Real Life Combat: Brawl at Chuck E. Cheese

A fight broke out at Chuck E. Cheese. The following is taken from a Wall Street Journal article:

In Toledo, Ohio, four women were charged with disorderly conduct after a melee erupted at a Chuck E. Cheese’s there last year. According to police reports, it started when parents complained to the restaurant manager that children were loitering at the drawing machine. The children were Barbie Clifton’s daughters, then 14 and 10 years old. Ms. Clifton had come out of the bathroom when she saw a woman yelling at her daughters and her friend.

“I thought, ‘Oh my God, what’s happening here?'” says the 42-year-old stay-at-home mom. “Instead of [the woman] going to the parent or going to the manager, she was calling my friend and daughters all of those names.”

That touched off a fight between more than 10 people, in which participants punched and screamed at each other. One woman removed the red rope that marks the entrance queue and handed it to another woman, who swung the metal clip attached to it at others involved in the incident.

“I thought they were going to start attacking me,” says Sheri Kellar-Raab, the first officer who responded.

You can see a YouTube video of a Chuck E. Cheese brawl here.Chuck E. Cheese: Worse than a Biker Bar?

Lessons Learned

1.  Watch Your Environment. People are surprised when I tell them how common fights, and not just fights, but brawls, are at Chuck E. Cheese franchises. One policeman quoted in the article observed that the cops had more problems at Chuck E. Cheese’s than at a biker bar down the street! Some restaurants in the chain have taken to posting armed guards and banning gang-style clothing.

Your martial arts training is no substitute for alertness. Are people drunk? Are people wearing gang clothing, tattoos? Is it a rough-looking clientèle? Are voices being raised? Does the place you’re at have a history of conflict?

A friend of mine told me how his dad would take the family to family and friend get-togethers. The dad knew everyone too well, and knew that once people started drinking, that certain couples would start to argue out loud, one guy would take offense at another, and before too long a fight would break out. When dad saw the signs, the raised voices, the tipsiness, the marital spats about to escalate – “Hey, Martha, why don’t you dance with Fred over there? I can see you looking at him,” dad would quietly get up and say, “Okay, let’s go. Get in the car, kids.”


As a result, the family never got caught up in the ugliness. Dad never got arrested, never got bloody knuckles, and never lost a tooth at a New Year’s Eve party. Dad was alert. He saw the warning signals and got the family out of there.


2.  Study Flexible Weapons. You must give creativity credit for the two women who used the waiting line rope and its metal end as a weapon. Even in prison, there’s always a weapon somewhere.

The weighted rope belongs to flexible weapons. Other common weapons in this category include a belt and belt buckle, a chain, a chain and a padlock, a garden hose, a nunchaku, and a weight in a sock.


It’s good to practice using and defending against these weapons. What you soon find out is that the traditional hardline block can be counterproductive. If you hit a chain in midswing, it tends to wrap around and hit you right in the face.

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One Response to “Real Life Combat: Brawl at Chuck E. Cheese”

  1. […] charged after altercation at Chuck E. Cheese vending machine.” If you’ll remember, I warned you earlier about Chuck E. Cheese’s. The smart martial artist avoids places and situations that are […]

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