The sucker punch template – what not to do

This example is almost like it was copy-pasted from some kind of sucker punch template.

These two are engaging in a dominance display, much like you see in nature documentaries, where the goal of both parties is to make the other side back down and submit to avoid a physical fight.

I can’t hear what they’re saying but after the man on the right replies to some kind of question, he then starts taking a draw from his cigarette to emphasise his conviction that he is not intimidated and will not back down. He is fixated on the other mans face.

The man on the left has a bladed stance, his fists are clenched, and he is maintaining just the right range to reach the full extension of his punches. But his stance mainly appears neutral, ensuring the other man remains unprepared in the pre-fight stage.

When he strikes, it comes from this hands-down, neutral stance. Although the man on the right has one hand up, there is not enought time to react to the first hit, and by the time the second punch comes, he probably has his eyes closed and he’s seeing nothing but flashes of light behind his eyelids. It doesn’t help that he appears intoxicated.

Notice how quickly the man on the left punches and transitions from a neutral stance to a fighting stance – less than a quarter second, which means that intoxicated or not, he never had a chance.


1. Don’t be a slave to your ego and walk away if you have the option

2. Do not bluff. Do not express or insinuate things you can’t follow through with. Bluffing is a last resort when de-escalation is impossible – strategically it’s at the same level as pleading for mercy.

3. Do not disregard or dismiss threats.

4. Maintain a safe distance and give yourself a reactionary gap

5. Watch their body language

6. If you want have a chance when the fight kicks off, you will need footwork, head movement and punching skills – in other words, go train in something like boxing, Muay Thai or kickboxing.