What You Can Learn From A Bouncer

Discussion in 'Articles' started by SifuPhil, Aug 10, 2012.

  1. SifuPhil

    SifuPhil Lucky Cat Is Lucky

    bouncer.jpg
    Bouncers - or "Doormen" or "Floor Men" as they're sometimes referred to - have the unenviable job of keeping the peace in clubs the world over. Underpaid, under-appreciated and over-worked they nonetheless show up every night to face a fresh crop of bad-guys.​
    As in any other job that deals with the public, you'll encounter a broad spectrum of bouncer personalities - from the well-dressed, soft-spoken type who moves like a ghost, to the type who makes the Hulk look like an underachiever and likes nothing better than to curb-stomp you out of existence. The nature of the club they work in determines the type of bouncer needed - and usually found - there: a high-end club needs a diplomat, while a strip-club that caters to bikers might need someone a bit more physically intimidating.​
    In some clubs there is a distinct difference between a bouncer and a doorman: the doorman is stationed at the main entrance and provides access control to the club. They check IDs to determine age, perform pass/fail checks on clothing and, especially these days, may use a metal detector to discover hidden weapons. They serve as the gatekeepers, turning away obviously intoxicated or banned customers and may also collect cover charges in their spare time.​
    roadhouse.jpg
    A Bouncer​
    Bouncers, on the other hand, are usually the gorillas that lope around the club floor looking for trouble-makers and constantly monitoring the crowd. He has traditionally been a large guy, muscular and scary-looking to persuade evil-doers to remain well-behaved. Their job is to remove anyone disrupting the smooth and legal operation of the club.​
    With changing times though comes changing perceptions of the roles that bouncers and doormen play. Certainly there will always be clubs that need to follow the "bigger is better" philosophy, but the trend now seems to be the employment of smarter security. Today's litigious society demands a bouncer that knows the local laws pertaining to public intoxication, alcohol service and most importantly what they can and cannot do while performing their job. They need to be current on negligence and liability laws as well as familiar with the concept of "force continuum".​
    Hulk.gif
    NOT a Bouncer​
    Having worked as a bouncer in various clubs over the years I've picked up a few things that might be useful for a martial artist to consider in their quest to become a little more street-wise. Note that these are personal experiences, not Scripture, and what worked for me might not work for you. But if these tips get you to at least think about possible scenarios my job will have been done.​
    1. Always Expect The Unexpected
    We all have times when our awareness lags, when we're physically tired or preoccupied with some personal problem. Most of the time we can indulge ourselves and let our focus slip, but bouncers don't have that luxury - not in an environment where a few seconds of not paying attention can mean having a bottle broken over your head, or worse.​
    Now I'm not saying that you can't go to a club as a patron and have a good time, but I AM saying that as a martial artist you need to keep some level of awareness of your environment, some bit of observational skill kept intact. Of course, if you're a drinker that ability will fade rapidly. Be aware of your mental and physical state at all times - run self-diagnostics, know when you've had too much. Beer muscles do NO ONE any good.​
    2. Perception is Everything
    When I was working the floor I always had a few people come up to me and say "You're the bouncer, aren't you? You look like you know some shit". It isn't as if I walked around with a Day-Glo Pink T-shirt with "SECURITY" printed on both sides, nor am I physically imposing (6', 200 pounds). But how I carry myself says volumes.​
    pink-bouncer-T-shirt.jpg
    Not a good idea in some clubs ...​
    There is a certain way of walking, a certain way of holding your head, a focused look in the eyes that tells people you shouldn't be messed with. You usually develop these mannerisms as a result of years spent training in martial arts; they're hard to acquire if you just practice them in front of a mirror.​
    How you are perceived can actually avert a fight. If you walk tall they won't bother you at all.​
    3. Don't Be Honorable
    Honor is a term that is often cited in martial arts trainingwhen discussing such concepts as Bushido. Tales of legendary fighters being honorable, of pursuing justice and of always fighting fair are in no short supply, but in a serious club confrontation you can't afford to be honorable.​
    Your opponent certainly won't be.​
    They'll use every trick in the book and some that you never heard of. Their sister will kick you in the groin from behind when you have Big Brother in a choke hold; they'll sucker-punch you, push your face into a mirror and come at you 5-on-1. They'll pull a gun on you after you turn your back.​
    Keep it simple. Use the continuum-of-force principle: give back to them what they give to you. Only use as much force as is necessary, but don't be afraid to crank it up to the next level when you have to.​
    4. Know Your Local Laws
    Ignorance of the law is no excuse, especially when you consider some of the nasty things that can happen to you when you defend yourself. It's one thing to play the macho card and say that you'll go psycho on anyone who attacks you, but you have to consider the consequences not only to yourself but to friends and family.​
    The law is one thing; how it is enforced can be something quite different. Know the prevailing attitudes of the local police, know how the judges act in court and stay current on local crime news - that will give you some idea of the current legal climate in your area.​
    If you choose to carry a weapon, know the laws covering it. Train with it constantly. Know when you can legally use it and when you cannot.​
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    5. You Are Where You Are
    This last bit of advice might seem like a no-brainer, but it is sometimes surprising how often it is ignored.​
    Where you choose to hang out determines in large part the threat-level you have to deal with.If you like to go to strip-clubs in the bad part of town you should realize that you're more likely to encounter problems than if you go to Mickey's Pub down on the corner. Weigh the benefits as well as the risks.​
    So many times I've heard the running commentary after a club incident: "I came out just to have a good time and THIS had to happen!" Well, yeah - you're a skinny, pale accountant who thought it would be fun to hang out at that notorious biker bar where that guy got shot last week. :angelic:
    You are your environment - you are where you are.​
     
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  3. Judah

    Judah fights in tights

    Great post!
     
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  4. Master of Nothing

    Master of Nothing Psychotic Pacifist

    Damn Skippy!
     
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  5. Enkidu

    Enkidu Destroyer of your martial arts fantasies

    What's funny is that one of my good friends has done a lot of bouncing at a variety of different clubs where fights regularly break out. He is completely unimposing -- 5'10" maybe 175 Swedish dude with a boyish face. He doesn't look intimidating, he doesn't act intimidating. But when the shit hits the fan, he is a brutal. I held Thai pads once for him in a warm-up for an MMA fight and after about 3 high kicks, I handed the pads to someone else and said "you do it, I want to walk out of here in one piece." He is just a natural born fighter. I've seen him snap and KO people with brutal high kicks. I once saw him engage 3 people in a fight at once and choke one, 1- punch KO a second and high kick a third in what looked like something out of Jet Li movie (and what is funny is that he had no memory of doing any of this afterwards, and thought we were all joking with him despite 5 of us witnessing it).

    The last club I remember him working, he got fired from because of the damage he was causing to people when bouncing (well, that and the fact high KO'd a DJ hired by the club who threw a drink in his face over a girl). Sometimes the least intimidating bouncer/doorman can be the most dangerous. If you see someone working a club, chances are they were hired for a reason, despite what they look like!
     
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  6. Judah

    Judah fights in tights

    I used to work with a guy like that, he never kicked he was a boxer, I saw him take out 3 or 4 guys one time he went through em like water. Some of the hardest shots I've felt have come from people with arms like pencils, but a nasty punch same as I e known some huge muscular guys who can't punch for shit.
     
  7. Enkidu

    Enkidu Destroyer of your martial arts fantasies

    That said, bouncing can be dangerous work. Years ago, I recall a bouncer at the Sunset Strip House of Blues being killed by a knife when three guys rushed him at the door when he wouldn't let them in to some rap concert that was going on. If memory serves, this was in the early 2000's when the NBA All Star game was being held in Los Angeles.
     
  8. Enkidu

    Enkidu Destroyer of your martial arts fantasies

    I take it back after googling it. The bouncer was stabbed, but wasn't killed. Apparently the three men who attacked him were arrested and charged with attempted murder. I lived pretty much right behind the HoB at the time.
     
  9. SifuPhil

    SifuPhil Lucky Cat Is Lucky

    Bouncing CAN be quite a dangerous trade - I've found it's MUCH better to make the rent money by teaching little old ladies how to breathe. :inpain:
     
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  10. Judah

    Judah fights in tights

    That's why I quit. Wasn't worth it.
     
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  11. SifuPhil

    SifuPhil Lucky Cat Is Lucky

    It really wasn't, outside of having validated my training and hanging out with strippers. :devil:
     
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  12. Judah

    Judah fights in tights

    Yeah there are perks of the job that you miss every now and then :D
     
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  13. Enkidu

    Enkidu Destroyer of your martial arts fantasies

    ...I love strippers... or at least used to...

    Thank god for shitty dads...
     
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  14. SifuPhil

    SifuPhil Lucky Cat Is Lucky

    I will say this - I'd rather face a gang of juiced-up bikers with Glocks than a single stripper in a fight ...
     
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  15. Enkidu

    Enkidu Destroyer of your martial arts fantasies

    Ha!!

    That's not the first time I've heard that from a bouncer at a strip club!
     
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  16. Master of Nothing

    Master of Nothing Psychotic Pacifist

    I remember Cindy. She was hassled by some of the patrons. One of them, BIG. One of the cocktail girls told me about it. By the time I made it over there. Big boy is on the ground, one buddy was clutching his nose, one hold the jewels, a girl with them is crying with blood everywhere and the last guy 8 steps back with his hands up repeating "WASN"T ME!! I AIN"T IN THIS!!!"
    There she is with a broken rocks glass in one hand and half a serving try in the other. The best I had was something like, "Honey, you have a little bit of blood on your cheek."
    (sigh) "the one that got away...."
     
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  17. Traderjoe

    Traderjoe Disciple

    Being a good door man is being able to handle yourself in a fight. Being a GREAT doorman is knowing before the fight is ever gonna happen and stopping it with no one ever knowing.
     
  18. Master of Nothing

    Master of Nothing Psychotic Pacifist

    And shit will still happen no matter how great a bouncer thinks he (orshe) is.
     
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  19. Aaron

    Aaron Shadow Warrior

    Try breaking up a pair of strippers that are fighting because one slept with the others boyfriend... sticking your hand into a running blender is safer.

    You pretty much hit it on the head the your post.... I prefer to do the floor man thing over being on post or door, and being 5'7 180lbs, i liked being the ghost, you get to see a lot of cool stuff and stop more things than someone thats like the hulk.

    I prefered having staff marked on the back of a shirt while working, security just puts a huge bullseye on your back. Plus i find people tend to argue less with staff members compared to security.

    As to dangerous... yes, but so is walking across the street. If you keep your awareness up have a decent group, and decent place to work, its ok... if you get the biker/i want to fight club/or drug dealing club dangerous becomes an understatement.

    Still looking back on my 10 years of doing it on and off, minus the bone chips in my cheek, and the stiches in the ear durin xmas eve, and the dude with the machette, and the guy packing a 9mm at the pub, the dumb ass almost ODing doing lines of coke off the toilet bowl, and the 40 man brawl, and the other weapons that ive had to deal with.... i would do it all over again.
     
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  20. Aaron

    Aaron Shadow Warrior

    Even though i would do it all over again, the crap pay is not worth what we have to deal with, especially the other staffs crap... urgh:mad:
     
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  21. SifuPhil

    SifuPhil Lucky Cat Is Lucky

    *sigh*

    The good ol' days ... :confused::ROFLMAO:

    You had a machete guy too?!? Wow ... must be something in club air ... mine just went out to his car to get it, after which I locked the doors and called the cops. MUCH easier to use Yin than Yang in that situation.
     
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