Sunday, June 24, 2007

The Real Jie Zhan (Streetfighting)

So I'm down in Shanghai visiting Ryan for the week, and last night we decided to sample some local seafood on the street near her hotel. Most of the actual seafood proved to be too expensive for our budget (!), but we had some delicious scallops baked in garlic. We then bought a beer and took a stroll around the neighborhood, and as we are returning, we see the fishmonger of the restaurant we just ate at exclaim "da jia!" (fight!).

This guys defintely has an eye for it, as the fight had not started yet, but there was a crowd developing to wei guan (surrounding look, or for a crowd to look at something), so we joined in - what could be more Chinese? At first I couldn't even tell who the combatants were, but then I see one dude stride purposefully towards the back of the crowd and I think this must be one of our contestants.

Then, all of a sudden, a couple of beer bottles go flying. oddly, they are thrown mosty upwards (though I supposed they could have bounced off somebody's head), and, incredibly, do not break upon landing on the concrete. Then a couple of pairs of guys start going at it, and these Shanghainese do not fool around. Almost immediately a chair comes out and is broken over someone's head, and then the pieces are picked up as clubs.

One dude gets thrown down and hit in the face with a beer bottle, full force, at which point I yell "Hey" and think about trying to break this up - this guy could definitely be killed. Fortunately, his assailant only went for one more and then ran away, so i wouldn't have even gotten there in time (and hopefully not been attacked myself). Anyway, the outcome is this dude in the street lies there holding his head for a while, and his buddy staggers around, shirtless, bleading from his head. He falls down in the street very dramatically a couple times, but I'm pretty sure that was because he was completely shitfaced.

At least three (maybe four) guys ran off, so it seems these two bit off more than they could chew. Cops arrived maybe three minutes later and started taking statements.

Lessons learned: some streetfights in China are almost comical - lots of kicks and flying hands but not much more; others are quick and brutal, and they don't wait to pull out the weapons.

I feel like Peyton Quinn and Animal Macyoung have given me some good guidance here. 1) don't fight - you'll get hurt. 2) if you're going to fight, hit first, hit hard, and don't stop till he's not going to hit back. And don't throw your beer bottle in the opening salvo - keep it to hit the guy. 3) book it. You don't want to be around when his buddies or the police show up.

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