A couple prefaces: - I'm a 40 year old man, and have nothing to prove by winning a "fair fight" with my hands. I do conceal carry, and in the event that I'm not armed or the situation doesn't warrant using a firearm, I can easily pick up the nearest heavy object and not feel like "p*ss*" for doing it. - That said, of the reasons I chose to begin martial arts at my age, "self defense" is tertiary at best. - Even though self-defense wasn't my primary reason for starting martial arts, it is ultimately what you're being taught to do. The mindset that I'm there to learn self-defense is kind of starting to creep in, because that's how the techniques are explained in class. So here's the deal: I Googled this for days - How effective is karate in a street fight, if at all? Of course, plenty of "what if scenarios" came into play - multiple attackers, knives, etc. I want to ask something more direct: Let's say you have a guy who is a 2nd Dan, who has never been in a real fight in his life. However, he has come out on top in every tournament - he's got the gold medals and the trophies to show for it. However... he's walking down the sidewalk with his girlfriend, and an exceptionally fit thug attempts to shoot his shot with the girlfriend, and slaps the man when he protests. This thug, while not formally trained in any martial art, is very well experienced in real fights and anyone in his neighborhood will tell you that he's "got them hands." In this scenario, no one is armed with anything and no one is else going to jump in. Who comes out on top?