It’s late Thursday night, after 11, and I’ve just driven a half-hour South after training for three hours. I haven’t had a bite to eat in since lunch so I stop by my local pub for a beer, food, and a chance to scribble down some notes from class. As I finish, a girl bounces up the the bar beside me to grab another round of drinks.
“Paris! Hey, how’ve you been? I haven’t seen you quite a while!”
We do the obligatory small-talk catch-up and invites me over to her table where she and her friend are sitting. There’s an extremely drunk and annoying guy hitting on her friend – we’ll call her Reeses for the shirt she’s wearing – and he’s pressing into her space and just generally giving people the jibblies.
Paris whispers in my ear, “She choked him out earlier. With a rear-naked choke, he was completely out. In the bar.”
“Wow, it looks like it kinda’ turned him on, ‘cause he’s coming back for more.”
I think no more of Annoying Guy, as he appears relatively harmless and apparently Reeses take care of herself. Paris and I resume our conversation. When Reeses excuses herself to powder her nose, Annoying Guy locks on to a new target: Paris. Now, keep in mind that Paris is married to a Navy SEAL (inactive). She’s obviously not interested, but Annoying Guy is so spun he doesn’t realize it. We spend fifteen minutes playing “give Annoy Guy hints as to what Paris’ name is because he can’t remember it.” Shares her name with a famous dilettante? Is a major city in France? Starts with “Pa”? What does he come up with? “Pasquale.” (I give him points for coming up with the last name of a French tennis player.)
Regardless, he’s edging in on her, she’s exuding “back off” body language, and even goes as far as say “come any closer and I’ll punch you in the face” while cocking her fist back. He’s still not dangerous, but he’s definitely a little creepy. I say at my end of the table, within arms reach, but I don’t think he’ll do anything. He’s just drunk and horny.
I see Reeses returning from the bathroom – both she and Paris are a little tipsy at this point, but not too bad – and I point at Annoying Guy, make the universal “he’s cut off” hand gesture, and cross my arms like they’re in a rear naked choke. I’m trying to indicate that she should do something like tell him she’ll choke him out again if he doesn’t bail. Of course if Annoying Guy steps too far, I’ll act, but I don’t think it’ll be necessary. This is totally resolvable with a few words from the girls, I don’t need to swing my dick around and act like a big man.
Reeses walks up behind me and slides her arms around me in a loose rear naked choke. I tap her arm, and point Annoying Guy again. “No, not me, him.”
I feel her clutch her arms in tighter.
I tap her again, “No, not me, him. I’m friends with Paris.”
I tap her again. “I get it, you proved your point.”
I know at this point I’ve got about two second before I lose consciousness. I also know that I don’t know who this girl is, even if she’s friends with my friend, and I don’t know what her objective is. Even if she’s playing around, I don’t know if she’s sober enough to hold me if I let put me to sleep – what if I collapse and bash my head on the ground?
It happens really fast. One elbow to her sternum, shift right, rotate into her to give myself a gap, suck, tuck, and duck, rotating around and down, she’s still hanging on trying to get the choke back – no games here – and she hits the ground hard on her back. I’ve got my right knee on her stomach, my left elbow pinning her brachial on the ground and the edge of my left hand digging into her neck. My right hand half-way to a throat strike when something else triggers: nothing more is necessary. She’s not looking toward me, but she has confusion in her eyes. She more shocked and scared than violent.
I freeze. The bouncers are pull me off without a a struggle and drag her out. She’s kicked out; I can sit and finish my beer.
Paris doesn’t know what happened, no-one really does, so I give the girl time to cool down outside before I see if she’s open to a little chat. As soon as I get the news that she’s outside and feels bad about the whole thing, I approach (cautiously) and we have our chat. Short story is that she was joking around, she didn’t feel me tap, and she tends to take things too far when she’s been drinking. I let her know I’m not pissed at her, but since I don’t know her from Joe, so I’m not very going to let myself be choked out. (And I notice she’s already got a decent bruise developing on her arm.)
I smooth things over with the bouncers, and catch a third-party interpretation of events from a friend of mine who happened to see the whole thing.
Lessons? There’s a ton, both mistakes and of correct action, but I’m not going to list them all. I will list some, though:
- My art works. Even from a well-applied rear naked choke that’s already under the chin.
- It happens incredibly fast.
- I didn’t have to think about what I was doing, I was thinking about what was appropriate. The physical actions came without thought, the mind was what reigned me in at the proper time. My friend said he saw the moment when I was in motion to strike her on the ground, then something clicked, and I didn’t follow it. My life was no longer in danger. I just kept her pinned.
- She disclosed she trains under Chuck Liddell – so my assumption that I don’t know her background or intent is both correct and valuable.
- She’s choked out upward of ten different guys (not friends, but people she’s just met) in bars over the years, and including the ones that fought back, no one’s ever gotten out before. Why did I get out? Probably not because I’m better than the rest, but because when the switch is flipped, there’s no half-assing it. The other guys probably didn’t want to make a scene, or thought it wouldn’t be acceptable to fight a girl. Fuck that, I don’t need to know she’s an MMA fighter to engage – just the chance that she may be, and that my life may be in danger – is enough. Surprise and violence of action.
- It was ego that got me into trouble in the first place – she was cute, so I thought (or hoped) that her arms coming around me from behind constitued a hug, not a choke, even though I knew she’d choked someout out earlier. Mistake.
So, who’s taken a chick to down and to the ground in a bar?
I have. Never thought I’d say that.
Oh, I almost forgot the best line of the evening, said to me by a guy that saw it all go down: “Dude, you’ve got to stop wearing that Tag body spray.”