Warning: this post will feature limbs, and the severing thereof. It’s gonna get messy toward the end.
So, while I’m still working on getting better at writing short stories and poetry (which I seem to be more suited to, for some reason), I decided to also start trying my hand at longer works. I’m experimenting with a few scenes for a thing set in a 1980-ish parallel world with anthro foxes and wolves, that starts with the characters as kids, and follows an evolution from Pinocchio, through a Bildungsroman, until it becomes akin to Saving Private Ryan.
It’s modeled on a modern version of the Roman Empire. I’m not going to bother you with the Celts (foxes) vs. Romans (wolves) subtext. Instead, I wanted to discuss something I’ve been working on: Fang-to-Fang Combat.
Since life in the military becomes a big chunk of one of the character’s story, I tried to think about how unarmed combat would work with fangs and claws. I didn’t want to research how other writers did it – I thought about it, and I’m convinced it would be more fun if I could come up with it by myself. I do want to strike the balance between realistic and cool-looking, so any suggestion/critique’s more than welcome.
My main idea was a fighting style that would be suited to a military organisation, so anything flashy or Hollywood-style was out of the picture. These are the main points I had to address:
Anything involving disarming your opponent would be useless: when his “knife” is stuck to the tip of his fingers, it’s not an option.
Any grappling move was also not ideal, since grabbing your opponent meant being too close to his fangs/claws: we’re in a situation where even a short contact with his paws/mouth could result in an injury (eyes, ears, and there’s also no need to charge your punch to do some serious damage), so holding your opponent close was a no-no.
Non-lethal solutions should be possible, even if extremely harmful to the opponent.
It should be practiceable even while holding a gun, or with a single hand.
So I immediately excluded kung fu, karate, judo and similar stuff. After some brainstorming, the most fitting fighting style, even if it needed to be modified a bit, turned out to be Silat – the Karambit-using variant, to be precise.
A Karambit is an Indonesian knife, modeled after a claw. Having a finger guard, and being (sometimes) used exactly in the way you’d use a claw, it seemed like the perfect fit. I can’t use the thrusting motion, but in this context it allows for some interesting variations: for example, to follow up a grab with a slash (since you’re not actually holding a knife), allowing the practitioner to sever the tendons or the veins in his opponent’s body in a single animal-like motion. Or a chokehold with claws: now that would be an instant KO.
I think a visual example could help: look at the first hit (0.06) in the following video, taken from the Indonesian film The Raid 2.
Notice how the Assassin grabs the Protagonist’s leg and cuts his tendons at the knee. Now imagine the same movements, but with claws instead of a knife.
We end up with a fighting style that focuses on hitting the limbs more than the body. Since a similar move in the neck area would pretty much be an instant win, in an ideal fight the two opponents should try to keep their distance as much as possible, and grab-slash (gonna have to find a word for that) the sinews after baiting an attack. This would incapacitate the opponent, and distract him enough to close the distance and finish him with a bite to the neck (or subdue him, by slashing the muscles in the shoulders’ region).
In case of someone holding a gun, you’d simply have to manage to grab the forearm of the hand holding the gun and slash. Of course there would be ways to counter that (I’m thinking some kind of leather forearm guard, which would also fit nicely with the Celtic side of things), but I’m still fleshing it out. I’m also toying with the idea of a different fighting style for the Foxes, since they’re physically weaker and with less dangerous fangs/claws.
So here are my questions:
Does it sound interesting enough?
Is there any obvious flaw/contradiction that I’m missing?
Fang-to-Fang Combat or Claw-to-Claw Combat? The second one would be more correct, but Fang-to-Fang has a nice assonance with Hand-to-Hand.
Would it sound reasonable for soldiers/militia to carry a razor in case of injuries, to shave the fur and stitch the wound without risking an infection?
Thanks for reading!