Congratulations — you’ve found yourself in a fight. Probably against somebody bigger and stronger than you, who, unlike your scrawny ass, hasn’t spent the last ten years of their life in front of a monitor.
Your mother would be proud. And then a little sad, because you’d probably die. Unless, of course, you had the foresight to first read this article on how to win a fight.
Let me be clear: I’m no martial arts expert. If anything, I’m the furthest thing from it. The only martial arts I know are the ones you’ll find in Street Fighter or Tekken 2 — and they’re not exactly compatible with real life.
But luckily, you don’t need to be a martial arts expert to learn from martial arts experts. So over the last few weeks, I’ve been compiling a thorough list of 7 ways to win a fight quickly and decisively, many of which have been recommended by top-tier martial artists with years of experience.
A warning: some of these methods are deadly. They can cause serious injury to combatants, and should only be considered as last resorts in the face of extreme danger. Always attempt to deescalate your enemy prior to physical altercation, and if you can, run away.
Do this as quickly as possible once the fight has begun. Don’t wait for your combatant to get their bearings — the faster you punch them in the throat, the faster the fight will be over. Understand that the trachea is incredibly fragile, and can collapse after just a few pounds of pressure. If you’re going to do this, commit to it and use it as an opportunity to leave the fight soon thereafter.
When you’re in a fight, every millisecond matters. By positioning your body in preparation for common hits and strikes, you decrease the amount of time needed to block or launch your own attack. The most effective way to do so is to adopt what Chris Romulo calls a “strong guard”, with your hands up and one foot forward to maximize balance.
If you’re new to fighting, maintaining balance is essential. One or two slips is all it takes to be on the ground with your opponent on top of you, leading to serious injury or death. Most kicks substantially shift your center of mass, and untrained fighters often lose the fight in seconds because of a poorly timed or placed leg. If you don’t know how to kick, avoid it. Stick with your hands, elbows, head, or knee instead.
The only reason this works as well as it does is because it’s so unexpected. Most people don’t consider their forehead a viable weapon, so it’s seldom in the realm of possibilities for your combatant. This is best used when you’re up close and personal — aim squarely at their nose, grab their shoulders, and try to use your legs to generate more force as you pull them into your headbutt. When they’re incapacitated, use this as an opportunity to flee the scene.
The vast majority of potential combatants are right handed and untrained. Because of this, the most common punches first thrown in a street fight are the right hook or haymaker, both which have similar defenses — either grapple them, or get your body on the outside/underside of the punch. Then use their now-compromised balance to hurt them and push them to the floor to escape.
This has been beaten to death (ha-ha), but never fight if there’s an opportunity to run. Prior to a physical altercation, always take a few moments to discreetly scan your surroundings and lock down a minimum of two escape routes. Ideally, you’d take them before the fight and eliminate the chance of serious injury altogether, but if you’re faced with a faster combatant, sometimes it makes more sense to incapacitate them first and use the extra time to get away.
Contrary to common belief, there is no honor in fighting. Play dirty when you can to decisively end the altercation and leave the fight. One of the most powerful ways to do so is to blind the opponent — grabbing, scratching or gouging their eyes with your fingers. It’s not pretty, but it works: an enemy that can’t see is an enemy that won’t move. Use the opportunity to run.
The best outcome for a fight is for it not to happen in the first place, but that’s not always possible. Sometimes you’re faced with incredible aggression or irrational anger, and you must respond in kind.
You’ve now learned how to win a fight. Use these actions as last resorts only, and understand that they can cause serious damage to both you and your opponent. That being said, I encourage you to read, memorize, and internalize as many of these attacks as possible, so that when you’re in a real fight, you react based on knowledge and not fear. Good luck!