You Are About to Engage in a Street Fight, Now What?

One of the most misportrayed scenarios in movies and television, is street fighting. In a movie, the protagonist is challenged to a street fight by a goon or goons. Usually over the honour of a love interest or because of an insult. He/she exchanges blows with the opponent(s). And then, the hero is victorious with only superficial injuries. It all looks so easy.

street fight
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Real life is very different. There’s nothing easy, simple or honourable about a street fight.

On a mat or in a ring, there’s rules of conduct. Yes, you and your opponent are fighting, but you’re only trying to defeat each other. There’s no such guarantees in a street fight. You don’t know if your opponent has a weapon, friends waiting nearby, or even his/her intent. Martial arts training helps you cope in such situations, but it doesn’t eliminate the danger or ambiguity.

The truth is, if you want to remain in one piece, then there are three things you need to pay attention to.

Body Language

How your opponent is standing and moving will help you make an educated guess as to what their next move will be. It can even give insight into the type of training (if any) he/she.

For example:

• If he/she is lightly jumping with both feet pointed sideways, then there’s a good chance he/she has taekwondo training. So, watch out for kicks.
• If a leg is slightly bent and bobbing, and you see their hands are curved or hooked, then you’re likely dealing with a Muy Thai fighter.
• If you notice your opponent’s hands are around his/her temples and feet are firmly planted, then the person is probably a boxer, etc.

This doesn’t mean that a person not trained in these styles can’t use these techniques. It’s just that it’s less likely. Again, use the information to make an educated guess, not a forgone conclusion.


Checking your surroundings is extremely important in any potentially dangerous situation. Especially when you’re attacked. An even fight can quickly become one-sided if your opponent has friends you didn’t know about. Chances are, unless you’re this guy, you’ll just lose once your opponent’s buddies catch you unawares.

Seeing what’s around you can also help you avoid environmental dangers like exposed wires, rusted nails, broken glass or uneven surfaces.

Your Ego

It doesn’t matter how many tournaments you’ve won or years you’ve trained. All it takes is a knife and a little dumb luck for an attacker to cause you serious injury.

Unless the person is posing an immediate danger to you or someone else, then it’s always better to walk or run away. You’ll gain nothing by beating the other person, but stand to lose everything if things don’t go your way.

This advice applies even when once you’ve started defending yourself. If you see an opportunity to leave, then take it. Don’t let your ego get in the way of your safety.

There are few scenarios as scary or more dangerous than a street fight. Too many things are unknown to you, including how far your attacker wants to take things. It’s always better to avoid the fight, because when it comes down to it, your safety is what should matter not your pride.