H2H FIGHTING: Can the Average Suburban Joe Become a Tough Guy?


"Dude, I will whoop your ass all up and down this damn block" ~Screech

About a two years ago a good friend of mine called me up with a distressing situation that he was involved in. He was walking from his car to a restaurant with his wife and another couple. On the sidewalk outside the restaurant a few young guys were hanging out, they ended up blocking the way of my buddy and making comments about his wife.

Some background on my friend: he is a regular guy and not involved in the contracting or security industry, he works in a white collar job in an office and lives in the suburbs. I think the most aggressive thing he has ever done in his life was yelling at me when he was drunk back when we were 17. But overall he is a good guy, loyal friend and someone that I know I can rely on.

Anyway, when these guys started messing with him + his wife and his friends he said that he just stood there eating shit. In fact, he told me that he was pretty scared (he is also an honest guy) and his brain basically shut down.

Luckily for him these punks were just talk and eventually moved on. But the whole incident deeply affected him as a man because it was a big wake up call that he is unable to defend himself or his wife.

What he ended asking me was: “Dude, how can I learn how to fight and be tough like you?”

First of all, I don’t really look at myself as a “Tough Guy” by any means, nor do I consider myself a master fighter (I am a master Nuts kicker). But compared to him I am Steven Seagal (before he became fat) ninja and Steve McQueen tough combined.

But he did pose an interesting question; “Can a regular guy learn how to fight” and not only that (because I can teach a monkey how to fight) can he learn the mindset to actually use fighting skills without pissing his pants.

Basically: Can the average suburbia living office worker learn how to be a Tough Guy?

I do believe that all men have the "Cave Man" buried in their DNA somewhere; it’s just a matter of clearing out all the pre-conditioned social niceties that have been vomited into most men’s heads in the “civilized” world we live in.

Now is it always possible to pull the cave man out of a computer programmer?


Is it possible sometimes?


I had allot of motivation to help my buddy out, he is the type of guy that would bail you out of jail at 2 AM, not many friends are the type that shine when loyalty is needed. And I truly hated to see a friend humiliated like that in front of his wife and friends.


James G’s Tough Guy Program

So, this is what I figured I needed to do to man him up a bit:

1. He needed to learn how to fight if needed 2. Get him dirty and bruised to remove the panzyness from him 3. Have him get into a physical condition where he could fight if necessary 5. Get some experience under a high pressure situation so he won’t poop himself under stress

After cooking my brain on how to do the above without being there (I was in Iraq at the time) I came up with the following program.


learn how to fight

Learning the mechanics of how to fight isn’t really that much of a challenge given enough time, millions of people around the world go to martial arts classes every day.

What I needed was a fighting style that was simple and effective that could be learned well enough to use within six months without having to take a class 7 days a week. Also if you could practice these martial arts alone in your spare time even better.

I decided on a combination of Boxing and Combatives


For straight-up stand-up fighting in my opinion you can’t beat boxing, it a H2H fighting science that has been practically perfected. Also (one of the most important things) part of learning boxing is getting punched in the face. You can’t fight if you are scared of getting hurt or if you don’t know that you are able to continue fighting even after you have been hurt.

I told him to find a boxing gym and take lessons 1 to 2 times a week.


This is a military martial art created by Brit WW2 vets William E. Fairbairn and Eric A. Sykes. It is a martial art that takes bits and pieces from several different fighting styles and packages them into simple bite sized techniques. This is probably the only martial art that was specifically designed to be learned in single training sessions (as apposed to going to classes every week) and even from a book.

Unlike other martial arts this one was created for the battlefield and teaches things like using improvised weapons, impact weapons and using knives in addition to ground and stand-up H2H. It also has many moves that are lethal or will cause permanent damage to your adversary.

He lives in Washington DC (a big military town) so he found a school that had Combatives seminars. I told him to take one 4 hour class a month and read the training manuals.


Get dirty and bruised to remove the panzyness

Like most “civilized” middle/upper-class men these days that live in the suburbs and were razed by overprotective parents, my friend had never skinned his knee or used his hands hard enough to get a blister in his life.

Getting punched in the face in a dirty boxing gym was a good starting point for this but I felt that he needed to get even dirtier. So I had him volunteer with habitat for humanity, a community service group that builds houses for the disadvantaged.

Now this would kill several birds with one stone in his "Tough Guy" training program

- He would get dirty building houses with tools and his bare hands, a few blisters and hard days working in the hot sun will man anyone up

- He would get exposed to people from socioeconomic backgrounds that he had never interacted with before. Many middle/upper-class people have never met or befriended working class folk before, so they may feel uncomfortable or intimidated by them.

- He would do a bit of good for some people that needed a house, which would increase his self confidence.


get in excellent physical condition and get big

If you are weak or fat you are not as an effective fighter as someone who is strong and in good physical shape. My friend was a bit of both, not strong (he had never lifted a weight in his life) and he had a bit of a gut from sitting in front of a computer drinking Mountain Dew at work all day long.

There are allot of trendy workout and nutrition programs these days, but one that has been around for over a decade is the Body for Life program created by a former bodybuilder named Bill Phillips. This is the first workout and nutrition program that I ever did and it is excellent for beginners.

Body for Life combines weight training, aerobic exercise and nutrition that is wrapped up into a single pre-planned program. It is easy to follow and is suited to all sorts of lifestyles and time constraints. And the best part is it's simple and requires zero brain power to follow.


Get real world experience facing high-pressure high-stress situations

Being in great physical condition, knowing how to fight, take a punch, get dirty and stab someone with a knife means squat of you shit yourself at the first sign of trouble.

I originally suggested that he join the Marine reserves or become a reserve deputy Sheriff/Police Officer, but because of his job he was unable to take months off from work to attend the police academy or boot camp.

So instead I had him volunteer with a county rescue squad, this was better suited to him because he could take one class a week for a year (for EMT) in the evening. And he could schedule his volunteer time for the days that were most convenient to him and his wife.

If anyone here reading this has ever worked on a rescue squad you know how stressful and demanding it can be. You learn how to act cool and keep your composure under pressure by experience. It also has a great support system via your fellow volunteers and I thought it would be good for him to have some blue collar bonding.


So, did James G’s Tough Guy Program work?

I don’t know

Sorry I can’t give you a better answer than that but in the past two years he has been following the "James G Tough Guy Program" a street fight has not presented itself to him. So he still doesn’t know how he would react if a group of guys messed with him and his wife again.

But I can tell you this much – he is a changed man. He is 1000% more confident, in excellent physical shape, changes his own car oil and he ended up loving the Rescue Squad stuff so much he is going for his Paramedic certification now.

So weather or not he can whoop someone’s ass really doesn’t matter to him anymore, he feels confident that he could defend himself in necessary but that isn’t his main concern these days.

Personally, I believe that he would have no problem laying the hurt down on someone.

So what do you guys think, can you teach a wimp to be an effective street smart H2H fighter?

NOTE: you may be wondering why I didn’t include any firearms training in my Tough Guy Program for him. He lives in Washington DC, guns are illegal there along with free thought and not taking your citizen pill everyday.

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————————————————————————————— ~James GJames G is a Veteran Civilian Contractor who has worked in the Middle East and Southeast Asia for way too long. He spends his off time in his homes in Indonesia and Virginia getting drunk, shooting guns and writing poorly written articles.