength and size are still a huge advantage, which was something other posters were ignoring. All of these points would have to be considered by the writer, another reason I recommended "Write the Fight Right".


If you're standing after a direct hit in the trachea, the person who delivered the blow didn't know how to hit. I invite everyone reading this to push their knuckles into their trachea. It doesn't take tremendous force to make painful. A blow to this area will be debilitating.35kg of force to crush the trachea. Not much. I've been hit there 3 times. Each time flinching or reacting was enough to limit the damage. Most anyone will flinch at least.


Like I said before, if someone knows how to fight, the punch into the weak area doesn't need strength, just focus.If you catch them off-guard and every other caveat you want to throw into that statement.


Most people don't know how to fight. Most punches I've seen thrown have no real force behind them, not because the puncher lacked strength, but because their technique sucked.This has very little to do with the TS's original question nor my response. The assumption was someone who was female and a good fighter against someone who was possibly familiar with fighting but not active.


A smaller person is at a disadvantage in a fight where everything is equal, but that rarely happens. If someone is about to rape and kill someone, and the victim knows it, the victim's survival instinct is a distinct advantage over the rapist's need to rape and kill. Catch my drift? It's rare for two people to be fighting for survival. Most of the time, one person instigates the fight, and the other, often weaker person, is trying to survive. If their will to survive is strong, it can easily overcome the strength of the agressor.That explains how the rape victims are always able to fight off attackers, they clearly wanted to be raped:Shrug:

mirandashell
06-26-2011, 09:19 PM
Ok.... I think a mod should step in here right now. That last sentence was more than enough.

thebloodfiend
06-26-2011, 09:31 PM
Ok.... I think a mod should step in here right now. That last sentence was more than enough.

........... yeah. I think the OP's question was already answered. This is going somewhere I don't think they intended it to go.

alleycat
06-26-2011, 09:31 PM
I had to read the sentence in question twice; but I think I get the poster's real meaning.

I hate to close a thread if there is real information being conveyed or serious debate, even if there is an occasional oddball or insensitive post. Frankly, I haven't read every post in this thread and don't want to.

I'll leave the thread open for now, with the caveat that it might have just about run its course.

skylark
06-27-2011, 12:50 AM
(sticks head up a little nervously)

I think one thing which hasn't been mentioned and which might be useful to the OP is that some men have a real thing about hitting women. It's something they Would Not Do. That might be all a woman who would normally lose would need - a man who hesitates when it matters.

Has the OP ever said who he/she needs to win the fight? Because I think the answer is "it could plausibly be either, with the given parameters."

AmsterdamAssassin
06-27-2011, 01:28 AM
some men have a real thing about hitting women. It's something they Would Not Do. That might be all a woman who would normally lose would need - a man who hesitates when it matters.

That is a good point - it's also something I use in my novels, since my assassin is a female, so she can use this to her advantage.

Another thing that's noteworthy in this aspect, because I do research for my assassin character, is that I've read two interesting books on the role of female violence. One is a book called When She Was Bad, about female criminals and how they're treated in society; the other is Shoot The Women First, about female terrorists in the RAF, Hezbollah, Red Brigades...
The second book gets its title from an admonition by an anti-terrorist instructor who notes that female terrorists are much more dangerous than their male counterparts.
Both very interesting books that shed a whole different light on female violence.

blackrose602
06-27-2011, 03:49 AM
Finished the whole thread, and I would like to add one small consideration. There's been a lot of discussion about how the smartest combatant usually wins. Another aspect is that the one who remains calm and collected will generally win.

I'm female, 5'5, barely 100 lbs. I've worked extensively on residential mental health wards, and I've gone through nearly every variant of Aggression Control Training offered since 1994. The point of the training is that actively psychotic people are sometimes prone to outbreaks of violence. They can also be up to four times stronger than they would be normally, and they can lose their usual sense of self-preservation, going into a blind fighting rage with no thoughts of possible injury to themselves. The goal is obviously not to win the fight, but to subdue and control the person until he/she either gets it back together or gets transported to the hospital.

It's all based on leverage, timing, and most importantly, the ability to stay calm and focused. In the most memorable training class, I had to do a full takedown--immobilized on the floor, then into five point restraints--on my instructor. He was about 6' tall and built like a freaking tank, and was fighting full out. At the time it seemed like overkill, but boy was I glad to have had it when I had to deal with a schizophrenic client, off his meds, who had already slit both arms lengthwise and was brandishing the knife in my direction. That's just one small example of the innumerable times I've used my training in work situations. I'm not naive enough to think I could never be overpowered, but thankfully I never have been. I've used my training in the real world too, when I was mugged by two guys.

I think the female would definitely overpower the desk jockey. Fighting the equally trained male? It really comes down to focus, ability to think under pressure, and ability to remain calm. Just my two cents.

AmsterdamAssassin
06-27-2011, 10:41 AM
Finished the whole thread, and I would like to add one small consideration. There's been a lot of discussion about how the smartest combatant usually wins. Another aspect is that the one who remains calm and collected will generally win.

I'm female, 5'5, barely 100 lbs. I've worked extensively on residential mental health wards, and I've gone through nearly every variant of Aggression Control Training offered since 1994. The point of the training is that actively psychotic people are sometimes prone to outbreaks of violence. They can also be up to four times stronger than they would be normally, and they can lose their usual sense of self-preservation, going into a blind fighting rage with no thoughts of possible injury to themselves. The goal is obviously not to win the fight, but to subdue and control the person until he/she either gets it back together or gets transported to the hospital.

It's all based on leverage, timing, and most importantly, the ability to stay calm and focused. In the most memorable training class, I had to do a full takedown--immobilized on the floor, then into five point restraints--on my instructor. He was about 6' tall and built like a freaking tank, and was fighting full out. At the time it seemed like overkill, but boy was I glad to have had it when I had to deal with a schizophrenic client, off his meds, who had already slit both arms lengthwise and was brandishing the knife in my direction. That's just one small example of the innumerable times I've used my training in work situations. I'm not naive enough to think I could never be overpowered, but thankfully I never have been. I've used my training in the real world too, when I was mugged by two guys.

I think the female would definitely overpower the desk jockey. Fighting the equally trained male? It really comes down to focus, ability to think under pressure, and ability to remain calm. Just my two cents.

Great post. Rep points coming your way. Thanks for chiming in!

DrZoidberg
06-27-2011, 03:01 PM
My local gym (Delta) is famous for having many female bodybuilders working out there. Let's just say that I'm pretty well built but no way could I take down any of the elite ladies. I haven't tried, but knowing what they can do is enough to deter me.

Amy LaBonte
06-27-2011, 10:43 PM
blackrose602, exactly. In a protracted fight where the opponent isn't a crazy but instead a skilled fighter, it could be a different story. Unless she's a walking death machine. Which is possible. She'd have to have trained her whole life, starting in childhood.

blackrose602
06-28-2011, 04:13 AM
Amy, most definitely. I'd buy it either way in the fight with the trained opponent, either one besting the other, as long as it was well-written and realistic. OP, I vote that you write the scene the way you think is best and put in a bit about the loser's fatal error or loss of focus or something.

senka
06-28-2011, 04:56 PM
Unless she's a walking death machine. Which is possible. She'd have to have trained her whole life, starting in childhood.

In fact, that's how it is. No education, no school, just training.



Amy, most definitely. I'd buy it either way in the fight with the trained opponent, either one besting the other, as long as it was well-written and realistic. OP, I vote that you write the scene the way you think is best and put in a bit about the loser's fatal error or loss of focus or something.
Thanks, I'd say that's what I'll do. I started this thread to learn what can happen at all and from all the different opinions and responses I got I know that there are a lot of possibilities.

Rowan
06-28-2011, 05:45 PM
I haven't read the entire thread, but to answer your OP:

I'm a female--former Marine and former federal agent. I'm just under 5'6" and I run/lift weights on a daily basis (have done so since I was a child). I guess you could say I'm athletic.

Female agents have to fight male agents during Academy and they were usually bigger than me but that doesn't mean they always "won." (A class of 50 usually only had 3-4 females.) I held my own and "won" on many occasions. It's not just about strength but skill, agility, speed, mindset (attitude), etc. (We had to box, grapple, participate in defensive tactics, etc.) Plus, if your MC is taking the guy by surprise, she's got the advantage.

And it bears pointing out that most people I had to arrest didn't come willingly. Quite the opposite!

Hope that helps!

ETA: Blackrose makes an excellent point that's paramount in LE training--you must keep your cool. And we're well-trained in taking down combative individuals who want nothing more than to squash you like a bug. You lose your cool and the training goes out the window. That's why we do it over and over again so it's instinct. During one exercise, I had to take down a guy who was well over 6' and built like a linebacker. I was successful. ;) In the Marine Corps the "mindset" is drilled into your head. Never give up, and never surrender. Kill or be killed. You go into a fight with a losing mindset and chances are you're going down.

Stoneghost
06-28-2011, 11:36 PM
As a martial artists and someone who has studies kinematics and biology I would like to led my support to theory espoused here that the woman would probably win in the scenario given. That is a reasonable event in a story that I would think twice about.

I would also like to address the debate, albeit an off topic debate, on the apparent contradiction of people with a lot of muscle mass being slower. They often are. Here is why. To build the bulk the body builders are after and that straight weight lifting gives you the muscle fibers will continually contract in length as the fiber builds. If it is not constantly stretched out when building muscle the muscle fibers will become shorter. Body builders wouldn't want to spend all their time stretching either since that would mitigate the appearance of bulk. As the muscle fibers reduce in length this ultimately effects the leveraging potential of the organ during rapid movements. Meaning that body builders face a reduction in the ability of their muscles to accelerate. Meaning they are actually slower than non-body builders.

You could train to build muscle bulk while maintaining your muscle fibers length to their maximum length. It would be difficult and ultimately when you develop enough you're going to have sacrifice the continual development of bulk or fiber length to develop the other towards its maximum.

In general it isn't that a man will automatically beat a women with "all things being equal", that is just the more likely outcome. Weapons are a big equalized, as the acceleration, pressure and impulse, gained through longer hard objects mitigates the component of mass in force and increased the probability that the thing being hit with the weapon is what will deform with respect to the force


The reason I rail against it here, is because we are writers and thus the correct terminology is important.
Sport is sport.
Combat is combat.


True, but combat sport is never the less a term.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Combat_sport

AmsterdamAssassin
06-29-2011, 01:53 AM
True, but combat sport is never the less a term.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Combat_sport

Seriously. You're quoting Wikipedia as a reliable source?

Must've disregarded the disclaimer at the top of the article:


http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/f/f4/Ambox_content.png

This article has multiple issues. Please help improve it (http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Combat_sport&action=edit) or discuss these issues on the talk page (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:Combat_sport).


It needs additional references or sources (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Citing_sources) for verification (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Verifiability). Tagged since April 2008.
It may contain original research (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:No_original_research) or unverifiable claims (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Verifiability). Tagged since April 2010.
It may require general cleanup (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Cleanup) to meet Wikipedia's quality standards (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Manual_of_Style). Tagged since April 2010.




It's very easy to discern between sport and combat.

Are you allowed to gouge out your opponent's eyes?
If no = sport
If yes = combat

Cath
06-29-2011, 04:10 AM
Enough with the personal sniping. I don't care who is the bigger badass. In this realm, the mod with ban button wins.

Just play nice and address the OP, not one another.

Bumping this since I think it bears repeating.

First rule around here is 'respect your fellow writer', and I will enforce it. Please keep your answers focused on the question, and stay away from the personal sniping or this thread will be closed.

AmsterdamAssassin
06-29-2011, 11:33 AM
I'm sorry, but I'm not 'sniping'. As writers, it's important that we use the right terminology, especially if it concerns confusing subjects.

I'm a practitioner of two martial arts and I realize that martial artists like to cloak the art in mystery, which causes misunderstandings to rise. I've also been in combat situations, and it's offensive to me to confuse combat with sport.

There are basically three different kinds of 'fighting':
- martial arts mostly combatives steeped in tradition [judo/karate], not always competitive [aikido].
- combatives, competitive fighting games, like boxing, grappling or wresting, or with fake weapon [fencing, kendo]
- combat, real fighting, often with weapons, such as war or street-fighting, no rules, no referee, often results in serious injuries, incapacitation or death.

Combatives are basically games where two people fight until one wins, with a referee and rules. Boxing, grappling, wrestling. It may look like fighting and, yes, people do get hurt, but the fight is stopped before someone is terminally injured or killed. If someone dies during combatives it's an accident, not on purpose.

To compare combat, which is fighting to the death or incapacitation, without rules or referee, to combatives or martial arts is insulting to people who've actually been in combat.

Also, if you want to do research, Wikipedia is a starting point, but it's rife with errors and cannot be used as reliable source.

I respect Stoneghost as a writer, but this is 'research forum', so if you make a statement, you should be able to back it up with experience or a reliable source, not wikipedia or google.

Cath
06-29-2011, 02:09 PM
Ok, locking this. PM me if you want to argue the point.