T Nation

What's Generally Considered Big?

(this is NOT a bodybuilding thread)

Heya.
Since we’re always talking about ‘real world fighting’ and ‘big guys trying to fight you’, yadda yadda… Is there a specific weight which you would consider frightening? Obviously, 240lbs bouncers can simply pick you up and punch you through walls, but they’re a rare breed. Almost as rare as 20 ninjas with uzis or guys who can beat up whole gangs on basketball courts :wink:

I’m currently 5’11 and hover between 155 and 165. This is by far the biggest and most muscular I’ve been in my life. Which means I will always be lighter than the type of guy who goes to a bar to cause trouble. My actual question being: How heavy does a guy have to be to intimidate you? 180? 190? 20 pounds on you; 40? I know this is a random question and sounds like the insecure ramblings of a teenager. But I sometimes wonder what people actually imagine when they talk about a dangerous people, physically.

Honestly, the size factor doesn’t bother me (and I’m a short guy). It’s more about the way their body is built (thick forearms, large traps, etc) and the way they carry themselves.

Its a bit of a strange question, but judging purely on size I think I’d consider 180lb to be the absolute minimum for someone to seem intimidating. I think 220lb is when people start to get properly intimidating.

Personally I think there are so many other things that go into an intimidating appearance besides size that its kind of hard to say. I really don’t have much experience of anything, this is just how I feel.

1 Like

[quote]furo wrote:
Its a bit of a strange question, [/quote]

Oh, absolutely. Thanks for not mocking me. (no sarcasm)

[quote]
but judging purely on size I think I’d consider 180lb to be the absolute minimum for someone to seem intimidating. I think 220lb is when people start to get properly intimidating.

Personally I think there are so many other things that go into an intimidating appearance besides size that its kind of hard to say. I really don’t have much experience of anything, this is just how I feel.[/quote]

Cheers.

The reason why I’m asking is this: I do martial arts (which does not make me a martial artist, I’m not good enough for the title) and I lift. I started lifting at 130lbs and, as opposed to other people, I did NOT do it for the chicks. I did it because even ‘normal’ skinny guys had at least 10-20 pounds on me. I never gave a **** about bodybuilders who think 200lbs is small, I always looked towards fighters and also gymnasts/traceurs when it came to desirable height/weight ratios. I will never be ‘big’ and I don’t want to. But the sad truth is that even a ‘small’ (by tnation standards) 175 guy will always have a weight/possibly strength advantage over me.

No of course, it is definitely an interesting question :).

I don’t have much experience, 1 year of boxing training and 2 years of MMA but never particularly seriously and I never got very good. I think weight is definitely not the most important factor in combat, but I’ve always personally held the belief that 180lb is about the cut-off where a guy who doesn’t necessarily train MA has the power to do serious damage. But I definitely think a trained lighter individual would be much more effective.

But again, I’m no expert at all!

Yeah, weird question.

It’s more of a relative thing IMO. i.e if someone outweighs you by, say 20-25% of your own body weight or more and has a similar body composition and relative strength, you will likely notice the deficit.

I float around 235 right now, so for me 270 or so and somewhat muscular is a big f’in guy. At your weight, the guy would need to be 190 or so. Conversely, compared to the 190# guy, I guess I’m a big f’in guy (which is not at all to say he couldn’t still potentially put me on my ass).

So, if we figure the average North American male is about 175, I guess “big” would start at around 210-220 and at least somewhat strong/muscular, by my reckoning.

I think it is an interesting question.

However, my personal belief, which I’ve flogged to death on here probably, is that physical size often means very little. For example, I am 187lbs, and in clothes I look like a lawyer, more than a fighter. I am not intimidating in any physical way whatsoever. You say that 240lb bouncers are scary. For me, one 240lb guy, whoever he is, however good a fighter he is (including MMA champs etc) just isn’t that scary. Not because I’m billy badass, but because one on one you can always level the playing field with a weapon, or get out of trouble. One on one should ALMOST never be scary, because superior tactics and street smarts can prevent you being on the receiving end of a beating.

Bouncers are scary, because they work in teams. Multiple angry 240lb guys are scary, because even with a weapon you’re probably going to be the one who gets really hurt. 2 x 150lb guys scare me more than 1 x 240lb guy. 1 guy poses a finite number of potential threats, which can be effectively managed. 2 guys pose a much much larger range of possibilities, even if those two guys are little bitches.

Honestly, I have avoided many many fights, because I don’t react when people start shouting at me, other than to maintain open eye contact, and smile calmly. It sounds ridiculous, but I think composure when faced with violence can add a lot of pounds to you in the eye of the guy in front of you. I know that there are guys who are physically unremarkable, but when I’ve held their gaze, I’ve been aware that they were blokes who would take some serious beating.

Doesn’t really answer your question. Basically one bloke, by himself, can always be beaten. Being bigger and stronger is an advantage, as is height very often, as it is harder for a 180lb guy at 5’7 to beat a 6’4 250lb guy than it is for a 6’+ guy to win. No real studies to back this up, but in my experience, height is always an advantage, perhaps more than weight (as long as you aren’t just a beanpole)

[quote]legendaryblaze wrote:
Honestly, the size factor doesn’t bother me (and I’m a short guy). It’s more about the way their body is built (thick forearms, large traps, etc) and the way they carry themselves.[/quote]

At first a silly question, but when you think of it, who hasn’'t wondered these things at least in primary school and anywhere occasionally where one goes by other people? I can’t count the number of times I have been downwind of a smoker at a bus stop who is exuding fuck-you-if-you-don’t-like-it and try to play out in my mind how it would play out if I tried to be assertive and make a stand for my rights.

I have I think terminally slender forearms, I don’t have even good grip (except gripping a bar that is purpose designed to be held), but my trapezius are I think distinguishable from deadlifting. I believe with recent deadlifting work my posterior chain would help stuff a takedown attempt, but only some of the time do I dress for people to know how my traps appear. I also never trained for size, I always wanted to be strong relative to it and some men don’t give a damn about definition and bluster and are confident in themselves to put you on the spot. At least, one should be prepared not be lushed into submission which leads to denigration and public humiliation, if not more.

Obviously the larger the person, the more intimidating they are, but that kind of fades away if you yourself are a boxer or fighter or whatever… size means absolutely nothing to me.

However, those in the 160 - 187 lb. range are by far the most dangerous in my estimation if they’re trained fighters - those weights are the best combination of weight, build, speed, knockout power, mobility, and endurance.

One aspect of this conversation needs to be addressed: The ability to remained focused on a “Combat Mindset”. Except in a “sport” fight you will never have the luxury of choosing the “size” of your adversary, so, you either decide to do everything you can to destroy your attacker or you give up and die.

I’m not sure If I’m really intimidated by size anymore really…

I was sparring with 200lb guys as a skinny 5’11 150lb teenager, now I’m fighting against guys that are almost that size as a young man of 190lbs 5’11. I guess you could say my early experiences killed my anxiety over that issue. I’m far more worried when I know the other guy is a TALENTED fighter rather than just a big boy. I actually prefer to spar and fight the 6’3, 6’4 guys because often they don’t have great upper body movement because they are so used to dominating range, which in turn makes them an easy target to counter punch.

That said, if I had to fight like a fucking alistair overeem, a big juiced to the gills 6’5 fucking monster of a man. Yeah I’d be shitty bricks of anxiety.

If we’re talking about street fights… well, I’m more scared by the pack of skinny dudes holding bottles than I am by the lone big guy running his mouth and doing the pec dance trying to look intimidating.

The biggest guy I’ve ever worked with in a “fighting” context is 6’6" and over 300lbs. He is an ex professional football player and a long time street cop who is no stranger to physical confrontation. He is fast, strong, aggressive, explosive and very physically competent. He’s also a little bit older so he’s reached the “I don’t fuck around” stage of his fighting mindset. He has nothing to prove, he just wants to get it done so he can go home and get back to work tomorrow.

I am probably a significantly more skilled technical fighter than he is, I don’t mind my chances against him in a boxing match. However I wouldn’t for one second imagine that I would fight circles around him, especially not in a “street” setting, which is, I expect what the OP is asking about. However competent and confident one might be, it would be foolish not to respect the raw physicality of a guy like that as it relates to his ability to do serious harm (while absorbing some significant punishment in the process if need be).

If it came down to it with this guy, it would be all about combat mindset, as per Idaho’s post. Asymmetrical tactics, real and/or improvised weapons, speed, surprise, violence of action and unwavering resolve to destroy the guy if it’s the last thing you do. I would place my trust far more in that than I would in any of my technical training.

Edited

I worked as a bouncer for a couple years; assessing threats just becomes habit. We haven’t really gotten into the profiling part of this convo (who’s likely to be armed, who’s likely on drugs of some sort, etc), but generally, I tend to get really stand offish with the huge guys (about 6’3"+, 250+; this I guess is my answer to the thread topic, big enough that I feel my skillset, physicality and experience will be insufficient) and groups of obvious criminals (we had a gsng of bikers that used to hang out at one of the places, not cool when you brushed coke off the toilet five minutes ago and tension starts building in the locale).

BUT, the most scared I’ve been at that job (worse than having a knife pulled on me, and I never wanna experience THAT again) was when a Russian submarine crew were thrown out for being fucking assholes and came back in numbers to argue. I was absolutely positive they weren’t armed, but their energy was just plain scary. Not loud or overtly aggressive, just implicitly dangerous.

This IS the share your bouncing stories thread right…

[quote]idaho wrote:
One aspect of this conversation needs to be addressed: The ability to remained focused on a “Combat Mindset”. Except in a “sport” fight you will never have the luxury of choosing the “size” of your adversary, so, you either decide to do everything you can to destroy your attacker or you give up and die. [/quote]

I was thinking something like this as well.

Also when things like weapons start entering the equation how much does size stop mattering. Things like guns and knives dont seem to really care how big you are. Its something I am always wondering when someone tries to act tough or intimidate is what does this guy have that I cant see. Thats what worries me not his muscles but what he is holding that I have no idea of.

[quote]Khaine wrote:
s when a Russian submarine crew were thrown out for being fucking assholes and came back in numbers to argue. I was absolutely positive they weren’t armed, but their energy was just plain scary. Not loud or overtly aggressive, just implicitly dangerous.
.[/quote]

Why in god’s name would you think it was a good idea to argue with a Russian submarine crew??

I think I would have quit first haha

Yeah man. I mean, I don’t like to stereotype people, but Russians are fuckin nuts.

And they were russian SUBMARINE crew members. You have to be crazy to do their job anyway and you go even crazier while you’re doing it :smiley:

Thanks for the replies so far.

There s a story I gotta share with you:
When i was at 140lbs (1 year after starting lifting and Im 182cm!)all I wanted to do was getting bigger cuz I had NO chance whatsoever against the 190+ guys at my gym when we were rolling. I swear they were capable of making me surrender by just leaning their bodyweight on my sternum. It sucked and I knew I had to do something about it.
Well now, another year later Im at 160+ and going. About 2 months ago I decided to go on the mats with a friend of mine who is 125-130lbs, not even lifting. He has 2 blackbelts and about 14 years of martial arts experience. I knew how much even a 20 pound difference makes on the ground, so I ignored our skill difference.
In the end he forced me to tap out several times in a row. Although it was a struggle and each time it was me who took him to the ground his skill succeded over my little strength and mass advantage.
only a week later the same guy called me because he needed somebody to spar with. He wanted to participate in an Amateur Kickboxing Tournament and there was unfortunately no oppoonent below 155, so the call was on me.
It became the worst beating in my life, by far. We were going 5x3 3 times that day and I am pretty damn sure I would not have won more than 2 rounds by points.

I ve sparred with 180 guys new to the game and 180 guys who had experience. The difference is like night and day.
In my humble opinion a 200+ lbs guy with experience is your worst nightmare, while another 200+ guy without experience is just another challenge

[quote]FightinIrish26 wrote:

[quote]Khaine wrote:
s when a Russian submarine crew were thrown out for being fucking assholes and came back in numbers to argue. I was absolutely positive they weren’t armed, but their energy was just plain scary. Not loud or overtly aggressive, just implicitly dangerous.
.[/quote]

Why in god’s name would you think it was a good idea to argue with a Russian submarine crew??

I think I would have quit first haha[/quote]

Haha that’s the curse of bouncing, man. Responsible for every employee and guest in the place; can’t back down from shit. Keeping my cool (and knowing it wouldn’t matter at ALL) was made harder by the fact that my bouncer buddy was visibly shaking and, after his own admission, barely prevented himself from shitting his pants. Don’t think I’ve ever experienced relief like when that didn’t escalate any further.

not really, a big guy is a big guy, this question mostly revolves around who is bigger than you
the one thing that mma has shown though is that looks are deceiving
there is no way I would be scared of BJ Penn, or Kenny Florian if I looked at them