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  • Writer's pictureBrad Parker


Fights can happen anytime, anywhere. Do you know what to do?

Do you consider when your next fight can happen? Seriously, when do you expect your next fight to be?

I'm not talking about training for your next MMA bout or jiu-jitsu competition...I'm talking about when and where you will be throwing down in a self-defense situation. We can't predict that, right?

You are like most of our readers who are interested in self-defense and increasing your first responder skills. You don't consciously expect to be in a fight when you are out. Yet, circumstances can develop which will touch off a physical confrontation anywhere. Let's say you want to go out and see a professional basketball game with your friends and family. So you go to the Dallas Spurs -- Houston Rockets game and you find yourself here:

Who knows how or why this brawl broke out between the two groups. There does seem to be one group which is more aggressive and somewhat more talented than the other group. Ironically one of the most effective techniques shown was some bystander that efficiently separates combatants with the use of a rear head control move (notice that it's NOT a choke, but the technique is similar and still works well -- control the head and the body will follow).

No doubt we all have been involved in or witnessed situations like this. You just can't rationally explain some people's emotional behavior – particularly when alcohol is involved. Or, apparently, when sportsball team loyalty is involved.

If you find yourself in the middle of something like this here are five tips to help you survive the physical fight during and the possible legal fight after:

1. Get your hands up to protect your head!

  • Surviving the initial clash is your primary goal so you can continue to respond appropriately.

  • When you take shots to your unprotected head, you are seriously in danger of being knocked out or worse.

  • When you get your hands up, it forces the attacker to swing around your guard vs. punching straight up the middle. Now you can expect a looping/hooking punch. Looping punches are slower and give you more time to respond.

  • Having your hands up in a defensive posture ("hey I don't want any trouble here") signals to onlookers that you are not the attacker and you are simply trying to protect yourself.

2. Move back or circle to the side away from the attacker's power hand.

  • We are trying to get out of hitting range. We need to be either all the way out or all the way in to stay out of the most dangerous distance.

  • Gaining distance buys you time and time buys you options.

  • Your movement back or to the side forces the attacker to track you to continue the attack. Circling away from the attacker's power hand can someone negate the attacker's power by drawing out the time it takes for the blow to land. This also buys you some milliseconds to recognize and respond to the blow.

  • If this movement deters the attacker and he moves off to another target, then you win.

  • You are also signaling to onlookers and responding law-enforcement that you are not the aggressor.

3. Keep your mouth shut.

  • An open mouth means you are more susceptible to a broken jaw.

  • Talking takes up critical brain-processing power when you need to be focusing on the physical forces at play.

  • You are less likely to get more emotionally involved. By not talking you can try to de-escalate the situation.

  • Cops can tell you are not the aggressor. So, stop talking trash.

4. Keep your head on a swivel.

  • If you get so target focused on one guy, you risk getting clocked from the blind side by his confederate or an excitable onlooker who jumps into the fray.

5. Get fit.

  • Physical skills are invaluable for your survival.

  • Speed, power, flexibility give you the ability to respond effectively to an attack.

  • Your fitness, by itself, can give your opponent pause to consider if he thinks he can beat you without getting hurt himself.

These tips can go a long way in keeping you from being severely beaten. But by themselves they won't save you. You must learn at least the rudimentary techniques of hand-to-hand fighting. Join a Gracie Jiu-jitsu school. Go to a boxing gym. Learn from a Muay Thai club.

There are no easy or steadfast rules when it comes to interpersonal violence and combat. You have to be familiar with fighting.

If you haven't started training yet, what's stopping you? If you trained in the past and have not continued, what's stopping you?

Train like your life depends on it. The coming decade is not going to be all unicorns and rainbows.

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