Click to Subscribe
▶  More from Modern Combat The Combat Space
Your Back Against the Wall
Fighting Applications for Pack-Backed Aggression

Hi James,

Thank you so much for your answer to the Question!

Since you said I could ask more, I am (and let me know if this is the best way to reach you. I looked at the site and didn't see the Link there).

A bit about me and why I read your book in the first place: I am in [deleted] and an inebriated, jealous girl in a bar late at night went to punch me as I was leaving. She had friends there, too. Here's my new Question: You mention in your book [Thriving in Bad Places] that we should NOT place our backs against the wall. I didn't do this, but I had that instinct BECAUSE SHE HAD FRIENDS THERE. My friend was nowhere to be found (of course!). I thought if I had my back against the wall, then her friends wouldn't have the opportunity to sneak up BEHIND me. So, is there ever a sound reason to actually put your back against the wall in a non-competition street fight situation?

Thanks again!


More about that bar "brawl": I look [deleted] very feminine, and I am sure that the girl who attacked me underestimated me. But, fortunately or not, since I was very young and going to school at [deleted] (among a lot of anti-white racists who openly said things to me like they were going to "kick my white ass", which never gets much mainstream press attention, of course!), I was more than once bullied and had to defend myself. So, this bar brawl girl, of course, didn't know any of that. And, as you say in your book, a person's hidden abilities can be advantageous. I will just say that when she went to punch me, at first, there was this look of snarky self-assurance in her eyes, and, by the end, that look had disappeared.

Here's my favorite line in your book, on page 149 of my copy: "The illusion that all people held the same basic values".


Points on Barroom Pack Aggression

Unlike school settings and mass transit situations, where Ladies of Color are almost guaranteed to pack attack a paleface woman, in a bar, there is immediate, implicit oversight by private ownership, usually well-equipped and motivated to stop escalating cat fights and quash pack attacks. Furthermore, where police and the law generally side with the pack against the individual, proprietors will tend to side with the individual and actually offer protection so long as they were defending, as this serves as a demonstration to all of the other mostly well-behaved patrons that they can party with an assurance that the owners will seek to keep them safe. This is very highly developed in places like Baltimore where men under 35 are not permitted into many bars, gang is attire banned, etc.

Therefore, your attacker was probably only able to count on her girls for encouragement, egress assistance, nursing, protection from overkill tactics like stomping and for lying to the police.

However, your instinct was well-founded and rules are made to be broken and behavior trends continue—especially among females—to spiral out of all predictability as our world goes insane.

Back to the Wall

At a bus stop, if you have a choice between sitting on a bench with walk behind space behind it and standing against the wall, you stand against the wall. The come-from-behind attack is the worst and I barely survived a few. Joanna, your instincts are good, so continue to trust them on these terms. Your hair might have been grabbed from behind while you were hit. You might have been pushed from behind to make it look like you were rushing your antagonist.

Having your back against the wall leaves you open to:

-clinching, including strangulation, biting, razor slicing your face, clawing & gouging

-takedowns, which must be avoided against men and groups

-pinning attacks, including push and stab

-wall smashes by huge dudes, possibly knocking your wind out

-and head smashes, bashing the back of your head against the wall, a deadly method used by larger women and vicious men

However, the worst thing is being taken from behind, so do seek a wall to your back against an individual backed by a skulking group.

Noting the wall smash danger, take the following precautions:

-A tree, pole, pillar or beam is your best back protection as it stalls come-from-behind attacks, but permits you to slide off and even use it as a barrier as you measure your chances. I recently used a tree for this against a pit-bull.

-The material of the wall matters. A brick wall is the worst, cinder block next worse, unless the block is painted. At 154 pounds, I survived a round against a painted block wall in a 3-ounce gloved fight against a cruiserweight, only because it was painted and I was able to slide.

The two things to consider are the friction of the wall and its hardness and density. Against a group or a goon, sliding against the wall as you guard or check with one hand and hit or assist with the defensive action with the other is ideal. The best wall to fight against is a polished wood wall or one with a brass rail which will facilitate sliding to the side.

-As with all survival action, training ahead of time makes it many times more effective.

Shadowbox while sliding against a wall.

Practice bouncing off the wall.

Practice falling into the wall [ring robes and tennis court fences are good for this] while exhaling and keeping your head forward, not letting it hit the wall as your shoulder blades take the impact.

At a boxing gym or MMA club or grappling school with roped, fenced or padded walls, you can practice this. I recommend practice grappling with your brother or father, coach or boyfriend up against a padded or polished wall. Ideally, you start back to the wall and slide while foiling his attempt to achieve contact with two hands or torso to torso contact and then turning out and leaving him against the wall. Watch video of Floyd Mayweather on YouTube sliding along the ropes and turning out of corners and off the ropes to place his opponent there in his vacated space.

You exit the wall by pulling away the leg that is under your opponent and turning that shoulder so the side deltoid is on the wall and the other shoulder is now next to him and powering the hand that is pressing off of his big shoulder, pushing him against the wall as you pull away. You are light on your feet, pushing yourself away more than shoving him, your push actually using the momentum of his forward pressure. I did this against the man you see me fighting in the video below when he pinned me against a wall in 2009, during a stick-fight, when he was 230 pounds heavier than me.

So you, young lady, can do it against some soy boy or heavy chevy POC wench.

Cory versus James with Machete and Shield

Sean & James, Goon Surfing Drill

Overall, in your training to strike or guard, do it all on the move like Charles and the washed up old goon in this video on the bag. Move with every countermeasure, constantly seeking to improve your position in The Combat Space.

The Fighting Edge


Being a Bad Man in a Worse World

Fighting Smart: Boxing, Agonistics & Survival

Twerps, Goons and Meatshields: The Basics of Full Contact Stick-Fighting

Add Comment
Sam J.April 23, 2018 3:04 AM UTC

Our groids ain't about shit.

Mexico murder rate soars with 7,667 killed in 3 months