What Movies Get Wrong about Bareknuckle Fistfights

A lot of us have watched the movies in which two people, men or women, will get into a bare-knuckled fight, meaning no gloves or padding of any kind, and will wail on each other until the stronger of the two, or the hero, ends up the winner. Movies have been getting better about depicting the truth behind this style of fighting since there have been some bloody, drag-out fights over the years on the big and small screens that have shown a little more accuracy when it comes to bare-knuckle fighting. But there are still plenty of projects that either don’t have the budget for extra makeup or want their actors to appear to be extraordinarily tough since the mere idea of anyone getting into a fight like this without sustaining some damage is not only less than realistic, it would be a miracle if it happened.

Here are a few things that Hollywood still gets wrong about bare-knuckle fistfights.

5. Hitting someone with your fist REALLY hurts.

One has to remember that your fingers contain bones in them, and in a fistfight, the person punching is using force to send their fist accelerating towards another human being, who also has bones beneath the flesh. It’s fair to say that not every hit is going to hurt, but once bone meets bone, even if the bones are covered with skin and other tissues, it’s going to hurt. Those that have punched someone know very well that even if a punch lands the way it’s supposed to it can hurt without fail. If a punch happens to land on a particularly hard spot or at a funny angle it’s even possible to break a finger or your hand.

4. Someone is always bound to get an injury.

This kind of builds off the previous point since there are so many different ways a person can hit another individual that one has to think of the different angles that they’re coming in and, if a person isn’t a skilled fighter, there’s much more risk of injury. The person could injure their hand, their wrist, possibly their elbow, or their forearm. It’s even possible to hurt your shoulder and other parts of your body if you punch someone in a wrong manner since a punch is using more of a person’s body than some people realize. But the moment that a punch hits wrong and a person’s wrist snaps or is sprained, or if something is dislocated, it’s time for rest and healing.

3. Some bare-knuckled fighting is legal as it depends on the state.

Most states frown on bare-knuckle boxing as a lot of people tend to think that it’s more dangerous than regular boxing. The funny thing about that is that bare-knuckle boxing does leave a lot more evidence of damage and injury but for some reason, regular boxing is more well-known for causing brain damage. There are states that have decided to allow these types of matches to take place, but they’re still few and far between some there are still plenty of people in the country that think sports such as MMA should be taken out and left out of polite society. It doesn’t feel likely that this sport will ever be mainstream, but one never knows.

2. There’s always some sort of mark when someone hits another person.

Listen, when you hit someone, something is going to happen. When hitting someone as hard as you can, it will leave a mark, no matter how small or great. A trained fighter will bloody someone’s face, or break bones, while even a novice can leave a scratch or more. Watching people hit each other only to see them show no sign or minimal signs of damage after being rocked is downright laughable since the human body can be conditioned to be tough, but it can’t be conditioned to be absolutely invulnerable. Those that fight for years might develop what’s called ‘leather skin’ but they’ll still take damage when hit.

1. A person’s hands will suffer worse from being a bare-knuckled boxer.

Think about something that’s self-destructive that’s done over a long period of time. A person’s body doesn’t get stronger as they get older, and a person’s hands definitely don’t harden and become better weapons as they continue to fight with bare knuckles. Eventually, a person’s hands will suffer to a greater extent than we’ve seen in a lot of movies or shows. Some movies have made it clear that those who have fought for a while are suffering from some sort of malady that causes their hands to shake, but this can come from severe brain damage as well. But too much bare-knuckle fighting will wear a person down quicker than if they had used pads.

It’s not so much the form or the technique used, it’s the fact that something usually WILL happen differently than it’s seen in the movies.


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