How to win a fight like a gentleman

Pushing aside Ghandi’s oft-quoted line that “an eye for an eye will make the whole world blind”, there will come a time in every man’s life when he is confronted with the threat of a fight. What you do next says a lot about your character and can have serious consequences, not least for your health. Here are our 4 rules to making it out the other side unharmed and unashamed.

Play it cool


Fighting fire with fire is rarely advisable, and any self-defence guru worth his salt will tell you that almost all fights can be defused early on. A calm voice, non-threatening body language (open fists, a step backwards and loose shoulders) and decisive non-combatant statement will dowse the temper of all but the most psychotic of combatants. A cool head and the strength to control the situation and walk away will serve you best in every situation.

Brains over brawn

Judge your situation carefully; a steroid fuelled meathead is unlikely to be beaten by a war of words, but if your opponent happens to be a fast-talking dandy then a sharp tongue and quick wit can swiftly settle the argument. Nonetheless, if, like Oscar winning Matt Damon, you’re going to engage in a war of words be prepared for the worst and know that you can win in an outright brawl.

Be gracious 

Carl Froch’s recent defeat of George Groves should have been a humiliating exposure of Groves’ incessant pre-fight arrogance and a glorious vindication of Froch’s world-class status. But their respective grace, in victory as in defeat, silenced any jeering. In the words of Cameron Conaway, from his ‘Memoirs of a Cage-Fighting Poet’, “fights begin and end with handshakes”.

Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee

If you’re forced to use your fists, make sure you know how to use them. Keep a cool head, move fast and hit him where it hurts – throat, kidneys, jaw. If you’re not used to heavy manual labour or a regular at a boxing gym then use your fists sparingly, you’ll find your elbows are surprisingly lethal.

Further Reading