One of my friends, a veteran street fighter used what he called the 'one in ten rule'. His theory (and he made it work many times) was that if you can find the leader of a gang of ten men, and control him, then you automatically controlled the other nine.
He was a pub landlord and whenever he took over a new pub he'd find out over the first few weeks who the ring leader was, who played up, who was chancing their arm as it were. Once he knew he would choose the right moment and separate the one from the ten and take him into the cellars saying that he had a proposition. Once in the cellars he would lock the door and offer the guy a 'square go', a match fight. Due to my friend's fearsome reputation as a fighter, they would invariably bottle it at this point and he'd warn then never to cross him again. He knew that the ring leader was in danger of losing face in front of his mates so, as they came out of the cellar and back into the bar, he would overtly make a fuss of the guy -arm round the shoulder and free pint from behind the bar. This meant that the lad could go back to his mates and they'd be none the wiser as to what had gone on. Only he and the gaffer would know, and that was enough because once he had control of the one he had control of the ten.
I loopholed a lot when I worked as a nightclub doorman. If a guy was looked as though he might start trouble I'd pull him to one side and say, 'Hey man don't you respect me? I thought we were friends?'
With this the fellow would walk back to his mates and tell them how he was letting the guy off because Geoff Thompson had asked him to do so as a personal favour to him. That's the loophole: he doesn't really want to fight anyway, so I'm giving him a way out, he just need something that he could tell his mates.
Most people, despite their posturing and loud mouthing, don't really want to be in a fight. Again the 95% Rule applies 95% of the people don't want to fight and if you give them a half-decent reason not to, especially an honourable excuse, then they'll take it.
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