A scrupulous writer, in every sentence that he writes, will ask himself at least four questions, thus:
1. What am I trying to say?
2. What words will express it?
3. What image or idiom will make it clearer?
4. Is this image fresh enough to have an effect?
And he will probably ask himself two more:
1. Could I put it more shortly?
2. Have I said anything that is avoidably ugly?”
- George Orwell
Incorporate some of the Universal Douche Behaviors:
- Betrayal/broken promises
- Having fun at the expense of other people
- Not being considerate of others’ wishes or rules (e.g. listening to music without headphones in a library, bouncing a tennis ball when someone has asked you to stop)
- Manipulating someone for personal gain
- Hogging things (the ball in a game, the shower, someone)
- Acting entitled
- Petty thievery
- Refusal to take responsibility for one’s actions
kill the idea that openly caring characters are boring
set on fire the line of thought that dictates that altruism is a bad thing and that selfishness/sassiness is an inherently more appealing and ‘intricate’ quality than an affectionate nature
smash and bury the concept of the false equivalency between angst and complexity
kindness and empathy are not synonyms for “blandness” and “lack of personality”
The difference in reach is actually minimal. It’s enough to say, it’s there, but not enough for it to actually matter in a fight. I think, in the past, we’ve said you need about an 18” difference in height before the difference in reach will be enough to matter.
So far as that goes, with most hand to hand styles, reach is a lot less important than non-combatants tend to think. It does matter in sword combat, where an inch of reach is enough to kill. But, for hand to hand, an inch of reach is enough to tickle someone…
I’m going to grossly oversimplify here, but unarmed strikes work on transmitting force into the body. You can’t do that at the edge of your reach. So you need to be much closer to make your connecting strikes do anything.
Starke is right. Hand to hand combat happens in very tight corners. So tight that a single step forward is all it takes to switch from hand range to grabbing/grappling range. Any attempt at connecting with your opponent is going to bring them into range for blocking, grabbing, or outright attacking.
This isn’t true of kicking forms like taekwondo, where reach does come into play. The legs are longer than the arms and someone with greater proportion in their legs will reach farther. However, a kicking technique requires you to go forward, which (If the opponent doesn’t back up) brings the attacker into hand range, hand range becomes grapple range, and finally it all ends on the ground. Also, kicking takes a great deal more energy than punching. Outside a sparring arena, a dedicated kicker must finish the fight quickly or end up sapped. They also have to deal with different rules, fighting on the street is different from fighting in an arena.
So no. Worry less about statistical differences. Folks who have never trained have a habit of trying to break it all down into numbers like a video game. Physical strength doesn’t really mean much compared to the ability to use your body to generate momentum, an understanding of how to manipulate joints, and where to hit.
What matters most in combat is mental preparation. Facing someone significantly taller than you is intimidating, that nervousness is debilitating. (To someone used to fighting taller opponents, this is overcome via practice.) If you honestly believe a man has an advantage over you, that he’s going to be better at hurting you because he is a man, then in your mind you have given him the advantage. When we believe we are going to lose, then we will lose.
What is most important to writing a female fighter is getting over the societally ingrained belief that men are superior. Whether it’s physically, mentally, or charismatically, when we talk about women facing men, we treat men like they’re bogeymen. Like they’re supernaturally endowed and women must be spectacular in order to beat them.
It’s not true.
The person who puts the most time and effort into their training is going to be the one who is best at it. Talent can be squandered, physical advantages can become weaknesses (both for men and women), it’s easy to rest on the laurels. Many female trainees go into their training believing that they are inferior, this pushes them to work harder, by working harder they become better than many of their male training partners and highly respected members of their martial arts groups, often going on to become instructors themselves.
Yes, men have natural advantages. Women have natural advantages. In the grand scheme, natural advantages are nice but mean squat.
Men develop strength faster in their upper body.
Women develop strength faster in their lower body, they also develop endurance faster, and are naturally more flexible. Most women find it easier to build up muscles faster in their core.
We can go round and round on what men can do and what women can do, but really it’s what the individual can do. How much do they want it? How hard are they willing to work? Do they believe in themselves? Has their training given them confidence? (Yes, always.)
Can a girl? Yes. Because she’s a girl? Stop. Does she need different equipment because she’s a— No. Okay, she can forgo the cup (a knee to the groin still hurts). If it’s a weapon like a sword then it’s a weapon designed with you in mind will always be a better fit than a generic one size fits all. She doesn’t need a special weapon or a specially made weapon to be able to compete with the boys. No special tricks are needed. The only special considerations required are common sense ones like a flight suit that accommodates peeing with a vagina.
Remember, you’re never fighting “men” as an amorphous group. You’re fighting one man and the sooner you start thinking of him as a person with flaws, who can be defeated (and not by cunning, guile, or treachery), the better off you and your story are going to be.