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Writing a Believable and Brutal Male vs. Female Fight Scene (1 Viewer)

MorganaPendragon25

Senior Member
Something that I want to see more of in stories today are more Male vs. Female fight scenes. Sure we see a lot of same gender fights...male vs. male and female vs. female...but male vs. female is hard to come across for some strange reason.

Why don't we see more male vs. female fights? What can we do as writers to make them more commonplace?

Also, how do you make them believable? Let's say we have a male hero and female villain at the same height and same weight (5'7" and 160 lbs. each). Despite typical male/female biological differences, the woman could have more muscle on her (it's not impossible). Perhaps she's the better fighter and more vicious attacker. How could you write a fight scene between these two and make it believable?

A lot of times when we watch men and women fighting each other in a movie, it seems like the male actor is holding back. I think a lot of women can definitely hold their own against a male rival in a fight. Women are not all about hearts and rainbows, I think a lot have enough courage to stand up to a male opponent and obliterate his ass. Same thing as a male fighting a female opponent; she could be super intimidating to him based on her fighting style and her reputation and how she presents herself (mind games too).

Thoughts and ideas of making a proper male vs. female fight scene and making it as brutal as can be?
 

TheMightyAz

Senior Member
Something that I want to see more of in stories today are more Male vs. Female fight scenes. Sure we see a lot of same gender fights...male vs. male and female vs. female...but male vs. female is hard to come across for some strange reason.

Why don't we see more male vs. female fights? What can we do as writers to make them more commonplace?

Also, how do you make them believable? Let's say we have a male hero and female villain at the same height and same weight (5'7" and 160 lbs. each). Despite typical male/female biological differences, the woman could have more muscle on her (it's not impossible). Perhaps she's the better fighter and more vicious attacker. How could you write a fight scene between these two and make it believable?

A lot of times when we watch men and women fighting each other in a movie, it seems like the male actor is holding back. I think a lot of women can definitely hold their own against a male rival in a fight. Women are not all about hearts and rainbows, I think a lot have enough courage to stand up to a male opponent and obliterate his ass. Same thing as a male fighting a female opponent; she could be super intimidating to him based on her fighting style and her reputation and how she presents herself (mind games too).

Thoughts and ideas of making a proper male vs. female fight scene and making it as brutal as can be?

Sometimes I find myself thinking I'm in an alternative reality. I see nothing but females fighting males and they nearly always win. Games, films, TV series, you name it. It's so prevalent it's become a cliche at this point.
 

indianroads

Staff member
Board Moderator
I've trained with world champion women fighters, and pretty much everyone of them freely admit that in a real life street combat situation they are at a strong disadvantage. The only way to win in that situation would be to land a hard first shot, then quickly take advantage and get away.

Sorry, but the sexes are not equal in all things. Women are better at something and men are better in others. Men tend to be more physically aggressive - consider domestic violence; men attack physically, while women use words and psychology. (There are exceptions, a friend that is writing an app for women DV survivors was telling me about a male being stabbed repeatedly with pencils and pens by his wife.)

The reality is that a 110 pound woman isn't likely to beat a 200 pound man in a fight - regardless of the unrealistic tripe in movies and on TV.
 

Matchu

Senior Member
deleted, too close to knuckle incident.

The thing is @Morgana you should relish in the act [of writing] and write those fight scenes where the woman 'wins.' It might give you, and many readers, a lot of pleasure. So get on...


...nobody wins a fight anyway. Those awful clips where the moron attacks the trained guy. Trained guy's anguished loom over 'corpse.' Awful.
 
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Matchu

Senior Member
They both go down :(

Criminal justice system is uncompromising. Even in the Middle Ages every man would rise from his bed and end you.
 

Hewlett

Senior Member
I've trained with world champion women fighters, and pretty much everyone of them freely admit that in a real life street combat situation they are at a strong disadvantage.

Female fighting Champs can beat almost any man, one who even has a tiny bit of skill, in a real life street fight. I could of told you that.
 

EternalGreen

Senior Member
Even at equal weights, men are stronger than women.

I cannot stand the towering bad faith of people who put forward this claim.

At equal weights, a majority of men can exert more force than a majority of women. But there is a very large overlap.

A story can involve a large woman fighting a small man. Maybe the man is much smaller but he's better trained. Maybe the woman is smaller but she has more at stake. Drugs could be involved. Maybe they had to run ten miles before the fight. One person could be old. Genders don't fight; people do.
 

Theglasshouse

WF Veterans
Women can win in a karate fight. But despite having karate skills they can lose. I read this sad news story in the newspaper of a murderer that killed a woman who knew karate and forced her imo to tell with a hand written note or recorder for him not to get the death penalty. That is based on a true story.
 

Tettsuo

WF Veterans
I cannot stand the towering bad faith of people who put forward this claim.

At equal weights, a majority of men can exert more force than a majority of women. But there is a very large overlap.

A story can involve a large woman fighting a small man. Maybe the man is much smaller but he's better trained. Maybe the woman is smaller but she has more at stake. Drugs could be involved. Maybe they had to run ten miles before the fight. One person could be old. Genders don't fight; people do.
All things being equal, men are stronger than women. What's bad faith about that?
 

Matchu

Senior Member
Fantasy Fightscaper:

'Right, Lynda & mister Pete, the rest of us are all off now to gather shrubs for supper and suchlike and maybe shoot a deer, eh? Yummy. What? You are staying here lifting weighty objects in a room all day by yourselves in front of the shiny wall looking at muscles? What? And you are both vegetarians! What. Well, no supper for you two, you witches, warlock, or one or the other, it does not matter, Warlikwitches.. Okay, I am not listening. See you later.'
 

JBF

Senior Member
Aw hell yeah. It's that time again.

Something that I want to see more of in stories today are more Male vs. Female fight scenes. Sure we see a lot of same gender fights...male vs. male and female vs. female...but male vs. female is hard to come across for some strange reason.

Why don't we see more male vs. female fights? What can we do as writers to make them more commonplace?

Because in a short-duration one-off fight without the presence of weapons, mind-altering narcotics, or safeguards those go very, very badly for the woman nine times in ten.

Long-term, with recurring violence outside of a sparring context implies abuse one way or the other. Whole different set of parameters in that case, none of which make the victor appealing as a character.

Also, how do you make them believable? Let's say we have a male hero and female villain at the same height and same weight (5'7" and 160 lbs. each). Despite typical male/female biological differences, the woman could have more muscle on her (it's not impossible). Perhaps she's the better fighter and more vicious attacker. How could you write a fight scene between these two and make it believable?

The odds of having one character of each sex at identical height and weight are way out there, especially on the condition of the woman having more muscle mass. Impossible? No. But highly unlikely.

Mindset plays a part, yes. But it can't negate the physical disparity - not the height/weight question, but the uneven distribution and mass of muscle.

A lot of times when we watch men and women fighting each other in a movie, it seems like the male actor is holding back.

The mind boggles at why this could be. Perhaps a predesignated winner has something to do with it.

I think a lot of women can definitely hold their own against a male rival in a fight. Women are not all about hearts and rainbows, I think a lot have enough courage to stand up to a male opponent and obliterate his ass. Same thing as a male fighting a female opponent; she could be super intimidating to him based on her fighting style and her reputation and how she presents herself (mind games too).

I suspect a large part of your issue figuring this out has to do with the all-or-nothing lens through which you depict your characters. Some of the sweetest most house-wifey women I know would murder you twice and dance on the burning remains if you threatened their family. It would not be a fair fight, nor would it conform to any Hollywood concept of what a 'cool' fight looks like.

That's because for most women I've met, fighting is a last-ditch resist-or-die proposition moreso than a sport.

Men, different story.

Thoughts and ideas of making a proper male vs. female fight scene and making it as brutal as can be?

Have a threatened woman. Have her buy a shotgun and learn to use it. Have her use it.

***

I look forward to the inevitable carnage of this thread. :twisted:
 

vranger

Staff member
Global Moderator
Why don't we see more male vs. female fights? What can we do as writers to make them more commonplace?

If your female always wins, eventually the readers' eyes will roll. If you have a male beat down a woman, then you come across as a sadist. That's one reason. As far as making them "more commonplace", you do what you want to. There is no mandate for writers to do so. I won't be, and in a lifetime of reading great authors, they don't seem to have felt the need, either.

One of my favorite authors, who wrote strong women WELL before it was "a thing", later on had one chapter were a highly trained female agent is beat down by the bad guys, tortured, and raped. Because of that one chapter, there is a sub-culture of readers who call him a misogynist. No thanks.
 

JBF

Senior Member
I mean, I think I did this semi-successfully. The story was published, though it is (in my opinion) of dubious moral quality. I had a cage-fight between a young man and a young woman. The man was overly aggressive, cruel. The girl was cool and smart. He was already exhausted from a previous fight; she managed to get into his head. She was also very experienced. I would advise you to count the strengths and weaknesses of your fighters. The very basic question of "what would I do in this situation" actually helps. If she's small (this girl was) even one or two direct hits are going to cause serious damage. You can view that as a weakness, or you can use it as an opportunity to build tension. Glass cannon. One hit, she goes down. That's a nail-biter.

I would suggest anybody looking to depict a physical fight between a man and a woman look up the early-2000s video of Joanie (Chyna) Laurer vs Joey Buttafuoco. It's pretty much trash in the Jerry Springer vein, but it does reveal a couple of interesting thing.

Watch it once with the commentary from the announcers, then without.

Laurer is a fighter with a career in the ring. Buttafuoco is a fat out-of-shape ex-con. The fight (I use the term loosely) lasts three rounds and when he isn't hammering Laurer into a corner or keeping her on the defensive he's shrugging off the hits she actually lands.

Bear in mind that this is a low-stake fight. This is not career-making bout or a street brawl between two people who hate each other. It can safely be argued that anybody involved is probably in it for a minor purse and camera time.

Note that:

- Laurer gets physically thrown at least twice.
- when she hits him, he rolls with it
- when he hits her, she's pretty much retreating until the bell
- the only thing that stops him is either the referee or the end of the round
- the audience absolutely hates this

Now picture this as an alley fight with both parties determined to do each other serious harm. Take away the official so nobody breaks things up when it gets ugly. Take away the willingness of both parties to separate at the whistle. Take away the gloves and protective headgear. Assume there is no artificial end of the thing, and it's over when one party is unwilling or unable to continue.

This doesn't end with both belligerents walking away.

This ends with a chalk outline and a manhunt.
 

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