December 1, 2023

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Martial Arts Book Review – A Bouncer’s Guide to Barroom Brawling by Peyton Quinn

Being the author of several books on the martial arts and fighting, I am always looking for books of exceptional quality to add to my library. If I have a book in my library, it’s definitely worth owning. One such book is Peyton Quinn’s, “A Bouncer’s Guide to Barroom Brawling.”

The most important thing to remember when reading this, or any book dealing with self-defense techniques, is that the principles behind the technique are far more important than the technique itself. Once again, Peyton does a great job of this, and you would do well to sit down and read this book from cover to cover several times in order to grasp what he is trying to teach you.

So without further ado, let’s get started.

1. The Ambush: Awareness and Avoidance

One of the important points that the author tries to get across to you in this section is that fighting has serious legal and medical consequences and should be avoided if at all possible. Remember, nothing is easy to do unless you’re first willing to do it. Also, learning how to avoid a potential conflict is perhaps the most important “technique” that you can learn. It is vitally important and should be considered your first line of defense.

2. The Reality of Fighting

Here are just a few of the items of interest that are discussed in this section.

a. The sucker puncher’s strongest assets that he uses are as follows; confidence, experience, competence and tactics.

b. Some of the very real characteristics of “Real Fights” such as; real fights are actually very sloppy compared to the ones portrayed in movies, most fights only last a few second, most fights are decided by punches to the head, most real fights involve some form of grappling, kicking (particularly above the waist) is not very effective in an actual fight.

Now I have to admit that I am not too fond of statements such as the last one that seem to knock the effectiveness of kicks in a real fight. I for one have trained extensively in kicking and have used it successfully many times in “real fights.” However, having said that, I freely admit that the point the author is trying to get across here is actually a very good one. Most people not only don’t know how to kick properly to start with, but they have no idea on how to apply them practically in a “real fight.”

c. The author’s observations about the martial arts versus real fighting; Peyton, in my opinion, is one of the more realistic self-defense authors out there today simply because he takes a realistic and practical approach to the effectiveness of traditional martial arts when it comes to the subject of self-defense. Unlike other authors out there that seem to knock any and every kind of formal martial art there is, Peyton freely admits there importance and value not only in self-defense, but also in every other aspect of your life. He does provide some really good “food for thought” in this section and it was a real pleasure to read.

3. The Tool Box

This section starts out with some great advice, “It is more important to learn how to effectively avoid getting hit, than learning how to hit effectively.”

The author then describes several different hand strikes and how to execute them. This particular section is really good and offers some very practical and worthwhile advice.

I particularly enjoyed the author’s poignant tale of a sparring session he had with a Tae Kwon Do 4th degree black belt. This is quite an amusing and interesting story, and one that you can learn a lot from, if you know how to read between the lines. The author then finishes this section with some more discussion on hand, elbow, and knee strikes.

4. Principles of Defense

The single most noteworthy piece of advice that the author has put into this book is simply this, “The principles and concepts behind the techniques are more important than the techniques themselves,” or something along these lines. This is something that I have been saying for at least 20 years, ever since I first started teaching. Several principles of blocking and striking are discussed in this section.

5. Mobility, Stance, Facing, and the Finer Points of Staying Out of Jail

This section covers a lot of ground covering the subjects of proper stance, the use of footwork, and keeping and maintaining the proper distance between you and your opponent.

6. Grappling, Throwing, and Escapes

This section covers a lot of very good information on the subject of grappling and throwing. I really enjoyed the information in this section and it alone is worth the price of this book.

7. Selecting an Appropriate Martial Art for your Personal Study

This I found to be one of the best sections in the entire book. Here the author takes an honest fairly well-informed look at the various martial arts and the numerous factors one should consider when trying to decide which ones to study.

Overall I found Peyton’s book to be outstanding and one that I am proud to have in my own personal library. I find Peyton’s approach to the subject refreshing and honest and one that I personally hold in high regard.

I strongly recommend that you purchase this book and not only read the words that Peyton has written, but perhaps more importantly the ones that were written between the printed lines.