You talked about getting hits in the groin, on men and women, and also how women can be just as good in fighting as men. Though for a women, what is it like to get hit in the breasts? Is it just as painful as anywhere else in the chest, more so, less so? Do martial arts fighters have smaller boobs from their training (that may sounds weird, but as opposed to before they started their training)? Does the size of your breasts have anything to do with how painful hits there will be?

This is an interesting question. I’ll be honest, if the breasts hurt every time they got hit then women would be doubling over every time they ran into a wall and bras would contain much more protection and padding than they do so women could get through their normal everyday lives. Since they don’t, the answer is: not that much.

The first notion to dismiss is that a woman getting punched or kicked in the chest is anywhere near as physically painful as a knee to the groin. Getting kneed in the groin hurts so much because of the high number of nerve endings there, since both men and women have those with a similar level of easy access. Still, the groin is a fairly well protected area as regions of the body go, it’s protected by the legs when standing and sitting and can be easily hidden by curling up into a ball. The breasts are just out there and despite their importance for feeding babies and arousing sexual pleasure, if they were extremely debilitating the body would protect them better.

Now, if you’re not wearing padding or some kind of binding (like a sports bra, regular bra, or a breast band) it can be somewhat painful to be hit there. Just as it would be in any region that’s protected by a fair amount of fat. A female character will probably be wearing some sort of binding or bra just for general comfort. A sports bra binds the breasts down very tightly because it’s specifically designed to inhibit movement, but any type of binding that essentially crushes the breasts together will work. This provides some measure of protection, but it’s important to remember that bras are designed for comfort and the breasts jiggling and jostling around while you’re moving can be anywhere from annoying to marginally painful. So, the woman will attempt to limit their movement as much as she can, but not because it hurts to get hit there.

The best way to hurt someone on their chest region (assuming they’re not striking to the breast bone or between the breasts for the heart) is twisting the nipple (this will work for most men too), but because of the bra, getting to the nipple through the clothes would be difficult. The pain also won’t last long enough to be debilitating.

I’ll be honest, there isn’t much reason to strike to the chest as opposed to the stomach or the neck. It’s something of an intervening space that’s well protected by both muscle and bone. A woman’s breasts don’t change that equation much, other than providing the chest with even more protection than it had before and a nice guiding line for where to drive a knife. (Which is why you should never have your characters wear boob plate.)

On the subject of small breasts: I’m not a doctor, so don’t expect me to give you a full biological breakdown for how the breasts work. But here’s a simple answer: the breasts contain the mammary glands, those glands are protected by fatty tissue. Essentially, a large portion of what decides the breast size is fat. When the body is looking for stuff to eat while a workout is burning up it’s energy, it starts chowing down on the body’s fat. Any normal kind of sport activity will shrink breast size to smaller than it was before if they are expending energy regularly. I’ve had plenty of female students and workout partners complain about their breasts getting smaller, this can be incredibly disheartening for those women who start working out as a means of increasing their attractiveness.

So, yes, they do. Though, the information I’m giving you is if the woman in question hasn’t had children. If she has, then her biological makeup will change.

Breast size has more to do with how annoying dealing with them in training is as opposed to how much hitting them hurts. But look at it this way: more fat = more protection, less fat = less protection and closer to the muscles. It’ll probably hurt more, but not enough for it to really matter.

Think about it this way: if it was debilitating or even just hurt a lot (enough to provide a useful advantage) for a woman to be hit in the breasts, people would do it more often. The myth about the testicles versus the clitoris exists because it’s so much more difficult for an untrained fighter to knee a woman there as opposed to men. Men wear cups for a reason, the testicles are ridiculously easy to unintentionally (or intentionally) clip.

I hope that answers your question,


Why Dove’s “Real Beauty Sketches” Video Makes Me Uncomfortable… and Kind of Makes Me Angry


So this video started going around my facebook today, with about a dozen of my female friends sharing the link with comments like, and “Everyone needs to see this", and “All girls should watch this,“ and “This made me cry.” And I’m not trying to shame those girls! I definitely understand why they would do so. And I don’t want to be a killjoy. But as I clicked the link and started watching the video, I started to feel a slight sense of discomfort. I couldn’t put my finger on why that was, exactly, but it continued throughout the whole thing. After watching the video several more times, I have some thoughts… 

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This piece of criticism of the Dove video was sent to me by Wetmattos, so thanks to them and you should look them up. This is a very good counterpoint. I’m going to leave the Dove video up, but I’ll go back and put in a tag to tie the two together “dove video”. Watch the video, read the article, and decide for yourselves if you haven’t already.

It’s true that the video does do a roundabout job of reinforcing conventional norms about weight, female perception, and body type. The beauty industry is utterly fucked, there’s no denying that, nor is there any denying (not in any sane light) that the standards for conventional beauty all land undeniably under a “white” label. One that is so narrow it actually excludes the mass majority of women the rest of the world would term as white. It’s one of those tragic continuing echoes that have come down to us from colonialism and we combine that with an industry that feeds on negative self-perception and self-hatred to sell products. Dove isn’t any different.

But, I’ll leave the video up on the blog (though I’ll go back and link this commentary in there) for two reasons:

1) Any and all examples of skilled marketing is a very educational experience. I love and hate advertising, but as a writer I find it invaluable, both in the ways it manipulates it’s viewers into buying products and in it’s greater effect on media. Advertising feeds the beast. One day some of you may be going out to sell your own books, any head start you can get from this (admittedly) very manipulative art will help you. Just be aware of what you’re watching and try to find the connective tissue of what the Dove marketing team is trying to inspire (brand loyalty) along with how they’ve chosen to get there.

2) It’s almost a strange kind of victory, but one that is much the same as the Jimquisition video floating around out there that praises Sony’s business decision on the PS4 for sticking with the status quo while Microsoft raced off the cliff towards DRM. The Dove “real women” campaign has done something, even if it hasn’t done much. It’s wedged open the door, just a little bit, just a crack. If it truly proves successful, more companies may follow it’s lead using their products on women off the street instead of supermodels to appeal to the average buyer. It’ll be hard to get in there and wedge it wider, but nothing about changing the status quo is ever easy. It’ll also be easier if we can convince the women around us and the companies who produce this stuff that we don’t want it. That so many women have already shared this commercial tells us just how narrow and insidious these standards are, when such a little handout can win so much gratitude from so many.

Now, I’m going back to moving and we’ll return this blog to it’s regularly scheduled program in a few days. Have a good one guys!

Hey there! I saw you sharing the Dove advertisement, and got curious to know if you saw the criticism for that ad, about being racist and sexist in a covert way. Luv to ya!

No, I actually hadn’t seen that. I’ll see what I can find on the subject or you could point me to it maybe?

From what I saw, personally, I thought the overall idea of the ad was good. The part where it was trying to point out the underlying issues with the overly negative aspects we see in ourselves and the way media particularly the beauty industry gears women to see themselves as deficient. The beauty industry is definitely both a racist and sexist beast that feeds on generating consumer hatred for their body, I don’t think any ad, no matter how it attempts to be well meaning can fully escape it. We’ll have to take a sledgehammer to the entirety of advertising and Hollywood in general (plus a major reworking of the country’s entire social structure) to get rid of it entirely.

On the one hand, I appreciate Dove trying, though I know it’s more about sales and consumer satisfaction than it is about promoting more healthy body types. On the other hand, we’ve still got a lot of work to do and we’ve still got to keep pushing to try and normalize body image and relax beauty standards to be more inclusive. There are so many beautiful women out there of every size, ethnicity, race, and creed. Every woman deserves to feel beautiful and confident in what she looks like and find that inner beauty in herself without being held to a ridiculous standard, (Men too!) especially when it’s one that the even the female models and actresses themselves can’t reach.

A sledgehammer is the only real solution here.

But I appreciate you pointing it out! Have you ever seen the documentary Good Hair by Chris Rock? It’s a fascinating look into African-American hairstyles, the beauty industry and it’s message for African-American women (and men), and the entirety of that fucked up mess. If you haven’t seen it, watch it!



Dove hired a forensic artist to draw how women see themselves versus how others see them – the results are moving.

This is an excellent counter commentary to this video. It’s probably already been posted, but take it anyway. Multiple views on every issue are always good.

I was a Manic Pixie Dream Girl

I was a Manic Pixie Dream Girl

John Cleese on Creativity (by bedroomstudiotube)

This lecture by John Clesse has some very important implications both for you as a writer but also for your characters, with wider implications for what they can get away with in their behavior in combat situations.(Though he doesn’t discuss that in the video.)

The idea is this: combat happens when your characters in the Closed mode, it’s a high pressure environment where your characters need to make decisions immediately and decisively with no room for error or doubt. Humor in those situations is a luxury. It pushes the character into a more contemplative mode, the Open mode. It gets them thinking when they don’t have the time to be thinking( a distraction) in a fight.

Trash talking, joking, and one liners can happen before and after a fight, but not during. The only sort of trash talk that can occur during is the sort where your character doesn’t have to stop and think about it, but even then, remember that talking is not a free action. It requires breath, takes oxygen that should be going to your character’s muscles, while both loosening and relaxing the jaw which leaves your character more open to a knockout blow or biting their own tongue when they get hit.

Always dedicate points in your story for the times when your characters are capable of cracking jokes to release the tension (before and after) and when they need to buckle down for work (the fight itself).

So, watch the video, it’s useful and informative plus it’s John Cleese. It’s hilarious.


A reminder that “male” armour usually works just as well with female bodies. If you’re trying to design something practical, useful and historical looking (or even just something the follows the laws of physics), never ever put in boob cups. Aside from the fact they give the armour a sort of “focus point” for swords, falling down on them would send the shock right into the sternum. Regular plate armour leaves enough space between the chest for small to medium sized boobs anyway. But say the girl underneath is a buxom lass, you can still avoid that cleavage, boob cup shape while leaving enough space for her melons.

But aside from plate, things like the top picture, chainmail and all sorts of leather armour are unisex. I know you might be thinking that the feminine thing to do when designing a female warrior is to show off a bit of thigh or neck or cleavage or something, but really, understand that if the goal of that armour is to protect completely, putting an obvious gap in it is a terrible idea and she’ll surely get stabbed very quickly.

And don’t feed me the “it’s magic, I don’t got to explain shit” line. Bollox. Magic armour and forcefields need to make some sense too. Show me something that LOOKS like it’s generating a barrier over the character instead of just saying “Oh the G-string of Invulnerability is just as good as wearing full plate anyway”. If that’s the case, everyone would wear it. And why can’t they just tie it around their belt? Make me believe that your magic armour and spells have logic to them. If not, please don’t play your world straight. I’m all for super stylised designs as long as they’re sold as such, but if you’re trying to make a world that feels real enough for people to believe and get immersed in, think this stuff out. If you’ve designed someone with sparse, gapped armour that shows skin, give your character a reason to wear it.

This showed up on my crawl while I was packing up (and getting ready to carry) another load of comic books. Figured some of you might like it. We need more recognition for women warriors and a better focus on practical gear for them in fiction. If there’s one thing that really hurts a female character’s believability, its the lack of appropriate dress sense and gear. It’s nice to want to have it all, but sometimes we’ve got to make sacrifices for common sense.


Thank you so much!

No problem! I actually really recommend checking out Hunter to anyone who wants to write anything hunting and supernatural related. It’s got some very interesting advice on hunting monsters that are most likely bigger and more powerful than the protagonist and ways you can get around that. Plus, it’s advice for hunting monsters with (or without) modern weaponry is the best and how people from different walks of life deal with the supernatural.

It’s also darker and different in tone to both Supernatural and Buffy, so there’s a good contrast to be had and might help you infuse a little horror into your story, if that’s what you want.


I’m terribly sorry to trouble you while you’re moving (such an tedious task, I do not envy you it at all), but I was wondering if you could point me in the direction of some sort of glossary for fighting terms? My character in this fanfiction is a vampire slayer who knows how to fight, but I know nothing so…

This article on wikipedia is the bare basics but it covers a lot of different strikes, which will in turn lead you to different martial art pages. Everything on the Wiki should taken with a grain of salt however.

We’ll probably do our own, when we’re not, you know…moving. Anyway, we did a basic primer on Fists a while back which might be helpful to you.


(Oh! If you have the time and are willing to spend a little money then Hunter: The Reckoning an RPG series by White Wolf set in their Old World of Darkness might definitely be worth a look. It has a lot of useful information to dig through and consider when writing characters who are fighting the supernatural.


//Awesome Tumblr here, I look forward to mining this for data. || I’m not through the archive completely, but most of what I have seen seems to focus on the level of the fight. Which of course makes sense. However, having written in a group setting for quite a while, I’ve found that realistic fight scenes also consider the reaction of bystanders and the effects of the fight on the surrounding environment. || Obvious, but easy to forget about when caught up in writing the fighting! Discuss? —T.

Well, there’s a lot to cover. We only started this Tumblr about a month ago, so obviously we haven’t gotten around to talking about everything yet. We both figured it would be best to start at the level of the fight and work outwards, eventually talking about fighting in different settings and the different considerations that brings with it.

When talking about bystanders and including them it’s important to consider whether or not the bystanders are going to want to join in, which means the author has to know who they are, what they want, and if they have any relation at all to what’s going on (or just like fighting!). A lot of people will just mill around, some will call for the cops, and others will try to break it up.

Fighting with bystanders present also can say a lot about the protagonists, the antagonists, and their views on collateral damage. One character going after another with a street sweeper in a crowd is different from two people going at each other in a hand to hand fight.

It’s important to think about the particulars, the set up, the weapons, what’s available in the area, who is in the area, and whether or not your characters care about what’s about to happen and who it will effect. The decisions they make based around those things will be defining for who they are.

We’ll be discussing all this at length, but we are only two and there is a lot to cover on the subject.

I hope that answers your question!


Advice and suggestions for writing fight scenes.