What art is best for street fights?

Bill Mattocks

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I get asked this a lot by people who are 'interested' in martial arts, or who want to know 'which art is best' for various things. "Street fights" always comes up in such discussions.

"What would you do in a street fight if XYZ...etc."

I always give the same unsatisfactory answer. Street fighting is stupid. It's pretty much the dumbest thing a person can do voluntarily. I'm not saying they don't happen. I'm not saying that a person might not be called upon to defend themselves in the street (although there are lots of ways to avoid being put in such situations, they can't ALL be avoided).

I'm saying that fights are by nature chaotic. Random chance applies as much as skill or art does. I think that's the case here. And what a person might think of as a simple punch up can quickly end up being something the law considers much, much, more serious.

Here is today's example. I do not know who the instigator of this fight was. From the video only, it seems as if the person who survived was the victim; but you don't know what happened before the video started. Perhaps the person who survived had no choice but to the defend themselves with violence - I can't say and I'm not judging them.

What I *am* saying is this. Although neither person expected to die, one of them did die, and rather horribly as well. The other person's life is going to change in a very major way now. He won't be going to work tomorrow. He's going to have to hire an attorney, most likely. He may have to get a bail bondsman to get released from the pokey. Even if in the end it's ruled self-defense, he's got economic and other issues to deal with, not to mention that killing another human being often has a psychological impact on a person.


So yeah. "Which art is best for street fighting?" The one where you don't get in street fights. That one.
 

Anarax

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As you mentioned, the parameters in a street fight vary so greatly, thus the adjusted parameters will determine the "best" style for that particular situation.

Oppose to going over countless situations in a street fight, understanding the areas of fighting helps to know what to learn. Striking, grappling and weaponry are the three disciplines most styles fall into. Personally, I've found that kickboxing(western and Muay Thai), Judo(old school) and Kali fill these areas quite well. I like the punching/kicking combinations, footwork and power generation of Kickboxing, the sweeps, throws and submissions of Judo and the angles of attack, defanging and aggressive counter attacking of Kali. The force spectrum for Judo/grappling is much wider than striking. Meaning that submissions, sweeps and throws can be used from controlling/subduing an opponent to permanently neutralizing them. Striking on the other hand requires much more significant force to stop a threat, but leg/calf kicking a normie can be a fight ender as well. Striking does have an advantage over grappling when it comes to dealing with multiple attackers.

The video is a good example of what can go horribly wrong in a self-defense situation. We live in a time where we must be mindful of what we're training and how to use it properly. It's a balance between physical repercussions and legal ramifications. I have to survive to continue living, but I have to have my freedom to enjoy my life, not trying to be philosophical. I'd prefer legalizing dueling so disagreements could be settled with civilized violence instead.
 

drop bear

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Cynik75

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"Do not fight on the street" is not the answer for the question mentioned in the subject.
It is the answer for the question "Should one fights on the street".
 

BaehrTKD

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I get asked this a lot by people who are 'interested' in martial arts, or who want to know 'which art is best' for various things. "Street fights" always comes up in such discussions.
Those are exactly the kind of people you don't want at your club because they're only learning the art to hurt people.

"What would you do in a street fight if XYZ...etc."

I always give the same unsatisfactory answer. Street fighting is stupid. It's pretty much the dumbest thing a person can do voluntarily. I'm not saying they don't happen. I'm not saying that a person might not be called upon to defend themselves in the street (although there are lots of ways to avoid being put in such situations, they can't ALL be avoided).
Agreed.

I'm saying that fights are by nature chaotic. Random chance applies as much as skill or art does. I think that's the case here. And what a person might think of as a simple punch up can quickly end up being something the law considers much, much, more serious.
As a general rule of thumb, the law punishes people for defending themselves in Canada. (It's ridiculous, and I could make an entire thread on the subject here.) The law always gives the answer of "call police" when you're in trouble, as though they can magically appear in two seconds to deal with the situation.

I had a situation where I was in the water (not joking) and some guy wanted to fight me. My belongings were on the shore. He was between me and my things.

Here is today's example. I do not know who the instigator of this fight was. From the video only, it seems as if the person who survived was the victim; but you don't know what happened before the video started. Perhaps the person who survived had no choice but to the defend themselves with violence - I can't say and I'm not judging them.

What I *am* saying is this. Although neither person expected to die, one of them did die, and rather horribly as well. The other person's life is going to change in a very major way now. He won't be going to work tomorrow. He's going to have to hire an attorney, most likely. He may have to get a bail bondsman to get released from the pokey. Even if in the end it's ruled self-defense, he's got economic and other issues to deal with, not to mention that killing another human being often has a psychological impact on a person.
In Canada they would charge him with manslaughter and put him in jail for 10 years. Again, not even joking. The law is so punitive up here that if you defend yourself too "strongly" and the other person is permanently damaged in some way, you better believe that you'll bear the full brunt of the costs and penalties for it, no matter what the situation was leading up to it.

Even if someone kills your family right in front of you, and you grab the gun and struggle with them, if they get shot with their own gun you better believe you'll be going to jail for it. It's insane.


So yeah. "Which art is best for street fighting?" The one where you don't get in street fights. That one.
Exactly what we were always taught.

I've had three real life fights as an adult. All three of them were forced upon me. My record is 1-1-1.

In the past year alone I have walked way from 3 potential fights. Society is getting very dangerous and people are getting very angry these days. Tough times indeed. (I need to make a separate thread I think.)
 

Fungus

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"Do not fight on the street" is not the answer for the question mentioned in the subject.
It is the answer for the question "Should one fights on the street".

It really is, though.

An insight I've gained from elsewhere outside MA, but applies here as well...

The way one CHOOSES to ask questions, defines your stance(not referring to MA stance but more general) and approach to the future, as it tends to reveal also your expectations of the future. And your expectations forms your actions.

So the insight is that asking the right questions can be more paramount, than finding the right answers.
 

Fungus

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My thoughts if I had to enter a real fight (ie not a sports fight) is that my biggest fear would be against an opponent that has nothing to loose in consequences to outcomes.
 

Fungus

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As a general rule of thumb, the law punishes people for defending themselves in Canada. (It's ridiculous, and I could make an entire thread on the subject here.) The law always gives the answer of "call police" when you're in trouble, as though they can magically appear in two seconds to deal with the situation.
This fact could be to ones disadvantage in a real fatal SD situation, as I feel like I certainly have alot to loose if I defended myself and later someone else (the law) held the opinion that it was unnecessary fore. So in a real situation I would be likely to take more beating before escalating. That can be booth good and bad, you never know until afterwards.

So the one attacking - feeling he has more to win than to loose - has a mental advantage.

There is also a psychophysiology side to this "mental advantage" to this, a theory that the predator may have a cardiovasular advantage over the prey given all else equal, as he sees it as an "opportunity" while the prey sees it as as a "rhreat", and the CO output is higher to to vacsular dilation in challenge.

"In this context, challenge results from evaluating high resources and low demands, whereas threat results from evaluating low resources and high demands. Both challenge and threat lead the heart to beat faster and harder than during rest, but challenge results in dilation in arteries and more blood pumped, whereas threat results in constriction and less blood pumped."
https://compass.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/spc3.12052
 

Hot Lunch

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"Do not fight on the street" is not the answer for the question mentioned in the subject.
It is the answer for the question "Should one fights on the street".
You are absolutely 100% correct. But Bill Mattocks is more charismatic than you, which is why he's able to simply reply "It really is, though" and get likes (even though incorrect, no matter how profound he sounds) while you don't. This isn't a knock on you (because I find myself in your position around here far more often than I would like); this is just my criticism of the way things go around here.
 
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Rich Parsons

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I get asked this a lot by people who are 'interested' in martial arts, or who want to know 'which art is best' for various things. "Street fights" always comes up in such discussions.

"What would you do in a street fight if XYZ...etc."

I always give the same unsatisfactory answer. Street fighting is stupid. It's pretty much the dumbest thing a person can do voluntarily. I'm not saying they don't happen. I'm not saying that a person might not be called upon to defend themselves in the street (although there are lots of ways to avoid being put in such situations, they can't ALL be avoided).

I'm saying that fights are by nature chaotic. Random chance applies as much as skill or art does. I think that's the case here. And what a person might think of as a simple punch up can quickly end up being something the law considers much, much, more serious.

Here is today's example. I do not know who the instigator of this fight was. From the video only, it seems as if the person who survived was the victim; but you don't know what happened before the video started. Perhaps the person who survived had no choice but to the defend themselves with violence - I can't say and I'm not judging them.

What I *am* saying is this. Although neither person expected to die, one of them did die, and rather horribly as well. The other person's life is going to change in a very major way now. He won't be going to work tomorrow. He's going to have to hire an attorney, most likely. He may have to get a bail bondsman to get released from the pokey. Even if in the end it's ruled self-defense, he's got economic and other issues to deal with, not to mention that killing another human being often has a psychological impact on a person.


So yeah. "Which art is best for street fighting?" The one where you don't get in street fights. That one.
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I agree -
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I usually answer with something like the following:
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Learn to carry a firearm legally.
Learn all the legal headaches of brandishing
Of threatening
Of actually deploying
Of actually using
and then learn how to avoid all the situations one might have to use said firearm.
.
Then just do the last line in practice.
.
Also tell my classes, rule number one is Avoidance.
.
Avoid going to bad parts of town
Avoid having to stop in bad parts of town by treating your half mark as empty on your vehicle.
Avoid conflict by avoiding situations where conflict occurs.
Avoid conflict by walking away when one senses it might happen
Avoid ...
* I include the engagement one that some schools have about hurt , injury and death just to walk it down the slope to the bottom *
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Rule number two - See Rule number one.
.
How does one avoid?
Become aware of one's situation
Well I don't want to be hyper aware all the time.
See rule 1, avoid those places.
.
It always comes back to avoidance.
in my opinion.
 

Dirty Dog

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Those are exactly the kind of people you don't want at your club because they're only learning the art to hurt people.
What utter nonsense. The vast majority of the worlds population has no desire to hurt anyone. But one of the common reasons to study is, in fact, self defense. So it is entirely natural that laymen will consider the large number of different styles and ask which is most effective.
 
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Bill Mattocks

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What utter nonsense. The vast majority of the worlds population has no desire to hurt anyone. But one of the common reasons to study is, in fact, self defense. So it is entirely natural that laymen will consider the large number of different styles and ask which is most effective.
Yes. It's frustrating, but you have logically argued it may be unavoidable, if that's the question. I want to read a book. What book is best? I want to drive a car. What brand is best? I want to defend myself. What art is best?

The answer to that is always it depends, isn't it? And few want to hear that.

But when the question is paired with street fighting, I tend not to think that the person asking is as interested in self-defense as they are in so-called street fights. I'm sure the fights they imagine in their heads don't look like this one, where both guys slip and fall, one to his death. What art is best for that? I can't answer the question, except to repeat that street fighting is stupid.
 

Holmejr

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What to do when society breaks down and the criminals become the victims. Precarious. Victims rob you because, in fact you deserve to be robbed. You have more than they have. Theyve been oppressed. Defending yourself against victims, make you the perpetrator. The police become the perpetrators, countries become perpetrators and law abiding citizens become perpetrators. Now, with all that said, if, God forbid, Im confronting by deadly intent, I would do my best to 100% nullify the threat. We train hard to do so. We dont maim and kill our classmates, so we hope our training translates well. We have law enforcement in our class that lectures us on situational awareness and the physical response boundaries which work until they dont work. Vote well if you dont like the way thing are going. In the meantime, train like you mean it.
 
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Bill Mattocks

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Nope.
The question is kind of: What equipment is the best for mountain climbing?
Your answer is: Do not climb the mountain.
More like "What kind of equipment is best for climbing the mountain that leaves many who attempt it dead?" My answer, do not climb the mountain.
 

Dirty Dog

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More like "What kind of equipment is best for climbing the mountain that leaves many who attempt it dead?" My answer, do not climb the mountain.
To be fair, the percentage of fights that end with death, or even a serious injury, is pretty tiny. Doesn't mean it's not something to be avoided, of course.
 
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Bill Mattocks

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To be fair, the percentage of fights that end with death, or even a serious injury, is pretty tiny. Doesn't mean it's not something to be avoided, of course.
I don't want to be the guy who ends up under a subway train. Or the guy who gets arrested for knocking him off the platform. One really neat hack to not be either of those guys is to not get into situations like that.
 

Dirty Dog

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I don't want to be the guy who ends up under a subway train. Or the guy who gets arrested for knocking him off the platform. One really neat hack to not be either of those guys is to not get into situations like that.
That's kind of why I said it was something to be avoided.
 
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