Do bouncers need to have any specific martial arts skills?
The above question popped up on Quora and since I used to do concert security and was a bouncer in my younger days, I chimed in
Times have changed since I frequented places that needed bouncers or have been requested to work as one, but generally, it seems you just need to be big.
I know there are a lot of trained people that have done that type of security, myself included. I think a good business owner would want someone trained in something where they can keep the peace, in a way where they cannot be held liable for injury.
When I did concert security, we all had training sessions where we just alerted team members to situations, and getting physical was only the last option. People reference the movie “Road House” a lot when they think about bouncers now, but the meeting they have in the Double Duece has the best instruction for that type of work.
It comes down to three simple rules:
“All you have to do is follow three simple rules. One; never underestimate your opponent, expect the unexpected. Two, take it outside. Never start anything inside the bar, unless it’s absolutely necessary, and three be nice. If somebody gets in your face and calls you a ‘cock-sucker’ I want you to be nice. Ask him to walk but be nice. If he won’t walk, walk him but be nice. If you can’t walk him one of the others will help you, and you’ll both be nice. I want you to remember that it’s a job, it’s nothing personal.” -Patrick Swayze as Dalton in Road House (1989)
Most people of sound mind, especially nowadays do not want to get into a physical confrontation. So, a bigger person in uniform is generally enough to put out any hostile fire in a bar. If too many spirits are in the mix, the bouncer should be trained enough to “walk him” without hurting whoever it is, and get them outside where the police can get involved.
As someone that has 30+ years of martial arts experience that has done that type of work, I never really had to use it other than to guide someone to their seat or the door. No one lost consciousness or got injured. But it is good to have enough training to deal with the unexpected if it is needed.
I don’t think the type of martial arts matters more than knowing when to use it, but something like Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu or judo where controlling someone is key probably wouldn’t hurt.