One thing that's really important for writers is to "write what you know". It's hard enough as it is to describe something on the page with eloquence and style. It's even more difficult to do it if you are only imagining it inside your head. Watching movies and reading other people's books can only take you so far.
There are several fight scenes in the book I am working on right now. I haven't got the first clue about fighting anyone. I've never even punched a person in real life before. Okay, except my cousin that one time he stole my Care Bear, but I was six.
I was absolutely thrilled when my pal who does martial arts offered to let me come to the studio where she teaches and show me some moves. Oh, boy, did I learn some moves...
First she showed me how to slice and dice with a toy knife (that I got to keep, yay!). She also informed me that if anyone ever comes at you holding a knife like this:
...You need to run away. Fast. Especially if the person is grinning like a fool, as I am in this picture. People who run at you holding a knife close to their arm know what they are doing and will hurt you. So, you better be able to run faster than them, or at least faster than your friend, unless you are alone. If you are alone in a place where there is the potential for someone to come at you like this with a knife, then you are just plain stupid and deserve to get cut up anyway. Most especially if they giggle while they head towards you.
I also learned how to put someone in several types of wrist locks and take them down. All the way to Chinatown.
That is me on the floor there. This looks super painful, doesn't it? I'd like to say that it hurt really bad, and I took it like a man, but again, I was just laughing the whole time. Mostly because it was SO cool and I was way excited. I am a dork like that. My main character, Sidney, would totally kick some ass.
This was an important learning experience. It showed me just how easily the body can be controlled in a situation like this. The whole point of hand-to-hand combat is to be the one who is exerting control over the other person... or werewolf... whatever you're fighting against. All she had to do was grab my wrist one way, twist it around the other way, and bang, I was on the floor.
After I learned some of those moves, I put on some sparring gear and learned how to throw some punches and kicks.
Another really important bit of information that I learned is about kicking. Again, it's about manipulating your body to do exactly what you want it to do in order to inflict the most damage. When I first threw a kick, I was hitting with the wrong part of my foot. Then my friend showed me how to pivot on my left foot while I brought my right foot around for the kick and I totally landed it. It was awesome. The point of all this is to practice enough so that it all becomes second nature and you can do it without having to think about it. That way, when the zombies attack, you can kick the heads right off their rotting shoulders.
I'm ready. Are you?