1. Marthix2016

    Marthix2016 Active Member

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    Making Male vs. Female Physical Fights Believable + Brutal

    Discussion in 'Research' started by Marthix2016, Nov 5, 2018.

    Alright...so I know the saying goes that according to biology men are physically stronger than most women in real life. So when it comes to fiction or making up your own stories, when you pit a male warrior vs. a female warrior...both are at their physical prime...how much would you say readers pay attention to the "real life" aspect of biological strength? From my experience, I've read a handful of male vs. female fights (not involving magic, just brute strength) and according to the world setting, I don't think about it much. Now if it was a really small very fit woman fighting a very large very fit man, I wouldn't find that believable in that she would win unless she had some crazy maneuvering skills.

    In this short story I just started writing over the weekend, I like to write so that all my women and men are on identical levels of strength without bringing it up much. Maybe their biology is different in the world I'm creating. But then I think about what would most readers in real life think about this. No magical powers or anything supernatural...Would they find it possible that a human woman can defeat a human man in battle?

    The villain in my story is a very physically fit woman who has proven herself over her years in battle and has her share of battle scars to prove it. I imagine she's about 5'8" or so in height. In the story, she's around 34 or so. She doesn't have a bodybuilder type body....very physically toned though...I would say she would mirror Kassandra from the new Assassin's Creed game to get a more accurate picture of how strong her build is. She is very experienced in battle, she's no slouch when it comes to fighting and she has a lot of guts. She has a strong confidence in herself that she can defeat anybody. Not saying that she will win every fight she's in...she can match most males in strength but may have a problem with ones that are taller or bulkier than her. She is human....she is not invincible. And when I talk about fighting here, it could range from a purely physical fight like punching and all that or could involve sword combat and such.

    Another thing about male vs. female physical fights I find a little bit odd is how brutal can they be? We see male hero vs. male villain fights all the time in movies, TV, and in books....lots of blood is shed sometimes. Not that is happens a lot whole lot, female hero vs. female villain fights are similar level but not as brutal. Now...male hero vs. female villain fights....we don't see them a whole lot...when they happen in a movie or book, it seems like the physical contact is very minimal. It feels like when it comes to those sort of fights, media/society whatever 'blanket' the female villain from being beat up too bad or ultimately dying. Seems like the female villains get out alive with sometimes without a scratch, are allowed to live when the story concludes. Seems like the male heroes hold back against the female villains. I don't find that believable if she's supposed to be this super deadly person and she gets out alive...happens in most things I've watched and read. Very cliche.

    My point is...my female villain is an extremely dangerous criminal and she has killed a lot of people through her henchmen and especially at her own hand. In this story I'm writing, I want my male hero to show no mercy against her when he comes up to fight her (probably one time in the middle and at the very end). I want her to get roughed up, bloodied, etc., because that's naturally how I feel about fights against her. Given how society is these days when portraying male vs. female fights, I've just been concerned how the average reader would view this type of fight. I mean I know how in fiction anything can be believable if you shape it to be that way right. Just asking for advice/thoughts/opinions. Sorry for the long-winded explanation but speaking my mind. Male vs. Female physical fights (no magic!!!) in fiction....give me your two cents.
     
  2. Bone2pick

    Bone2pick Member

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    Imo it all boils down to how realistic and practical the rest of your story is. For instance, how many opponents can your story's greatest heroes best at once? Is it a realistic number? Do they suffer reasonable amounts of damage in combat, specifically when facing multiple opponents? If so, how accurately do you portray their injuries, and how quickly do they recover? Do your characters have very realistic endurance limitations?

    If the rest of your combat is very grounded and realistic, then I think you shouldn't ignore the strength differences between men and women.
     
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  3. Artifacs

    Artifacs Member

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    Most Martial Arts rely in some physic principles: Force is not always the best.

    1) Strength (Force) = mass * acceleration.

    An average man has more muscular mass than an average woman. But the strenght of a woman blow can be similiar (or even stronger) if the woman is faster than the man.

    2) Force = Pressure/Surface

    If you aply the same pressure in a lesser surface, you're aplying more force. A woman may have thinner fingers than his male opponent.

    A lighter opponent (i.e: average woman Vs average man) can rely in other than strenght to reduce to his/her foe. Make use of this in your encounters and all will seem plausible.
     
  4. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

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    Human woman versus human man, absolutely.

    Human woman and human man who are precisely as fit, trained, fast, smart, etc. as each other, both of them at their best fighting form, while the man is physically bigger and stronger? For that matter, two human women who are also precisely equal while one is bigger and stronger? Yeah, that's a bit of an issue, especially she wins more than one fight with that person.

    But if she's, say, faster than him, I'm OK. If she has more experience, I'm OK. If she's been trained in more strategies, I'm OK. I just need some advantage to counter his size/strength advantage.
     
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  5. BayView

    BayView Contributor Contributor

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    I agree with Bone2Pick that you should look at general realism levels in your story.

    I think it can also be useful to take the gender out of it and just consider two male characters (or two female characters) fighting each other, with each having the relative sizes of your characters. Like, if you think it's realistic that a 5'8", 160lb man could have a chance of winning a fight against a 6', 220lb man (because of using weapons, superior training, trickiness, luck, or whatever) then I think a 5'8" 160lb woman is about as realistic.

    ETA: Essentially cross-posted with Chicken. She's quick.
     
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  6. Lew

    Lew Member Supporter Contributor

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    I dealt with two instances of that in the E&D. One was a very physically big barbarian woman who had lost her family, her whole encampment, to Chinese soldiers when she was twelve. Finding another encampment, she was taken in, but wanted to fight, rare but not uncommon among the Mongols and by extension (we don't know) their predecessors the Xiongnu. She began training with boys at twelve and rose to become a very good fighter. However, she admitted she was not the physical equal of a man in a fight, and she depended very much on speed and eye-discipline... she could see what most men were going to do before they did it by a flick of the eyes. She never took her eyes off her opponent and never gave away that cue. Milliseconds matter.

    Hina imparted a lot of this to a girl she was training, though unlike Hina, perhaps close to six feet and 150 lbs, Marcia was 5-2 and perhaps 110 lbs. Her motivation was to never again be defenseless. One of the things Hina imparted to her was never to fight with a man, unless she was willing to kill him. And of course, eye discipline. Unlike Hina, Marcia was not looking for a life as a fighter.

    Hina had one mock training fight with a centurion, built rather like a fullback, and though it was a contest, neither fought with less vigor, using real swords. It turned out close. The centurion was crowing over his apparent victory before Hina was quite done fighting. Marcia wound up in a knife fight with someone from her past, her first real fight, full of doubt and uncertainty.
     
  7. LordWarGod

    LordWarGod Banned

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    I think this video sums it all up showing the power difference between a male and a female.

    I'm speaking from personal experience here. Once you get big and strong enough, skill and speed essentially becomes worthless. I am 6'0 and 300 lbs, I am a powerlifter so I have a lot of muscle and fat on me. Three grown men tried to jump me and I couldn't feel any of their punches or kicks and they punched hard. Many people who try to hurt me, don't end up hurting me because I am simply just too big and strong that all I need to do is grab hold of them and toss them around like a ragdoll. Here's another video of a man similar to my size beating the literal fuck out of five bouncers. At this point, you would have to use bats, guns and pipe irons to take down a guy like that, forget fist fights.

    Can you imagine how unfair it would be for a woman? A man like that could deliver enough force with a punch to snap her neck and straight up kill her. No matter how hard the woman tried to hit the man, her punches wouldn't even register to the brain. It'd be like fighting a grizzly bear.

    Watch this, it took eight police officers to finally restrain this man who is by all standards an average man who is on adrenaline. He isn't trained to fight and he doesn't lift weights. Another video here showing trained female police officers trying to restrain one man with police equipment and still failing to do so and requiring the assistance of male bystanders to finally stop him. The man in the video was a skinny, unfit man against two fit and trained female police officers. This is the reason why men have to be paired up with female officers, simply because women cannot handle men in physical encounters.

    To make it believable, you would have to have your female character equipped with weapons such as swords, bats or guns. 9 times out of 10, a woman will not win an encounter with a man who is equal to her size and weight pound for pound and even then, a small, scrawny man is still significantly stronger than a female bodybuilder. I understand that this is just a story and a lot of it is just make-believe but you wanted a believable fight between a male and female. So, a believable fight would likely be a woman with a bat or a pipe iron whacking men bigger than her rather than her duking it out in a fist fight.

    Of course, it's up to you how you write your story. I was just explaining the power difference in small men and big men then the power difference between small men and women. There's a reason why people developed weapons in the first place, "God made man and woman unequal but Sam Colt made them equal" something like that.
     
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2018
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  8. AbyssalJoey

    AbyssalJoey Member

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    As long as you have a good reason why I'm ok whit it, it looks like your female villain has enough experience to do so, that being said, it is a fact that males have a natural advantage against females, this is because we tend to be taller, bulkier and stronger (you tend to see a 40% difference in upper body strength). @Artifacs mentioned Newton's 2nd law of motion (F=ma), while the equation is indeed correct (obvs) the thinking behind it is flawed, this is because the acceleration is a result of the natural strength of the individual and since men are stronger they can move their higher mass at higher speeds.

    What @LordWarGod is also true, it is possible that a man will be so bulky that punches will do minimal external damage and no internal damage, it would be like a lvl 50 pokemon fighting a lvl 100, it will do damage but this will be inconsequential; at this point all you can do is aim for the neck or the eyes but these targets are smaller making them harder to hit. You also have to take into account the height of the individuals, since men tend to be taller their arms are longer thus giving men longer reach, this means that there is a point when a man can hit a woman but the reverse is impossible (unless you aim for the arm).

    This all applies to hand to hand combat; if you introduce mele weapons then the natural disadvantage is smaller, this is because the force required for a sword to cut is smaller than the force required for a punch to do effective damage. However, weapons have their own advantages the biggest one being the previously mentioned reach, if any individual (regardless of sex) is fighting against a longsword (85 to 110 cm of edge length) with an arming sword (70 to 80 cm of edge length) the guy with the arming sword would always be at a disadvantage (ranging from slight to utterly fucked) that could only be "patched" by a shield, and this is assuming that they're fighting with swords, if you bring battlefield weapons into the mix (spears, greatswords/sweinhainders, and polearms) then not even a shield will be able to make up for the reach advantage.

    Then we have the issue of females having one less defensive option, what do I mean by this? Simple, let's say that both characters are fighting with an identical longsword, since men are stronger the sword will move faster, as a result, the woman will not be able to perform a static block (or it would be really hard/risky), so she can only dodge or use a deflectional parry while her opponent can dodge, parry and block.

    Also, another thing to consider is that thrusts lack stopping power, you can impale someone with a rapier but that someone will not stop because of it.

    I'd recommend you to watch this video, while it's not focused on the topic it does explain some of the points I made in regard to armed combat.
     
  9. Artifacs

    Artifacs Member

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    Be water my friends.
    We're talking about a fiction book and the details that can be plausible in a female-male combat. Doesn't happen all the time but I know a couple of 75 kg brassilian ladies that can krav maga the s***t out of any average professional free-fight opponent inside an octogon.
    You just try to get closer... damn, I'm already shivering.
     
  10. Nariac

    Nariac Active Member

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    There's a male villain versus female hero fight in Brandon Sanderson's Mistborn trilogy where the male character pins the female one against a wall, forcibly kisses her and starts cutting off one of her breasts. So, sometimes M versus F can absolutely be brutal. It's just very rare in my experience. (And I didn't like that scene, to be honest, I thought it was excessive.) That's not male hero versus female villain, of course, but it's the closest example I can recall of brutal M versus F.

    I think if this sort of fight is done nearer the end of the story, where we've seen the female villain be absolutely brutal, like killing characters we have got to know and like, or torturing people, or whatever, then it will be more palatable for the reader to watch her get taken to pound town by a vengeful hero. It can be helped further by him perhaps hesitating, having second thoughts, or demanding she surrender, and she then just attacks him even more, maybe even wounding him, to tell us that there's no going back here: it's do or die. There's many ways to make it acceptable, but I think it will need careful thought. You have to sell this battle to the reader.
     
  11. exweedfarmer

    exweedfarmer Senior Member

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    From what I'm told... Your basic man is 40 lbs. heavier and his muscle to weight ratio is somewhere around 40% while a woman's is around 23%. NOW THEN, men don't want to fight with women. Men want to do other things with them. Women have the advantage. I don't understand the whole women's rights movement, I don't know how they ever came to believe that they weren't in charge in the first place. One thing you should know is about the old "kick 'em in the balls" thing. That's a move of desperation only. They're very hard to hit or all the men would be doubled over in pain most of the time. If you go for that maneuver and miss, the guy is going to want to kill you. All bets are off. On the other hand, the pain is like no other.
     
  12. John Calligan

    John Calligan Contributor Contributor

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    There are women who are stronger than men. When I taught martial arts, I trained a 13 year old girl that could do sets of 10 on the bench press with like 65 pounds, and deadlift sets of five at like 125 pounds. I have known men in their twenties who had never worked out or played sports, who couldn't handle the 45 pound bar with nothing on it. They could not pick up 135 pounds without hurting themselves. If one of them fought this 13 year old girl, they would have been beaten up. She could literally pick up some grown men and drop them on their heads.

    Even between athletes, speed and skill can win the day in some combat sports. When I was in college, I was friends with a woman who had a bad knee. She was shorter than average, and she was a fencer. Because of her knee, she couldn't dip into a full lunge. I went to a couple of coed college fencing tournaments with her and watched her smoke guys a foot taller than her, back to back to back, by parrying their thrust and stabbing their hand. Occasionally, she would get their head without being countered. She won a lot.

    There are plenty of women in combat sports, especially in the 135 pound division, that walk around at about 150-160 pounds and are exceptional athletes who are stronger and physically larger than many men, and they have skills to back it up.

    A small woman with a long blade who is skilled enough to hit your hand while running backwards, or who is able to take your back and start choking you, can be a problem for even a skilled man of similar or larger size if she has enough skill and fitness:

    If her kick boxing is as good as her BJJ, he would be in trouble standing up with her:



    Girl vs. Boy in highschool wrestling:



    There are more female warriors today than in the past because technology makes the mind more important than size and strength. This woman is incredibly dangerous when fighting in the environment of her choosing:
    [​IMG]

    And so some people think it is kinda lame when the female hero in a fantasy uses magic to fight along side men, but in a way you can use magic as an analogy for technology, and how modern women leverage technology and tactics to make themselves into killers.
    [​IMG]

    Many people don't have any issue with a 120 pound woman beating up multiple 200 pound men in a fist fight, in T.V., literature, or comic books. It's fantasy. However, there are ways to write about not just women, but physically smaller men, beating up or killing much larger people in a believable way, but you have to come at it with a knowledge of how a certain kind of fighting goes down.

    The woman I knew who could win fencing matches by running backwards and stabbing people in the hand would do pretty well cutting up unarmored people in the street, but if she were forced to try to go through a doorway blocked by a large man holding a sword and shield, she would have a problem. Smaller people win fights either by having much more aggression and attacking unready opponents, having greater skill with a weapon that neutralizes some of the advantage of size, strongly outclassing the opponent in skill while having a credible attack, or by leveraging tactics and technology in a way that makes them more effective. However, men and women's fighting ability sits on a bell curve and there are some women who don't train and don't lift who will be able to beat up some men. It happens.
     
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2018
  13. DeeDee

    DeeDee Senior Member

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    Don't imagine fights like a simple exchange of blows. A clever fighter doesn't fight like that. If your fighters know how to fight well, they will be using more than just body mass and strength.
     
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  14. X Equestris

    X Equestris Contributor Contributor

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    The fisticuffs/hand to hand martial arts angle has already gotten a lot of coverage so far in this thread, so I'll focus on combat with melee weapons.

    A lot of people tend to overestimate the value of strength in that sort of combat. Not that it's not important, but it's one of many factors. Armor and the quality thereof, type of weapon and skill with it, experience, those are all things to keep in mind here.

    Historically, female combatants in pre-gunpowder times tended to use polearms or bows, as both those categories of weapons largely negated male strength advantage. You can see this with onna-bugeisha, Scythians, and a handful of documented instances where Germanic women fought.

    If you're coming at this story from a very grounded angle, I'd give your female villain the best armor it makes sense for her to have and some sort of polearm to go along with her training, experience, and strength. That should prevent complaints from all but the most...ideological of quarters. But there's no way to please that lot, so I wouldn't worry about it.
     
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  15. Bone2pick

    Bone2pick Member

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    Again, it depends on the level of realism in your fantasy. Most of the fantasy I read—and nearly all of the fantasy that I write—can sell a petite, highly-skilled woman getting the better of half a dozen male soldiers in close combat. But there are exceptions.

    One of my favorite fantasy novels features very grounded and dangerous close combat, even for its highly trained characters. Here's a passage from it to give you a better idea what I mean by that:

    When it came to violence, Chang was realistic. While experience and skill would increase his chances of survival, he knew that the margins for error were tiny and often subject not so much to luck as to a certain authority of intention, or will. In those minute spaces of variability a firm, even grim, determination was crucial, and hesitation of any kind a mortal flaw. Any man could be killed by any other, no matter what the circumstances, and there was always the blue moon chance that a fellow who has never carried a sword would do a thing with it no sane duelist would expect.

    In that book you couldn't sell a 120 pound man punching and kicking his way through multiple larger opponents.
     
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  16. DeeDee

    DeeDee Senior Member

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    ... which will greatly impede her agility and speed...
     
  17. LordWarGod

    LordWarGod Banned

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    You can literally break-dance and sprint in full plate armor. I'd suggest watching some Skallagrim or other medieval warfare videos on YouTube, it's a huge myth that people couldn't move or operate properly in plate armor.

    I'd like to hijack this comment to point out some interesting facts about plate armor and armor in general.

    Swords could not penetrate steel plate armor, no matter how strong you were. The only weapons capable of harming plate wearers directly were poleaxes and maces/warhammers. The blunt force from maces/warhammers would crush the bones of the plate-wearers and the sharp spike on a poleaxe along with the weight behind it would be enough to penetrate the helm or breastplate of plate-wearers.

    If you wanted to harm a plate wearer with a sword then the half-swording technique was the most common way knights used to fight each other. Half-swording involved holding the handle and the blade with your hands to accurately thrust your blade into weak spots on plate wearers such as the armpits, calves or the eye-holes of a helm.

    Bullet-proof armor is mostly Kevlar which were meant to catch the bullet after it broke through ceramic plates. It is in no way an effective piece of armor against medieval warfare, a sword will pierce it like hot knife through butter.

    Okay, carry on guys.
     
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2018
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  18. X Equestris

    X Equestris Contributor Contributor

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    As previously mentioned, plate armor is quite easy to move around in. Other forms of armor, like a jack of plates or a linen cuirass, are even lighter.

    Besides that, you're overestimating the advantage speed would give in this sort of combat. Have you seen what melee weapons can do to an unarmored body? Just one good hit will ruin your day. Meanwhile, the right armor will let you shrug off otherwise fatal blows without a scratch. Women don't have a big enough speed advantage over men to make going without armor worth the risk of injury.
     
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  19. Storysmith

    Storysmith Member

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    With regards to having your male hero kill the female villain, be aware that you might get push-back. A couple of years ago there was an outcry over a male villain attacking a heroine on a movie poster:

    https://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/life/heres-whats-terribly-wrong-with-this-x-men-apocalypse-poster/

    You can add what you like to your story, but some people will be offended. Personally, I think that if you're going to have kick-ass female heroes and villains, then they should get equal treatment and be threatened, hurt and killed just as much as the men.
     
  20. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

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    I think that what's shown in a poster that's visible to anyone and everyone, including small children, is rather different from what's in the movie and seen by people who chose to see that movie.

    And what's chosen as the "Woohoo! That's great! Gotta see that movie!" ultra-appealing marketing scene is, again, rather different from what's included in the movie.
     
  21. Necronox

    Necronox Contributor Contributor

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    I am in very much the same position as @LordWarGod . I have been in fights before, some of them included women. I am about 192 cm, 130kg and I regularly do gym and I used to do bareknuckled boxing (I was a brawler type). In all fights I have been in, my size and weight entirely compromised the speed, agility or otherwise of another opponent. The problem I found for me fighting against fast opponents, which women usually are, is actually landing a hit. They can dodge, move and change to avoid a hit really easily whilst I just tank out their hits. However, if I land but one good punch, haymaker or otherwise, then it’s all over. I can chain them (as I am trained) and just win out right.

    As a male, I honestly don’t want to fight women, not because I objectively dislike or object to fighting them. Instead it is simply because I would assume a biological want to protect. However, when that first punch, regardless who throws it, is set free. The world is open and it is just a blur.

    That said, most fights entirely rely on skill. The skilled opponent always play to his or her strength. Mine was being a “tank” and taking hits and hitting hard. I traded often (getting punched on purpose so that the other drops their guard, allowing me to safely land a hit). Those where my strength. But others fight differently and some type are better are countering certain fighting styles.

    Also, almost any real 2v1 fights ends in favour of the “2” side. It is almost impossible to keep track of two people movements and plan accordingly. (Note: I am talking to to people fighting one at the Same time. Not just one person fighting another and then being immediately replaced by another)

    In your case, I would not focus on strength. Instead a previously mentioned, go for speed and agility. Something women tend to be superior at then men in most cases anyway. a good fight who is light on their feet can just avoid being hit entirely and always fight in favourable positions. They can, simply put, out manoeuvre the opponent a lot more easily. This is a pretty big advantage against a comparatively slow and lumbering target.

    Also, when it comes to a real fight. Not one in a cage or ring where there is rules. Literally all bets are off. Go for the groin, eyes, whatever to give you the advantage. You are not fighting for glory or honour, but yourself and your own survival.


    If we are taking into account armour, then thing can change. A person in full plate armour will not suffer from any major problems with speed or agility. Also, due to the harness they will not feel the weight nearly as much as most people think. Even just a single mail hauberk will fend of most blows from swords. However, each weapon and armour has a specific purpose and design point and something they excel at. None is really superior to any other as they were designed for a different purpose.
     
  22. Marthix2016

    Marthix2016 Active Member

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    Thank you for the response. Good questions you ask. The world I've designed for this story is very human. I would say my villainess is the most dangerous opponent out there. She can best a reasonable number of her adversaries at once but no way could she kill 10 opponents by herself. She can win fights outnumbered but it has to be feasible number. She is very intelligent and wears protective armor. By no means is she a perfect fighter. In the story she is at her physical prime in her life but the battle damage she suffers over the duration of the story slowly weakens her. Final fight between her and my male hero...the wear and tear on her body will be fairly noticeable in her fighting for that one I believe. Still extremely dangerous though. She is human so if she gets seriously damaged, it will take her great time to recover.
     
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  23. Marthix2016

    Marthix2016 Active Member

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    Very interesting! Thanks for sharing your experience as a fighter. I'm a male as well...for me...anyone who picks a fight with me...male or female...they're going down. Just because someone is a woman doesn't grant them special treatment. I want to apply that mindset to my story.

    I have to say for my female villain, she is fairly heavy for a woman since she has quite a bit of muscle on her but still very lean body that can move around quick. She is a very smart fighter and wears armor in most occasions. I can picture one scene where she is unequipped and kills someone with her bare hands...just to prove how capable she is at fighting.
     
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  24. newjerseyrunner

    newjerseyrunner Contributor Contributor

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    High level combat has very little to do with strength. It doesn’t take power to knock someone out, it takes precision. A skilled female martial artist would destroy most men.

    Most real fights end up on the ground. Your winner will be whoever is the better grappler. That’s got some strength involved but again, it’s mostly leverage. I have a third degree black belt and I’ve beaten and been beaten by plenty of women. In my experience at lower ranks men tend to dominate because of strength and agression, towards the middle ranks it starts evening out and st the highest level gender makes no difference.

    If you put a male and female pro boxer against each other with similar size and records I’d say the man would probably win 6/10 fights.
     
    Simpson17866 likes this.
  25. Bone2pick

    Bone2pick Member

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    No. The man wins more than 9 out 10 fights. Plus, if strength doesn't matter at higher levels then why worry about weight classes?
     

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