Movie fighting is usually (probably always) very different from real fighting. By real fighting, I don’t mean in sports or in “challenges.” I mean in the real world where one person attacks another and death and serious injury are possible. As far as I can tell, real fights are over very quickly. Real fights will often involve predatory behavior (see Rory Miller, Geoff Thompson, Mac MacYoung). In real fights, again as far as I can tell, based on what I hear and read and infer, the fear of death throws a lot of chivalry and fair play out the window. People will prefer to use tactics to improve their odds as much as possible.
Ambush. Weapons or numbers advantages. Distraction, subterfuge, dirty tricks.
For one famous historical example, look as Japanese swordsman Miyamoto Musashi. He used all sorts of sneaky ticks to get the advantage. Put the sun in their eyes. Show up late to piss them off. Not to compare them, but consider Billy the Kid. Apparently preferred to shoot people in the back. In war, armies are always trying to get the element of surprise on their side. They set traps (such as IEDs – improvised explosive devices) so they are not even present for the violence.
In this movie fight, we see a lot of this sort of thing. They both try to launch a surprise attack. They both pick up weapons to try and get a weapon advantage. And we see a big mistake – Fishburne’s character stops the attack and stays in range before his opponent is dead or immobilized. If the opponent is conscious, they can still attack. This mistake gets him a knife in the neck. You gotta be careful! In real life, the best strategy is to avoid the fight. The second best is to run when it kicks off. The worst strategy is what we see – a fight. And as the sages said, both are wounded.
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