Street Fighting Part 1
I was reading a new post by Neil Strauss on his website about street fighting today, and noticed a few things I didn't agree with. I commented on that site, but decided I would also write a little bit on here about what to do if you are in a dangerous situation.
I am not a badass or much of a fighter. I don't have a black belt and I am not going to pretend to have a whole lot of experience fighting guys who were bigger than me. I have been in a few fights, and have come close to being in a lot of fights. Hopefully this information will be useful to people on here.
Hopefully you will never be in a fight. If you are forced to for some reason however, you will be a lot safer if you have already prepared your mind for this kind of a situation. Decide right now exactly what you would do if you were in a dangerous situation, but don't be too stuck on one thing. When I was a kid I used to shadow box (this is when you punch the air when nobody is looking), imagining some hot girl was getting bother by some big guy who I would show a thing or two. Over and over again I would practice a very simple jab-jab-cross. I learned the right way to do this from a Navy Seals instruction video when I was 13.
5 years later, on my 18th birthday, I used it for the first time on my father. He had been physical with me for years but I had never hit him back. I was trying to leave and he didn't want me to. It took about 2 hours before I finally snapped. I hit him twice in the face and then once in the ribs in less then a second. He fell back and I found out later had a few cracked ribs and a broken nose. Fight over. While this incident was very unfortunate, it shows how because I was prepared, I was able to over power a man much larger and stronger than I was.
2. Wake up!
This was actually the first thing they mentioned on Neil's site, and I totally agree with it. Quickly become aware of your environment, of what the guy is doing with his hands, how many people are involved and what weapons are around, You also want to see if help is nearby and where to run in case things get ugly. Its actually really bad to be too focused on your attacker in the begining because your fear can make you block out options.
If you have a check list of things to look for and do, this is the time to quickly go through it. Mine is very simple.
Look for a way out.
Check to see if his vitals are exposed (Eyes, neck, groin.)
Slowly move into a position where you have the best balance.
This can help a lot to distract you from your fear and help you get confident in yourself.
3. Try to diffuse the situation.
This is where the strongest people win their fights.
"Try to talk with the guy and calm him down. If you did something unknowingly that offended him (like looking at him funny), then apologize. Don’t let your ego get in the way of apologizing for something you didn’t do. Your first goal should be to avoid fighting. Maintain confident body language. Don’t show the guy you’re afraid."
Don't let your pride get you beat up. I have seen too many people approach fighting with this thought process- "If I back down, I am weak and he wins." Most people don't look at the big picture. In any fight, everybody loses to some degree. You might kick this other guys ass, but you could be looking at a lawsuit, jail time, or going against the guys buddies later. I have a friend who's girlfriend told him her ex raped her. He took a baseball bat and beat the guy up pretty bad. Next thing you know, he is in jail and the family of the guy he beat up came around his mom's house with guns. Now the girl and my friend child are living happily with the ex that supposedly raped her, and my friend is sitting alone in jail. Think shit through.
Somebody commented on Neilstrauss.com about how Derren Brown teaches to distract your opponent by saying something completely off base, like "The seats in my town are very boring". This throws the mindset of the person you are talking to off, and allows you to quickly take the conversation into a direction that involves less blood. I have actually used this several time. I ask, "How do you feel about banana's?" then go back into the situation explaining how I don't want to fight, that he would probably win and if there is something I am doing that's bothering him I apologize. Its important that you aren't shaking like a puppy dog tale when you are saying this. If you speak with confidence, you won't come across as weak.
The other route, which I don't really recommend unless its pretty clear violence is going to happen, is to try to make your attacker(s) afraid. Even if you are little, you can do this. My uncle was in the Army for a time, and is a very proud and short man. This has got him into a lot of situations he probably could have avoided with a better attitude. Once there was a group of soldiers who were going to beat him up, and told them this. My uncle agreed with them, but pointed to the leader of the outfit calmly saying,
"You guys will definitely kick my ass, but I am going to make sure that you never walk again. I don't care about everyone else and I don't care if you guys kill me. I can promise you I will break both of your legs."
Being this specific forces people to visualize things more clearly, and makes them more afraid. If they realize they can't intimidate you, and you are being realistic and calm, it will scare off a lot of attackers.
But, this can have the opposite affect sometimes. This is because the more afraid some people are, the more violent they tend to become in order to compensate. I recommended using this ONLY when there is pretty much no way you are getting out without some scars.
Later I will talk about some fighting techniques you can use for when things get really ugly.