Biggest Mistakes In A Street Fight or Confrontation


How would you react if someone was attacking you physically?

For a practitioner of martial arts, having the mentality and assuming that the streets are similar to the ring is a fatal mistake. It might sound ridiculous but it does happen to some on a subconscious level as one is so used to the routine and rules of proper training that they expect to play it out in the streets.

A street fight or a public confrontation occurs in an area where there are endless probabilities and possibilities that increase with the randomness of life.

  • In Maryland USA, professional boxer Danny Kelly Jr, who held a 10-3-1 record, was shot and killed while he was with his girlfriend and three children. While we do not know what the motive was, it is a grave reminder that the streets are cold and unforgiving, and assuming that your opponent has a similar mentality and understanding as you, is a terrible mistake. Being prepared for anything, never assuming the attacker's intentions, and always keeping in mind the nature of the streets is vital.
  • Famous navy seal, Jocko Willink whose a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-jitsu, was once asked what he would do in a street fight, and despite being well aquatinted with the ways of violence, he simply replied that ‘he would run’ and only if an attacker were to grab hold of him or corner him, will he do what he needed to do. When embroiled in such a situation, the sole objective is to do whatever it takes to remove oneself from that situation. If a peaceful option is available yet one prefers to make things worse due to pride in his fighting abilities, it is a major folly and can produce disastrous consequences.

Regardless of how much we delve into the technicalities, styles, and efficacy of various forms of martial arts, there comes a point where one cannot help but wonder how it would all pan out in a confrontation outside of the safe and controlled arena. It has been a public obsession as to how actual martial arts practitioners, whether boxers, mixed martial artists, or Krav Maga practitioners would fare in a street fight, and the internet is littered with numerous theories and discussions.

But cutting through all of that bravado, the focus here is on huge mistakes that are made in a street fight that can end terribly and as always, prevention is better than cleaning up a mess.

While it is always stressed to avoid conflict, there comes a time when one has to defend themselves and even their loved ones, to have a fighting chance.

It is no secret that in the streets, there are no rules, no referees and everything goes, regardless of how unfair or brutal it is. By not having this understanding and realization, many good fighters have been seriously injured in the streets and some have even died.

Then there are those that take great pride in their martial prowess and when engaged in a heated situation, although they have the option of ending it peacefully, prefer to fight it out as a display of their skills and a boost to their ego. Unfortunately, this is nothing short of stupidity.

Martial arts training has become very popular amongst bouncers because it helps them develop strong body control and coordination. We shared the best martial arts for bouncers to make them better equipped to deal with aggressive situations.

Trying to defend oneself and fight fairly is another huge mistake that can cost lives. Regardless of how talented a fighter is, in an unfair situation filled with randomness, his fighting abilities may prove futile. It is a reason why in certain self-defense arts, such as Krav Maga or Kali, the focus is on simple, non-fanciful acts to do whatever it takes to end the situation and utilize the environment itself as a weapon. In a street fight, anything can be used as a weapon, be it a concrete wall, shards of broken glass, or a drab wooden pole. Ignoring this and deluding oneself just by adhering to his martial art protocol is another fatal mistake.

Bruce Lee made an apt statement during a discussion where he said, “Nowadays you don’t go around on the street kicking people, punching people - because if you do (making the shape of a gun with his hand), well that’s it. - I don’t care how good you are.” Not to forget that Bruce Lee himself came from a background of street fighting hence he understood that the streets are a whole different beast compared to the ring or arena.

What is the biggest mistake beginners make when learning martial arts? We shared more about our experience in a related post.

The hallmark of a good fighter is being able to adapt to the situation and understand the context he finds himself. There are people who happen to be in a street confrontation that are not trained in any form of martial art yet they understand the situation as a whole and were able to adapt and use whatever they could to make it out relatively unharmed. There is much to be learned from such situations and regardless of one’s martial skill, keeping the ego in check and having humility can bring him a long way.

Martial arts enthusiast & loves exploring all of life before it all ends!
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