We discussed different kicks and punches your characters can use in a fight. But before he can deliver any of those, your hero needs to react to the villain’s attack (we all know the villain throws the first punch.) When your villain delivers a blow to your hero, you have four options for your hero (or a combination of these options). You should vary his responses to keep the fight fresh and interesting. Your hero can:
1. Evade the punch/kick by moving out of the way. A trained fighter instinctively angles off, so he’s still close enough for a counter strike.
2. Block or halt the punch with a counter move, something we like to refer to as “beat it or eat it” in karate. A possible block scenario: your villain cocks his arm back and throws a looping hook punch, but the hero is on him before the punch fully extends, blocking the blow with his forearm or tackling him to the ground. (In reality, most fights end up on the ground.)
3. Redirect or parry the incoming blow. The villain throws a jab. Your hero slaps it down and out of the way with an open hand.
4. Get hit. The hero can’t avoid every blow. The fight won’t last long if the villain never lands a punch. While he shouldn’t be the inferior fighter, letting him get pummeled a bit increases tension. The reader wonders if he’ll win or lose the fight. Remember how awful Sylvester Stallone looked in the end of Rocky? Check out the picture. Rocky’s been hammered so hard his eye has swollen shut. This is the scene when Rocky begs Mick to cut his eyelid to release fluid so he can see. Am I the only one who cringed when I saw this for the first time? Even though I KNEW he had to win the fight, at this point I was doubting that he could. Genius!
The villain can be larger than your hero. He can brings his hired help, so your hero has to fight more than one person at the same time. Your villain can cheat. He is a lowlife, after all. Hidden weapons, ambush, covertly administered drugs, the list is as endless as your imagination is twisted.
So have fun with your next fight on the page. Make your villain a worthy opponent. Make him challenge your hero. Find unique ways for him to cheat and vary your hero’s responses to keep things interesting.