The first night I worked as a bouncer was at a popular night club in Sydney city in the early 80’s . At that time this particular nightclub was probably “The” place to be seen when discos were at their peak of popularity. I did not need the money as I was working full time, I was just really keen to put myself under pressure to see how I would react. I was 22 years old, a black belt, and could handle myself pretty well…or so I thought.
I was sure that if it came down to it my fighting skills would get me out of trouble and I was so ready…. naïve but ready.
My first night started and the flow of people in and out of the club was smooth. It was a busy night and I was a little green to say the least. Customers come up to the door, you check them out, if they look okay, you unclip the rope and let them in, hey this is easy I thought, real easy, no trouble here.
There were 3 of us on the door that night, Paul an experienced bouncer, kind of like a De Niro look alike, small but looked like he could hold his own and Robert, who is now a well known actor. Paul and Robert were in the club having a walk through and I was on the door alone for the first time.
With in a second my confident air of invincibility was shattered. I was confronted with several huge Scottish footballers (wearing kilt and all) that were in Australia to take on the Wallabies Rugby Team . Four of them towered over me as I stood behind the flimsy rope barrier, I felt alone and very, very vulnerable. They were drunk, charged up and looking for a fight…..and I was a real easy target…on top of that, trying to understand a drunken Scotsman can be difficult at the best of times….
I said no to their constant demands to enter the club. This just enraged them even more. Paul and Robert were quickly back at my side, checking what all the commotion was about. Paul the shorter one of us quickly became aggressive and started shouting. The last I saw of Paul that night was him being set upon and tossed around like a foot ball amongst the Scots. I turned and looked for support from Robert, and the last I saw of him was his back as he closed the front door behind him, leaving me to handle the Scots myself.
Talk about being thrown in the deep end!! Six of them moved towards me, they picked up the rope barrier and supports and launched them up the street. The large crowd that was waiting to get into the club was silent; okay Andy you asked for it, now let’s see what you have got. I had no place to run, they had me trapped between the inside door and the front door. I resigned myself to have to fight it out.
I readied myself and became still and silent, unemotional as I steadied the terror that was churing with in me. The first footballer came in towards me and just for an instant I could feel the hesitation in him. He came steaming into me with a round kick to my leg. I could see it coming a mile away so just slid back out of the way, as he came through he lost balance and slipped, I moved and he landed in a big heap in front of me. I remained still and silent, nothing needed to be done or said. Two of the other Scots quickly came in, picked up their mate, looked at me and to my surprise said “sorry mate” as they turned and quickly made their way up the street.
An important lesson. What ever you put out there will come back to you. If you are aggressive, you will get that in return. You absolute best defence is “still observation.” In the face of this assault, I did not need to do anything. My still neutral presence said it all. I was ready to go all the way, yes I was scared, but there was a deeper, presence that came through me which was immediately felt by the attacker.