The ten rules of the mosh pit

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All illustrations by Dave Watt
By Jack Spencer

In my years attending punk and metal shows, often as the only one with a pen and pad in the middle, I've noticed that there are a few unwritten rules when participating in a mosh pit. The seemingly amorphous fits of aggression that explode from the center of certain crowds have some unspoken guidelines to keep in mind if you wish to engage properly with the spirit of violence.

Here are our ten rules of mosh pit etiquette.

10. Pick up the fallen
It's understood across the board that a pit stops to help up those who hit the floor so nobody gets trampled. Stop movement and lift them up, pat them on the back, keep going. Despite how it may look to outsiders, you're not trying to kill anyone. Several fists to the chest will suffice. Try not to push the fallen back into the pit; they'll hop back in if they want.

MOSH_01.jpg
Dave Watt

9. Hold lost items above your head
If you happen upon a shoe, a pair of glasses, a coat, whatever might seem halfway important to the person who dropped it, it's best practice to hold it above your head until it is claimed. It's a simple act of humility for someone else's stuff; there but for the grace of Lamb of God go mine. I've dropped countless pairs of glasses onto the ground beneath a mosh pit, and not once can I recall a moment where I wasn't aided in retrieving them, even at Odd Future. Fans of lyrics that embrace wanton destruction actually gave a shit when I started to act like Velma Dinkley, and I gained just that much more faith in humanity. There's definitely a time limit on how long I'm gonna hold your stupid shoe above my head though, so if you lose something, grab it fast.

8. Playing the sideline comes with responsibility
Occupying the very edge of the pit means you're either about to jump back in or you're keeping the line where it is. This spot is for people who want somebody to shove but are interested in playing defense for the moment. Don't instigate in this position; you're keeping the action confined. If you'd like to be the one pushing people, hop back in, otherwise it's your place to keep the pit from impeding too much on those outside who simply want to catch the show.


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10 comments
Brandon Dotson
Brandon Dotson

You also need to realize when you are just too old to participate. But if I make it to another Slayer show I might just have to jump in for old times sake.

Skippy T. Farnsworth
Skippy T. Farnsworth

Slaming/ bounce dancing and circle pits is punk and thrash and "moshing" is looking around for the next guy to shove which is modern metal,gruntcore/metalcore and new school Hahd Cowa...ie: transplanted jockism. I blame pantera...and Korn....and Hatebreed. The most important rule most broken in any of the shit is if you have people holding the wall and they take a hit and...GASP....move slightly backward and actually touch you...that is not your license to shove them full bore.They are HOLDING THE WALL...doing you a favor and youre a bitch ass cheap shot artist.Same with the assholes who think the are owed the front row and front the guy RIGHT behind them.....especially if they are one one of those assholes "protecting their girl" no one owes you the front fagwad.And the guy behind you in the front is getting hit and pushed by multiple people.Same for chicks up front who do this.

Erin Stevenson Anderson
Erin Stevenson Anderson

Bwahahahahaha that was fuckin dumb. The only one I agreed with was picking up people who fall. I'm not sure how this douche canoe has survived so many pits

Dale Sherritt
Dale Sherritt

Sam Alex Brandon Colin Erin.....check out this load of shit

Genesis Britigan
Genesis Britigan

Don't be the wind milling idiot throwing arms & legs everywhere stomping like a flipping jackaninny in the middle!

John Scruggs
John Scruggs

Pay attention to something far more important.

Heather Doozer
Heather Doozer

learn how to actually mosh and stop punching everyone. Pits used to be the most fun things ever. Now it's just an excuse for a bunch of agro little picks to punch people.

Lawrence Valdez Jr.
Lawrence Valdez Jr.

You punch me or my friends then expect the favor returned! Several times over!

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