T Nation

Going To Be A Bouncer


I currently work security at a small casino with a bar attached to it that serves only beer. The good part about this is that you can't gamble drunk so I tend to cut people off if they're getting too messed up. Well, this summer they are going to start selling hard-A.

My gut instinct tells me that this is going to unwillingly turn me overnight into a bouncer. The bad part about this is that I'm 165lbs. I'm up 20lbs in the last 2 months when I finally decided to get my pre-Iraq weight back. I've still got another 20 before I'm back to my pre-Iraq weight and was lifting often.

I am finally eating to match my lifting and the gains are coming, but I still should have a better plan than just getting big. I'm a pretty good boxer and I can certainly hold my own just out of being aggressive, but that may not really be good enough. Should I adjust my training? Should I just focus on getting bigger? Any advice folks?

My current training is(All lifts 5 sets of 5):

Squat (Ass to grass)
Overhead Presses
Heavybag work

Bench Press
Speedbag work

I'm also eating approx 3500-4000 calories a day.



Just some food for thought:
I suggest taking a street fighting class...something like Krav Maga (which revolves around simple and effective moves that were created for military use). It's a type of self-defense with the philosphy of "kill that motherf|_|cker before he kills you!" I mean, every move in the classes I used to goto was a lethal one...it's not about just defending yourself it's about using extremely leathal, offensive, moves like elbows to the back of the head and neck/spine, throat punches, scratching, etc.

If I had the money, I'd still be going to the classes.

As far as a workout routine, I'd do something like a 3 day full-body. That way you will recover faster, still build great muscle, and you won't have to throw in the towel if you get into a brawl because your legs are killing from doing 15 sets of leg work.


I just got a job 2 weeks ago as a bouncer at a Latin nightclub in Boston. You should find out the rules of your casino, many places do not allow bouncers to strike patrons under any circumstances. So, Krav Maga, or "kill that mutherfucker" style may not be applicable. The value of Krav Maga is debatable in my opinion anyway.

Size can definetly be helpful in terms of intimidation factor and also in moving people around. If you are not allowed to hit anyone, then you may need to take them outside with limited force. If you weigh 165lb and throw out a 200lb man, it becomes a lot harder to do without using "extra force." Obviously, you have your backup, but it's still good to have the size, particularly when you need to move through crowds of people.



I'll second that. Thats the one thing I love about tbt. I'm always sore, but never too sore in anyone bodypart to do anything.

Why only 5*5 as a set/rep scheme???


Fuck the rules. Find out what the law says . That is your only protection.

I worked as a bouncer a few years ago and despite being highly trained(ish) as a kickboxer, I never struck anyone. It was always grappling.

Kick or punch someone in the head in Australia and you will end up in court. I couldn't give a shit about 'the rules', but I really want to keep my freedom.

9/10 I simply talked ppl out. I was 191cms and about 85kgs at the time so I was by no means a mass monster. It only got physical when I had to eject someone who was really wanting a fight, every other time they'd usually go after a bit of talking.


I worked as a bouncer for a few years, and the best advice I can give you is know your team. A good security staff has a good team that watches each other's backs. You should also always be stationed in pairs, and have headsets or walkie talkies so that you can get help if needed. Make sure that you can always see another bouncer. Check state laws about "weapons": we had guys that carried mace and one guy that had an asp (collapsable baton). I wouldn't recommend mace in a crowded bar, though. That's a good way to start a riot (only our outside guys and doorman carried it).

Definitely take some street fighting class- beware "disarm knife or gun with bare hands" crap though- that'll get you killed.

We had a guy on our staff that was only 170 lbs- and he was a badass. Of course, he was always partnered with Big Mike- who weighed 340lbs.

Just watch each others' backs. Also, be perceptive and stop shit before it starts. You can tell 7 out of 10 times that a fight is going to break out by body language, yelling, cussing, shoving, etc. End it there. Be nice but firm: tell people they have to leave, you're just doing your job, etc. DON'T LOOK FOR OR EXPECT FIGHTS OR YOU WILL GET THEM!!! Most guys starting trouble in a bar realize that a) you have an entire security and bar staff on your side and b) the law is (mostly) on your side and c)you're just doing your job. For the ones that still want to throw down, if your staff has your back you'll be fine.



If you can find a PFS (Progressive Fighting Systems) school or affiliate, they have great "mass combat" tactics. Just understand that you can't fight 3 guys by yourself- their systems are often designed for bouncers and law enforcement. I think Frank Shamrock's affiliates have similar programs.


I worked as a bouncer for about 5 years, and this was my experience as well. If you're good at your job, you won't need to throw a punch. It isn't about being a badass; it's all about keeping the peace and making sure everyone has a good time.

That being said, you will sometimes have to be hands-on. How often that happens depends on the type of venue. Body mass is a big plus, as are basic skills in judo/jujitsu or even wrestling. Most physical confrontations that I witnessed or was involved in happened at clinching and grappling range.

The head game is really where it's at. Talking will end the problem >90% of the time. Do whatever you need to do to feel confident in confrontation, and it will show.


I agree with what everyone else is saying. By rules, I meant the law included. Usually they depend on one another to some degree.

I find that saying "I'm just doing my job" puts things in perspective for some people so that they understand its not you, its the venue's policy. They'll be less likely to take it personal.



i hear conflict resolution skills are also good to have.


I've been doing this for over a year now and I've successfully avoided anything serious. But again, I attribute this to the fact that I am dealing with beer drinkers that I have told the bar to stop serving if they get out of line anyways.

Unfortunately, management doesn't see the same picture I do. They don't really think that this is going to change anything. As such I'm only getting a second guy to work with on the weekends.

As far as learning Krav Maga or anything like that, I would like to get back into some sort of martial arts merely because I enjoy it, though I really don't know if it would be a good idea to start literally kicking ass.

I know how to fight pretty well, but I think I need to be better at physically manhandling people as opposed to striking them. I guess that's where my main question is. Am I lifting properly for this goal?



I worked as a bouncer for a year outside of a military base and hated it. Same drunk asshole every night, different name. Hopefully you will be dealing with some more civilized than drunk soilders.

Just try to keep the numbers in ur favor, no one on one fights. Like someone mentioned above you have to have a good team.

Size is always a good intimidation factor, but I would definately take some martial art. It gives you a hand eye coordination "edge". As to what type I think that depends on the teacher. If the teacher is good enough he could be teaching anything and make the class worthwile.

One good thing, at the time I was taking Judo and I got to practice alot at work.


Bouncers at the bar I go to pretty much end up using chokeholds or a good Nelson to take care of issues. I'll grant that they're mostly dealing with drunken frat boys, but the stuff works.

If you want to learn to handle people on the ground, either find a wrestling club, or some kind of MMA dojo to work out at. The place I'm at in Charlottesville has been fantastic . . .I'm learning a ton of stuff on the ground, and my striking has never been better


I was a bouncer for a few years...way way back in the late 70's and early 80's. That's when you could actually touch someone and not have them run to the Police, or their lawyer.

Everyone who has ever been good at this job will tell you that good communication is your best weapon. And that goes double in today's litigious environment.

Beyond that I suggest that you find a really good lawyer. He will become your best friend hopefully (so he doesn't charge you much).


Good thread, I'm waiting (probably gonna be another two months or so) for my bouncer certification to go through here in the UK. Yeah, you have to take a class, get a background check, get certified, get a badge - ridiculous red tape. The stuff about communication echoes everything I've been told though.


What nightclub? I also bounce in Boston, and have been for a few years now.

I'll echo what a lot of people have already said. The most important thing isn't necessarily size, it's your self-confidence and ability to speak and resolve conflicts. Ideally, you should never find yourself one-on-one with anyone, so you will never really need to square up with a customer.

As for size, I've worked with some real monsters, and I've seen some drunk 150 pounders go up and start shit with them, so size isn't really as much of an intimidating factor as you'd think. Also, keep in mind that you are definitely going to have to check your ego as a bouncer. I can't even begin to list the type of shit people have said to me, and all the while I had to smile with my hands in my pockets, but you're in the service industry, and that's what you're getting paid to do.


Your not to small at all (GSP was a bouncer in Montreal at 170lbs), Bouncing is 75% physcological anyways, your not there to smash heads your there to talk to people and convince them to leave peacefully. My roommate was a bouncer, he was very easy going and impossible to upset so it was a good gig for him. Most guys cant bounce because there nerves take over and it turns to a pissing match.
However sooner or later you are going to lock horns withsome and it may not be pretty, I recomend buying Bas Rutten's
Lethal street fighting technics, its not as rough as it sounds but pretty informative and a bit of an eye opener.
Good Luck on your new venture and be safe!


Nix the curls and put bent over rows in their place. You need a horizontal pull to match the horizontal push of the bench press. you'll still get bicep stimulation from the row, but also low back, upper back, ham, and glute as well from pulling and holding the weight in that position. more bang for buck.


Good idea. This is the kind of input I'm looking for. I'm not worried about my size too much. I know a few Iraqis and Jordinians that do not think 145 (my weight during the war) is too small anymore. Fortunately the bulk of what I deal with now is drunken frat boys. I will certainly replace the curls for rows. I currently do them to appease my workout partner who hates my making him do squats, deads, and chins.



Yup, that's the answer...hurt someone...hope your lawyer is good...hope you have a good lawyer.