Tips for Street Fighting and Staying Safe

1. DON'T BLINK WHEN STREET FIGHTING. Avoid reflexive blinking when a punch or kick is thrown at you during a street fight. A split-second blink could leave you vulnerable to another blow. Blinking is a natural reflex. As a matter of fact, the eye blinks every two to ten seconds. However, reflexive eye blinking in a street fight can be eliminated with proper training. For example, during sparring and full-contact simulated street fighting sessions, you must make a conscious effort to keep your head forward and your eyes open amid flying blows. This skill, of course, will take time and above all - courage.

2. BREATH WHEN STREET FIGHTING. Breathing is one of the most important and often neglected aspects of street fighting training. Proper breathing promotes muscular relaxation and increases the speed and efficiency of your compound attack. The rate at which you breath will also determine how quickly your cardiorespiratory system can recover from a street fight encounter. NOTE: Remember to always exhale when executing a striking tool or technique in a street fighting situation.

3. DON'T JUDGE HIS ABILITIES WHEN STREET FIGHTING. Never attempt to judge the assailant's combative abilities during the course of a street fight. For example, you cannot judge the combative proficiency of a knife fighter by the way he holds his weapon. The bottom line is that you should always assume that your adversary is an expert in all forms of street fighting combat. You must always respond to what the assailant is doing in the street fight and not what he seems capable of doing.

4. AVOID USING FLEXIBLE WEAPONS WHEN STREET FIGHTING. Avoid using flexible weapons (chains, belts, etc.) in a street fight. Such improvised weapons are ineffective for some of the following reasons: (1) They are generally difficult to control in a fight; (2) They lack neutralizing force; (3) They desperately lack quick retraction; (4) They must follow through the complete range of motion to be re-executed; (5) They open up your body targets to a variety of possible counters during a street fight; (6) They can get snagged on your assailant’s body or limbs.

5. ANGLE YOUR CHIN WHEN STREET FIGHTING. Always keep your chin slightly angled down when you assume any type of stance during a street fight. This movement will make you a more elusive target and help minimize direct strikes to your eyes, nose, jaw, chin and throat. However, avoid forcing your chin down too low during the fight. This will inhibit the mechanical fluidity of your tools and techniques and ultimately slow you down during the street fight.

6. PROTECT YOUR CENTERLINE WHEN STREET FIGHTING. Your centerline plays a critical role in both armed and unarmed street fight encounters. Your centerline is an imaginary vertical line that divides your body in half. Located on this line are some of your most vital impact targets (eyes, nose, chin, throat, solar plexus, and groin) that you must protect in a street fight. Your centerline is best protected through strategic body angulation and effective mobility. I discuss the centerline principle as it relates to street fighting in my Defend or Die dvd. Check it out when you have the chance.

7. KEEP BOTH OF YOUR HANDS UP WHEN STREET FIGHTING. When squared off with an assailant in a street fight, always keep up both of your hands. Avoid the natural tendency to lower your hand guard (when training and street fighting). This will leave you wide open to a possible counter attack in a hand to hand combat situation. Remember, when executing a punch or strike in a street fight, keep your other hand up to either defend or follow up with another strike. The centerline concept is discussed in many of my instructional street fighting DVDs.

8. KNOW THE THREE TARGET ZONES TO ATTACK WHEN STREET FIGHTING. The assailant's anatomical targets are located in one of three possible target zones. Zone One (head region) consists of targets related to the assailant's senses. They include: eyes, temples, nose, chin, and back of neck. Zone Two (neck, torso, groin) consists of targets related to the assailant's breathing. They include: throat, solar plexus, ribs, and groin. Zone Three (legs and feet) consists of anatomical targets related to the assailant's mobility. They include: thighs, knees, shins, instep, and toes. Check out my book, When Seconds Count for more information on this subject.

9. KNOW THE THREE RANGES OF UNARMED STREET FIGHTING. There are three ranges or distances of unarmed street fighting. They include the following: (1) Kicking Range - this is the furthest distance of unarmed street fighting. At this distance, you would use your legs to strike your adversary; (2) Punching Range - this is the mid-range of unarmed street fighting. At this distance, you are able to effectively strike your assailant with your hands; (3) Grappling Range - this is the third and final range of unarmed street fighting. Grappling range is divided into two different planes (vertical or horizontal). In the vertical plane, you can generally deliver impact techniques. Some include: elbow and knee strikes, head butts, gouging and crushing tactics, biting and tearing techniques. In the horizontal plane, you are ground fighting with your adversary and can deliver all the previously mentioned techniques, including various submission holds, locks, and chokes.

10. MAINTAIN PROPER WEIGHT DISTRIBUTION WHEN STREET FIGHTING. When squared-off with your assailant in a street fight, always try to maintain a fifty percent weight distribution. This "non-committal" weight distribution will provide you with the ability to move in any direction quickly and efficiently. At the same time, it will provide you with the necessary stability to withstand and defend against various blows and strikes during the street fight.

11. KNOW WHERE TO LOOK WHEN STREET FIGHTING. There are three critical factors to consider when deciding where to look at your assailant in a street fight. They include: (1) Range of Combat - what range of combat are you currently in? For example, are you in the neutral zone or on the floor ground fighting? or are you in punching range or kicking range?; (2) Confrontation Type - exactly what type of confrontation stands before you? are you are faced with a de-escalation situation or a surprise attack from behind that leads to a street fight? (3) Street Fight Type - what type of street fight are you faced with? Is it armed or unarmed? For example, in street fighting, what type or weapon is the assailant holding (i.e. gun, knife, bludgeon or heavy chain). Check out the book, When Seconds Count for more information on this subject.

12. DON'T TELEGRAPH YOUR INTENTIONS WHEN STREET FIGHTING. Telegraphing means unintentionally making your intentions known to your assailant during the street fight. There are many subtle forms of telegraphing which must be avoided in combat. Here are just a few: (1) Cocking your arm back prior to punching or striking; (2) Tensing your neck, shoulders or arms prior to striking; (3) Widening your eyes or raising your eyebrows; (4) Shifting your shoulders; (5) Grinning or opening your mouth; (6) Taking a sudden and deep breath.

13. MASTER THE SEVEN COMPONENTS OF STREET FIGHTING DEFENSE. There are seven components necessary for a sound defensive structure for street fighting. They include: (1) Distance - the spatial relationship between you and your adversary; (2) Stance - the strategic posture you assume prior to or during a street fight; (3) Mobility - the ability to move your body quickly and freely while balanced; (4) Blocking - your various defensive tools designed to intercept your assailant’s oncoming blow during the street fight; (5) Parrying - your various defensive tools that redirect your assailant’s blows; (6) Evading - defensive maneuvers designed to strategically move you away from your assailant’s blow; (7) Attacking - offensive action designed to physically control, injure, cripple or kill your assailant(s) in the street fight.

14. KNOW THE CHARACTERISTICS OF STREET FIGHTING. The more you know about street fighting, the less you will fear and the better prepared you will be. Here are just a few characteristics of "real" street fighting: (1) Street Fighting is fast and explosive; (2) Street Fighting is unpredictable and spontaneous; (3) Street Fighting is ugly and brutal; (4) Street Fighting is extremely dangerous; (5) Unarmed Street Fighting usually turns into a ground fight; (6) Most street fighters will "head hunt"; (7) Street Fighting is bloody; (8) Kicking is seldom used in Street Fighting; (9) Compound attacks usually end a unarmed Street Fighting encounter; (10) There are no rules when Street Fighting; (11) Spectators enjoy watching a street fight; (12) Street Fighting is almost always unfair. (13) Many Street Fighting confrontations end up going to court.

15. MASTER YOUR STREET FIGHTING BODY WEAPONS. You have 14 natural body weapons that can be used in a street fighting situation. When properly developed these tools have the capacity to disable, cripple and even kill your criminal adversary. Keep in mind that whenever you use force against another in a street fight you must be absolutely certain that your actions are legally warranted and justified in the eyes of the law. Also bear in mind that the lethality of your body weapon is predicated on two important factors; the target that you select and the amount of force you deliver to that chosen target.

16. STRIKE FIRST BEFORE STREET FIGHTING. Whenever you are squared off with a dangerous adversary and there is no way to safely escape, you must strike first, strike fast, strike with authority, and keep the pressure on. This offensive strategy is essential to the process of neutralizing a formidable adversary when street fighting. A first strike is defined as the strategic application of proactive force designed to interrupt the initial stages of an assault before it becomes a self-defense situation.

17. THE STREET FIGHTING AFTERMATH AND THE POLICE. After a street fighting altercation, there is always the possibility that you will have to deal with the police. Keep in mind that a police officer is permitted to approach you in a public place and request information. Furthermore, if the officer reasonably suspects that you are committing, have committed, or are about to commit a crime, he or she may detain you briefly for questioning. Make certain you know how to conduct yourself with the Law! Read my online article How To Deal With The Police for more information.

18. STREET FIGHTING IS NOT THE SAME AS SUBMISSION FIGHTING. The problem is that most submission fighting skills and tactics taught in today's BJJ (Brazilian jujitsu) or MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) schools are inadequate for street fighting. Furthermore, many submission fighters believe that when faced with a street fight situation, they will simply take their opponent to the ground and apply one of those cool looking submission fighting locks. While this may sound strategically correct or logical, I can assure you that it's wrong - DEAD WRONG!