Fight Write! With Carla Hoch (To Write & Have Written)

For this month’s Learn With Me, I sit down with martial artist, writer, and fight editor Carla Hoch to talk about creating confrontation and conflict in story — everything from how to choose your character’s best technique to choosing a setting.

Find Carla’s book Fight Write: How to Create Believable Fight Scenes here.

Video (from Twitch and YouTube):

To Write and Have Written: A Writer's Guide To The Business Side
To Write and Have Written: A Writer's Guide To The Business Side
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Fight Write! Combat and action scenes with Carla Hoch. – powered by Happy Scribe

Some flashy things.

Yes, we have sound, awesome.

Can you hear me? OK? Yes.

The chat says they can hear you.Oh, my gosh.

Thank you guys for being patient.You know what?

What a pain that was.This is normal.

This, I don’t even know what I just did.

I will sort it out later.Does it matter?

Don’t worry about it.We’re going to keep this, OK.

And so I’ve had to disable that, soI could run it through here.

So do you want me to run down my my list

of stuff I’ve done whileyou’re working on things?

Yeah.Let’s do that.

OK.Take a moment to brag.

Give us the good news.

This is not bragging.

This is just a history lesson.

No, it can be bragging.That’s fine.

OK, about you know what, it’s weird.

I’m not really sure how many years ago Ithink I was about nine years ago,

I took a hapkido based self-defense classbecause I was writing a fight scene

and didn’t know the firstthing about fighting.

And I thought, well, I’ll go to oneor two self-defense classes.

How hard can it be?

I kept doing it and it was a lot of college

students and they went all back to collegeand I showed up, and it was just me

and the instructor, who wasa terrifying looking man,

like Mr. Clean, like Mr. Clean

and his partnerwas even bigger than he is.

And he’s like, you know what,you’re not bad at this.

And I’m like, I’m not good at it.

And I cried a lot.

Not joking because it really scared mehaving somebody come at me like that.

And he came at me and that I kept going

and he said, why don’t youtry the MMA training class?

And I said, I can’t do that.

And he goes, sure you can.I’m like, no, I can’t.

So I went ahead and did it.

And I did the MMA training class for about

three years, and I did notget in the cage and fight.

I didn’t start martial artstill I was in my late thirties,

so I stayed with that.

And from there I did Taekwondo and I wasintroduced from MMA, you know, mixed martial

arts is just a wide swath of allthe different martial arts together.

But specifically I also did taekwondo

some Muay Thai, judo, Aikido, iaido,

I know I’m forgetting some,Filipino martial arts.

I have experience in street defense, whichis self-defense with guns and knives.

I had a professor who was kind enoughto teach me a tiny bit of kung fu.

I call it “kinda fu” and I still doand compete in Brazilian jujitsu.

So that’s my that’s my fight background. And I’m also a writer.

And you’re working up to a competition

coming up. Right?I


I have a competition next month, November 21.

Two days beforemy forty eighth birthday.

So awesome.


Where I was going with that initially is,this is why Carla is qualified to speak

about hitting peoplein creative and effective ways.

So yeah.Her website.


And I also taught self-defenseand all that good stuff.

Yeah.And her website

which you can see on the screen

here,has been a Writer’s Digest best site

for writers in 2019 and 2020.

She has a podcast which you should

probably check out and she hasa book called Fight Write.

So easily put together.

So oh yes it is displayedbehind a very lovely framing.

Beautiful, beautiful.Yeah.

Right.So all kinds of good stuff.


also Carla’s just kind of awesome.

Like we met at a conference

five years ago, I thought,oh gosh, yeah, it’s been a while.

And just I, I think Carla’s a great person.

Like we had a costumed event and she camejust like covered in an apron covered

with blood and red hands and all sortsof things and knives and whatever.

And she had come costumed as an editor,killing our writers’ darlings.

And because that’s really where I started.

I started as a fight scene editor.That’s my first.

I mean, I’d had a lotof writing experience.

I used to write for a magazine and allthat, and I had done some editing.

And that was kind of my first thing was I

signed with Quill Pen editorialas their fight scene editor.

So that was my first job.Perfect.

And in the writing, yeah.

Are you still taking individualconsults for fight scenes, too?

Yeah, I do sometimes.

Enclave’s Publishing, my

my agent is Steve Laube and he ownsEnclave Publishing, and whenever he has a fight

scene come across his editor’s deskthat he’s like, he passes it along to me.

And so yeah, sometimes Ido one on one consulting.

I just kind of depends on my schedule.

But I may start doingthat a little bit more.

And I also Teach

for Writer’s Digest University nowand I contribute to their blog.

I think I have a regular shtickwith them now once a month.

So all of that, the hubfrom which you can find all things

Carla is of that.

So try and track that down.

So but I wanted to just take tonight,

you know, the Learn With Me is always like,let’s just go have fun.

Let’s explore something that writersfrequently struggle with.

And I mean, I love writing action scenes

like you are so good at it, too,that you know what,

for those of you who don’t know Laura,I hit it off like that.

It’s like we didn’t even speak,we’re just like, we get along.

All right.

So I have to tell you, possiblyone of my favorite ever Carla stories.

And it’s a little hard to pick one,

but there’s one that’sparticularly epic in my mind.

We were at a conference and Carla wastaking appointments with writers to shop

action scenes. And you neededan extra body to do some demonstration with.

Do you remember this?I say I do.

Keep going.Yeah.

So Carla’s like, hey,Laura, can I borrow you?

We need to work out this scene.

I do remember.

OK, keep telling.


there was a writer in,

I think the scene, like I

wasn’t involved in the consultat all, but I think the scene was like

a sexual assault scene.An intimate assault, it was.


So you’re like, oh, attack me,get me on the floor.

You’re going to be choking me out while,

you know, putting me in this position and,you know, we’re down.

And obviously this is not the kind

of thing you just doin the middle of the cafeteria.

Right.So we had nipped around the corner just.

Yeah.And the writer

and ducked into this darkroom that wasn’t being used.

And so she’s off to the side.

You and I are downworking at our position.

I’ve got my hands right on your throat

and a hotel employee walksin and turns on the lights.

You and I on the floor,

Me choking you out in this incredibly

compromising position and somebodystanding there taking notes and…

Yeah, yeah, yeah.So that’s it.

We’re done with the episode,that’s enough

to check out.

It was so helpful.I really needed it.

And I knew.I knew.

See, here’s the thing.

Whenever you do things like that,people think you can just grab anybody.

You’ve got to grab someonewho has some fighting knowledge.

Otherwise they won’t respondin the way they should respond.

So I really you are very helpful in that.I appreciate it.

And I think what I actually said was,”I think I need you to rape me.

Can we just walk?”

And you’re like, I’m like, “you know,they need it for their work.”

OK, ok.OK, that’s good.


So all that said, it’s like,hey guys, it’s open question night.

And where we’re gonna go, as youcan see, there’s no standards.

Just ask whatever you want to ask,

the bar has been set, you know.Yes.


But let’s let’s do let’stalk about because.

I mean, we’ve all read the fight scenesthat, there’s two kinds of horrible fight

scenes. There’s the “thishas no purpose in the story.

We just stuck it in here to have an action

scene,” and then the “oh, my gosh,this is supposed to be dramatic.

And I’m laughing toohard to be able to read.”

You know what,

And there’s one more, there’s onemore, that it’s the writer saying,

“Let me show you how muchI know about fighting.”

Oh, yeah.

Like the hard techversion of a fight scene.

I’m going to read you all

the specifications of the Oriondrive, only with fists.



so that if we want to avoid those, let mestart with just, what are kind of some

rules of thumb,my checklist for not being bad.

We’re not yet good.

I just want to avoid being bad.

Right.Well, you know what?

I’m actually in I’ve juststarted a series on

on things to remember whenyou’re actually writing the fight scene.

And this week, the subject is how much?How much of the action do you write?

And I give two examples.

And the first example I have isa recap by a sports journalist

of the Thrilla in Manila,the fight that was in 73,

I think, between Muhammad Aliand Joe Frazier.

And it is considered one of the greatestboxing matches of all time.

And then I tell you the stats,

I think there was about fivehundred punches thrown.

It was a ridiculous amount of punches.

And I tell you how much action took place.

And then we read what the journalist wrote.And the journalist did not write,

“He did this and then hedid this and then he did…”

You don’t do that.

And even when you have people who know

about fighting and I am in circlesof people who, we watch fighting pretty

regularly and we talk to each other aboutthe fights, when we talk to each other

and we recap a fight, we don’tgo through every single move.

Even though we’re all familiarwith the moves, we don’t.

We just highlight the big points. After the

the recap from the journalist I have, and Ihate that I don’t have my iPad with me.

I have a fight scene.

People generally ask me, oh, tell me, whatare some of your favorite fight scenes?

And go figure.

Some of my favorite fightscenes are from Fight Club.

I love Chuck Palahniuk.

If you’ve not read his work, he’s raw.

So you have been warned.

But those fight scenes arebrilliant because they are very

like one or two sentences.

People tend to be surprised when they find

out the book Fight Clubisn’t about fighting.


Yeah, there’s a club and people gettogether and that’s a slugfest.

But that’s not reallywhat the book’s about.

And his fight scenes, oh,

I wish I had it, they’re just completelybrilliant because it’s just like he says,

there’s a sleeper hold wheresomebody puts your head underneath their

arm and then they just pound your faceand you imagine all of this going on.

But he doesn’t go actionby action, by action.

He highlights the bigger points.

And this really nothighlighting the bigger points.

I really think readers more than wantingto know what happens in the fight scene.

Technically, they wantto know the impact it has.

And I tell that I tell writers

in my class for Writers Digest,one of the things that I really stress is

get your reader off the couchand get them into the arena.

And here’s what I mean by that.

When you watch any type of sporting event

on TV, you have a better vantageof what’s going on than the players do.

If you’re watching a fight with, say,

that we’re watching a boxing match,we have a better view than the boxers.

We have a better view than the coaches.

We have a better view than the cameraman

because the cameramen are onlyseeing one view at a time.

We get to switch around to all

the different cameramenand see what’s going on.

So when you have that great

of a perspective on a fight,why would you ever go see a fight

in person? Why is it we watch footballgames and not with COVID,

but previously there would be hundredsof thousands of people in the stands? If

you have a better view of the game athome, why would you ever go to the arena?

And that’s because what you see at homeand what you can’t see in the arena,

you feel there’s just a ceiling and youyou do there’s an electricity in the air.

And I just I just getchills thinking about it.

And that’s what you want for your reader.

You want to get them off the couch whereit’s just a 2D kind of passive thing.

You really want to get the sensory thing

in there because, you know, when whenyou go see fights, you really don’t.

You have a very not greatperspective of what’s going on.

But you see the facesand you hear the crowd.

Even if you don’t see the faces,you feel the crowd around you.

And I think you really need to make ita sensory experience for your reader.

Remember, if it is first person,if your fight is first person,

that sensory experience is goingto be much different than.

Obviously, third person, I was thinking,I was like, OK, second person,

I don’t know if I’ve ever read a bookthat second person,

but it’s going to be very differentbecause when you want to be on the inside

of the fight,there’s not a lot of emotion, if any.

It’s just very simple, straightforwardsurvival kind of thoughts.

You may feel some pain.

And I have a video on YouTube about this

on 10 lies writers need to know aboutbefore they write their fight scene.

And one of them is people say, oh, youdon’t feel anything when you’re fighting.

That’s not true.

You do feel some it’s to a lesserextent than when the adrenaline ebbs.

But you really need to get the sensory

experience and imagine, OK,what perspective is this being told from?

If it’s from the person inside the fight,you need to understand that’s a whole

different game than from the personon the outside looking in.

The person outside looking in is goingto see things, hear things,

smell things that the peopleon the inside of the fight won’t so much.

Since you’re watching this,you’ll get a sneak.

I’ll go ahead and tell you whatI’m going to blog about next.

And that’s what actions do you need

to highlight while you’rewriting your fight scene?

And if any point, I need to stop talkingbecause I’m going off subject,

please tell me.

I’m here tilllike eight am, so we’re good.


when you are trying to decide and I point

I think I pointed this out a little bitin the blog post this week,

but I’ll go more into it next week whenyou’re trying to figure out, OK,

what actions should I highlight and whatactions should I just let slip by?

We don’t tell everything in our books.I don’t know

the last time I read a book that included

the character saying, “hold on,I need to go the bathroom.”

But it’s understood.

Characters are real.

They eat, they sleep,they go to the bathroom.

That’s how that’s how life works.

And it’s the same thing with fight scenes.

You don’t have to include everything,something some things are understood.

But to really figure out what moves youneed to highlight, imagine that the fight

scene was in a comicbook or graphic novel.

Imagine what

what actions would behighlighted in those panels.

Comic books and graphic novels are

fantastic resources for people writingfight scenes because

comic book, if you don’t knowif you’re not familiar with comic book

writing,it’s very difficult because you have

to tell an entire storyin a panel in one little frame.

And so you only have a certain amountof room that you can put words.

And it’s amazing.Sometimes they have to go back and redraw

it because they realize theyhaven’t left enough room.

But you have a limitedamount of space for words.

And so you really have to show.

And so that’s why you seethe look on their faces.

You see the sweat fly off, you seethe call-out balloons, boom, crack, pow.

They are only illustrating the movesthat make the difference in the fight.

Now they will highlight the smallmoves if it changes the fight.

If one of the characters reaches behindtheir back slowly and pulls out a knife,

they’re going to show that because it’sgoing to change the course of the fight.

So just just read through it and jot down

a little piece of paper and say, OK,what would show up in a comic book panel.

So I think I answered the question.

That’s a great way to think about it. And wehave some comments in the chat.

And you were talking

the impact of being present versusheavy and Natalie’s talking about

that makes sense that you’re goingto get that different vibe there.

You such a different vibe just


You dropped some hints for my.

We’re going to segue into my next question

there, because you didn’t know youwere setting me up for that, so.

Oh, good.

But I was we have fights that can just be

action scenes, or we can havefights that can be part of the plot,

actually advancing characterization

and plot in there.So how much self-awareness is there

in a fight and how much of that changeswith the type of fight that it is?

That’s a really good question.

So what we’re talking about is if you are

the person fighting and if it’sbeing told from your point of view,

first of all, you’ve got to take intoaccount adrenaline. Fighting is science.

A lot of times people say,well, how do you know this?

How do you know this?I don’t know this.

I know science.OK, now this.

I do happen to know first handadrenaline has some objectives.

And one of the objectives isof adrenaline is to dull your emotions.

You don’t want to be as emotional as you

are in everyday life if you’re in a lifeor death situation because you don’t need

to think about the ramificationsof what’s happening to you.

So your emotions are a little bit dulled.

Your pain response is a little bit dulled.

You don’t feel fear.It’s not fear.

It’s something very different.

And I actually I’m in several women’s

jujitsu groups on social media,and I asked one of them, well,

somebody was saying they had a really hardtime with anxiety before they competed.

And what do you do about that?

And I said, well, here’s the thing.

You’re only going to be afraiduntil the ref says go.

And she was like, I don’t know.

I think I’m afraid the whole time.

I don’t it’s not fearso much as there is a

it’s there’s a drive to survive.

There is a drive to win.

But once you’re in that moment and thefight starts, nothing else exists.

There is nothing else you can.

I have competed in a room wherethere were hundreds of people.

And from the time that the ref says, go,

there’s nothing, sometimesyou can’t even hear things.

I mean, that’s a

that’s just a known factorof what adrenaline does to you.

You just get that tunnel vision.It has a purpose.

You get auditory exclusion like.All right.

Is very well documented.Absolutely.


And all of that hasa purpose for your survival.

I can only hear my coach.

It is the weirdest thing.

Every now and then I’llhear somebody else.

But I hear my coach has is a very loud

voice and it’s also a veryheavy Brazilian accent.

So that kind of helps.But one time I couldn’t hear him.

One time I couldn’t hear him.

I got my butt kicked hard.

But on the inside of the fight,

it’s just not that big of a sensoryexperience on my blog.

I also have if you’ll go to the index,I think it’s called being attacked.

And I interviewed a woman who wasattacked by half a dozen people.

And one of the things too people think ispeople kind of hit you one at a time.

That’s what you see in the movies,that that doesn’t work that way.

If a group of people descendsupon you, guess what?

They’re going to all finda place to beat you up.

And they were all beating her up.

And I ask her in that moment,did you feel fear?

She said no.

She said when she realized what washappening and they were coming at her.

Absolutely.It was like an explosion of terror.

But once they descended upon her,she said there’s just a drive to survive.

So you do not have

thoughts like ramifications of,oh, my leg is broken.

And I was in a serious car accident inin high school and soaked in adrenaline.

And I do remember looking down at my legs

and very matter of factly sayingmy legs are broken and somebody

wanted to reach in the sideof the car and pull me out.

And they said, step on the steeringwheel because we’re on our side.

And I said, my legs are broken.

It was just a very matter of fact thing.

And I knew I couldn’t feel it.

And I figured once they put me on my feetto walk, then I would feel it.

So you do have to dumb it down a lot.

It’s going to be much greater sensory

experience for the onlookersbecause they’re going to hear it.

You’re going to hear the smacks.

There sometimes is a smell.

If there’s enough blood, there’s a smell.

If it’s a room where a fight is taking

place, like in an arena, there’s a hormonetestosterone sweat kind of smell to it.

I think women have a differentsweat smell than men do when they fight.

So on the outside looking in,there’s going to be greater sensory

experience than if you arethe one actually fighting.

Did I answer the question?

No, that’s that’s great.OK, good.

And I think

this is one of those things where writing

realistically is so different from writingto expectations that it’s

sometimes really hard as a writerto make those choices. Right.

And so I had a experience where

I don’t want to get too boggeddown in how we got here.

But the very short version is Ihad a dog trying to eat my face.

For those of you who don’t know,like in my day job,

I work in animal behavior andthis is not how it’s supposed to go.

OK, this was a culmination of,

the very short version is I was not given

correct information beforeI got into this situation.

And then I was like, oh, I have foundthe actual problem and it is eating me.

OK, so.

So anyway, I.

So the dog comes up and his,his jaw actually latches —

I mean that’s what this is here,that’s all that.

And then his lower,his lower jaw was in my throat and

also as he’s in the act of biting and thenI just went into this absolute time

dilation where I had it all the timein the world to think about how I was

going to not pull back,because that would cause more tearing

And I you know, I had allthis time to think about it.

But in a book, if I wrote and I sat downand I had this paragraph of thinking about

the situation, you know,it’s going to feel so unrealistic

to the reader because, you know,it’s just,

you know, it’s just that adrenaline willgive you that time dilation effect.

It’s going to slow down the experience for the reader.

It is strange.Yeah, it does.

And it’s weird because you will look back

and you’ll have severaldifferent memories.

You’ll think, OK, this is what happenedand then you’ll have another memory.

You’re like, OK, which one happened?

It actually I think I’ve written on thistime really does slow down magically.

And it’s because our brain is trying

to lay down memories for us and that’s whyit’s slow. Time is not actually slowing

down,but your brain is hyper focusing to try

to lay down certain memories becauseagain, adrenaline wipes out everything

except what is mostimperative in that moment.

I had a fighter describe it one way.

And I think this is the most beautiful way

to say it, that when you get hitin the face or if you when you get

in a terrifying situation like that isjust an invitation to complete awareness.

And I thought, oh, my gosh,

that’s perfect, because you are onehundred percent in that moment.

Nothing else in the world exists.

When that dog was on you.

You are not thinking about dishes you need

to do you are not thinking aboutanything that’s happening at home.

You are one hundredpercent in that moment.

So that is something that youcan add to your fight scene.

And you know, the thing is,it’s different for everybody.

And I’ve talked about this as far as pain.

How much pain do you feelduring the course of a fight?

It’s different for everybody.

And so I think whatever level of pain or

whatever level of awarenessyou give your character.

Isn’t going to be far off,you just need to know the basics

of adrenaline, that the thought processis going to be very simplistic.

And it was like you’re saying,do not pull away, do this, do that.

It wasn’t, oh, my gosh,this is going to scar me.

So I need to do know it’s this is whatneeds to happen right now in this moment.

And that’s that is one of the beautiful

things about being in a horriblesituation, is you do understand

the importance of beingcompletely in the moment.

I have told people when people get injured

in class and stuff like,oh, it’s no big deal.

And I’m like, hey, pain is the body’s way

of saying, be here right now,be here now in this moment.

And I think I think and a fight, too,when you’re in that fighting for your life

situation, it is an invitation to completeawareness to be completely in that moment.

Nothing else in the world exists.

Which is why which is why I see I’ve had

people in fight sceneswhere they have two people fighting

and there are different techniquesthat are two person fighting techniques.

However, if you are just in a fight

on the street or if you’rein like a barroom brawl.

So if a fight just kind of breaks out

in in your work, I’m not talkingabout two people with swords.

And it’s generally swords that I’ve seen.

There’s a lot of two fighting styles where

they have learned to fight backto back and rotate a certain way.

Other than that,

a coach that I used to work with, he said,

look, if if you and I are out and it allhits the fan, get away from me,

because if we bump into each other,we’re going to turn around and start

pounding each other becauseyou get fight blind.

You don’t understand.

Oh, this is my person next to me.Oh, yeah.

So that is how blindyou are in that moment.

Yeah.And you get this.

Adrenaline, again, just the things we knowabout adrenaline

you can be absolutely tunnel visionedand with auditory exclusion to the point

that people do not hear gunshots,which are kind of loud, you know,

but you might notice the blue paper clipssitting on the desk, because you’re

noticing such weird little minutia,because you’re in that hyper focus.

And then, you know, you were talking aboutrecalling things in,

again, something that, you know,it’s just a weird feature.

But, you know, like if there’s I remember

a few years ago there was a big trainwreck and they said they were going

to interview the engineerin three days’ time or something.

And there was an outcry like,why are you waiting to? Ask him now?

And I’m like, no, no, no.

If he had that kind of experience,literally, his brain won’t recall things

for days while you dump all thosechemicals that are in there.


Because and that’ssomething you don’t —

Right. Keep going.Keep going.

Oh, it was just like that’s just again,

it’s a thing that weknow when we understand.

It sounds weird.It’s against expectations.

But in that moment,

your brain was not concerned with the mostorganized filing system available.

OK, your brain is concerned.Absolutely.

Let’s keep breathing.

We’ll figure out what happened later.

And so that’s where you get, you know,some it’s not

that the police witnesschanged their story from day one to day three.

You gotta get that adrenaline dump.And that’s something you don’t see

very often in writing is the adrenalinedump and it is miserable.

Yeah, it is painful, especiallyif you’re in a fight situation.

Let’s say that a trained fighter goes

in and within the first 30seconds they, like in jujitsu

if I get the choke in the first 30 secondsor the knockout and you don’t have a place

to really push that adrenaline,it’s painful.

You are in physical pain from there,just being so much adrenaline inside you

and you haven’t had a chanceto spend any of it.

I also shakeafter after when I’ve had a big adrenaline

rush, like sometimes aftera fight I get real shaky.

I, I have, I cry sometimesand some people not me.

But you will see

this is generally in life or deathsituations, but you’ll see people

in the movies, stereotypicalperson that gets their pants.

That’s not because they’re a coward,

it’s because their body is focusingon things that are more important.

So but once that adrenaline starts

dumping, it is just the mostmiserable, miserable feeling.

And that is something that issomething I would like to see.

You are also shockingly sore even in placesthat were not utilized during the fight.

Let’s say that it was a sword fight and itwas over fairly quickly. And the next day

for some reason, your legs hurt and your

back hurts and you’re like,I hardly fought.

Well, that’s because you were tense

and you’re more you’re holding yourbody more tense than you realize.

So, yeah, once not only is adrenaline,adrenaline does not make you a super hero.

It only accentuates what you have now.

You do have cases where you have

and there’s a technicalscientific word for it.

You may know it.

When people have superhuman strength and theypick up cars and things like that.

But for the most part,it just accentuates what you already are.

So is your character going to be able

to pick up somethingthat’s incredibly heavy?

They may be able to pick upsomething that’s fairly heavy. A bus,

maybe not if they’re human, and thenafter the fact, they’re going to be sore.

I have some blog posts on adrenaline, too.

That is just it’s an amazinglybeautiful adrenaline is really a gift.

It really is.And if you have a fight scene in your

work, you need you needto know about adrenaline.

And Natalie’s mentioning in the chatyour redirected aggression.

So that’s to be somethingas simple as that

blind fighting that you’re talking

about, you bump into meand I turn and I hit you.

But also absolutely redirected aggression

can happen when I’ve got so muchof that loaded adrenaline ready to go.

I don’t have a place to put it.

You say something you think is funny and

that’s…. You’re not thinking clearly.

You’re literally not thinking clearly.

When I teach self-defense,

people think that sometimes, OK,

different cultures do havedifferent personal distances.

And in the United States,whether people believe it or not,

if you are a European American,look like Laura and I do.

You tend to have a pretty large personal

distance and other cultures, theirpersonal distances are much smaller.

But it’s not a culture that decideswhat your personal bubble is.

It’s actually, I believe,your hippocampus.

It’s actually your brain that decideswhat is an appropriate distance from you

and when.

That is because and if you I’ve saidthat when a really nice looking person

stands next to you and you getbutterflies and you can’t.

You’re literally in fight or flight now,you’re not having to fight or flight

in that moment, but when someone entersyour bubble that closely and you have

that kind of interaction with them,eat your body knows technically they can

hurt you way more thanif they’re over there.

So even just having a person really closeto you when you can’t think when you are

in adrenaline, you justdon’t think clearly.

Another thing that you see in movies,a trope that is one hundred percent real,

is they have a hard time loadingthe gun with little bullets.

You don’t have fine motor skills.

This is why it is.

And this is why fighter spar,

you do not spar to learn,you spar in order to teach your muscles

to do the things you already know howto do under the effects of adrenaline.

You teach it muscle memory.

I know that if

I’m in a certain position.

So I’m immediately going to put my hand

here and I don’t eventhink about doing it.

There’s a saying in jujitsu is “if youthink, you’re late” and that’s true.

And so if you have a fighter in your work,you know, if they do swords,

if they do fist fighting,whatever they do, they are going to spar.

And that’s because they have to teachthemselves how to work with adrenaline.

I have a friend who’salso a jujitsu fighter

who’s a firefighter.

And I said something to him.

I said, you know,you actually have a little bit

of an advantage competingbecause you’re a firefighter.

And he’s like, no, I don’t.I’m like, you’re used to adrenaline.

You know what adrenaline does to you andyou know how to work through that fog.

And it truly is a fog.

Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah.

Natalie is putting out in the chat,

“Man, so much of thisoverlaps perfectly with panic attacks.”

Absolutely.The same thing

you’re going to lose — because functionallythat is what a panic attack is, right?

It’s just misapplied.

You know, your body goes into that modewhen you’re not in survival mode.


Your body thinks it’s being attacked.

And that’s one thing that, again, I think

if you have a character sorry,I’m going to jump in.

But if you’ve got a character (please)

who is used to being in this kind of situation,

they are going to trainfor that kind of situation.

So like I’ve talked before,about competing and shooting.

And if you’re either underpressure and competition or if you’re

in a, you know,self-defense situation or something,

you’re not going to havefine motor skills.

OK, so I never,ever practice with the magazine release

on my pistol. Iwould never touch that.

No, you grab that slide because one

of these is a tiny littlefingertip movement and

one of these is a,you know, just flapper fingers, go

and so go with the thing that you’regoing to be able to do under stress.


so, yeah, it’s just that’s that’s how,you know, that person should be training


Because when you’re again,let’s go back to the science of it.

I’m under adrenaline.

My body’s like, Ho!

We got to keep breathing here.You know what?

Let’s pull blood away from all

the extremities so that if something getscut off, we don’t lose everything that’s

important inside Absolutely. So you start losingfeeling in your fingers and you know your

your limbs will get tingly and numband all of this stuff.

And so I just, I’m gonna detour.

I did a rappelling trip into a cave in NewZealand, which was completely amazing.

You did the coolest stuff.I used to. Yeah.

Back when we traveled.But it started with a hundred

and fifty foot rappel straightdown into this cave shaft.

And I’m not a big fan of heights.

And this was my first everrappelling experience.

So great combo.

And so I’m up there and I’ve practicedand practiced and practiced and I got to

go down the sideof a hill and practice.

So that was good.

And I get up to the front and our guide’sthere and he’s like, OK, you know,

get up to the hole or whatever the guideis like, “OK, are you ready to go?”

And I’m like,”I can’t feel my arms and legs,

but I’m telling myself I’m just cold.”You know, I had told them,

I said, “look, this isgoing to be really scary.

I can manage it. Like behavior’swhat I do for a living.

Just let me let me manage it in my way.”

And I was fine and I got to the bottomand then I got the adrenaline dump, like,

I need to just take a minute to getmy legs back before I start walking.

Not vomit.Vomit.

It’s another thing.

You will vomit sometimes if you havethat much adrenaline going because

the body’s like, “We don’twe don’t need the stomach.

We don’t need what I was in here.Just get rid of it.”

Well, and the vomiting and the urinatingand defecating and all that.

Like if you have to run, lose weight.Right.

Like these are naturalresponses to get out.

And also if something’s trying to eat, youcan make you slightly less attractive.

But honestly, those are those are to lose

weight, get agile things.Hey, I think we

I think we may have a Scott in the chat.

Is that a Scott who just joined us?He says, Hello, Laura,

Carla, this is the firstTwitch I’ve watched.

So.Yeah, yeah.

Awesome.So, OK, that’s a RealmMakers Scott.

I’m assuming it might beRealmMakers Becky, but I don’t know.

It’s RealmMakers somebody.OK,

so thanks.

Or stopping by,hey, guys, again in the chat.

Feel free to throw in questions, I mean,otherwise Carla and I will go until the room runs

out of oxygen, but since we have tworooms, we will go twice as long.

So that’s right.You just jump in if you have a question.

OK, I have a question for you, Carla,

because this is something that hey,this, I will need this.

This is personal.This is totally selfish.

I have an awesome protagonist, you know,skilled. My readers like this person

because this person isskilled and trains hard.

But it’s not yet the end of the book.

And I need my protagonistto lose this fight.

What are things that can go wrong

so that we lose without makingour protagonist look lame?

Because as Americans,we like people who don’t lose.

So I know it’s the craziest thing.

That’s not how life works.

Well, it depends on what kind of… Do youwant me to just do in general, or do you

want me to do specificto what her fight is?

like these are–OK.

Yeah, just have a good time.

Something people don’tthink about, blood in the eyes

or when you get your nose broken.

In a fight and you see somebody get their

nose broken and then they have bloodcoming out right here,

what you don’t see is allthat blood going down their throat.

And so that makes it harder to breathe.

That’s why it’s a problem.

When fighters get their nose broken

in fights, it’s because it’s harderto breathe and you get out of breath

and sometimes you get choked and you coughso you can choke on your blood.

You can get blood in your eyes,which hampers your vision.

Crazy enough, man, if youtwist your ankle hard enough.

And I know that sounds so goofy,

but if you twist your ankle hard enough,it doesn’t support your body.

Even if you don’t feel it that well,it just doesn’t support your body.

As far as working with swords,break that wrist.

That’s aikido.

That’s the whole basis of aikido,whole basis.

But it is to take a sword from your

opponent and you break their wrist sothat they can’t pick that sword back up.

So think, OK, what is most importantfor my character in this fight?

If they are punching, guess what?They need their hand.

And if they don’t have a glove and they

punch somebody, it is it is completelyfeasible that they will break their hand.

To me, it’s more feasible that they end up

breaking their hand than if they don’t,that if they just pound on somebody’s face

without a glove on and theirhands are totally fine.

That’s not how science works unlessthey’re a big person and they have

calcified calcificationson their bones or something.

But breaking bonesin the hand, or a broken rib.

I’ve seen fighters break ribs

in like the first few minutes of the fightand still finish like a five minute round.

Oh, that’s impressive.

But it is impressive and it’s stupid,but it was impressive.

The thing with the broken rib is you just

can’t move your body as well because,you know, you do feel the pain.

Obviously, you’re going to feel

exponentially more oncethat adrenaline goes away.

But he said he heard it pop and he could

and he put his hand down and he couldfeel that it was kind of poking.

And you just can’t you can’tmove in certain directions.

You can’t take a deep breath.

So any type of breakcan take you out of it.

A hit to the head,hit to the head, will take you out of it.

Blood in the eyes, blood down the throat,

anything like that.

It’s absolutely onehundred percent feasible.

Those are those are great suggestions.Awesome.

Absolutely feasible,(I’m gonna take notes do terrible things to my characters.)

especially if they have a weapon.

Breaking those wrists is a big deal.

It’s a very big deal.

And that’s going to takea while to recover from.

Like, you don’t just it does because thosebones are so little and it makes sense

that that’s why they endup having to get pins.

When you have little bones that arebroken, they end up having to be pinned

because it’s so hardto keep them in place.

So if you have a work that’s a historicalwork, you know, it’s a fantasy

which tends to take place kind of inthe medieval time period as a backdrop.

It makes complete sense that yourcharacter is a right handed character

and they break their wrist and theycan’t fight with that hand ever again.

And then they have to be a left handed

swordsman, which isa whole different thing.

It’s a whole differentwhole different schtick.

So not healing properlyand being damaged for life.

And another good thing about things likebroken ankles, broken wrist and all that,

it it allows the characterto keep talking.

So they’re not completely they’re not

taken out of the dialogue,but they are taken out of the action.

Whereas if you get them knocked

unconscious or even a good concussion,they just they can’t talk as well.

Same thing with the broken rib.

You just don’t you can’t talk quiteas much with a broken rib because

you may not be able to take that full

breath or it’s goingto be strained talking.


And you have an excellent point about

the state of medicinebeing such an influencer.

I mean.Oh, huge.

We are so spoiled today.

We do not realize how spoiled. I was just

reading about World War One and injuriesand this captain who was shot in the arm

in World War One and eighteenmonths later was still

not fully functional, I mean,partially bedridden from an arm shot.

Today’s audiences would be like,what kind of ridiculous?

Well, no, because you don’t havepenicillin and you don’t have everything

going on, like thesewere major life affecting things.

So we’re in a time if the if the wounddidn’t kill you, the hospital would.

Yeah.So if it wasn’t a wound,

it was going to be the subsequentinfection after. Henry the eighth — wasn’t

he, when he had a wound on his legthat just didn’t heal… Henry the eighth.

We all have this image of hisbeing this great fat man.

I don’t think he always was.

I think he was at one time in his life,was quite athletic and fit.

And then he ended up being wounded.

I think it was the legand it would not heal.

And it smelled and it was terrible.

And that timethey didn’t have antibiotics.


People don’t realizethe importance of mold, right?

That’s important.Yes.

All right.We have a question in the chat

from Natalie about feelingpain through adrenaline.

Do you notice a difference between sharpcutting pains and dull bruising pains?

Yes, I do.


Let me take an extreme example.

In my book, I interviewed several people,and I actually have a friend who was shot

in the leg, which strangely enough,that’s where most people are shot.

The majority of accidental and purposeful

shots hit the legs,not the trunk of the body.


I’ve read him he personally it did notregister to him that he had been shot.

He felt like somebody had taken his legsout from underneath him with a bat.

And then once he hit the ground and he

realized what was happening aroundhim was like, oh, I’ve been shot.

So with him, it didn’t registerother people.

It absolutely does.

One man that I interviewed that wasstabbed, he said that the person attacking

him, he thought he was just a really badfighter because he kept punching him

in the chest and he wasn’tpunching in the face.

He was stabbing him,but he didn’t realize that.

And he was walking off.

And his friend said,

it’s a guy from England, like,”Mate, you’re bleeding.”

And he looked down.

He’s like, oh, we shouldprobably go to hospital.

And he showed me the picture where theyhave they have like a plastic tape,

basically, that they putover wounds to seal it up.

And he had this, like, bubble of blood.

And it was I mean, it was in this region,the death zone right here.

He didn’t know it.

Other people have said theyabsolutely felt the sharp pain of it.

Some people describe it as cold.

Some people describe it as hot.

But the great thing about

the great thing about all of this iswhatever reaction you give your character,

it’s not going to be far off because it’ssuch a different experience for everybody.

So, yes, you have some people that justdon’t have a clue

when I think I have a pictureon my on my blog or somewhere where I had

been kneed in the face and I hada really good hematoma here.

They call it a mouse.And I had a nice fat hematoma.


it I mean, it registered.

I was like, oh, crud.

And I just kind of kept fightingwith my eyes closed and everything.

And after my coach was like,oh, what happened to you?

I’m like, What?I looked in the mirror like, oh.

That was a very differentfeeling than when

I sprained my ankle.

And people think, oh, a sprainedsprain is not that big of a deal.

Guys, sprains are so painful.

It can hurt a lot,it can hurt a lot and it takes forever

to heal because it’s a white tissueinjury and white tissue takes forever.

And I left the fight to the mat and I leftthe mat and I started walking around.

As my adrenaline went down,I said, my ankle hurts.

And my coach said, Oh, yeah,you pulled your ankle pretty hard.

I’m like, When did I pull my ankle?

He’s like, you sprained your own ankle.I’m like, What do you mean?

I sprained it.I had crossed my feet.

There’s a position called Guard.

I had my legs around the person and I

cross my feet and was called a closeguard and she was pushing against it.

And I kept my feet close and it justkind of dislocated one of my feet.

And in that moment I didn’t feel it.

My coach could see it.

He was like, oh yeah,that’s going to hurt, you know.

So on the one hand, I got kneed in the faceand I absolutely understood.

“Oh, crud, I’ve been hurt,”but also my head kicked back.

So that’s different.My ankle.

I had no idea.

You have some peoplethat absolutely have no clue

they have been shot.

They look down at — and you’ll see people

like on the they used to have likeE.R. EMT reality shows and people would

look down and go, oh, and you wouldsee them kind of even poking around.

They’re like, stop.

Those people don’t understandthey’ve been shot.

Then you have peoplewho absolutely do understand.

So I think whatever reaction you give your

character isn’t going to betoo far off the mark.

What is across the board is when

that adrenaline ebbs, it’s goingto be much, much, much more painful.

The people who didn’tfeel it absolutely will.

The people who did feel it are going tofeel it even more after you have surgery.

And I tell people this who have had

surgery or a car accident or any kindof traumatic — and surgery is traumatic.

Your body… I didn’t realizethis till I had back surgery.

And after the fact,

a physical therapist put meon medication to help my adrenal glands.

And I’m like, why?

He goes, Your body doesn’tknow you had surgery.

All it knows is somebody stabbed it.

I’m like, oh, that’s

the reason you feel all those things evenmore the second and third day,

just because all that adrenaline isgoing away and your body’s registering.

Oh, we’ve been throughsomething tough here.

So no matter what level of pain you give

your person at the moment of injury,it’s probably going to be realistic.

But what is across the board is the next

day and the next day, it’s goingto hurt way worse, way worse.

Yeah, great answer.

OK, we have another question,is there a style of fighting that I should

look into for characters who needdefensive fighting against unarmed

opponents and have some sortof mobility or balance impairment?

Think MS, unreliable balance?

Oh.Oh, absolutely.

That’s perfect

in that situation.

You know, and this is one of those things,

too, that it has so manydifferent stages to it.

You know, you may and I have friends

who have MS that someday they seemjust like everybody else.

And some days theyhave more of a tremor.

So I think that’s really going todepend on the situation.

But for those people,

guns, guns all day, because you don’t have

to get close enoughto somebody to be compromised.

If they can get a shot gun,

that’s even better because you don’treally have to aim a shot gun.

You mainly, fine motor skillsare not a part of it.

So you don’t know what a shotgun does.

OK, it’s a cartridge on the inside.

On the inside, there’s a lot of little

pellets and it basicallythrows out all those pellets.

And the farther the pellets go,the bigger the circle.

So if that person is right in frontof you, that shot circle is going to be

this big and it might blow a hole rightthrough them if they’re 20 feet from you.

That shot circle might be this big around,

but you’re going to hit themwith a shotgun.

If you just are in the general direction,

you’re going to hit themwith some of the shot.

A handgun, definitely.

If if guns are not an option for you,then I would go with a blade.

You really have got to put a weaponin the hand of those people because

barring supernatural abilities,they’re at a disadvantage.

There’s a writer that I see quite oftenat writers conferences.

She is in a wheelchair and shehas the most precious.

Everybody loves her dog and I can’t

remember her dog’s name,but I was talking to her a little bit

about self-defense one time,and I sat and thought about it and I

thought, OK, well,what what would she need to do?

And the more I felt more like she needsa weapon, she absolutely needs a weapon

if they are in a chair.

Things like aikido, I do know,

are really good because it’s good for finejoint manipulation, so if somebody reaches

out, they have the ability with one handto grab that hand and turn it over in such

a way that it torcs the wristand injures it or it can even break it.

So I would say gun number one.

Knife number two,I don’t know if they would have

the strength and dexterity to deal with asword and yes, there are lighter swords.

Katana the katana is a very light swordfor the first minute,

and then it gets exponentiallyheavier and heavier and heavier.

So they could have I don’t I don’t know if

a sword would work,but if you want them to have some type

of hand-to-hand, I would choose somethingthat deals with fine motor control, fine

fighting by manipulationrather than with our strength.

We want to take your ownbody and use it against you.


So aikido would be a good one.Kung fu.

Kung Fu is really good aboutweapons of opportunity.

Whatever is around them,

they learn to make it into a weaponin some way or another.

Wing Chun, is that what I’m thinking of?Yes.

Wing Chun is a type of kung fu.Absolutely, yeah.

And if, if, if I recall without doing any

research and totally just goingwith my brain is pulling out of nowhere.

But that was

at least traditionally developedby a woman for use against stronger men

and so relies heavily on let’sfight smarter, not harder.


Oh absolutely.

And Kung Fu also some of it wasdesigned to be in crowded environments.

So you have a very muchan efficiency of movement

and that’s what you want as a fighter,no matter what style of fighting you do.

And it’s the same thing with fightingand writing have a lot in common.

What fighters want is what writers want.

You want matched maximumefficiency with minimal effort.

That’s what you want across the board.

So again, gun blade,fine joint manipulation.

And I did and I would loveto get back into it some time.

Taijutsu,which was again traditionally comes

from, you’ve got villagersfighting against armored samurai.

So you’ve cut people with noarmor fighting people with armor.

It’s never about how hard can you hit.

It’s about, no, what canyou do with balance?

And absolutely that.

A lot of the reason I like that isit was not about brute strength.

It was about being smart and usingangles and using body weight.

Absolutely so.Right.

That’s the whole concept of judo.

You know, it’s not about who’s bigger.

It’s about physics.

That’s what it’s about.Yeah.

So I hope that helps.I hope that helps.

All right.

And I’m sorry I’m jumping back and forth.

The spelling is Wing Chun.

I just wanted to double checkthat before I put that on the record.

Yes.So absolutely.

Yeah, I had a questionin the chat on on that.

So and then taijutsu.

TAI, literally body, and then jutsu fighting



As I said itI’m picturing it,

I’m like trying to translatein Japanese for English.

You know Japanese.

Just enough to get in trouble.You know, it’s a transliteration.

just to understand, people are likewell how do you spell it.

I’m like you know it’s a transliteration.Right.

So we just assign ourletters to those sounds.

So is there a correct way, eh.

Well, and that’s like the thing

that always catches me up isin Japanese, it’s jujitsu, jutsu, the U.

And then it’s just jujitsu with an I.

And I always have to stop and be like,OK, how do I write this?

And I’ve told people like I saw something

like when I see the Japanese writingfor jujitsu and then underneath it they

have the Brazilianwriting, Brazilian sounds.

I’m like, oh, it’s not the same thing.It’s not the same thing.

And I have that in my book too.

That’s another thing I write about

in my book is the different spellingsand all that kind of stuff.

OK, OK, these are great.

So I’m going to keep an eyeon the chat for more questions.

I am going to ask you

if I am trying to pick my single best,and I think I know where you might go

with this, but my single best all aroundpractical use martial art to learn.

I hate this.I know.

I know.Keep going.

Keep going.

But for now, I’m going to give youdifferent categories to answer.

And you know yourself,

like for my personal use,walking around as a female and or my

personal learning as a writerto write the best action,

most plausible action scenes or, you know,how do, you know, you can choose whatever

individual category of most useful

that you would like to go.And so that’s so difficult because

you and I, for example,are going to be attacked different ways.

You are a taller person.

Nobody is going to run up and pick you upand throw you anywhere.

Especially not after 2020 eating habits.So that’s not a not a thing that’s — I’m

telling you,quarantine weight is a real thing.

It’s a real thing.

It just really first of all,there’s no wasted fighting style.

Like there’s no martial art that you

think, well, I’m not gonnalearn that, it’s useless.

No such thing.

And every martial art is best for whatit is designed to do. Right now

I do teach self-defense and there aretwo that I prefer personally.

Muay Thai is one of them or boxing.

Boxing is fine, too.

And Brazilian jujitsu, also judo.

The reason I like those three isbecause they all do live sparring.

That is incredibly important.

They all demand that you let peoplein your personal space without protective

gear (now in Muay Thaiyou’re going to have gloves).

But I’m talking about like when, there’ssome that when they spar,

they have to have padding on the head,patting on the chest, patting on the legs.

And it is like it’s likea security blanket.

You need all that off.

So those those are going to be my top

three, but it’s going to benefitpeople differently for me.

I mean, of all the different artsthat I’ve done,

the one that had the greatest impacton me personally was Brazilian jujitsu.

And that is because I grew up I wasraised in a household that was not safe.

And so somebody being in my personalspace absolutely just made me freeze.

And when I went to Brazilian jujitsu,it forced me to work through that terror.

And it was, I’m just going to sayit like it was. It was terror.

And I used to have panic attacksand all that kind of stuff on the mat.

It was a claustrophobia.

And if I couldn’t get cold air in my noseand all all these different things working

together that Brazilian jujitsuforced me to work through.

I have another friend who was raised in

a similar environment and Muay Thaidid the same thing to her.

So it really depends on the personfor every day self-defense.

Those are the threethat I suggest the most.

But what are those?

Three are not for everybody.First of all,

if you are trying to figure outa martial art, you get up tomorrow,

say, I want to do martial art,number one, what’s closest to your house?

Let’s just be realistic.

If there isa judo gym that is five minutes down

the road and there’s a Brazilian jujitsugym that’s forty five minutes down

the road, look, what am I goingto get to realistically more often?

OK, so no.

One look at what’s closest to your houseto what can you afford?

Three, what can your body take?

There are some martial arts that are

a little more gentleon the body than others.

And there are some peoplejust really gravitate toward.

So first thing again,what’s close? What what can you afford?

And then go visit it and think.

Is it the thing that you just think,

I can’t stop thinking about this,I just want to keep going back and I want

to keep going back,then you keep going back.

You know, if you’re 60 years old,can you start Brazilian jujitsu?


If you’re 60 years old,can you start Muay Thai?

Yes, but you can’t do as much sparring

until your bones get sturdier.Can you be 70 and start judo?


That’s going to be a tough one.

Can you be 70 and start aikido?


Or Taichi.

We see Tai Chi, we see the slow versionof Tai Chi is Tai Chi Chuan.

I think that’s the whole,I think that’s the whole title.

And what you see the people doing slowly

when you fight, you do quickly,you learn slow, you perform fast.

I saw Keanu Reeves which in his John Wickmovies, he does all of that himself.

He’s done all that training himselfand my Brazilian jujitsu gym,

We went as a group to watchone of the movies.

And we’re like that.That’s how it is.

Yeah, that’s.That’s right.

That’s right.That’s right.

But he was on the Jimmy Fallon showand he was talking about that.

He said he was doing Tai Chi.

And Jimmy Fallon said, is that what yousee the old people in the park doing?

And he goes, yeah, it is.

He goes, “You ever see anybody messwith those old people in the park doing Tai Chi?”

Jimmy Fallon said, “No,”and he said, “there’s a reason for that.”

So you need to look at what’s anything

that gives you confidence,anything that makes you walk taller

and confident and with a purposemakes you safer because

violent offenders,they’ve done a study on violent offenders

and they had them watch CCTV footagein New York City and they said

and in isolation, each one,they said, who would you attack?

And again and again and again,they were picking out the same people.

They did it in under seven seconds.

And it wasn’t the little old ladies.

It wasn’t the tiny little women.

Sometimes it was the big people sometimes.

And it had to do with the way they walked.

And it was something.

And Stein, I forget the two psychologists,

but they I mean, again, they’re like,why do you chose to do that?

I don’t know why I chose them.

And so they had to go back and compare all

the footage to see whatthese people had in common.

They were distractedor they did not seem to know where they

were going or they walked in a certain waythat showed they weren’t confident,

maybe they were cowering,they weren’t making eye contact.

But something about them said,I am I am vulnerable in some way.

The little old lady with the Chihuahuain her purse, nobody picked her because

they knew that the Chihuahuawould make a stink.

So any martial art,any activity in your life that makes you

walk in such a way that saysI’m not your gazelle, OK?

I’m a lion, too, right?

That’s what you need to do.

And that may not be a martial art.

It may be, you know, whateveractivity you do, it may be tennis.

You know, it may be cross fit, whatever,

but whatever justmakes you walk with an air that says,

I am not your gazellebecause what does the lion do?

The lion doesn’t go out and think,

“you see that big gazelle overthere with all the muscles.

That’s the one I’m going to get.”No, they don’t.

What do they do?They pick out the weak ones.

They pick up the small ones.

And when an attacker, unless, of course,is a situation where they know you,

an attacker is going out and they’relooking for the weakest gazelle.

And so you need to walk out of the grocerystore not looking at your phone.

You need to have a hand free.

You don’t need to be completely

both of your hands occupiedand you need to walk upright.

You need to make eye contact with peopleand let them know I see you, OK?

It doesn’t have to bea long glance or interaction.

You know, the the greeters they have

and like Wal-Mart and Home Depot and allthose, those people aren’t greeters.

There’s a study that says if you’ve made

eye contact with somebody,they’re less likely to steal from you

because they know that youcan identify them.

That’s what those people are.

Therefore, they’re thereto make eye contact.

It’s loss prevention.Yeah.

So, again, whatever activity you havein your life that makes you walk like

you’re a lion and not the weakest gazelle,that’s what you need to do.

That’s what I tell people in self-defense.

Yeah, great answer, absolutely.

OK, so you and I,

we met at a speculative fiction conference andwe’re in speculative fiction writing groups so this

(Yes) offers all kinds of possibilities.(I know, I know.

That’s what I love about it.)And,

you know, so, like,I’m working on a series right now where

my humans are fighting winged humanoids.OK, that changes everything as far as how

and I had to actually stop and takea lot of time to work out.

OK, how would armor have developed?

How would weapons have developed?

Because these are oh, you’ve gotground/air medieval battles.

You know what is right.

How to really work at that.

So if somebody’s sitting down to workon their fantasy or sci fi or something,

they’ve got different speciesand they’ve got different environments.

What’s like a convenient starting

checklist to how do we puttogether these things?

Yeah, sorry.By the way, everybody,

those of you playing along at home, Carladidn’t get these questions in advance.

No, totally put on the spot.

But you know, just the things to things to thinkabout just when you’re talking about

Right, because I know you havelike a basic checklist of.

Yeah.Things to know.

How do I make my fight plausible.Right.

Whenever you’re

up against some type of creature,no matter what it is and in your case,

I’m going to call it a creature,even though it’s a basically a human.

But they have wings.

You have to think whatgives them the advantage.

OK, and once you see what that advantageis, you think, OK, how can I negate that?

How can I level the playing field?

And, you know, you look at nature,

you’re like, OK, if there isan eagle chasing me, what can I do?

Well, I can run in my houseand an eagle can’t run in the house.

What are some other placesI could hide from an eagle?

An eagle cannot diveand get me in thick woods.

An eagle cannot go after me in a narrow

place because it negates their abilityto use those wings to the fullest.

So I think I used Thanos as an example

in something already,Thanos as an example, because

nothing beat Thanos except a tiny,tiny what a tiny little micro kind

of robot that they finallygot to infiltrate him.

How long?

Oh, did I lose you?


no, let me plug in my phone,let me plug in my phone.

Hold on.

Nothing beats Thanosexcept phone batteries.

Thanos lost a charger and boom,everything’s gone.

I’m sorry.

OK, can you hear me?

I can still hear you, you’re a littlebit quieter, but we’re here.

Oh, no, it’s OK, let me seeif I can pump your volume.

Oh, no, I don’t thinkI can pump you right.

Let me see what I can do.

I’m sorry, this is draining the battery

on my phone, and when I when Iplug it in, you can’t hear me.

Oh, no, I got you now.You’re good.

OK, yeah.OK, we can do this.

All right.I’m a low battery mode, just so you know.

OK, so figure out what makes them powerfuland figure out the way to negate that.

For example, a robot.

OK, what kind of robot is it?

Let’s say it’s a robotthat looks like a human.

Well, it’s if it looks like a human,

it’s going to have to be somewherein the human weight range or it’s not

going to be able to use furniture and allthat kind of stuff that a human uses.

OK, what can you do to take down a human

that could take down a robot if youdamage a robot’s ability to see?

Then you’ve defeated it in one way

and also don’t don’t get in the mindsetthat you have to beat it.

You don’t have to beat it.

You just have to best it, right?Yeah.

So don’t think and that’s something when Iwork with writers, they’re like,

well I want them to totally I’m like,look, let’s just be realistic.

They are if you’re up against a bear,

your job is not to totallyobliterate that bear.

Your job is to make that bear pauselong enough for you to get away.

So think about besting somethingrather than beating it.

Does that make sense?No, that makes perfect sense.


In most cases, you know, fightsfor survival are not competition fights.

Nobody is awarding points, right? No.

If you’re still breathingat the end, you win.

So, you know, I don’t I don’t need to have

if I can avoid the fightin the first place, I win.

So.Yeah, right.

Yeah, right.OK,

because you are on low battery.

We do have another question in the chat,but I’m going to push just a little bit,

maybe, Natalie,if you want to email that to Carla,

because she is awesome.Sure, go through my blog.

I’m sorry, but I just want to push through

because I don’t wantto lose Carla midsentence.

That would be so sorry.

No, we’re like we’ve alreadygone an hour and 15 minutes.

I mean, we’re having an awesome time.

We just — I know

I said just keep going until 8 AM.Well, that’s what I was thinking.

I was like, my gosh, 30 minutes.

My batteries are OK now.It makes more sense.

Yeah, we’re doing OK.Yeah.

Natalie says no worries.

So I’m going to have hersend it to you privately.


let’s let’s wrap up tell us again allthe places we can find you and give us

a plug on why every writerneeds Fight Write the book.

OK, good. First,

that is the hub where you can find thebook, find the blog up in the top corner.

It says more Fight Write

And you’ll have YouTube.

You have the podcast.

You can get t shirts off of Etsy.

The thing about my book iswhat seems to surprise people.

It’s not just about punching and kicking.

It is not just about fighting.

If you have any type of confrontation,

any type of action in your work,it’s going to work for you.

Even if you just have somebody in your

work that’s kind of manipulative,manipulative, it talks about that.

So it’s it’s about

the very first section is.Hold on.

You would think I know my book,

OK, it is divided into five section, justlike a five round championship fight.

And the very first section has to do

with actually writing action and violentscene and the things that you need

to consider before you actuallyeven start writing the fight scene.

For example, the number one most important

consideration in a fightscene is why it’s happening.

It’s not who,it’s why why is more important than who.

And I explain that where ismore important than who?

And I explain that to, for example,

in a fight between meand a shark who’s going to win?

Well, are we on the beachor are we in the water?

So where you’re fighting is a big deal.

The second round is about being human

and it’s all the aspects,everything that goes into the fight just

because we’re human,it talks about being afraid, adrenaline,

fight, flight, and there’s morereactions than just fight or flight.

OK, so I got to jump in asthe resident behavior nerd here.

We talk about there being the four Fs

in behavior and it’s fight, flight,fool around, and reproduction.

And those you will under stress, you’regoing to have one of those four right.

Fight flight posture, submit, fool aroundthat.

That is a legitimate self-defense thing.

I talk about female aggression,pre incident indicators.

Those are the things that your villainis going to do before they ever attack.

And that’s something that can helpyou out in the real world, too.

This is based on real world experience,

things that tell youan attack is imminent.

Round three, that does talk aboutall the different fighting styles.

Round four is aboutdifferent types of weaponry.

Round five is injuries.

And that is so important.

I go through sanction fight injuries, so

black eye busted, lipdislocated this and that.

But I also go through street fight

injuries, for example, a fish hookwhere you rip somebodies cheek,

rip somebody’s nose,pull a wad of somebodies hair out.

That’s actually dangerous.

If it’s right here, it could causea hematoma, which could cause blindness.

So little things like that,

stages of death, stages of stagesof death, which people like.

You mean decomposition?

No, actually, stages of death becausepeople think the heart stops beating.

You’re dead.No, there’s a cascade of events.

And I actually have.

A friend who died on the operating tableand came back to life and I have her

account in here, so stages of death,stages of decomposition,

stages of bleeding out,and it’s all these things so that instead

of saying he was dead for two hours,instead you can say he was pale but warm.

OK, well, that’s that’s somethingthat happens after two hours.

You’ll also find out how much wouldyou really need to burn a body.

It’s not what you think.

It’s a whole lot of wood.

You’ve got to have a whole lot of wood.

And the body does really weird thingsin the process of being cremated.

So it’s not just aboutpunching and kicking.

It’s tons of

information about fight scenes, action,violence and confrontation as a whole.

My series with Writer’s Digest,

they call it Crafting Confrontationbecause it’s more than just fighting.

So that’s the plug for my book.

It’s a whole lot of things.

And that’s tends to be what surprises

My All time favoriteTV show that you have never heard of.

It’s called Remember WENN

And it’s about a radio stationin the late 1930s and it’s fantastic.

But there’s a scene and the writingin the whole show is awesome.

But there’s one thing that keeps coming

back every time we talkabout this kind of stuff.

And the radio manager,the radio station manager is talking

with one of the sponsors. And the sponsor’s

like, “there’s not enough violencein my show that I’m sponsoring.

I want more violence.I want more violence.”

He’s like, “well, I know you don’twant violence for violence’s sake.

You want more physicalization of the emotional conflict.”

He’s like, “no, more violence!”

And it’s

it’s a hilarious episode anyway.

But you just the whole thing on

how all of those things that you justmentioned are so

no way to break them apart.(They really are.)


and so, yeah, it’s just.Yeah.

So Natalie in the chatsays this sounds so useful.

Yes.So there you go.

Go get the book.I mean I don’t mean to I mean.

Well no I do mean to plug my own book.

It is because I did a butt ton.Yes.

That’s a word.But tons of technical measure.

But this one, yes,it’s a technical measurement.

It’s not just me sitting down and saying,

oh, this is what happenedto me when I was in taekwondo.

This is what happened to me in judo.

No, this is hundreds of hoursof research I did in the book.

So and I also hadprofessionals go through it.

I had a professional striking person,

professional weapons person, professionalgroundwork person, professional,

anything that’s in a doctor, any a lawyer.

I have an entire section that a lawyer

wrote on the legalramifications of self defense.

So I had professionals go through thisand double check me on everything.

So it’s not just mespitting out information.

Somebody went through with a finetooth comb and said, this is correct.

This is not this is correct.

And I had to make sure everything was

straight on board withprofessionals as well.

OK, so a lot of work went into it.Awesome.

So one final question before we break.

Halloween is coming, it’s the end of October,

we’re gonna get a second full moon.When the zombies descend,

I have a shovel and a bat and Ionly have time to grab one.

Which one do I go for?


because it’s so mucheasier to run with bat.

Again, you know, I don’t have to I don’thave to beat him, I just have to survive.

Great.That’s right.

And a shovel, you know, they’renot as easy to wield as a bat.

A bat is made for batting a shovel.

It’s a little bit harder to run around.

Actually, this is terrible.

If zombies are chasing you better than

a bat, better than a shovel, are justa lot of people who are slower than you.

That’s really the most important thing.

What I’m hearing is I need to take uptraining and actually learn to jog just

to survive or make friendswith people who are slow.

All right.Well, I’m going to let you go there.

We have some debate in the chat,but the shovel has a sharp edge.

I know

you can’t run with it.

Carla can take that at the –“or hide at the old folks home.”

Man, we got some heartlessbut pragmatic thinking going on here.

So when you don’t knowis the old folks home?

Is the zombie.

That’s the that’s groundzero for the zombies.

That’s why they’re that’swhy they’re shuffling.

That’s right.Straight up.

All right.

So I’m going to I’m going to letyou go and go rescue your phone.

Thank you so much for joining me.

Thank you for having me.This is great.

And and then everybody everybodyin the chat, same thing.

This will be up and YouTube with subtitles

in a couple of days or I guess closedcaptioning technically in a couple of days

and will be out on the podcast,those of you who have recently followed.

And thank you.Those of you who have recently subscribed.

Huge.Thank you.

I really appreciate that.

And yes.So

go find Carla and everything

that she offers because there’s alot of information out there.

So the channel on YouTube is “FightWrite.”

OK, awesome.All right.

And that is it.

So we’re going to wrap there.

Thank you guys very much.


I guess I will see you guys next week.

OK, thank you.Bye.

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