Contrary to the popular opinion, an “Effective Floor Management” or “Bouncing” in a Bar, Hotel, Night Club or Disco requires a number of skills ranging from applied psychology and diplomacy, to knowledge of armed and unarmed combat skills, a diplomacy to Martial arts expertise and a good old fashioned common sense. Often one would encounter drunkards, noxious drinkers, people with ugly gorilla physiques, people with rowdy and shady characters, nasty temperament and people under influence of drugs etc. A Bouncers main job is to handle them diplomatically and drive them away from the premises without creating any intimidating atmosphere.
Some of the most efficient Bar Bouncers are men and women of slight stature with little or no training in martial arts, but they do the job effectively. They use common sense and creative methods to deal with various situations, rather than relying on muscle and strong-arm tactics. It is only when diplomacy, reasoning, and psychology fail to penetrate, than they are forced to rely on muscle and self-defense or call other Bartenders or Bouncers
for help or as back up assistance and than meet the consequences.
People with Martial arts background who know how to handle themselves should tackle the situation with a different perspective, as if self-defense is not possible. Violence should only be at the last resort, because of moral, philosophical and legal ramifications and simply because it is bad for business. No Owner wants a bad name to his club .A Bouncer who fails to control his temper or merely wishes to test his skills practically at every opportunity, often would find himself out of job.
BOUNCER’S DUTIES (FLOOR JOB MANAGER): –
Ideally the Bouncer must screen people coming in, check their I.D.’s near the door, check that they are dressed properly and are not carrying any weapons hidden on themselves. One can politely and firmly turns the undesirables away. Often most bar room fight takes place involving college students and well-dressed Businessman, while others simply watch around. Note appearances are often deceptive and superficial and method of eliminating undesirables by their appearances alone should not be relied and depended upon too much.
Remember some people get drunk and become loud and boisterous after merely drinking a glass or two and there are those who do not get drunk even after consuming four to five pegs of alcohol. Different people react different ways after drinking.
TACTIC AND CONTROL.
Common sense, courtesy, tact and politeness are the tactics used in controlling a patron or guests visiting the club, and should be the first line of defense for all Bouncers. The best time to stop for things going offhand is to stop 15 to 20 minutes
prior to any incident occurring. Make your presence be known as well as your position and that you are an employee of the Club or Hotel. On the first slightest indication of trouble you have to intervene and inform the patron that peace is to be maintained, by talking to them politely but with authority. Have an attitude that they are your guests in your party and you are their host. You certainly want them to have a good time and enjoy, but you don’t want them to go off hand by getting loud, rowdy, drunk, and boisterous. If you find them drunk offer to call a taxi or cab and politely and firmly lead him away or ask him to leave. Forget your personal ego and pride and don’t make it your personal issue.
Remain professional and keep calm and cool and don’t be cocky or aggressive. Be alert and vigilant at all times by keeping your eyes and ears open and foresee and stop any trouble brewing before it erupts into a volcano. Continue watching the whole procedure and become aware of any signs of aggressions. One has to become good at Body language. The assault usually telegraphs his movements and you have to act before the patron makes any trouble.
Be aware and take care of the sucker punch that happens in every Barroom fights. Keep one hand ready for blocking your face, which can be done by way of pulling your ears, scratching your nose, stroking your chin or head. This would save precious seconds and your hand is up already ready for blocking all types of blows. Your distance and body positioning and the amount of frontal area exposed to the trouble makers are crucial points to be considered in any confrontation.
BACK UP AND BUDDY PARTNER: –
In any situation specially where trouble making is involved or expected, it is a good idea to have a back up or a buddy partner who covers your backside and comes to your assistance while you are involved. Have a good guy/ bad guy approach, meaning a pre-arranged plan. Your back up remains at a distance discreetly, and steps while you step back, posing as a good guy, speaking smoothly that the other bad guy means business and that he should leave the bar immediately. This trick or play often works because the other diffuses patron’s anger focused on one. This often works when you find yourself loosing temper with some jerk, despite all your efforts to remain cool and calm. Instead of antagonizing the patron and create a nasty scene, your back up partner intervenes and takes over the situation.
WHAT TO DO WHEN ALL ELSE FAILS?
When all action and verbal talk fails and it comes down to barroom fighting, than be prepared to block the incoming attack and best way to do is by simultaneously blocking and attacking the attackers arm or leg incase if it’s a kick at the same time. Most brawl room fights does not usually approach in classical fighting stances and most of them are not martial artist but there approach might be as seen or done in movies and be tempted to ape them. Neither it is a tournament bout lasting several rounds that one need to wear down the attacker. The fight usually last few minutes within which you have matter of seconds to block the attack and subdue and immobilize the attacker as soon as possible without much damage to the premises. Restraining him until he is threat no more. And if the situation worsens police is called immediately. Most combat techniques are in appropriate because of their death dealing nature.
Remember you are dealing with a drunkard human being who is in the influence of alcohol has made him boisterous and rash full in his thinking and most likely he would be regretting his act next morning after coming out of the hangover. His action was only due to the influence of alcohol in him.
Martial Arts place techniques in three categories -“ ESCAPE, CONTROL AND DESTROY”, based on the severity of attack and the opponent at hand. Escape is not usually for a Bouncer’s prerogative, as it his job to maintain peace and deal the situation. Destroy techniques should only be utilized as a last resort when one’s life is at stake and need to protect Human life. Thus leaving the Bouncer to deal in the “Control” category.
Most Martial artist are not familiar with such techniques and hence the Bouncer must be trained in techniques such as joint locking, hair restraints, come-along locks, choke holds, sweeps and takedowns etc. to subdue, restrain, hold and immobilize the attacker. These techniques will be more effective to a Bouncer than punching, kicking the daylights of a Luckless brawl room fighter. The object is to eject the offender with as little violence as possible and restrain him till the police arrive. In cases where the offender looks worse than the victim, it may be difficult to press charges.
THE LAW AND YOU.
It is important for you to have a general knowledge about the Law and its Regulations and how it works. You have a job to do, but do not get so involved personally that charges are pressed against you instead of the assailant or the attacker and you become the victim. It is also important to know that to what extent does the Owners of the Club or Hotel are ready to back you up and protect you from the law and its legalities. Many Owners have been known to back off leaving you all alone to protect yourself specially when Police or Law gets involved and they will try to protect their interest than yours. Also check that the owners, who have hired you for such risky jobs, pay you well and you have a well-covered insurance.
If a situation gets really bad in a brawl room fight, immediately call police for help. Police are quite fast to come in such cases. Remember to be quite polite, courteous and co-operative with them. If you have witnessed an assault or an act of vandalism, offer to testify. If charges need to be pressed, be willing to go through with it. Don’t expect Police to do your work. If called in court is present for the hearing.
VIOLENT CONFRONTATION: –
In a violent confrontation a Bouncer must have a few elements of strategy and follow combat environment and should use it to his best advantage. An average bar has a virtual arsenal of weapons lurking around in disguise such as glassware, bottles, ashtrays, pool cues, cutlery plates, and other objects. Training with fighting with them would give a Bouncer an advantage and prove valuable in an all out bar room fights. To carry weapons in the bar premises is illegal in most states and countries, hence use of ordinary implements at hand can give the Bouncer or a Floor Manager an edge in any confrontation against a similarly armed assailant.
The Bouncer must be prepared to be able to defend himself and confront assailants attacking with knives, chains, clubs, rods, pipes, knuckle dusters, and glass pieces or broken bottle wielding adversaries. Sometimes a mere verbal command is enough to bring a customer under control, but do not always rely on it. Remember any who switches the grip on the bottle from the base to the neck hold; consider them to be armed and dangerous. A beer mug makes a great substitute as a punching weapon specially in a fight and as a club requires no switching of grips, so take care.
Floor surfaces are key factors in any violent confrontation. Relatively carpeted floors give better stable footing specially when wet, while tiles and concrete floors become slippery and thus become disastrous. Remember in a Bar room fights, a lot of spilling of beer and drinks takes place and be careful of the broken pieces of glasses all around you. If the surface is wet and slick, employ simple sweeps and takedown maneuvers, using low kicks and powerful stances. Avoid high rising kick, as they are dangerous for balancing.
A Bouncer should be ready to fight against Multiple attackers and multiple opponent sparring, for often it does happen that those around you may just join into a fight which is not there’s may just decide to join in taking the attackers side.
In a bar you can throw a glass or an ash- tray to distract someone’s attention or throw a drink on him before moving onto him. You can use a table or a chair as a shield to protect yourself and defend against. You can use you coat or jacket or a belt to protect oneself while defending against an assailant attacking with knives and broken bottles etc.
For a Bouncer it is important for him to remain sober at all times, for often he will be tempted to drink free booze easily available. Remember alcohol diminishes speed, skill, timing, co-ordination, balance, reflexes, alertness and an ability to think clearly and reason. A good fight depends upon clear thinking. If you are intoxicated, all your training will be in vain and you might in the end loose your job too. If you must drink, do so lightly at home in the company of your friends and family.
In a bar be prepared to fight against hysterical, drug addicts, punks, collegians, business man, prostitutes, drunkards, travelers, enragers, local toughies, bullies, politicians and bureaucrats and people going berserk etc. You will come across people from all sorts of life, societies and cultures. It’s your duty to handle all of them. You will encounter people with knives, clubs, chains and other hidden weapons, sometimes against single attacker and sometimes against multiple assailants. Normally you would encounter street fighters, punks and criminals with virtually no martial arts knowledge however they are well experienced in street and dirty fighting techniques, occasionally you may find some of them have even martial arts combat experience and knowledge which makes your job even more tougher to handle.
Remember you training must be designed not to impress your opponent but to subdue them. Your training must be with more rigorous attitude rather than a tournament or competitive fighter, as you are there to protect life and stop any damage done by patrons to the premises. There should be no thought of loosing or having rematches. You must train with an attitude to win and that alternative could mean death. Your punch, blocks and kicks must be executed with total concentration and dedication, as your life depends on the success of that technique. Remember training for a Bouncer or for street self-defense is not a game. You must highly develop your body weapons such as fists, elbows, palms, fingers, forearms, knees and feet etc. including butting with forehead. Your hands must be ready without reservations. Practice with bags, shields, foam pads, makiwaras, punching bags, speed bags, bean bags, kicking shields etc. is a must. Weight training and cardio training is a must to be in peak physical shape and condition. You should be able to fight in your normal attire as well as the suit or uniform you are wearing. Practice fighting in different terrains and environments, in small close in or cramped up places or areas full of obstacles like tables and chairs all around you. Often you will find there is no room to stalk or maneuver. Consider fighting in large spacious halls a luxury, learn to fight toe- to toe and often backed up against walls.
Kicking and gouging techniques should be employed and be prepared to fight against bigger or larger assailants. Avoid high kicking techniques; rather use low kicks on medium targets. Do not use kicks to start your attack, for if you throw a kick and your leg is grabbed, your primary concern would be balance. However if you throw a hand technique and the arm is grabbed, you still have the other arm to attack with and you still have your legs free to kick.
As a Bouncer keep your head up and keep your eyes and ears open and remain alert at all times. Often you can subdue an attacker and extinguish the trouble brewing before it erupts further and explode. Be prepared for change of any eventuality, keeping your guard always and earlier detection of any hidden weapons concealed by the patrons. Become good in body and face reading language, looking for signs of uneasiness, nervousness, fear ness, edginess etc. Do not take anything for granted or lower your guard and alertness by relaxing, often trouble brews when you have relaxed and come when it is least expected.
Critical thing in a knife or broken bottle attack remember to contain the hand wielding the weapon. Remember – “Defang the snake and the snake is rendered useless”. Do not attempt a punch or a kick while the knife or cut bottle is waving at you. Stop at zero motion or when it has passed you, than quickly attack and control the hand attacking you. Keeping your eyes on the weapon, your hands ready to strike and block simultaneously and you legs poised for a kick. Jump backwards or leap forwards and counter until the attacker is completely subdued. Do not give full concentration on the weapon hand, for he may stab with one hand and jab with the other. In a life and death struggle be prepared to sacrifice. If someone wants to break
your head open with a tire rod or crowbar, and you have no choice but to block the attack with your forearm. It will hurt but a broken arm is much better than a broken skull, for head injury may prove more fatal and you must protect it at all cost. While fighting alone see that you cover you back, be against a wall if preferable, to prevent any sneak attack from behind.
Remember size is of little importance in most fights, for it is the one who can fight viciously that counts. Many big men cannot defend themselves because they are not vicious. So fight like a cat and become vicious like a cat. To survive a street or a bar room fight one must be vicious in his attacks. Do not hesitate to defend yourself from fear of legal consequences of injuring a deadly assailant. If someone has the intention of hurting you or killing you, his constitutional right should be your last concern, secondly you are doing your job for what you are paid to do. At such time you worry about your safety to protect yourself and act in self-defense. By putting the assailant in hospital rather than yourself. As far as legal consequences are concerned “ Rather be judged by twelve than carried by six.’ Lastly hoping the owners protects you for your sacrifice. After all that’s the risk one takes while doing the job of a Bouncer.