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How to Defend Yourself in a Street Fight

defenseAs men, at one time or another throughout our lives, we are all forced to defend ourselves with physical violence. It’s just the nature of the beast. 

From when we were 5th graders defending our place in line, during the kickball game at recess, to taking care of some jackass at the bar who’s had a few too many and doesn’t know how to handle his alcohol, at some point we MUST fight.

It is in man’s nature. Think back to the paleo era when brutal beings, who were more animal than man, fought each other for territory, for food and for pure survival. It is literally in our instinct. 

We all have what science has coined as the “fight or flight” mechanism which is basically an adrenaline dump that tells us to either fight to protect our lives or get the hell out of dodge, away from the danger. 

It is NATURAL for us to fight to protect ourselves, our loved ones and our property. But, although it may be natural, it doesn’t mean it’s something the majority of us want to do.

I’ll say this here and now, I hope I NEVER have to fight again. 

At 35 years old I’ve seen my share of scrapes, starting all the way back in elementary school, fist fighting with my best friend over who got to be Darth Vader up until a few months ago when I was forced to show a guy a little younger than me that you don’t talk shit to my lady…at least not right in front of me.

I’ve NEVER been the type who wanted to fight. I swear. I’ve always preferred to get along with everyone, no matter where I was, have a good time, have some drinks and get laid. 

I never understood the guys at the bar or club who seemed like they focused their time and effort into fighting.

Why in hell would you not focus that effort into picking up beautiful women and getting laid? 

You’d rather roll around on the ground with another man? 

Hmmm…actually maybe those ass holes were trying to let a skeleton out of the “closet”. Anyway, to this day, it makes absolutely NO sense to me.

So, I’ve never been the one to go looking for trouble. But, for some reason, trouble has consistently found me throughout my life. I don’t know if it’s because I’m a bit more muscular than the “average man” and guys want to test me (yes I’ve honestly wondered if that’s the reason) OR if it’s because I don’t tolerate smart ass mouths and disrespectful behavior very well. 

Whatever the reason is, there has been MANY times throughout my life when I was forced to physically defend myself. And, I can HONESTLY say, not once in my life have I ever started a fight. I just happened to get very good, through forced experience, at ending them.

So, I’m writing this in high hopes that it may help you “good” guys out there. I’m talking about the guys who are chill, the guys who mean no harm to anyone and who just want to do their thing and have fun. 

I’m talking about you guys who just want to go out and have a few drinks with your friends or lady, have some laughs, talk and have a good time. 

I’m talking about the guys who want to do all of this WITHOUT some stupid, bitch ass, wannabe tough guy ruining their night or, even worse, possibly causing physical injury, pain and embarrassment to them, their friends or loved ones.

I personally fucking HATE the scum bag ass holes that go out looking for trouble.

You know the type. You can tell when they walk through the door. They’re the ones walking through the bar or club with their chest swelled up, bumping in to people, being obnoxious and talking loudly so everyone can hear just what a “bad ass” they are.

Most of the time they look for a guy who’s a bit smaller, who they think is weaker and easy prey. If a guy happens to glance in the direction of their “woman” (and I use that term loosely because most of the time these guys are with some gutter slut who’s already been fucked by all his wannabe gangsta buddies) they puff up their chest, begin to run their stupid ass mouth and then start some shit.

10 times out of 10 they’re fueled with “liquid courage” and possibly even some cocaine or meth to boot. As you can probably tell I fucking LOATH these jack off’s.

I don’t want any guy who’s just out to have a good time, celebrate, enjoy life and have fun to be a victim of one of these pieces of shit.

What follows is advice that I sincerely hope will help you good guys out there if you’re ever put in a situation where some asshole tests your manhood.  Before I get into the actual advice I’d like to state two things:

  1. I do not hold any black belts in any form of self-defense. I’m not currently a practicing MMA fighter nor am I a certified self-defense instructor. I am NOT claiming to be a bad ass nor am I trying to come across as the toughest guy around. Unfortunately, I just have considerable real world experience with street fighting.
  1. If at all possible I really do believe it is best NOT to fight. If there’s any way to diffuse the situation or get yourself away from it all together, then please do so. I want you to realize the reality of the situation and keep a certain mentality. A street fight is NOT for fun.  It is not a competitive match with rules and regulations. It is not something to do to prove how tough you are or to impress a girl or your buddies. A street fight can literally be a life or death situation. You need to keep in mind that this guy is trying to inflict major harm upon your body or possibly even KILL you. It has happened far too many times, where a street fight turned into a situation where one of the fighters didn’t go home after it was over. With that in mind, if you are unable to calm the situation or get away from it, and you’re FORCED to fight, I want you to decide that you are going to do WHATEVER it takes in order to stop this attacker, inflict major harm upon them, quickly, and ensure you walk away at the end and live to see another day with your family and loved ones.

Having said this, if you are called out and forced to defend yourself, a moment will come when you realize the shit is about to go down. When this moment hits, you won’t just think it’s about to go down, you will literally feel it in your gut. At this point do not take your eyes or attention off of your “would be” attacker. This moment is where a lot of guys end up getting hurt.

Do NOT hesitate. When you realize that it is unavoidable and you HAVE to fight, act quickly and aggressively. Do NOT stand there, talking shit, puffing up or staring the guy down, hoping you’re going to intimidate him. That shit might work but then again…it might not.

It’s best to take action. I’m sure you’ve all seen the guys who have their little moment, or back and forth, where they’re inching closer to each other, running their mouths and trying to intimidate one another. Don’t be that guy.

While I can’t say it’s 100%, I would dare to say that 9 times out of 10 the man who lands the first solid blow will end up coming out of the fight better off than the other one.

Notice I said “solid” blow. Do not throw some half-hearted, wild and poorly aimed punch, with a quarter of your power put into it, and hope that you’re going to hit the guy hard enough to win the fight. If you do, you will only piss him off more and then you might be in trouble.

Not only did he just take your punch, you’ve also blown the element of surprise and fucked yourself mentally because now you’re in “oh shit” mode.

Try to keep enough space between you and your attacker so that he cannot grab you, especially if he is bigger than you and you think he’s probably stronger than you. However, you don’t want so much space that he can see your attack coming from a mile away. It’s hard to pin point it for you, because every situation is so much different, but when he’s within striking distance attack FAST and HARD. Unleash a fucking flurry on this ass hole.

You do not need to raise your hands into a boxing stance and square off in the beginning. Doing so warns the guy that you are preparing to fight. Try, as best as you can, to throw that first strike without him seeing that it’s coming or where it’s coming from.

You do need to use some form and technique though. In my opinion the best first punch is a straight, hard blow. If you can do it without giving it away that it’s coming, try to throw this punch straight from your own shoulder or chin area. When you throw the punch, use your LEGS for power and torque and do not throw your punch TO his face… try to drive THROUGH his face. I’m serious. Try to put your fist through his fucking nose. You won’t actually succeed at driving your fist through his face and out the back of his head (if you do, remind me to never piss you off) but your punch will have MUCH more power.

The first blow doesn’t always have, or need, to be a punch. There are many options. For example, the first attack could be an open palm right to his nose. Do this quickly and aggressively without letting him know it’s coming. I will warn you, do not throw this blow towards a person’s nose with an upward motion or you could kill him. 

You just want to defend yourself from harm, not end up in prison. Go in straight, towards his nose, NOT upwards. I don’t give a damn how big, tough and mad they are, if you land a clean shot on a man’s nose, it is going to break it, bust it, blood is going to splatter and his eyes are going to tear up immediately. You are effectively going to render him helpless, at least for the time being, and definitely long enough for you to release an onslaught of blows that can and should end the fight all together.

Too many guys get caught up with their hands and eliminate other weapons in their arsenal. You have feet. Use them. I’ve found an effective way to deal with an attacker, especially one who is bigger and taller than me, is to target the knees.

If you land a solid straight kick to an attacker’s knee you’re going to fuck them up. You will take them off their feet because most likely you will break their leg. I know it sounds brutal and I hope that neither you nor I EVER has to do anything like this to another human being but, remember, this shit ain’t no game and you are trying to do whatever it takes to make sure you see your loved ones again.

What would you rather do, end up in a hospital with brain damage (or in a body bag) because some roided’ up fuck wanted to play Billy Bad Ass, lost their shit and beat you to a pulp or would you rather kick this ass holes knee cap out the back of his leg?

That decision is easy for me…

If you find yourself in a situation where you are squaring off, boxing style, be sure to keep your hands up where they protect your nose and chin. Speaking of your chin, keep it tucked into your chest as much as you can without hindering your ability to move. You don’t want your chin to be an easy, open target because when an attacker lands a blow there, that’s when you get knocked out.

For instance, if you throw a left jab, keep your chin tucked and use your shoulder on your jabbing arm to shield your face. If your opponent happens to throw a counter punch from his right side (guys usually do throw with their right hand) your shoulder will protect your chin and absorb some of the blow. At worst, his punch will glance off your shoulder and hit you somewhere else in the face, somewhere that won’t cause as much damage and possibly knock you out, like a direct shot to the chin could.

So, knowing that you must protect your chin, it becomes obvious that your attackers chin, in addition to their nose, should be one of your targets. If you can land a blow with enough power on your opponents chin, just to the right or left of the center of their chin, you can knock them out.

How do you generate power in your punches? 

You use your legs!

Those of you who have ever played baseball know that all of your bat speed and power comes from your legs not your upper body. Well, the same holds true when it comes to throwing a punch. You should drive off of your back leg and aggressively rotate your hips to generate momentum, force and power which extends up from your legs, to your core and then through your shoulders/arms and out your fist. Push hard off your back foot and drive forcefully with your legs!!

The majority of the time you shouldn’t look to land a knockout punch until your opponent is dazed/hurt. Most guys will naturally “wind up” for that big knockout punch which gives your opponent enough time to recognize that it’s coming and react to it, if they are not groggy from a previous punch. 

Now, by all means, if the opportunity is there then throw a punch intended to knock your attacker’s ass out and end the fight. But, a lot of times you’re going to have to land some solid “set up” punches, to hurt them, before you land the KO. Set the KO up by throwing punches straight from your own chin. I know I’ve already said this but it’s SO important. 

Keep your chin tucked, protect it and your nose, and throw straight punches from your own chin. In fact, you’ve probably seen boxers and MMA fighters touch their chin with their gloves several times while squaring off with an opponent. They do this to remind themselves to protect their chin.

When you have your opponent dazed and you’re ready to land the punch that will end the fight, although there are a variety of punches that can knock a man out, I’ve found the following techniques to be highly effective:

  • Bend the elbow, preferably of your dominant hand, to 90 degrees and lock it into place. When I say lock it I mean flex hard enough and hold enough tension in your arm so someone couldn’t pry it open any further if they tried.
  • Keeping your elbow locked in this position, draw back and down, slightly “winding up”.
  • Push hard from your back foot, use your leg muscles and drive out and upwards with all the fucking force you can.
  • Rotate your hips hard and aggressively.
  • As you come up through your rotation drive your fist at a slightly upwards angle, with all your might, THROUGH not TO your opponents chin and continue extending your legs, shoulders, arms and body like you’re actually trying to put your fist through his face.

I realize it’s probably hard to grasp these steps without pictures but read over them several times and practice it. (I wouldn’t recommend practicing on a heavy bag until you get it down.  Doing it incorrectly could cause you to break your wrist. Try it on a speed bag or maybe a partner with punching pads on their hands.)

If you can grasp this technique, and effectively use it if/when you have an opponent dazed, I can almost guarantee you will generate enough power to knock a man out. I can’t, and won’t, guarantee you’ll win every fight you get in (and I honestly hope you don’t ever have to even try this) but I can tell you that when it comes time to knock your opponent out, this will get the fucking job done!

There are so many possible bad situations you could find yourself in that it’s almost impossible for me to cover them all in one article. What follows is advice on how to deal with a few more common scenarios:

Someone grabs you from behind:

  • First and most importantly, MOVE! Do not let yourself be a stationary target. Don’t make their attack on you easy for them. Take ACTION and move.
  • Throw your head back, violently, towards their face. If done correctly, you can end up breaking their nose. If you do they WILL let go. Once you’re out of their grasp you can either escape, especially if there’s several attackers, or you can go to work fucking up the one attacker.
  • Grab the attackers arm, dig your chin into their arm and try to turn your head to one side or the other. While you do this, step back and around their body, if possible, so you can get your leg behind theirs and create leverage. Doing this may allow you to twist out of their grasp, especially if they don’t have a tight hold on you, or it may put you in a more powerful position to wrestle your way out of their hold. You may even be able to force them backwards, trip them up and pull them to the ground.
  • The BEST option is to mind your surroundings and not let some ass hole get behind you in the first place. I’m not telling you to be paranoid but I am telling you to be aware.

You’re facing multiple attackers:

  • Start throwing punches, straight from your own chin, while you back up towards the door, if possible. Many times this scenario can take place in a bar and hopefully, if you’re heading towards the door, security will be alarmed and come to your aid.
  • It seems counterintuitive but try to put your back against the wall. At least then an attacker cannot surprise you and grab you from behind. Although you’re at a considerable disadvantage, facing multiple attackers, you have a better chance of defending yourself when you can see it coming.
  • Use WHATEVER the fuck is available as a weapon. This actually goes for any street fight. There are no rules and there are no points for style. The ONLY thing that matters is you walking away from this situation with the least amount of injury possible. I don’t give a shit if you have to punch, kick and knee or scratch, claw and bite. If so, DO IT! If there’s a big ass beer mug handy, use it! If there’s a pool cue within your grasp, swing that bitch. If you have keys in your pocket, put each key in between your fingers and hit your attacker in the face with them. The point is to do whatever you have to do to stop this, or these, mother fuckers from hurting you.

Unfortunately we live in a violent society. There are times, especially as men, when we have NO CHOICE but to fight to protect ourselves, our friends and the people that we love.

I hope this article has at least given you some food for thought on a few ways you can defend yourself as well as made you aware of the drastic measures that sometimes MUST be taken.

It is my sincere hope that you’ve read and learned these tips without ever having to use even one of them. I hope your days and nights are filled with peace, fun, laughter and love. 

However, I also hope to have effectively armed you with at least a few helpful techniques and hopefully I’ve given you a bit of confidence to know that if the shit goes down, you CAN handle it.

– Michael “The Wheel One” Wheeler

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