Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Featured Fightwriter: Linda Kozar

If two people are fighting on land and they tumble into the water, how do the dynamics change in terms of punches? If there’s a knife, wouldn’t the water slow things down? I would imagine it would effect how well you are able to see your opponent as well. How would something like that go?

WOW! I have never once imagined that scenario. This is a good question that I really had to sit and think about, as well as get some consult, as there are a ton of variables. There will be many "ifs" in this post.

With any fight, the three most important factors are why, where and who, in that order. (I will address that in upcoming posts.) 

First, the why. If this fight is between two people who don’t actually want to hurt each other beyond a busted lip and black eye, it will be far different than if one’s life is on the line. But, any time a fight goes into the water, the level of danger increases drastically even if it’s just horse play. As such, I think it’s best to end it quickly. (I’m a huge fan of efficient/lazy fighting.) So, we’ll address the scenario two ways for two whys. One, a combatant wants to be alpha. Two, a combatant wants to kill. I will also address weaponry for the latter.

Secondly, where the fight is happening changes everything. The depth of water and the solidity of the bottom change not only the style of fighting but can also impede vision. If the bottom is sand and shifting or rocks and unstable, it will be difficult to strike because each shift of weight will cause a shift in your base, where you make contact with the ground. And if you have silt beneath you, vision below will be minimal.

And then there's waves and/or current to consider both of which would be another opponent to fight as they push, pull and slam you under. Never mind what may below tearing at you as you go. I will make it easy and say it’s all happening in a pool with depths of hip level and over the head. However, what I suggest can work for just about anything if you get a good grip and move as needed to keep your base or stability. Never fight a current by the way. Hold on and move with it. Use it to your advantage.

And, thirdly, who is fighting is pretty darn important. The level of experience, size and strength play key rolls. Remember, the average person doesn’t know how to fight. They don’t even know how to throw a proper punch. For this scenario, we’ll say same height, one of experience, one not. Do not presume that no actual fight training equals unwillingness to fight or an inability to inflict damage. From what I've seen, the most willing to fight are folks that don't actually know how.

Ok, waist deep water, hand to hand, you can punch away if you'd like. The water will lessen the force of the punch only as much as the water impedes torque in the hips. (See post Size Disparity, Punches and Kicks. Movement of the hips is key.) If the goal is to dispatch, a punch to the throat can prove successful. Do it quickly then push kick them away from you. Not only does that create distance, but it also gives you something to push off of to get you moving through the water. 

However, just to be the alpha, there's a hold that really does the trick. It's much less effort than punching, which I'm all for. My coach teaches it to flight attendants. (Mind your manners on planes.) I don't know that it has a name. We'll call it the "angry flight attendant." It is painful and very controlling. 

Hold your jaw. Let the web of your hand be across your chin, your thumb down one jaw-line, fingers down the other. Now, leave your thumb in place but let your fingers come down to your neck and rest on the carotid artery. Curve your fingers and dig in, then push hard with your thumb. Your head will turn. Where the head goes, the body follows. So, turn the head of your opponent and drive it in the direction you want your opponent to go. I suggest out of the water. This isn't something you will hold onto for minutes. This is an immediate establishment of dominance. 

When you practice this on someone else, (you know you will) please be easy especially with the fingers on your neck. It hurts. Also, if you do it enough times, even easy, it can give you a headache. Your fingers are restricting blood flow.

As far as deep water, you want to keep your head above it, obviously. If you grab your opponent or vice versa, staying up won't be easy. Likely you will both sink. So it's a good idea keep a safe distance from their arms. Unless they play water polo, they probably won't attack and pull you under with their legs. (Have you seen what goes on under the water in that sport? It's mayhem!)

If you just want the jerk to leave you alone and establish your dominance, you can lay back in the water and kick them in the face. This keeps you buoyant with safe distance while positioning your legs near the surface out of the deeper drag of water. If they grab your foot, you can push away with the other and/or kick them in the face again. Since you're on your back you're not going to be pulled under easily. If they do grab one or both ankles and you can't kick, you can twist out of their grip the same way you do a wrist grab. Just swing each leg around quickly in succession. I do it in jiujitsu all the time with foot attackers so I know it works. To stay afloat, you might need to do one foot at a time. The video demos the wrists but it's the same motion and concept with the feet. 

You also have the option of letting them hold your feet, thinking they have the upper hand, and quickly pulling your knees into your chest. (I've also done this. If you practice a few times you will be able to do it so that your head doesn't go under at all.) The motion pulls you and your opponent toward one another. When you make contact with them, sit up and palm strike in one fluid motion. It's highly effective.(And will get you thrown out of the water park. Just saying.)

If your opponent intends to dispatch you, you better do it first. You can accomplish this by grabbing their wind pipe and ripping outward. (Yes, that's really a thing.) You really have to grab it. Imagine their trachea is a banana you're trying to squish. Get a grip and push them away with your legs. Even if the slipperiness causes you to slip off and not dislodge the trachea, you will have damaged it significantly. If you collapse it, you've won. The trachea is very sticky. If the sides touch, they will not un-stick without aid.

Also, of note, if you can get someone to scream while underwater, cha-ching! Screaming will deplete their oxygen. If they can't take a breath relatively quickly, game over.  

Weaponry in deep water needs to be used at close range. Knives for obvious reasons, the water creates drag and lessons force. That applies to bullets as well. You need to be within five feet or so. This video explains that. (The pic is the link.)So now, when you go to the movies and you see people shot from great distance underwater, you can stand up tell everyone in the audience that the scene is scientifically inaccurate. Moviegoers LOVE that.

Bear in mind that if you wound someone, the water will cloud and impede vision. So, you need to strike and get away in the case they too have a weapon they’ve yet to brandish. You can use your foot to push against them and propel you each from the other. If you are in full clothing, all of this is going to be a real pain. I’ve swum in open water in jeans and tennis shoes. It’s exhausting. If I was fighting and thrown into deep water, I’d kick my shoes off pretty quick.

I hope that answers it for you, Linda. If not, email me and we’ll sort this scuffle out. Thank you so much for writing in! Until the next round at Fightwrite. net, get blood on your pages.

Linda Kozar:

 Linda Kozar, is a successful author of over 16 books, speaker, and radio host of Chat Noir Mystery & Suspense and Network Coordinator for the Along Came A Writer Network on BlogTalk Radio. Founder, former president, and current board member of Writers On The Storm, The Woodlands, Texas Chapter of the American Christian Fiction Writers, she was the recipient of ACFW’s Mentor of the Year award 2007. She is currently a PR Director for the Christian Authors Network and is a member of Chi Libris, ACFW, RWA, AWSA, and CAN. Linda and her husband of 28 years, Michael live in The Woodlands, Texas and enjoy spending time with their two grown daughters, wonderful son-in-law and their spunky Jack Russell Terrier, Gypsy.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Cauliflower Ear

Cauliflower ear is the result of a blunt trauma to the ear or repeated
Boxer at Rest, Greece, ca. 300 BC

 roughing such as you have in rugby, wrestling, jiujitsu and judo. The pericardium of the ear separates from the cartilage and swelling occurs as blood fills the space. If not drained, within 7-10 days it will harden and cause the ear to look puffy, misshapen and have the appearance that some liken to a cauliflower. As one might imagine, this condition hurts quite a bit. I know from experience and mine was only puffy. However, after hardening, it doesn’t hurt a bit.
Stele of Glaukotas, Greece, ca. 470-460 BC
The name Glaukatos means - he with blue ears

It is completely reasonable for the warriors in your story to have cauliflower ears even if they fight in full armor. While wearing a helmet, if one is hit hard on the side of the head enough, the ear would likely be traumatized. Also, the repeated putting on and taking off of a tight helmet would just as easily, over time, cause it as well. If undrained and allowed to harden, the effected cartilage is more brittle and easier to tear. (I know, gross. I have seen an ear nearly torn away because of the condition.)

Greece ca. 510-500 BC - cauliflower ears on both
The first line of defense is ice and compression. If fluid remains, it will need to be removed. This can be done with a syringe or blade. The latter should be done by a doctor as it increases risk of infection. (Oh, I can hear the wheels in your brains turning with the word, "infection".) Once drained, you have to keep the area sandwiched so the fluid can't get back in there. An older remedy is to sew a large button into the ear cartilage. True story. Don't believe me, talk to any rugby player over fifty.

Here's a video on cauliflower ear care from JiuJitsuHustle.  

Here are some pics of cauliflower ears, a torn ear, as well as a video of one being drained. Consider yourself warned.

I saw this fight. The girl's ear was literally flapping as she moved.
The fight was stopped due to the injury for fear her ear would
be torn off. 

Injuries offer great opportunities for us writers. Also, injuries are just plain life for warriors whether they do battle on a field or in a ring. If your character fights or trains to fight regularly, they will either have an injury, will just have healed from one or is about to get another! And, they won't let that stop them. Check the index for more ideas for injuries and the opportunities they offer.

Until the next round at, get blood on your pages!

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Being Attacked

One of my best friends has the unfortunate knowledge of what it's like to be attacked. I asked her to recount the events and she generously indulged me. 

Notice what she felt emotionally and physically as well as what she didn't. Note what was on her mind and how much noise she made. And, finally, even though she didn't specifically say it, the group attacked her all at once. It wasn't a polite, one at a time, assault as the cinema would have us believe. In fact, very little of what actually happens in real life is correctly portrayed in movies as well as books. But, that's why fightwrite is here: to get your fight right.

While walking to a convenience store at about midnight, a group of young adults asked her for a cigarette. She said she didn't have one. They made a smart comment, she followed suit and the violence ensued. That's it. No warning.

How long ago was it? 17 years ago (She was in her early 20s)

How clearly do you remember it? It's patchy and clear all at the same time. The actions are blurred, the feelings and emotions are like it happened just now.

How many attacked you? 3 men, 3 women

What did they do during the attack? Kicked me, punched me, jumped on me, bit me, pulled my hair out, they shouted and screamed a lot 

What were you thinking during the attack? Protect my organs! I got in the fetal position. One fell during, she may have been drunk, and I wrapped my hand around her hair and used every bit of strength to pull and hold on. I hurt her. I could her screaming, "she's got my hair!" She was in pain.

Did you feel fear during the event? No. Before it yes. During it no, survival mode kicked in. 

What caused them to stop? I don't know. It may have been passing traffic. We were near a main road.

What did you do immediately after? Started planning how to protect my mom because I was afraid of how she would react and didn't want her to get in to trouble. (By the way, her mom went on to attack the assailants - who were never charged for this crime - on several different occasions. Her mom's kinda awesome.)

What were your injuries? Black eyes, puncture wounds from bites, sore head, foot print on my chest from being jumped on. My ribs have calcifications now that will never go away. A gentle reminder of the past!

Did you feel your injuries during the attack? Only my hair being pulled

Did you scream during the attack and if so, do you remember screaming? No. I didn't make a sound. (Her mother, who lived in an apartment not far away, heard the screaming of those attacking her.)

What psychological effects were there? PTSD. Insomnia, paranoia, self medication, agoraphobia, low self esteem, lack of trust. Everything I did had to be assessed for potential risk from catching a bus to get to work in the morning to taking my dog a walk after dark. 

How long did they last? I had 2 whole years of cognitive behavioral therapy. In the end I think I decided to stop being so scared of everything

Do you still think or dream about it? Sometimes I think about it, I've never dreamt about it. Not much unless asked specifically about it or if I feel it may help someone else with similar issues. What I do think about is how I never want it to happen again and continue to risk assess everything. If I get complacent or too comfortable I mentally drag myself back to how hard it was to get better but not what actually occurred! 

I met my friend at the gym. She was in kickboxing and self defense, later she enrolled in Brazilian Jiujitsu. All of those activities scared her but she made a choice to do them anyway for that very reason. She's one of the toughest women I've ever met, in part, because of the attack.

I say that because it's completely feasible for your character to be tough and skilled in fighting in response to violence inflicted upon them. But, it won't be immediate. They may be, likely will be, mentally, emotionally and spiritually injured for some time. However, if they are the hero of the story, they won't be able to stay frozen in that place. They will move forward but not because you need them to be the hero. They will charge ahead because the call within them to be what no one else can be is louder than the screams of their fears.

Make your hero weathered rather than tough. Make them hard to break because of what they've had to take. If they are able to fight skillfully, let the reader know why and it can't be because of luck or natural born ability. One may be born with ability but never skill. That has to be earned. Show the driving reason why they have dedicated themselves to the hard (brutal) work it takes to learn to fight. That applies to your villain as well. Because, after all, the only difference between a hero and villain is who is telling the story.

Until the next round at, get blood on your pages.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

From Inside the Cage - After the Fight

   I asked former UFC fighter and three time Legacy middleweight champ Bubba Bush to write how he feels after a fight. I figured he'd detail sore muscles, stitches and the ilk. Nope. He went straight for the heart of it. I like that about him. He's completely honest. What he detailed, in his words, is "a lot more mental insight than physical but it all ties together and honestly I think that's the part they (writers) are probably needing more, whether they realize it or not."

   He's right. I think we can more easily grasp the physical effects than what churns through a warrior's head once the battle field is quiet. 

   Four scenarios are listed for us and the subsequent emotions/thoughts for each. 

Easy Fight and Win: 
The night of the fight is the hardest here. You've trained for months, been disciplined etc. made the sacrifice and got the payoff. And the payoff was everything you wanted it to be, and yet somehow, it wasn't. It's a little hollow. You've had your hand raised, you've had the adrenaline dump, all the sincere congratulations as well as the half hearted required ones, and now you've gone back to your hotel room to be alone and reflect with yourself...and you realize how you actually feel about it. That's where the hollowness creeps in. Immediately the self doubt: did you take too easy of a fight? Did you get lucky? You weren't even able to use much of what you did in training. Did you over train? Will the fact that you may have over trained and worked harder than you needed to pay off in the next fight, or maybe you'll remember this moment and let yourself slip on the next one and then disaster will be your payoff.

You feel anxious because you didn't get to spend all the

nervous energy you built up. You're body has pumped adrenaline and all manner of hormones into your system for days now and you've ridden the excitement and now it's just you and there is nothing to do with it. You endlessly replay the fight in your mind to no avail. You've probably had caffeine or alcohol or sugar or something else that you haven't indulged in for months and that's another physical sensation you aren't used to and you don't know what to do with. (Inevitably I'm up until 4-6am, lying in bed, staring at the ceiling, or my phone.) You wish you could spar, but knowing you shouldn't even if you could.

Physically you're exhausted still, but a little jumpy/twitchy. Any aches and pains you have are so muted by the victory and the ease of it you don't even let yourself regret them. But you worry they may limit your training next week and you're quick to ice them and make peace. Victory is sometimes the best medicine.

Hard fight and Win:
Everything above except it's the culmination of everything you've feared planned for hoped and prayed for, for months. You can't describe the feeling in words because it's not something you've ever experienced before, and it's not something 99% of the population could relate to even if you could - like hitting a home run. But hitting it when your entire life was on the line.

You start to feel alone, then good about yourself even in the isolation. You're still so pumped with adrenaline that you have to wonder which muscles are actually pulled, and how bad they will be. Which bruises will linger. You love the tingle of every pain because every small pain is a cost you paid and reminds you of what you bought: Victory and immortality in that no one can ever take that victory from you. You celebrate the soreness and pain like it was your goal and you achieved it. That moment. 

Then, you worry because you realize how fleeting it is and that the moment you've experienced it, it's already over and behind you. You try not to think about the next fight and just let yourself enjoy and experience the true rapture of achievement. But like before, you constantly fear the next battle and coming up short - partially because you're so banged up right now you couldn't put on half the performance you just did in this moment. You feel weak, exposed, yet invincible. Again, you don't sleep. But you're not restless. You're calm. Because everything is how it should be.

You may also, if you're in a lot of pain, have some questions. Why do you do this and should you do this and was it worth it? But, you can't even think the questions through before answering "yes" and knowing that because

you won it's all worth it. This is probably the only few seconds in a man's life where he doesn't doubt himself. Where the evidence of your capability is so strong that it momentarily overwhelms the last recesses of your mind where the self doubt lives. You've never known who you are more fully than this moment. 

Easy Fight and Loss: 
Like an easy fight you won, except without the victory to make the pain ok. Now every ounce of leftover energy is working twice as hard to get out and pretend in can rectify the past. There is no solace no control no appeasement. You can't sleep now because you're mind is working so hard to fight off the self doubt and battle it at every turn that you can't stop running or you'll be crushed. 

Eventually, you run your mind in oblivion and confused exhaustion enough to drift off without having settled or figured out anything. You may go workout to tell yourself you're at least working towards setting things straight and fixing the issue. Trying to give your mind one hat peg to hang a good thought on. All the things you denied yourself for months offer no pleasure. Food, alcohol, company, caffeine, medicine. It's all grey and empty. If anything, it makes you mad and regretful that things are trying to offer pleasure in the face of such a miserable void.  

Hard Fight and Loss: 
Gut wrenching and soul sucking. Every pain reminds you that you are a loser. Not enough. That you've wasted months of your life and let everyone you love down. Perhaps easier than losing an easy fight because at least you can divorce yourself so far from reality in an attempt to not think about it that you have periods of relative normalcy. 

But for weeks you feel like a fraud. No matter what you're talking about, in the back of your mind you're only thinking about how you're not enough, and a fraud (even if you know it's not true, you can have that conversation too and sometimes be distracted from the world around you by it). If you spent every last drop of energy you had that at least helps. You can reason with yourself that they aren't just better than you, but that you failed in your training. The aches and exhaustion at least offer some pleasant experience in that you've stressed your fabric, pushed your limits. You'll be a better person when you wake up (physically. mentally.) for having done it so it's not a total loss. Just 99%. 

Every time you move your neck a tingle of electricity shoots down your entire arm to your fingertips. A pinched nerve. You worry that it will never go away and ask yourself was it worth it if it never does, then try to assure yourself that you're in the throws of disrepair and that eventually homeostasis will return. The small things are the worst. A jammed finger that reminds you it's jammed with every movement. Or a pulled back that won't let you toss and turn without mental fortitude, which you are practically out of. 

You made it as far as you did by promising yourself that as soon as it was over you wouldn't have to hold yourself together anymore or be mentally disciplined. But you want to with all your heart because you know it's a long road ahead. And you have to tell yourself to wait. Always to wait. The body has to heal before a strong mind will help you. The strong mind would just a be a horse rearing against a bit until you finish recovering anyway. 1000 times a day, like waiting for water to boil, you have to tell yourself to be patient. That this isn't over.