The fight was preceded by a verbal altercation between Qrow Branwen and Winter Schnee. Winter, having just arrived at Beacon Academy, was walking down the boulevard with her sister Weiss Schnee and an entourage of Atlesian Knight-200 androids. Qrow followed them from behind and destroyed two of Winter's androids, beheading one and tossing its head behind her before drunkenly addressing her as "Ice Queen". Weiss assumes that this is directed at her, but Qrow dismisses her and asserts that he was talking to Winter.
Winter reminds Qrow, with whom she is apparently already familiar, that he has just destroyed property of the Atlesian Military, but Qrow pays this no heed, and instead begins insulting Winter and her superior, General James Ironwood, as well as mocking Atlas' ability to safeguard the populace. Winter takes offense and draws her sword, warning him that if he "won't hold [his] tongue", she will "gladly remove it for [him]." Qrow continues provoking her, responding with, "Come take it."
At this, Winter lunges forward.
The square clears before Winter charges at Qrow, making several quick, but futile thrusts at Qrow's head as he swiftly bobs away from the blade, teasing her with several faces until he mockingly bows towards her. A downward strike is blocked by the base of Harbinger, right before he tosses it in the air and points it towards Winter. The two openly clash blades as Qrow lands a downwards strike, and aggressively swipes at Winter, forcing her to do a series of back handsprings away from the greatsword and eventually block it. The camera then cuts to the two spinning and trading blows as Ruby enters the crowd next to her teammate.
Both Winter and Qrow parry each of their foe's strikes with rapid speed, as Winter dodges a two-handed swing before smacking Qrow's left cheek with the pommel of her saber. But Qrow grins as his left eye flashes brightly and Winter is forced to leap away with a glyph as Qrow slams his sword on the ground, shattering the pavement.
Winter then breaks away from the mid air crane stance as she lands near a lamppost, which is subsequently destroyed with a swipe from Qrow. Winter then leaps above him and dodging his swings, finally leaping on top of his sword, then giving him an excellent view of her foot as she kicks him in the face. Winter backflips onto the stump that used to be a lamppost, but then leaps off onto a railing high above, right as Qrow throws his sword at the stump. Qrow transforms his weapon, firing a cannon shot at Winter and forcing her to jump onto the side of a concrete, arched pillar. She uses her sword to stay on the vertical surface until Qrow runs forward and tries firing more blasts at her, which she dodges by scaling the pillar's face and eventually leaping onto the archway itself. Qrow follows suit on the opposite structure, firing off round after round at his opponent.
Qrow then searches for Winter as he sees a cloud of white steam consume her, narrowing his gaze. Suddenly, Winter flies towards him, separating her bifurcated saber into two, and Qrow blocks her attack. The arch collapses from the force, causing the two to crash back down to ground level, continuing their furious attacks towards each other. Qrow is forced backward and drags his sword in the ground to slow to a stop before holding it in a one-handed stance, to the cheer of the audience.
Winter then stabs the ground with one of her swords, summoning a glyph that creates a flock of small white Nevermores, which begin flying towards him. Qrow swings his sword at the flock, causing a few to burst into small clouds of steam. He then sends an Aura arc at Winter, causing her to jump back and putting an end to the birds. Winter angrily summons a second glyph behind her, and the blade of Qrow's sword begins to transform in a sequence initiated by its clockwork gears. But suddenly, his gaze travels elsewhere, and he suddenly sheaths his sword, instead beckoning his bewildered opponent to come at him with his right index finger. The glyph fades away, and there's a bright flash of light, followed by Winter speeding forward with light trailing behind her. Just as the tip of Winter's blade closes in on Qrow's throat, the voice of James Ironwood is loudly heard in the courtyard. At the sound of his voice, Winter immediately stops the battle and addresses the General.