Learning how to defend yourself is an important life skill, one that arguably should be taught in school. While it can be a bit of an equation figuring your way out of a sticky situation, it’s not one that algebra is going to help you solve. In this article we are going to cover some of the do’s and don’ts about how to defend yourself. Remember, keeping yourself safe is the primary objective.
It is also important to note that the most important factor in successfully defending yourself is practice. No matter what tactical advice given in this article, it is almost completely useless unless you have mastered it in a controlled environment first. So, please do not read this article and then think you are equipped to take on any situation.
1 Remaining calm
A fight can be a highly emotionally-charged situation. It is natural for adrenaline to start pumping through your system which leads to an increased heart rate and the triggering of the ‘fight or flight’ response. To give yourself the best chance of spotting opportunities when they arise, aim to stay relaxed. Not so relaxed that your awareness is affected, but composed and sharp ready to pounce/evade when necessary.
TIP: Research has shown that deep breathing can be a highly effective way to deal with stressful situations. It brings your heart rate down which brings balance back to your mind.
2 Jab cross
No option but to throw down? Keep it simple. The tried and tested 1-2 has delivered many a challenger to champion status. It’s often the first combination that you’ll learn and one of the most effective that you’ll ever throw.
TIP: Most people have very little fight experience, their go-to attack will often be haymakers. Compose yourself and deliver a clean 1-2 when the opportunity arises.
3 dont play by the rules
Unless you’re fighting in a ring or octagon, fighting is a dirty business. Don’t feel the need to be the gentleman if you feel you are under threat and unable to escape without violence. Knowing how to defend yourself is about making smart decisions on your toes. If you are going to be violent, hit hard, hit fast and jet. There is no need to marvel in your success if you’ve knocked out your opponent, it only leaves you vulnerable to being jumped, once the area has been cleared, you get out.
4 Getup technique
Knowing how to defend yourself is about being able to deal with any situation. There is a saying that most fights hit the ground at some point, there is some truth to that. The main thing you want to remember is not to stay on the ground. One of the best tools a striker can have in his back pocket if he finds himself on his back in a fight is the ol’ BJJ getup technique. I hear people saying “I know how to get up, I don’t need to learn how to!”. I’m sure you do, however, you’re likely leaving yourself wide open while in the motion of getting up. The BJJ getup technique allows for you to protect your face while creating distance and reseting to a fight stance all in a matter of a few seconds.
5 Teep kick
There are few kicks worth risking in a street fight but if you’re set on using one, the muay thai teep kick is a solid choice. What does the teep kick do? Fundamentally, it creates distance between you and your opponent, a well placed teep kick also makes it clear to your opponent what they are about to get themselves into.
TIP: Throw a couple thousand teeps in training before you feel confident enough to throw it in a street fight scenario, if that legs gets caught, you’re going to be significantly compromised.
6 50yard dash
If you can’t sprint, you aren’t prepared for any scenario. Life isn’t a movie, don’t expect to be able to take on 10 guys at once and knock them all out cold. There may come a time when getting out of dodge ASAP is the best option. There’s too many stories about the hero that never woke up again, don’t be that guy.
TIP: If you can’t shift quick, start adding sprints to your workouts.
7 DONT throw risky kicks
Yes, a spinning heel kick is effective, no doubt. However, if executed just a fraction incorrectly, you’re opening yourself up to a whole lot of problems. Often times a flashy move shouldn’t be used in a street fight unless you are extremely confident in your skill set. Even then, put your ego to one side and leave the high flying acrobatics to Tekken. Follow the old rule of K.I.S.S, Keep It Simple Stupid.
TIP: Your weapons in a fight need to be calculated for their risk to reward ratio. High kicks are often very high on the risk and the reward depends very much on the person delivering it. If you’re not sure whether to use a high kick, you have your answer, don’t.
8 DONT grapple if there is even an inkling of more than one opponent
As mentioned previously, fighting is dirty. There is a saying, “all is fair in love and war”. That is very much the case in a street fight. If you’re on the ground fighting someone you better believe that if their friends see them in trouble, they’ll be on you in a heartbeat. Stay off the ground at all costs.
9 DONT get into a fight unless absolutely necessary
This one should be a given, your health is of paramount importance. Your wounded ego will heal, parts of your body if broken never heal to 100% again (e.g. knee injuries). Pick your fights wisely, if there is no other option but to fight, use the tips mentioned in this article to finish it before things get messy. Learning how to defend yourself is about being able to train yourself to make smart decisions under pressure.