How to Fight Drunk

How to Fight Drunk

How to Fight Drunk
Take the Combatives Drinking Challenge 
(ages 21 and older only)

There’s kind of a “don’t ask-don’t tell” policy in martial arts when it comes to drinking. Everyone assumes that you’ll be completely sober when you have to defend yourself and we all know the opposite is true.

People drink and when people are drunk they have a tendency to beat the crap out of each other. Drinking lowers your inhibitions, impairs your judgment and cripples your motor skills and before you know it, you’re dancing with a house plant.

If you have chosen a path of sobriety, then you don’t need to think about this, but for the rest of us who occasionally like to have a few, keep reading, but read fast, I don’t want you to pass out before the end of the article.

Even Tom Hanks knows that your vulnerable when you're drunk.
Drinking impairs your senses faster than you think.                 

If you’re going to drink and you’re serious about self defense, you better know how drinking affects your performance.

Alcohol affects your judgement and coordination because impairs your body’s ability to get oxygen to your muscles and vital organs..including your brain. In reality these effects happen faster and are far more debilitating than you think. This is mainly due to your lack of judgement.

Your new found bravery is replacing your real ability to actually fight. As your willingness to fight increases, your ability to fight decreases.  

I first noticed this when I was younger and a few of us were drinking in my buddy’s home gym. We decided it would be a good idea to go on the bench and try for a new max – testosterone, alcohol with a dash of barbell – it’s a wonder no one died.

Needless to say, I didn’t hit my max, but I did learn a valuable lesson – while you may FEEL like you can take on the world – the world can come back to kick you in the a$$.

Since everyone has a different tolerance level, to help you determine yours I present the following drill…


The Combatives Drinking Challenge 

I’m no scientist (but I did stay in a Holiday Inn Express last night) however I did put together a drill to help you determine how many drinks it takes to render you useless.

Note: this is best to do with a friend or seven.

Establish your sober baseline:

30 Second 3 Count Chop Drill

30 second 3 Count Kick Drill

30 second SDTS Ground and Pound top

30 second SDTS Ground and Pound bottom

Take a drink wait 10 minutes.

Do another round of the same circuit. 

Take a drink wait 10 minutes

Repeat until you need to stop and catch your breath during a 30 second burst.

When you hit that point, that’s your threshold. Count how many drinks it took and remember that’s how many drinks it takes to impair you.

After your threshold is reached, it’s a steep decline (trust me on that one).

The record is 8 shots of bourbon.

Now I’m not telling you to film your attempt and put it on Youtube, that would be irresponsible….

Life isn’t always dojo’s and gymnasiums.

You need to train for where and how you live.

That’s why it’s important to train at home doing the things you normally do.  When you go to a place to practice, you get into a self defense mindset and that’s not reality. We see this with cops and soldiers often.

The uniform goes on, the game face comes out but as soon as they’re off duty, they get caught off guard like everyone else. In order to practice “flipping the self defense switch” you need to practice in places where you’re most likely to be attacked, where you work, live and play.

How far can you take this?

The club is a disorienting and challenging environment.
The club is a disorienting and challenging environment.

I’ve set up a strobe light, smoke machine and lights to simulate a club atmosphere. Be careful the strobe REALLY messes with your depth perception (note: wear face protection).

We’ve done car jacking simulations, parking lot scenarios and anyplace else you can think of, just get out of the gym.




Until Next Time…Train Honestly,

Damian Ross
Founder/ CEO The Self Defense Company



Published by theselfdefenseco

Founder, The Self Defense Company

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    1. Rich,

      The point of the article and drill is how to establish a threshold and know exactly when you’ve had too much to drink. If you’re too drunk, well you’re just too drunk.

      “Walking Away” is NOT ALWAYS A GOOD IDEA.

      Let me ask you Rich, when can you walk away? How do you know if you turn your back on someone that they just don’t sucker punch you? In short when do you know to “walk away”?

      I’ll get into the “fine tuned” comment later. Let’s focus on the ALWAYS walking away concept.

  1. Drinking alcohol is a personal choice with different potential consequences depending on many variables. I have heard and seen some horrific alcohol related events over my career in the health care field. Clint Eastwood in his famous movie, “Dirty Harry” reminds us, “… A man’s got to know his limitations.” So this blog is good information for those who do consume alcohol. I know that I perform my best with a brain free of intoxicating substances (which took me a while to figure out in my younger years, LOL), so that’s how I roll now. So I say Damian and Clint Eastwood both made some damn good points.

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