Blooms in Adversity: howtofightwrite: kickassfanfic replied to your post: PSA: My Father’s…

Blooms in Adversity: howtofightwrite: kickassfanfic replied to your post: PSA: My Father’s…

kickassfanfic replied to your post: PSA: My Father’s Advice On Party Safety

So are dudes given the same party advice?
I think it depends on the parents. My dad died before he could pass this advice to my brother, so I don’t know. Boys are just as susceptible to drugs and peer pressure, so it’s probably good for both genders to keep in their backpocket.
All in all, I think it depends on their parents and their friends on what life advice they get.

PSA: My Father’s Advice On Party Safety

This is the advice my father gave me when I was eleven or twelve, when he walked in on me watching the party scene from the, very popular at the time, Freddy Prinz Jr. movie She’s All That. I remember it, mostly, because he died a year later and because it’s actually very good, practical advice. Now, in case you’re thinking: but I’m a nerd and unpopular, I’ll never go to parties in high school or college. Which was what I thought, by the way. Keep in mind that my dad was one of the nerdiest guys you’ll ever meet: A PhD chemist who developed rocket fuel for a living and was my gateway geek, introducing me to Star Wars, Jurassic Park, and all manner of fantasy books and gaming.

You never know where you’ll end up in life. So, it’s good to keep a weather eye out, male or female, to the ways folks will attempt to take advantage of you. So, here it is: “My Father’s Advice on Party Safety”

1) If you’re invited to a party (and even if you’re not) always bring a few friends (even if they’re not invited).

You always need someone to watch your back, know where you are and if you’re suddenly missing. Someone who is designated to take you home if things go awry. There’s safety in numbers and it will be more difficult for someone to pressure you if you are surrounded by those people who know you, who like you, and have a vested interest in nothing bad happening to you. These are people you will do the same for and who trust you, it’s good to bring more than one, because sometimes shit happens.

2) Always keep a beer can or a bottle in your hand, even if you’re not drinking it.

The presence of a drink already in your hands will make it more difficult for someone to pressure you into taking a drink they hand you, thus making it more difficult for someone to knowingly give you a drugged drink or a drink from the punchbowl that’s been spiked. The smaller openings in the beer can and bottle will make it more difficult for someone with drugs to slip them into your drink as opposed to a cup. You avoid feeling pressured to drink what someone’s given you with an easy refusal, because hey, you’re obviously already drinking something.

3) Never drink what anyone hands you, unless it’s an already sealed bottle or can. If you can, always get your drinks yourself.

There’s no shame in bringing your own liquor to a party and decanting it into a bottle when no one is looking. But the best way to keep yourself safe is to always drink a drink that you are sure of and know whose hands it has passed through to reach you. (The smallest number possible, preferably just the package and yourself.)

4) You don’t have to drink what anyone gives you, if you don’t want to.

There’s a lot of peer pressure present at parties, but this one is self explanatory. Unless they are insistent that you drink right there and right then, which is not a good sign, you can always set aside whatever someone gives you on a table and retrieve your own drink. The longer the night goes on, the less likely they are to notice. Which brings us to:

5) If you put down your drink or it leaves your sight for any reason, never pick it back up again.

Get a new drink, you don’t know if any mischief has been done to it when your back was turned or you weren’t looking at it. Besides, getting a new drink will lead those around you to believe you’re going through your drinks much faster than you actually are and may be less likely to pressure you into “having more fun”, especially if you don’t want to have fun with them.

6) Never drink from the punch bowl.

The reason for this is obvious, if any mischief has been intended then it’s likely to happen there first.

And that’s it, it’s neither writing nor fighting advice, but I’ll be honest. I’m having trouble seeing straight. This was the best I had, hopefully it’ll be helpful to some of you. (I decided at eleven that I would just never go to parties, it’s worked out well for me.) Both my parents gave me weird advice at weird times, this one’s right up with my mom telling me when I informed her in high school that I was dating: “You should always keep a separate bank account from your husband for when he has a midlife crisis and runs off with all the household’s money, leaving you and your children penniless.”

It sort of sucks that she assumed that any future husband of mine would run off and leave me penniless, it was part of her “Hard Truths to Hear at Seventeen” crash course.


A list of bad agencies and common literary agent scams

A list of bad agencies and common literary agent scams

Writer’s Relief Guest Blog: “Your Self-Published Book: Promoting With Giveaways”

Writer’s Relief Guest Blog: “Your Self-Published Book: Promoting With Giveaways”

So in my story my character is beat up (bullying) and I just want to know-how many punches and kicks are hospital worthy? I need to have her able to go back to class without needing attention basically. Really, I need help on the whole of it together-being beat up and how much her best friend (muscled, tall, strong) would take. Yeah. I need help because now I’m scared it is not accurate.

One; it just depends on the strike. The good news is, if the people attacking your character don’t know what they’re doing, the human body can take an absolutely absurd amount of damage.

Without going into a huge article on internal injuries, when you’re dealing with an untrained fighter, like most bullies, the answer is, “quite a bit.”

I’m going to make a quick aside: because of the way they fight most bullies do not (usually) develop into street fighters. They rely on violence, but they’re motivations don’t lead them to want to be better combatants. They don’t look at moves they see elsewhere and keep playing with them until they can do them. In short, when I’m talking about untrained fighters this time; I don’t mean street fighters.

Anyway, there are a couple vulnerable places that can turn lethal quickly: the neck & throat, head, lower back and spine. For your purposes, you’ll want to avoid blows to these.

Blows to the upper torso, stomach, arms, legs, and even (to some extent) the face, aren’t that dangerous, for a couple reasons. Note: this isn’t true with trained fighters, but, we’re dealing with bullies here.

The first is muscles. Tensed muscles are amazing at absorbing blunt impacts. The skin will still bruise, but for the most part, if someone has managed to tense up their muscles properly, simple punches won’t do too much damage.

I’ll probably never type this again on this blog, but: you can probably try this right now. Feel your stomach, poke it a bit. Now, tense up your abdominal muscles and try it again. The same principle applies to someone trying to punch your character.

Even with proper tensing, blows will still cause bruising, and can be painful, but they won’t be life threatening. For reference, the kind of bruising we’re talking about is bleeding that occurs just under the skin.

For the arms and legs the situation is a little different. The legs are basically nothing but dense muscles that are almost always tense. And, for untrained fighters, and even most trained ones, kicking or punching below the waist are awkward strikes.

For trained combatants, strikes to the arm always involve locking it in place first. If a combatant fails to do that, or doesn’t understand that it’s necessary, the arm will be pushed away before being injured. What this means is, most of the force generated hitting someone in the arm is lost to simple physics.

The face is a complex situation. A lot of untrained fighters will try to punch people in the face. It’s a nice, natural, visceral strike, and a really stupid one. Boxers and UFC fighters target the face because they’re wearing fiberglass armor over their hands. This is there to protect the bones in their knuckles. Without that armor, blows to the face are very hazardous to the attacker; there’s an uneven and fairly sturdy bone structure, which will wreck your bully’s hand.

I just got through talking about concussions, but the other thing near your face, and your character’s face, is their forehead; also known as the single thickest part of your skull. Punches to the forehead are, singularly ineffective. In turn, head butting someone in the face is a very effective technique in the rare situations where it’s viable. It’s also an easy and natural reflex to duck your forehead into the path of an incoming punch.

The other kind of tissue that’s almost as good at protecting internal organs is fat. Body fat will absorb some of the force of a blow. It’s not as effective as tensed muscles, but it’s actually harder to beat someone who’s overweight than someone who’s physically fit. This also includes the breasts, though there are some other factors at work there. I know Michi just did a post on them earlier today, so there’s probably going to be a more detailed write-up of them in the future.

We’ve had a post on bullying in the works for awhile, though the move did a number on our rhythm, so it might be a bit before that one’s ready to go up.


I have a question: if a person were to be stabbed with a small knife, say, a pocket knife, where on the body would the stabbing do the least damage? For the purposes of my scene, the character would likely be stabbed near the hip or possibly the shoulder area. I just need to gauge whether or not I’d have to change the fight to fit the plot (the stabbed character wins the fight and is able to carry on their journey – perhaps I need to change the stab to a cut?)

Honestly, if I wanted to stab a character and not incapacitate them? My first thought would actually be the hand. It would restrict their use of it for a while, but it could be quickly bandaged, and it’s probably the “best" place to get stabbed.

Thing is, most places, stab wounds are non-trivial. There’s some places you can get stabbed, like the shoulder blade, where the blade will hit bone before it does anything really nasty.

But, as a guideline; three inches of penetration, nearly anywhere on the body, is a life threatening wound. That deep and the odds are unpleasantly good that you’ll hit an internal organ or an artery.

Depending on the size of the knife that’s either possible or not. But, yeah, I’d say go with the hand. It’s a nice visual injury, and if you want, it can easily become a permanent wound for your character to carry with them. It’s easy to get the hand in the path of the knife without much work. And, it’s one of the few stab wounds you can really walk away from.


Update: On the Moving Front

We finally finished cleaning out the apartment today and we’re turning in our keys tomorrow, the house is a mess. Starke just got his office set up, but at the moment mine is like a sweet dream and instead I sit at our kitchen table longingly remembering the days of Ethernet cables and faster connection speeds. When we get the offices set up, we’ll be back to posting articles once a day, but until then it’s pretty much a stress relief detox and trying to answer all the questions in our inbox.

If yours hasn’t been gotten to yet, don’t worry, we’ll get to it soon. Now that we don’t have to worry about cleaning, vacuuming, and inhaling lots of dust, we will have more time to do the things we enjoy like cataloging books and more back breaking labor!

We’re going to try to get a Sword Primer posted tonight or tomorrow. Everything is taking longer than expected, but I think that’s how moving usually rolls.

I hope everyone has a lovely week.


As a girl, I have an answer for the anon who asked if it was painful for women to be hit in the breasts: yes. A direct punch to the breast can be very painful, especially if your character is going through puberty. During this time of development, breasts can be very sore just by themselves. I remember clearly walking into a bookshelf when i was 12 or 13 and how painful it was. Breasts probably are not as sensitive as the male groin, but your character will definitely be in pain if hit there.

Oddly enough, while there are two writers on this blog, I am actually female and thirteen years of experience in the martial arts has taught me: it doesn’t hurt that much. Not compared to the groin or even a solid connection to the stomach. If the breasts were already inflamed or tender at the time of the punch, well, that would hurt a little more. But that’s not the punch that’s causing the pain, it’s the pain caused by puberty.

I get it in one of my breasts, depending on how well they connect, maybe it hurts (if they clip the nipple and hit head on), maybe it doesn’t (they connect to the side), it’ll hurt either way because getting hit always does.

Now, I get clipped in the groin (which I have been)? I double over, I have a sudden and intense need to throw up, the world starts spinning, I want to fall over, I may in fact fall to my knees (I did during my third degree black belt test). The response is instant, it’s immediate and paralyzing, with an effect that lasts for a good five to fifteen minutes (if not a half hour). I spend the rest of the night with an upset stomach, it’s pretty much 100% debilitating.

There is no comparison between the groin and the breasts, I have both, I been hit both places, one of them is a “well, ouch I can power through that" and the other is “oh god, I think I’m dying". Getting clipped in the groin is right up there with the time I broke my leg doing a Tornado kick and the first time I tried to walk on it after I collapsed (and then collapsed a second time). The terror and feelings of helplessness in both those two cases are about equal for me, though the broken leg lasted a lot longer.

A legitimate reason for someone to go after the breasts in combat is actually a psychological one. We women are sensitive about our chests and someone grabbing or attempting to paw them during a fight is going to be both distracting and humiliating, thus taking our minds out of the fight and giving the opponent the advantage. If they can get to the nipple for a pinch and twist, then yeah, that’s going to hurt. It’s going to hurt a lot. If the attacker assaults the woman during a time when her breasts are more sensitive, then again, it’ll hurt. But if the woman is also a fighter, then she’ll actually be used to both getting hit and probably taking hits there. It won’t be debilitating and again, most female fighters bind their breasts down to decrease their movement and will probably be wearing some type of chest guard or armor that’ll primarily take the force of the blow.

I’ve seen a lot of female martial artists outside of just my own personal experience, sometimes stray punches miss, sometimes a kick goes too high and gets too close, sometimes guys are dicks, but I can’t actually remember anyone bowling over because they got punched in the chest. If they were upset about it, it was usually because they (rightly) didn’t want their male or female partner touching them there.

So, take it as you will.


from-thailand-with-love said: Really? I took a kick to the breasts recently and nearly doubled over. Although about the last bit, some dude grabbed my chest once during wrestling and somehow I got from under him to standing up in fighting stance ten feet away in, like, a second.

That’s not because of the breasts though, that’s because the impact got through your chest and fucked with your heart for a second. It’s the same as when someone performs a hammer strike to the breast bone. The strike echoes through into the heart and that will mess you up. It can be easy to confuse the two, but a strike like that isn’t conflicting with the nerves in the breasts, so much as the force is getting through into the body’s interior and messing with your internal organs. Now, that really, really hurts and really sucks. So, I’m sorry to hear that.

The same will happen to a man, though.

The breast chest distraction goes both ways, it may fuck with the guy as much as it fucks with us.

Do you have a post showing how to write the different steps in training (basically, from zero) to learn self-defense? If not, could you please post one? It’s very important to the story I’m writing.

Since the question is in two parts, I’ll answer this one in, well two parts. I can do a post talking about how to train someone in basic self-defense. The problem is that the question of “basic self-defense" is actually not clearly defined. There are a vast number of different approaches to training someone in self-defense, so many that it’s actually a lot easier to break them down into separate schools of thought than it is to talk about their step by step training regimen. Every single program is different, most of what the student learns in them depends on their instructor and their instructors approach. But I’ll list most of what the programs should cover in my answer to your second question.

The first thing you should know about most forms of self-defense training is this: self-defense training won’t teach you how to fight, it will teach you how to fight back.

This may not sound like a big distinction, but it’s actually a pretty huge one. The goal of almost every self-defense program is to give the student access to a limited set of basic techniques that can be used and the body can easily remember. The intention is to teach the student just enough so that they can extract themselves from dangerous situations and be aware of their surroundings. The assumption of those programs is that the student will be facing someone who doesn’t know what they’re doing: like the school bully or a street fighter. The vast majority of training isn’t preparing them to take on someone who knows what they are doing like a cop, a martial artist, or a marine.

Most self-defense courses last anywhere between a few hours to six weeks of training before the student is turned loose. The problem for describing self-defense training is that your character could be picking up their training from whoever got called in by the college rec center or they could be getting it at their local precinct, the results for both will be very different.

So let’s go over the three basic schools of self-defense and that ever elusive fourth one, which is probably the one you’re looking for.

1) The Martial Arts School

This one covers a lot of bases and a lot of techniques from a lot of different styles. I’ll also say this isn’t Mister Miyagi teaching Daniel ala The Karate Kid. This is the most common of the self-defense schools, the instructors who teach under it are usually martial artists themselves and their either working with a home-brewed concoction of different techniques or under a single corporate banner and style. That is to say: your character won’t be learning martial arts, they’ll be learning cherry-picked techniques that the instructor has deemed appropriate to be taught in the limited amount time the student has. For the most part, all they’ll be getting is techniques and not much else. What they do learn is certainly useful, but it is hodgepodge. Most of the stuff we usually associate with martial arts training, a student won’t learn here. They just won’t have the time. Like I said, it’s not The Karate Kid.

2) The Police:

The cops (at least in America) have their own brand of self-defense that they’ve designed for civilian use. Every local precinct and Sheriff’s Office should have a listing of seminars that you (or your character) can sign up for if you wanted to get some actual on the ground experience of what it’s like going from zero to sixty. This approach isn’t for everyone, but if you live in America and can stand the idea of being around cops for a few days it might not be a bad one to look into. Since the Police are government subsidized, some of their self-defense programs are free.

If they do cost money, they tend to be cheaper than the Martial Arts and Military ones, because again these programs are usually subsidized. They’re also cheaper in the short run than signing up with a traditional school for some sort of conventional martial arts training.

Police Self-Defense training is not the same thing as Police Hand to Hand training though, this is the style that’s for civilians and is designed to do the least amount of damage to the opponent. Regular Police Hand to Hand is much more lethal and, unless you get “lucky" with your instructor, you won’t find programs teaching that unless your character signs up for the Police Academy.

3) Military Training:

The styles under this header go to the Military taught professionals who leave the Military and then turn around and go into the business of civilian self-defense. The self-defense training under Military professionals is a little more conventional and usually a lot more brutal. These are not self-defense styles that focus on the preservation of the enemy, but on stopping the enemy and eliminating them as a threat. They won’t advocate for lethal force, usually, but everything up to that point is usually fair game.

An example of more military minded self-defense styles are the Michael Janich Martial Blade Concept videos on YouTube, some are posted under the “Michael Janich" tag on this blog. The Michael Janich videos also fall under category 4 of Self-Defense training, for the most part.

4) Training in a Martial Art:

This is when the student says they’re training in self-defense, but are actually training in one of the many Martial Arts styles. This is a student who goes to classes or studies with a single instructor three to four times a week, whether it’s in a traditional school or their own backyard. Their training involves months or years, instead of hours or weeks, and they get all the extra conditioning, balance, and stamina training that the “normal" self-defense courses absolutely 100% lack.

There is a big difference between training in self-defense and training in a style for self-defense. It’s an important distinction, because it keys what gates of information your character will have access to in their training. Self-defense isn’t the quicker version of learning how to fight and someone trained in self-defense while less handicapped than a street fighter can share some similar weaknesses.

Some articles that may be useful to you:

Anything under our self defense tag, the Michael Janich videos in particular.

Our article: How to Choose A Martial Art, which includes a list of martial arts based around “subdual" the main mechanic of self-defense training:

And our article: Unusual Martial Art: Street Fighting for some thoughts on what self-defense training is, for the most part, preparing your character for.

In answer to your second question, I will post the basic concepts and techniques that most basic self-defense courses cover.


Advice and suggestions for writing fight scenes.