How To Get In Shape And Practice Your Fighting Skills

Throughout every station in a man’s life, they are expected to be capable of holding their own. It doesn’t matter if you’re a grown man protecting your family from a mugger, a boy squaring off against a bully on the playground, or you’re protecting yourself against a horde of beer-throwing Canadian feminists. You need to know how to defend yourself.

Unfortunately, in today’s culture, fighting is looked down upon as unnecessary or simply for entertainment purposes. Many men go about their day-to-day routine without ever giving it a thought. They are in for a rude awakening when a little violence comes their way and they are totally unprepared.

Enter Fighting Fit

Fighting Fit is a system I have been working on for some time now. Its primary purpose is to train individuals to be able to defend themselves in the shortest amount of time. It focuses on simple, gross motor movements and bodyweight exercises, so anyone can train anywhere with little to no equipment.

Some of you may be thinking, “I hit the gym regularly. I’m already in good shape and don’t need to do any kind of specialized training.” As an avid martial artist, I respectfully beg to differ. Size and power is great, don’t get me wrong, but it’s even better if you know how to maximize its potential. I have about 30-40 pounds on my instructor and am about 15 years younger, yet he can still throw me around like a rag doll all day long.

Fighting Fit is a hybrid between two principles: strength and skill. It’s going to kick your butt into shape as well as familiarize you with some basic techniques that you can instantly apply in an encounter. No fancy Shaolin monk stuff here; just simple, effective, and brutally devastating techniques to end a fight as quickly as possible.

Note: What I am providing here is NOT a comprehensive self-defense routine designed to handle every situation you may encounter. These are just a few simple techniques that anyone can work on. Let’s keep the keyboard warriors to a minimum…or at least focused on legitimate issues.

A Basic Fighting Fit Circuit

This is a simple circuit that you can do right now. You can go through the circuit once for a quick warm-up before your main workout, or you can do it multiple times as a workout all its own. As we go through the different exercises, I will provide substitutions to help accommodate all levels of fitness as well as what equipment you have access to.

What You Will Need

For this circuit, you will need only a few items:

  1. A jump rope
  2. A standing heavy bag -or- a partner with training pads
  3. A pull-up bar or something else to do pull-ups on

You will do each exercise for 30 seconds followed by a 15 second rest before starting the next exercise.  If you are going through this circuit multiple times, give yourself about a 60 second rest between circuits.

1. Squat Jumps

This exercise is pretty straightforward but great for building leg strength and stamina. From a standing position, squat down low and then explosively jump up into the air. If you are not fully warmed up, keep it slow and low. Also, be sure to land on the balls of your feet to keep things gentle on the knees.

If you unsure about the jumping aspect, simply perform regular body-weight squats.  Alternatively, if you want to make this exercise more difficult, perform a 180 degree spin during each jump (or a full 360 degree spin if you’re feeling especially ambitious).

2. Low Roundhouse Kicks

round kick.jpg

Be sure to pivot on the standing foot or you risk hurting your knee.

This kick is aimed at either your opponent’s knee, the inside of their leg, or their IT band which runs up the outside of the leg just behind the quadricep. Swing your kicking leg around, pivot your standing leg in the direction of your kick, and aim to hit with the top of your foot (about where the tongue of your shoe sticks out). Kick hard and follow through the point of impact. The idea is to completely demolish their leg.

Be sure not to lag between kicks either. As soon as you land a kick, you need to be resetting for the next one.

3. Push-ups

Not much to say here. Everyone knows what push-ups are. If standard push-ups are too easy, try one of the many variations out there. I personally prefer knuckle push-ups as they help strengthen the wrists. It’s hard to go wrong here so get creative.

4. Shadow Boxing or Punches on a Heavy Bag


Now that your arms and shoulders are burning, it’s time to hit the bag. We’re going to focus on the three basics; the jab, cross, and hook. Keep your hands up protecting your face and go to town. Don’t forget to mix up the tempo between big knockout punches and quick flurries. Also, be sure to switch your lead so you’re comfortable on both sides.

If you are worried about injuring your hands or wrists, you can either practice with open hands (palm strikes) or don’t use a bag at all and just shadowbox.

5. Pull-ups

Again, not much to say here. All variations are fine. I personally prefer neutral-grip pull-ups (palms facing each other), but chin-ups and standard pull-ups work just as well. If you’re not quite strong enough to do a full pull-up yet, work on doing negatives or Aussie pull-ups.

6. Thai Clinch With Knee Strikes

thai clinch
We’re going to further strengthen your back and grip by working the Thai clinch. Having a partner helps with this drill but isn’t necessary. Wrap your hands around both sides your partner’s head. Do not interlink your fingers!

From there, try to pinch your elbows together. It isn’t necessary to get your elbows to completely touch though. Doing this keeps your opponent from pulling their head free from your grip. From there, pull them in for knee strikes to the groin. If you’re training with a partner, be kind and pull your strikes.

This can also be practiced using a heavy bag or simply throwing them in the air, shadowboxing style. Elbow strikes to the temple and jaw add an extra element to your training.

7. Elongated Plank

This is just like the standard plank except you increase the distance between your hands and feet. It doesn’t take much distance for you to start feeling this.  If you are just starting off, begin with the standard plank (hands placed directly below your shoulders) and progress from there.

Another great option is to use an ab wheel. Whichever option you prefer, be sure to brace your abs and don’t let your hips dip.

8. The Shrimp Scoot

This is a great drill that will blast your hips and abs as well as help you get comfortable working from the ground. Lay on your back with your legs bent in the sit-up starting position. From there, push your hips up like you’re doing the hip bridge exercise. Now, you’re going to use your arms and feet to slowly work your way backwards. Keep your elbows close to your body and your hands up to defend yourself (even when training by yourself it’s good to develop those good habits).

shrimp scoot

The yellow arrows signify movement of the left arm and leg while the orange arrows signify movement of the right side.

9. Jump Rope

The boxer’s secret weapon. This is great for improving your stamina, coordination, and rhythm. Honestly, whether you’re a martial artist or not, you should be jumping rope regularly. There’s countless variations, but you don’t need to get fancy. Jumping with both feet together is perfectly fine. It won’t take long for your calves to be screaming.

Wrapping Up

Depending on your goals and fitness level, you can apply this circuit in a few different ways. Go through this circuit once if you’re just wanting a quick warm-up or multiple times if you’re looking to get a full workout with some self-defense training mixed in. Increase the difficulty by increasing the work times for each exercise or by cutting down on the rest times.

Regardless whether this is your primary workout or merely a warm-up, you will see improvements to your general fitness and fighting technique. Remember, you get out what you put in. You should be pushing yourself in every exercise trying to go faster and harder. You never know when you might need to defend yourself and training routines like this might very well save your life!

Stay tuned for more training routines, tips, and variations. Got questions or concerns? Leave them in the comments section and I will be happy to address them.

Read More: Fighting Another Man Could Change Your Life

212 thoughts on “How To Get In Shape And Practice Your Fighting Skills”

  1. I bet you the same people who called anyone wanting the military in the last article sadistic are going to say “oh great article , more like this one’s are needed ” on this one

        1. He’s a closet Messiah who will banish us to eternal flames after he come out and reveals the knowledge, nam’sayin?

  2. Training by yourself only works on people who have never trained anything at all. If you want to be good at self-defence, find a martial arts trainer and start practicing with the group. I recommend Wing Chun. It works better than you would expect.

    1. Both provide different benefits. Sometimes it is best to train alone so you can focus on the techniques at your own pace. Once you are comfortable with the technique, then you can begin applying it against a partner. Plus, it isn’t always possible to train with a group.
      I have no direct experience with Wing Chun but do train in JKD which pulls many of its principles from Wing Chun.

      1. If a given technique is about neutralizing an attacker, then training it by yourself is difficult. Yeah, that will be better than not doing anything at all. You will be good enough to win a pub fight. But one of my trainers once told me that martial arts are about defeating someone who is stronger than you, or at least about being able to neutralize him for some time so that you could escape. I’m not sure that you can achieve that by training by yourself, unless you train for increased strenght and stamina, but that changes the point.

        1. Agreed, but I think you’re missing the spirit of the article. Do you ONLY train when you have a partner to train with? What about someone who doesn’t have access to a school? The purpose of this article is a quick workout routine that you can do ANYWHERE, regardless of your circumstances. It is, by no means, a complete guide to self-defense as I stated in the article, rather some down and dirty basic techniques that take minimal time to learn and begin applying.
          I hope I don’t come across as condescending or argumentative as that is not my intent. Only to clarify the purpose of this article.

        2. I understand that, and I wanted to add my 2 cents. Because there are people out there who don’t have realistic expectations. Some of them train for years only by themselves only to get wrecked by someone who trained for a few months in a group.

    2. Great article, and I appreciate it. I’ve been working on getting tougher and stronger for some time now. I’m seeing good results. I’ve gone from being soft and weak, to at least average on the toughness scale. I don’t need to become a badass Navy Seal or anything, but I certainly want to be tougher than 90% or more of the guys out there in my age bracket (40’s).
      I also recommend that people get a concealed carry permit. Get a pistol or revolver, and learn how to use it. Then carry it wherever legal to do so. Pepper spray and knives are good to carry as well.
      I am a bit old school, so I usually just pocket carry a snub nosed 38 special revolver (Smith and Wesson 642), and occasionally carry a Glock 19 9mm inside the waistband.
      Sorry for you guys living in Europe/Canada/California/NYC, who usually can’t carry crap.

  3. Number 2 is not how it is done in Muay Thai. Firstly, hitting with the shin is much more effective than with the foot. Second, you normalle want to hit the opponents thigh.

    1. That reminds me of an old martial arts joke:
      How does a group of martial artists change a light bulb?
      One changes the light bulb while the others stand around and say “That’s not how we do it in our school.”
      In all seriousness though, the roundhouse kick I described is from Taekwondo, not Muay Thai. You can certainly adapt it to a style of kicking that you’re more comfortable with. I’m personally just more comfortable with the TKD style of kicking. To each their own.

      1. Ah. Yes, that is why I phrased it carefully. Willing to break the dogma.
        The rationale behind using the shin is not to hurt the foot when you do it real hard, with all those fine little bones in there. Thoughts on that?

        1. I aim just a little above the actual foot. In the article I describe aiming about where the tongue of your shoe sticks out. That way you avoid said tiny bones (never fun when you connect with just the toes) but you still get maximum speed on impact as it is the farthest point on the leg. There are certainly pros and cons to each approach. It also depends on what you’re trying to achieve with your strike. Options abound.

        2. Ah. You know what, I also used to think that velocity is important, because physically, it is E=mv^2. But something about that equation probably does not quite translate to a kick as it does to a bullet. I used to do a kind of snap kick and was told that this was not effective by multiple people. But I thought: It is the fastest thing and school teaches that velocity is more important than mass. But the truth is: As soon as I stopped just letting my leg kinda ‘limply fly into the enemy’ and instead started using it like a sword where I keep applying pressure even during the hit, I found that I could affect the box sack a lot more. And this works much better when you are higher on the shin because that same fact of it being outside in the circle works against you with that technique.
          Besides, in sparring, it is hard to always hit precisely the point where the tongue of my shoe would stick out. Too dynamic. So I figure the shin is better, because occasionally, I will hit farther down anyway and then I am still safe.

        3. You’re reasoning is absolutely correct and I’m not discounting that at all. We do a little Muay Thai during our JKD classes and it has its place. Each person has to experiment with different styles of striking and figure out what works best for them. I’m comfortable with the style described above because I’ve competed on the national scale for many years and know it’s limitations. I would also most likely switch to a more Muay Thai style kick if the attacker starts to close the gap.

        4. Fair enough. In a real fight, I would not want to be microanalyzing this shit. But from a long-term perspective, being used to it is a bit of a silly argument.
          Distance may be a valid point. I do not have enough experience yet to be thinking about these things.

        5. I also find myself less mobile when utilizing Muay Thai kicks and that doesn’t jive well with my personal fighting style. However, if I’m in close enough to be kicking with my shin, I don’t think mobility is going to be the top priority at that point. I would most likely be preparing for punches and the clinch.

        6. Some research on punch impact I read years ago attribute this to effective mass, as momentum = m.v , and following up could increase the effective mass, increasing in turn the collision momentum. I really don’t know if it’s the real explanation but I agree following up (pushing during impact) seems much more effective.

        7. Yeah, I am not sure if it can really be calculated. Some energetical layer likely also has impact – e.g. in Shaolin monks. All I know besides that one formula I mentioned is actually just what you mentioned: m times v. We called it ‘impact’ at school. But I am not sure it explains this. We used it to explain that office monkey thing where you let a sphere drop on one side and it bounces up on the other side.

      2. Yup. I was trained with the TKD roundhouse as well. Moved over to the Thai kicking version later on as I felt more comfortable using my roundhouse as a bashing club. Just feels a bit more natural for me as opposed to pivoting off the ball of the foot.

    2. You’re right about the shin part but in the article it stated to hit the IT band on the outside of the leg. You can go to the outside of the lead leg or inside of the back leg. Both are effective. Ask Jose Aldo.

      1. Not saying you can’t do it, but I’m personally hesitant to attacking the back leg simply because of the increased distance; gives your opponent more time to react and is less exposed. I like to strike the knee, IT band, or even the inside of the front leg. That’s the great thing about martial arts: To each their own. If you can make it work, that’s all that matters.

      1. If I’m understanding you correctly you mean where the back of your hands are contacting the floor instead of the palms, correct? I have played with those a little bit. Very unpleasant if you haven’t done them before. I wound up doing only one hand at a time with the other hand in the standard position.

        1. Yeah before it was really hard but I think after punching a while without bandage and bare fisted and knuckle push-ups , I could slowly hold the position with my wrists then push ups . It is good to start with knuckles then move up to wrists. internal martial arts actually less strength exercises more relaxation and stance and breathing but results are very slow.

  4. I would suggest adding in some movement drills, some zoning drills. Do not get locked into linear movement, you’re just making a better target. I like to work out in play grounds early in the morning and the wide gauge pipes used in kids play equipment these days are sturdy and offer enough resistance without being too hard, to practice entering and evasion movements. Body hardening if you are into that too.
    Of course partnered training under a better and more experienced teacher is always the best, you will not go far without that, personal training is also important, especially as you get more experienced yourself. The two go hand in hand, you should do both.
    (over 15 years experience in traditional Japanese grappling arts, primarily yoshinkan, and renshinkan aikido, as well as traditional weapons arts, Ken, iai, and jo, for what its worth.)

    1. Good points and agreed. Self-defense is a bit of a beast to discuss as there as so many aspects to cover; impossible to touch on everything in a single post.
      I personally have 16 years experience in TKD and about a year in Aikido, JKD, and Kali. Always glad to see input from other styles.

        1. I have 2 books of his. One of the books is on his JKD fighting style. The other is called Striking Thoughts which is a compilation of his philosophical musings on many subjects. I haven’t read his JKD book in years, not because it is a bad book but because I was admittedly immature in my martial arts studies at the time and was looking for a step-by-step training guide to learn how to kick ass. Perhaps it is time to dust it off and read through it again.

        2. I studied JKD (the book)years ago and still apply the principles today. The man was a genius.

      1. Agreed on being a beast, there are libraries written on the subject. Good article though, and you highlighted a few things I am not doing enough of.

      2. This is a great article, man. Especially like the focus on low kicks, as I’ve been a proponent for teaching people interested in self-defense to not kick above the knee (excepting the groin region) instead aiming for the knee (inside,rear, base, and top), the instep, where the metatarsals meet the phalanges, and the ankle region (especially the talus).
        A tip I would leave for consideration:
        Aside from acclimating the body to certain movements and stretches and attaining a situational awareness, the striking surfaces should be toughened as well.
        For hands: plunge open-hand knife strikes into buckets of sand and work up to cement/gravels. Pad an oak tree rather than using a heavy bag exclusively, then work up to removing the pads (this is good for forearms, elbows, knees, shins and feet too). When you are just sitting around tap your palms, finger pads, and knuckles with an everyday claw hammer.
        For feet: walk around (the yard for example) barefoot, do rises (stand on the edge of an elevated surface and raise and lower your body), when sitting around practice putting downward pressure on your curled toes and then bending them back the other way, and if you have coarse carpet or other similar surface try rubbing the sole on it like you want to build static electricity.
        (If it matters, 10+ years instructing. 25+ years personal training. Multiple incorporated styles in a generational family martial lifestyle drawing from Army (WW1/2) , Marine Corps (pre-LINE/LINE), JKD, Hung Ga, Tai Chi Chuan, Bajiquan, Greco-Roman wrestling, Wing Chun, boxing, Judo, Japanese JiuJitsu, and Krav Maga).

        1. That’s quite a resume! I punch/kick my heavybag with no protective gear/wrapping so I’m pretty good on that front. One small thing I do is I push open doors with just my finger tips. It doesn’t make a HUGE impact on my conditioning but I look for opportunities to train everywhere; a good mindset to get into.
          Glad you enjoyed the article!

        2. The little details make all the difference, sometimes unwinnable situations are made victories by the one who respects the “small” things. You have a very good mindset and practice.
          I’ll share a technique then (you may already know it), if you focus on the pointer and middle finger kept tightly together when pushing the door open, your digits can become strong enough to actually put someone down in one smooth forward “push.”
          Aim at the point right above the nose where it meets the forehead (that small concave area) and step your lead foot forward while thrusting with your arm, hand, and fingers pointed straight behind the target area (as if it is not there), when the fingertips make contact place all your intent (power) behind them and take another forward step with your opposite foot.
          Done correctly, the target’s head will snap back, but with no way to rebound (your fingers constantly there pushing him back and down) and with the neck and spine incapable of bending beyond a certain point, he will lose his footing and go down, likely disoriented with you already pressing a knee or elbow into one of his many vulnerable vitals. Or you could be doing any number of other damaging things in between.

        3. I do a demonstration similar to that to help explain the vulnerabilities of the head. I’ll grab the biggest guy in the room and tell him to walk through me as I push against him as hard as possible. Inevitably, they are able to push through. I then take my pointing finger and place it across his philtrum and tell him to do the same thing. They can’t do it. Case in point: Where ever the head goes, the body follows.

        4. Exactly. I hope you continue to submit these kinds of articles in the future. I too always enjoy glimpses into the Tao of others’ martial practice.

        5. Really nice advice on that. I remember when I first saw someone brought down with a couple of kicks to the side of the knee. It almost seemed unfair, like he was cheating or something but when that big fucker dropped under his own weight and then got punched in the face I could see that the whole thing was mapped out before fight even started.

        6. And that’s something to take to heart. In a fight, outside of sport or competition where there are rules, there is no such thing as off-limits. The only limitations on you or your attacker are self-imposed.
          Also, an experienced martial artist can alter the flow of the fight in a number of ways. One of which is to damage the ability to maintain an active defense or using one strike or even footwork to create a reaction that will lead to a future opening.

        7. absolutely. Hell, I could, even now nearly 20 years since I had a legit boxing match, probably take a defensive posture with just about any untrained fighter while he exhausts himself until he is out of breath and then beat the snot out of him in a few seconds.
          The larger point, however, with boxing (as I am sure is the same in martial arts) is foot work. Street fighting may be off limits, but those guys don’t know how to use their feet. I can walk pretty much anyone from where they are to where I want them to be while looking them in the eyes. and most people, after a few steps, find that their balls aren’t quite as full of vinegar anymore.

        8. while it might show my age, just mentioning footwork reminded me of the greatest ever bar fight from the Grenada Sherlock Holmes with the late and very, very great Jeremy Brett

        9. Small details are very important especially in technique intense arts like grappling or submission. A Slight mistake make a move liek Arm bar ineffective against someone slightly bigger or more skilled. Every technique is different for a diffemt person whether size or experience.

    2. 30 years, Aikido, Karate, Muay Thai, and some Systema.
      Most important point is full contact sparring. If you’re not doing that, you’re not doing martial arts.
      And frankly, nothing wets a woman’s pants more than a man who can fight. And it improves your confidence, mental health and posture in a way that no other kind of physical training can do, including lifting.

        1. I just have a question: how many times have you been in a no rule street fight.
          I don’t mean to be rude but I have never been under the impression that martial arts are enough to survive against guys who are used to fight ‘dirty’.

        2. Honestly, none and there’s admittedly a level of theory-crafting that goes into it. However, the martial arts have survive for centuries because they worked. I also don’t plan on going out and picking fights in order to test my training as that would be foolish. For most of the people who are in the same boat, the best we can do is train to the best of our abilities and trust ourselves if/when the time comes that we must fall back onto our training.
          I study multiple styles which opens me up to many aspects of fighting (weapons, grappling, clinches, boxing, etc) and my instructor is no schmuck either. He’s been shot, stabbed, and has trained with Navy Seals. I try to give myself every edge available in my training so that I might survive a real encounter on the street. It’s the best anyone can hope for really.

        3. It really depends on how you train. Some McDojo’s train you to fight against you’re own style while others specifically add in others and train against street brawling.
          Then there’s dojo etiquette that is taught and when you’re faced with a street fighter it can trip you up when they go dirty.
          In the end no matter the style or lack of, it only takes one step to change the tempo of a fight.

        4. Most people look at the techniques and say “How will that work in a real fight?” Since taking up 3 extra styles on top of TKD, I’ve started looking more at the principles that I can incorporate. Aikido is great for manipulating momentum and center of gravity. Kali teaches you to take bites (figuratively or literally) out of your opponent whenever they expose themselves (think lead hand and leg). JKD teaches you to strike your opponent during their own attack instead of the traditional approach of blocking and then attacking. It’s all about adaptability.

        5. We just studied some JKD last weekend. The guest instructor showed us how to block a jab while striking the opponents elbow. At first look I thought it looked a little weak, but my buddy did it to my strike and a knuckle to the elbow is a bitch.

        6. If whatever you are training doesn’t work in the real world then it is useless. Martial arts were used to kill. That is their purpose. If they can’t do that, it is not martial art, just entertainment.

        7. “I also don’t plan on going out and picking fights in order to test my training as that would be foolish.”
          I’m sorry but I don’t see the point of learning martial arts if you can’t fight in the real world where you can get killed or end up on a wheelchair.

        8. I have a family and kids. For me to go out and get in a random fight that could get me killed or crippled just so I can “test my training” would be detrimental to my family as I would no longer be able to provide for them. Training in any martial art doesn’t guarantee you’ll win in a fight, but under the right tutelage, it will increase your chances.
          It’s all about risk mitigation and odds. I do what I can to stack the odds in my favor while not doing anything to risk my health and capacity to provide for my family.

        9. fighting sports are sports. They will make some difference in an unanticipated confrontation, but the real key to not getting killed or ending up in a wheelchair is to avoid or flee situations that would cause one to be killed or wheelchair bound.

        10. “but the real key to not getting killed or ending up in a wheelchair is
          to avoid or flee situations that would cause one to be killed or
          wheelchair bound.”
          If you avoid real-life fight, you will never feel like a man. The reason feminists have the upper is because most men are pussies who want to avoid confrontation.

        11. Street fighters tend to be generally stupid brutes who will don’t know how to be patient. Watch a few hay makers go by and then see what a well placed punch perfectly delivered does to the bridge of a nose.

        12. I think what he is saying is that he doesn’t go out looking to start an unnecessary conflict, not that he would not fight if pressed.
          We can all say how we would behave, but until in the situation, all we may know is how we hope to respond and how we might have in a previous instance.

        13. No one should be underestimated when confronting you. The bar-brawler biker can have as much experience (and usually even more practical experience) in fighting, he may do it every night or every weekend and in his world there is no ring or referee.
          That said, not all martial artists train for competition or fight only by means considered “fair.” To my knowledge Jean Claude VanDamme was a purely competitive kick-boxer.
          Fighting should be avoided when possible, especially should the objective be survival, for the very reason that anyone may win in any given instance.

        14. to me, you learn to fight so you can defend yourself in the real life. If you can survive a street fight, what’s the point of wasting time in a dojo?

        15. “I think what he is saying is that he doesn’t go out looking to start an
          unnecessary conflict, not that he would not fight if pressed.”
          But how will he survive a “fight to death” if when needed if he avoid even minor physical confrontation. Mastery comes with experience

        16. A dojo is a place to get your mind and your body right. I don’t go to one. I go to a gym instead. I did go for training when I boxed to make me a better boxer. Does my strength and endurance from the gym coupled with the knowledge I have of balance, how to punch, how to defend and how to use my feet help me if I ever wind up getting into a fight in a bar or on the street….you be the judge.
          That said, if someone pulls a knife or a gun on me and wants me watch…he can have it.

        17. That’s just it, there is no guarantee of surviving a “fight to the death” doesn’t matter what you trained or what kind of encounters you had before, each new one is unique and has to be treated with the same gravity.
          Having both training and experience is like the difference between wearing clothes in a blizzard and wearing insulated underwear underneath those clothes. But just because I’m bundled up doesn’t mean I actively try and go out in the freezing cold either.

        18. You can train all the way you want, but no matter when shit gets real it`s a different game. training martial arts will still give you experience that makes the odds better or in favor of you. Also, the feeling of a stiff jab to my face today feels quite different today than when I first started out. The advantage is that getting hit or kicked is not the end of the world…that is a very good thing to bring to a fight.

      1. Agreed, and have to train against committed and non-committed attacks, from any possible attack method without warning.

        1. You know, I had a friend a long time ago who was a ishkanru (sp?) karate instructor.
          I used to bust his balls all the time with the Jim Carey self defense sketch on SNL where Carey is a katate guy and teaching women how to defend but only against a guy using a knife in the most ridiculous way.
          Anyway, one day we were drinking and he said we should spar. He was laughing his ass off as I tried to just touch his face and he had me so off balance that if he wanted to he could have laid me out with 0 effort.

        2. It is funny, but there is some serious fighting style stuff out there. This skit is particularly funny for me because I remember when, out of no where, like every little kid started doing karate. NYC had more black belts that Macy’s and all of the had a karate school where they basically kept pushing kids through “ranks” while collecting money.

        3. That’s part of the reason I left my old school. The master instructor was a woman who wouldn’t (or couldn’t) tell people “no” to testing. The result was a lot of black belt kids who really didn’t need to be wearing a black belt. I trained them as tough as I could, but 1 night a week just wasn’t enough to reverse the course set. I’ve always despised McDojo’s and my integrity wouldn’t allow me to stay there any longer once it was obvious there was nothing I could do to turn it around. There’s still some good people who train there that I’m good friends with, but that school isn’t what it could have been.

        4. Yeah, I mean…I understand the McDojo for sure. Hell, if you can make a ton of money…why not…money is good. But yeah, it is really grating on the nerves and soon you will feel ashamed of yourself singing for your supper so to speak. It reminds me of pop warner ball where every kid was lead to believe there was a NFL contract just waiting for them to grow into. I guess, at the end of the day, it is still better than munching chips in front of the teevee

        5. “He was laughing his ass off as I tried to just touch his face and he had
          me so off balance that if he wanted to he could have laid me out with 0
          Maybe he could do that with you. However, fighting against a 6″5 thug who is used to fight for his survival is another thing.

        6. I am a trained boxer who, at the time, was on a collegiate boxing team. I am sure that there are much tougher and bigger guys and I am also sure that knowing it was coming made it easier for him….however, I do admit to having been very impressed with his abilities. I am not saying it’s like Kane from kung fu and he can walk around magically beating everyone up because of his karate….but the idea that the boy couldn’t handle himself in a fight is Ludacris. He was doing more than just dancing.

        7. “but the idea that the boy couldn’t handle himself in a fight is Ludacris”
          I don’t know. Jean-Claude Van Damme got his ass kicked in a real-life fight and the man holds a 2nd degree Karate Black Belt.
          I think there is a difference between a guy who follows rules and surviving against a thug who will do whatever it takes to kill or cripple you.

        8. Not sure about the van damme stuff but he is also like 100 and a soft holly pussy. Different things for different people. No one answer. I can say that I’ve seen some real hard tough guys get the shit knocked out of them by people who knew how to fight and weren’t just used to it. I have also seen my share of army boys get drunk and have their asses handed to them by some guys they annoyed in a bar. So I don’t offer a sweeping generalization. I will say, however, that this one guy that I knew knew how to use his hands and his body to beat the crap out of someone.

        9. Dude, yeah, bjj or boxing or free style/ graecoroman/shoot wrestling is way better than some McDojo. With bjj or boxing is hard learn without rolling or sparring. But self defense is a little different.

        10. yeah, of course. I am just saying….if you are in a position to open a mcdojo and make a lot of money, I am in no position to call you out on it. I like to make money too and until I figure a way to get paid for laying in a hammock, in the Caribbean, while drinking rum from a coconut and being fellated by twin blondes, I am going to need to sell some portion of my soul for money.
          If we are talking simply about what is better with regard to the art of course you are right.

        11. Lol they to introduce belts to boxing or wrestling, maybe then kids would take it then it might become like McDojo too. Yeah with traditionals, u need find a gym that at least does touch sparring. I feel internal traditional supplemented with full contact external is good

        12. Krav Maga, Haganah (an altered version of Krav), Sambo, and Escrima are the most functional arts to learn for street fighting. If you are not in an open carry state, always carry a knife as well. Can’t trust anyone these days. Muay Thai, Jits, Karate and others are more for sport and cardio.

        13. Personally, I think the only place where you can actually learn how to fight is the street. Survival instinct is the only reliable teacher.

        14. I completely agree. However, all of the above styles are combat styles, and they will help with that fight or flight instinct. You will also train high stress drills. Being able to focus under stress is key.

        15. I can agree with you to a certain point. Still, I think that telling people that they can defeat brutes in the street with some Krav Maga trick is just sending them to a sure death.

        16. I have never met an instructor that encourages people to go out looking for a fight. I have also never met an instructor who says that with this style, a person is guaranteed to come out on top. They just supply people with tools to increase their survival against those brutes. I think training to know the best ways to incapacitate another human is important. We can agree to disagree.

        17. While I was doing Mma, I there was a Krav Maga class next to the class , it was ok but some of the knife drills weren’t too realistic and didn’t have much sparring it seemed . I guess depends on the training and the instructor. Krav Maga is more like an offensive military art not really self defense. Israeli instructors said Krav maga is not really about defense, it is really about offensive and aggression.

        18. Living in a civilized place or a safe place with strict laws , u won’t find yourself very many street fights or really any. I guess moving to some ghetto favela in Brazil or some small city in Russia full of drunks woudl work lol

        19. Personally, I think you have better chances of survival by becoming a brute yourself and mastering basic fighting skills :
          – work out 2-3 hours a day until you get in the 90-95% percentile in term of pure strength. That alone will save you more than once since most thugs will avoid fighting you.
          – learn how to punch and kick correctly as well as wrestiling techniques. These techniques can be mastered within one year.
          Of course, that’s not enough to guarantee victory bute to me, it’s more reliable than fancy martial arts tricks.

        20. Yeah, Krav Maga is everywhere. Sometimes, the classes can be a ripoff. Just about anyone can fly that banner. I learn under a retired Israeli Special Force Commando, but I am still very wary of street fighting.

        21. Go to French suburbs (Quartier nord, 93, Saint Denis, Vauls-en-Velin, etc.)and you will get your fair share of street fight.
          I think the same goes for UK, spain and Italy.

        22. Not if you are in east Asia lol. I don’t see the point searching for a fight, that is like asking to get hurt. It is best to avoid street fights.

        23. Yeah that class was ok I guess it does some full contact drills like knife and elbows and practices. In some really safe countries, the demand is not that high for high stress or real training

        24. On ROK there is a lot of blaming modern women. However, the reason chicks give us a hard time is because they sense our weakness. The main reason we are so weak is because we are not used to fight for real.

        25. I have been on this path a long time. Glad to see we can agree on similar regimens. My list is 1. throw iron 3-4 times a week 2. Spar 2-3 times a week 3. Cardio 5-6 times a week(include sparring). My typical martial art routine is Muay Thai and BJJ 3 times a week, Haganah/Krav 3 times a week, and Escrima once a week. I trained in Sambo for about 10 years but haven’t found a decent gym in NY area for it. It is true you cannot just rely on Martial Arts for real life situations. Training to get stronger is my constant goal, and I recommend it.

        26. I meant looking for a fight, if a fight comes up and no way to avoid it then yeah fight , but going to places and looking for a fight is a bad idea. Who cares what a bar girl thinks, it is better to find choice elsewhere

        27. Actually I never substancially disagreed with you. I just think that learning martial arts is more about spiritual development than learning how to survive in the real world.
          Besides, most people (including me) don’t have time to seriously learn martial arts, get jacked and find time to live their “normal” life.
          That’s why I think it’s better to focus on weightlifting and keep it simple about combat training.

        28. “if a fight comes up and no way to avoid it then yeah fight”
          How are you going to survive a serious fight if you avoid even minor phyisical confrontation.
          “Who cares what a bar girl thinks”
          I’m not talking about bar girls. If you avoid real fights, you will never develop masculine qualities (reading anti-SJW articles on ROK is not enough) and women will not respect you.

        29. Lol, different opinions. For me , violence is not necessary if there is a better way to solve it. I respect your approach.

        30. I’m not trying to put the finger on any fighting technique. I just think that that’s what not what is going to save you in a real fight because a “no rule fight” is mostly about survival instinct and experience in the street.
          My advice to you:
          – Workout at least 2 hours a day (weightlifting, bodyweight)
          – spend at least one hour a day learning to throw proper punches and kick as well as wrestling. Boxing, mauy thai, aikido and jujutsu basics should help.

        31. Dude, fighting ain’t always fair lol, they can come at a surprise or multiple enemies. Controlled violence in training is enough.

        32. “fighting ain’t always fair lol”
          Life isn’t always fair. Anyway, I’m not telling you to go provoke gangs in the street. Next time, one of your colleagues disrespect you, you can just tell him: “Are you man enough to fight me?” If he refuses, he will lose face. If he accepts, you will feel more masculine, no matter the outcome.

        33. Yes all of it is useful but it depends for what. Most will teach you respect for yourself and others, confidence, mastery of your body and mind. If you mean for fighting, then you need to do a combat sport. This will remove the fear of being hit. Then you can progress to unarmed combat training.
          The most important thing is to become the man nobody wants to fuck with. Then you will win every fight before it occurs.

        34. I have to tell you, I think that if you are looking to be able to fight then weightlifting is a waste of time and in fact will induce a false sense of security. Power-lifters and bodybuilders are easy to beat in a fight because they cannot move. They are strong in some planes but not in the ones that count in combat. Speed and mobility trump static strength.
          Also, these guys cannot generate a powerful punch and they certainly can’t kick. Heavy weightlifting also retards your ability to train in martial arts.
          Furthermore, heavy weightlifting over time, breaks down the body, making you weaker. I have never seen an old guy lifting heavy weights but I have since them beat young men in their twenties in fighting.
          Something to think about.

        35. Karate is devastating when used correctly. I have myself been knocked out by a Karate expert.

        36. You remind me of a conversation I had many years ago with a guy. He was trying to tell me that training to fight was a waste of time because there are “nutters” out there who can kill you with the antenna from a Nokia phone.
          I doubt it.
          I have met many “nutters” and fought them and won. The sheer speed and power that I can hit a man with renders his “nuttiness” irrelevant. As fighting in the street means no rules, best believe I will be headbutting, eye gouging and biting chunks off his face. When I am fighting for survival I will have no problem with it.
          Now he may be “used to fighting for his survival” but I will be too. But the difference is I am a highly trained individual with peak instincts whereas he is some guy who drinks, smokes, does drugs and has probably never seen the inside of a gym.

        37. Anyone can get his ass kicked in a real life fight no matter the training. Being trained doesn’t make you immune it just changes the odds.
          Btw, the guy who famously beat up Van Damme was Chuck Zito, a trained martial artist and bodyguard.

        38. I’m not interested in martial arts. If I can throw proper punches and kicks and I know some wrestling I just need to be strongr than 90% of people (which is far from impossible).
          To me martial arts are more about spirituality than real-life fight.

        39. You don’t understand martial arts. You are rationalizing to cover up your self-perceived limitations.

        40. That must be the biggest bullshit I have ever read. Boxing, Jiu Jitsu and Muay thai boxing are probably the most effective martial arts you can bring to a street fight. I myself train muay thai and it`s a no bullshit defense/attack. The few times I have done sparring with boxers (boxing only) they dance around me like flies on a turd and make it very difficult to attack/defend.

        41. I train Muay Thai and Jiu Jitsu as well. From my perspective, Krav and Haganah are more for incapacitation. I think they are more efficient in regards to street fighting. People who train in different arts will agree or disagree

        42. All Krava Maga people I have met are wanna-be-Chuck-Norris characters that wants to tell themselves they know how to fight. Problem is, you never get them into the ring to try it out. I would say that for all these martial arts (except boxing, jiu jitsu and thai boxing) you will have to reach a very high level to make it effective.
          PS. Some people talk about knifes and shit here. I thought we talked about pure fighting skills.

        43. Let me get this straight. In Asia they will attack you in packs 10 to 1. Knifes, bottles, chairs. high heels. If you can avoid trouble in savage areas you should. After all it is still more manly to be alive, and I don`t give a fuck what some girls say about it.
          Even huge armies have retreated and come back stronger. Sometimes pride stand in your way of winning.

      2. Tis true.
        When women find out I had an athletic scholarship in college for boxing I can actually hear their vadges getting moist.

        1. I imagine places where peoplel get drunk all the time and get into fights, fighting skills would just be expected and won’t be a huge dmv.

        2. of course context is king as always.
          I grew up in an area of Brooklyn ny called Bushwick and grew up there in the 70’s and 80’s. Yes, places like that there was a general assumption that at the very least, if someone gave you a beating you would get a few good shots in.
          I don’t go into places like that much more that god. I am older for one and a suit and tie person for two and the women I enjoy boning generally wouldn’t be around places where people are drunk all the time and get into fights for three….that said, those gentle little girls look at my broken nose and busted up hands and get their little designer panties all wet for the glimpse into a life they have never seen from a safe distance.

        3. Boxing is my favourite martial art. There’s nothing like the beauty of watching two talented boxers. That’s why I’ll watch Floyd Mayweather over MMA any day.

      3. Yeah, spar, spar, spar. Our Sensei also stressed stamina. Black Belt candidates were expected to barrel spar for a couple of hours on end. You can take serious knocks and keep going after your opponent, even if you get a broken bone. And Christ, by Black Belt level you’ve learned dozens of techniques and forms. But by then you’ve developed a handful that you make your own and develop and use in ways that fit your own focus and personality. Funny about how women drool over fighters. When we’d go on the tournament circuit there were always lots of girls around hooking up with the team.

  5. Learn GUN CONTROL !
    Remember the scene from Raiders of the Lost Ark ……..(In Cairo market)

  6. Good article. Really important to have the physical ability there as well as the technique. Just a bit of a waffle about punching, as good a workout as hitting a heavy bag is I wouldn’t punch someone in the face in a street fight. It is a recipe for a broken hand or wrist or both. It is real easy to feel invincible when landing awesome heavy combinations on the bag, but one must remember the 180 inches of hand wraps holding the wrist straight, protecting the thumb and supporting all the small joints in the hand when training aren’t going to be there in a street fight. Let alone the padding and whatever glove is being trained with on top of all that. I wouldn’t even recommend doing a heavy bag workout without supports, as over time damage can be done to the wrists and fingers. It should definitely be in the training rotation though, as should bobbing and weaving/solid head movement. I really like those low kicks and those knees. Just my thoughts.

      1. I agree. I think open palm strikes to the cleft/lower nose and hammer fists are the better way to strike at the head. As for that all too sweet liver shot though, or really any body shot, go ham with the fists.

        1. I wouldn’t call myself experienced. I tossed out customers routinely when I worked nights at a 24hr drug store and they often were drunk and resisting (kicking and punching and one even growled and tried to bite me.) I would advise against it for a couple of practical reasons. First, the eyes are a small target and even if you could poke one it likely won’t blind or stop an attacker who is drunk, surging with adrenaline or both. Secondly, say you do get in a position to insert both of your thumbs and blind him permanently (even if the opponent waits for someone to stick their thumbs into his eye sockets and blind him without punching Thumbs McGee in the dick) the courts will send you to jail for maiming someone. What kind of justifiable circumstance would allow the blinding of someone?

        2. Indeed, blinding someone is quite cruel. But this is more something I would do if my life was in danger. I would still feel shitty about it, but if it is me or him, it is him.
          Also, I was not necessarily referring to blinding him permanently. A good punch in the eyes simply hurts and may obfuscate the vision a little. But that is why I asked for an experienced fighter – it may just be unrealistic fantasy on my side.

        3. It wouldn’t be as practical as kicking him in the nuts, honestly. Easier target and is a for sure to stop an attacker in their tracks. It is also easy to train that kind of upward low kick, and very difficult to train for eye gouging. I don’t know if their are any street fighters on RoK, but I just can’t imagine it working outside of kung fu flicks. Some Krav guys on Youtube claim it would work and a bunch who claim it wouldn’t and neither party claiming to have ever attempted/done it. Take that for what it is I guess.

        4. That is why I really think grappling arts are what I’m going to focus on moving forward. Control without maiming. It’s a lot of fun to hit a bag really hard, and spar and even study combative systems like Fairbairn Sykes material, but the situation would have to be extreme for me to feel convinced I need to escalate the violence to that level. Bobbing and weaving is the best thing I took away from boxing, not the hitting. Just moving your head and being nigh impossible for a bro-dude to hit is easier than Krav bursting into someone’s skull and then having to explain to a judge why you maimed someone who was just being an idiot.

        5. Unless u eye gouge, if u put thumb into your index while punch someone’s eyes, u can hurt their eyes.

        6. I’ve trained in TKD – stand up kicks, Brazilian jujitsu – for ground fighting (98% of all fights end up on the ground), and Muay Thai – needed to learn knees and elbows. When striking the face I try to use jabs and elbows. The knockout hook/uppercut is for boxing in a ring. A simple front downward leg kick at the knee bends your untrained average opponent over to move the leg back, scoop the back of the neck and deliver an elbow to side of the head by the eye in one motion. Elbows are devastating at the very least your opponent is dazed for a moment. Very effective technique for a smaller fighter against a larger fighter. Brings them to your level. I’m 6’2″ my teacher was maybe 5’5″. This article makes me to start training again. Should have never stopped.

        7. [Full disclosure, I have never fought competitively, all instances have been without rules, “dirty,” with the other person intending to do me (perhaps fatal) harm].
          Strictly aiming for the eye wouldn’t be worth it (being too intent on any specific target or predetermined action in a fluid combat situation is always to your disadvantage) as the benefits to you are somewhat limited.
          For instance, to fracture an eye socket takes a certain amount of force, and while like any break it can be devastating and disorienting, it may not put your attacker down. Strikes to the general eye area can cause significant swelling and impair vision without doing the lasting damage of an eye gouge (which would only be practical at very close range, we’re talking in the clutches rolling on the ground here, which is a situation you need to avoid in a multiple attacker instance anyway), but again may not put your attacker down and may only further exacerbate the situation by granting him adrenaline/rage.
          Depending on the circumstances, an eye strike is likely only going to happen as a natural progression, i.e.: it was an open and unguarded target of opportunity or you simply connected while meaning to strike the temple or nose bridge, etc.
          In combat, against an unknown, untested assailant (or more than one, who may be armed for all you know and which you may only get one to two strikes in on at best) time, and the randomness of the situation, are against you. The aim should be to put them down quickly and efficiently, and effectively out of the fight, and eye strikes aren’t generally conducive to that, they have more of a “stunning” effect.
          Permanent disfigurement or debilitation is usually not required (sometimes it can happen despite your better intentions especially when dealing with pure survival situations), and you can suffer a high intangible internal price for going too far, not to mention the legal ramifications. The true martial artist knows combat should never be taken lightly for many reasons and this is one of the most important.

        8. Wrestling in some ways is better for the ground. Often bjj is focused on the ground rather than being the one on top and in control. Wrestling often does takedowns better

        9. I couldn’t agree with you more. I wrestled for 4 years in HS. Although it was 15 years ago I still know how to sprawl and drive those legs back (also pushing the sled in Football for 12 years helps). My game is to stay on my feet, but being able to protect yourself on the ground is key to survival.

    1. Good points. At home, I punch my heavy bag with bare fists, but I was advised not to do it. The idea is that I want to harden them, but maybe that is a fool’s simplification.
      Nevertheless, my Muay Thai instructor is a kid from the street and I once asked him what to do not to hurt my fists in a real fight. He looked into my eyes and said: In a real fight, you forget this stuff. In a real fight, you forget that you can get hurt. It has no place in your mind.
      You may think ‘stupid thug’, but he has a point. It is ballsy and a bit moronic. I like it.

        1. I started training Muay Thai after being moderately drunk and getting into a fight on the Oktoberfest 2014. It felt so … good. It is a bit like a spontaneous one night stand with another man – without sexual intentions of course, but with components of sexual energy at play. Very intimate. It was just all a flow and I loved it. Unfortunately, the cops stopped it quickly. But that was when I knew I must be a fighter. To have this connection.

      1. Your instructor has a great point. Sheer aggression is an important aspect to winning real fights. All of the combative system really drill aggression. Fear is to be overcome.

        1. Yeah. Meditation helps with that kind of shit, but obviously, so does training. There is an article about ‘unflinching’ somewhere here on ROK.
          What hindered me most in losing fear was to never actually acknowledge and feel it. I suppressed it and thus never actually learned to lose it and kinda had no progress. Some guys say dissociation from pain is good, but on the other hand, if you do not let yourself feel the pain, the conditioning does not work as finely.

        2. I agree. If I am going to be in a fight it is because I literally have no other options. At that point the circumstance of being in a fight was never in my control anyway, so the focus has to be purely on winning as swiftly and definitively as possible. I can see meditation being useful for putting yourself mentally just in that moment, instead of being distracted by pondering if you could’ve not ended up in that situation, or worse, thinking about how you might lose. The man who says ‘I can’ and the man who says ‘I can’t’ are both usually right.

        3. My meditations are more about self-awareness and self-love / acceptance. So what I mean here is that you basically listen to everything your body tells you and all the impulses in you that compete. And reveal cognitive dissonances and that kind of shit. Subconsciously held beliefs that guide your behavior in these situations. By becoming aware of them, you can change them and fascinatingly enough, by letting yourself actually consciously feel these things instead of fighting them, they often just evaporate. Since I started, I feel exponentially less fear of girls. It is amazing. Sometimes you just find ‘Ah, THAT is why I was so afraid’. And from that moment on, you are no longer afraid.

        4. Sounds like it was a really positive impact. Did you learn this through other people or books? Can you point me to some resources for these meditation techniques? Looking to exploring meditation further and it looks like you got a lot out of it.

        5. It was and still is. I am working on a Kundalini awakening, but I have a man to guide me whom I trust very much. He gives me weekly instructions. It basically means that I say a few words – like activating chakras – and then I lie down for at least half an hour and literally all I ideally do is being aware of whatever comes up in my mind and then letting it go and not getting hung up on any of it. Really simple. My mentor said it like this: Your mind is responsible for generating thoughts and images and emotions. Look at them like trains arriving and departing from a station. Do not enter any of the trains, just observe them.
          The trouble is that the instructions in the beginning are quite important and he says that they are specific for each person. You will find this hard to believe, but he says he gets the right instructions from my soul so that they are perfectly tailored to me. It is hard to find a man more sceptical than me, but the results after a mere month speak for themselves.
          So I am by no means a guru, but I have a great instructor. All I could really do is to give you his contact if he agrees.

        6. I do standing with breathing circulation, but it is really hard to calm and clear the mind. Lol I’m always checking the timer.

        7. Fear u don’t realky overcome, u just learn to control it. There will be someone better and you fight him , u are gonna feel some fear. The flinch reflex is hard to train. I Would say fear is hard to train even with a lot of sparring

        8. I think too much, I kinda want it to finish. I feel it in my chest. No color lol. I feel a little anxious. Im not used to standing and doing nothing but breathing and circulating. I have felt progress though, my shoulders and hips are looser than before

        9. Standing sounds arduous, I lie down. But yeah, that feeling in your chest is likely the emotion connected with it. Maybe you are trying not to feel that one. Try to focus on it, give it attention. See what pops up in your mind. Maybe you will remember situations where you felt a similar way. Do not worry if they are no real memories you recognize. Just be attentive.

        10. Standing is a different tradition. Some people even squat as if they are sitting without a chair or a bow stance where 70% of the weight is one leg. I bend my legs but not too much .’they say standing builds up qi/shakti, I can feel a little. Standing lets the blood flow down faster. I also try to think about the flow of the chakra/qi, from the bottom to the top and going back down but I forget sometimes but I’m more focused on my breath and movement of the tongue and toes. The teacher who taught me told me sexual activities including jerking off is bad against the practice, no more than once or twice a month lol lol

        11. You need to do a lot more of it Tom because from you I sense a lot of self-hate.
          No that isn’t a joke or a pisstake.

        12. Completely overcoming the fear is actually detrimental. A little fear keeps you sharp. If you’re at complete ease in the ring, you won’t get the adrenaline boost and you’re much more likely to let your guard down. I’ve found that holding targets for others is a good time to focus on the flinch reflex, especially if its one of the kicking shields that they kick into. Focus on watching the kick or punch through its entirety. You’ll see it coming right at you in first-person POV and you’ll feel the impact of the strike. Next step is applying that to sparring.

        13. Yeah,butI have been training with sparring for several months, I still have fear issues with someone better. Man getting punched or getting taken down makes me real defensive. I think depends on the person and previous experience/trauma.

        14. Dude I don’t know, the Mma class I took before was sparring /rolling every class for half of the class, idk still fear was there. Then again the class was too much sparring not much fundamentals and structure

        15. It’s definitely a balance. If you’re just going out there and getting slapped around without knowing what the hell you’re doing, it’s pretty demoralizing. A good instructor will point out what you need to work on so whenever you get hit you can go “Ah…that’s what he was talking about.”

        16. There should always be an element of fear in confrontation, but you should do your best to see it comes from a place of respect (that you can lose and can be hurt, so stay alert) and then is sharpened into something useful, like with rage. Rage makes you uncontrolled and foolish, (same with fear), but if you learn to channel it, it will be your ally, a white hot smolder that feeds your flagging energy and gives clarity of purpose without self-doubt.
          The man without fear has nothing worth defending.

        17. I started boxing, the teachers is a lot structured and focused on getting things right. I’m just working on the fundamentals but coordination is so important and hard.

        18. Experience makes a huge difference. Even light sparring with someone with fundamentals and experience is not exciting and difficult. Just sparring no basics and structure, progress is slow

    2. Elbows, low kicks and knees. A good recipe for dispatching your attacker. Avoid grappling and ground-fighting in the street though.

    3. Prefer the open hand and edges of the palm over the closed fist myself, for the reasons you mention.

  7. It’s also about developing situational awareness, every space I walk into within a split second I have decided who could be a potential threat and how I would neutralise that threat as quickly as possible if it came to that. It happens so fast, it’s not conscious just primitive.

    1. Also the old adage of the best defence is offence….. had an experience last year guy hit me, as an instinctive reaction I punched him in the face, he went down, end of matter……

    2. This is different than physical training, and should be incorporated into your every day life. This needs a shift in mind set and habits, and must be constantly reinforced until these habits are ingrained. Where and how you walk, and stand, where you fix your gaze, how to read the body language of others, a so on.
      To paraphrase Sun Tzu: winning the battle happens before the fight.

      1. I made a similar post, after the fact, before coming upon this.
        There is awareness of the threat
        There is the mind to deal with it
        And only then is there the body to follow through.
        I suppose the good news is that it works both ways: a physically superior can be defeated if your mind works for you.

        1. One has to overcome the four evils of the martial arts, sometimes called the four sicknesses: fear, hesitation, doubt and surprise. Then one can over come any adversity.
          As the great swordsman and contemporary of Musashi, Yagyu Munenori said, ” I do not know how to defeat my opponent, I only know how to defeat myself.” This is from a guy who cut down seven in one skirmish, confirmed by witnesses, and taught the Shogun swordsmanship

        2. I missed that, but free your mind and your ass will follow. At one point in my life, fear took a walk. Respect? Yes. Concern? Absolutely! But fear is just a shackle.
          When I was in the army one of the grizzled NCOs gave me the best advice: violence and speed.

    3. I had this experience with a friend. We were in a taxi talking shit with two other people, and then he goes quiet. I know he’s angry for some reason (apparently he’s still sober) and waits for me out of the cab. He pushes me, again and again. Says I said shit to him. I say we both said shit. He asks me what he said. I didn’t remember (his hair, now that i think about it). He takes me to the ground. I know he does MMA, and I don’t lift a barbell. I tell him to back off, he goes upstairs. I cool down with some others outside.
      I’m angry, I never want to be diminished like that again. What are the weaknesses of MMA and how do I handle this tomorrow? We’re on contiki and have to be on a bus together for hours while we travel Europe

  8. Best thing to do is get a partner and start grappling and thrashing, wear a cup and mouthpiece, maybe a headgear but nothing else, and get raw. Then add weapons.

  9. Thanks for the article man. These are things that I have been thinking about for some time. Over the years I’ve gotten so wrapped up in bodybuilding that sometimes I wonder if my efforts have actually made me weak.
    Oddly, your suggestions almost exactly match what I was previously doing by relying mainly on instinct a few years ago. Noteworthy things are that I used bare hands for striking and I always emphasized ‘conditioning.’
    The bare hands were always preferred by me since they accustomed my wrists to be in the right position while landing any particular punch and they exposed my limitations and built strength/awareness in this regard. The downside is that I basically had scabs on my knuckles all the time. Heh, no matter how coarse I made the skin on my knuckles, I could never punch the bag more than a few times before blood was drawn. When using gloves, I always seemed to hurt myself after transitioning back to bare hands, so I just stuck with the bare hands. I didn’t really mind the blood and scabs at the time, but today I can’t be running around with scabs on my knuckles, so I’d at least consider using a basic wrap of sorts (for the knuckles).
    As for ‘conditioning,’ this is something I learned at a young age when my father would beat the piss out of me and my brother while training us in Uechi Ryu. In fact, most of our training was conditioning of the sort where we’d smash our arms against each other, kick each other, punch each other in the stomach and chest, chop each other on the collar/neck, bang shins, chop arms, etc.
    I must say that this kind of conditioning of the bones and tissue has a lot to say for itself when it comes to roughhousing. Being struck is not so much of a shock once you’ve accustomed yourself to it. I think the idea is that you can take it for granted that you will get hit a few times while in a fight, so a greater part of the training should be numbing yourself to the pain and fear of being struck. Without a training partner to batter and be battered by, I would find something hard like a broom stick or a pipe and whack myself in the shins, arms and thighs. These methods actually made me a much better football player in high school and they gave me the confidence to maintain a stoic demeanor in the face of random, would-be belligerents.
    Thanks again man, I’m looking forward to future articles.

      1. I worked the bag today (after my workout) for the first time in years and it felt great. I actually left the gym feeling energized rather than like a fossilized cow patty. This energy has persisted for hours now and I don’t know what to think, I’m just happy.
        Unexpectedly, my biceps were tight afterwards and still burn a bit. When I think about it, I guess my penchant for hooks to the body could explain that, but still I expected to feel it mostly in my shoulders. Heh, I still shredded a knuckle even though I wasn’t going too hard. Oh well.
        I may yet give planks or the ab-wheel a try since I’ve integrated abdominal exercises into my routine. The “shrimp scoot” and jump rope are calling out to me as well, not to mention some good old fashioned arm and leg pounding. This article has really brought to life some things that I’ve neglected and left dormant inside since I’ve earnestly been pursuing bodybuilding. I’m going to stick with your suggestions and follow my instincts here.
        I’ve been perusing your site since I got home and it looks good man. You seem to have struck a nerve here at ROK (in a good way)… I don’t think I’ve ever seen a fitness article here with anything near the number of comments you have received. I’ll be looking out for future articles at ROK and at your personal site.
        Best regards.

  10. My favorite drill is putting on a weight vest and then doing 3-4 3 minute rounds on a heavy bag.(with 1 minute rest in between rounds) You get an excellent workout in about 20 minutes and it does wonders for your cardio. When you do spar/fight later you’ll hardly get tired but your competition will.

  11. Great article & break down. I’ll add that if you’res serious about self defense or fighting in general, clocking regular high quality sparring sessions should be the next step in your toolbox.

  12. Timely article! May I emphasise shadow boxing as possibly the best exercise and I second your opinion on jumping rope. Please explain to the novice how to make a fist but when shadow boxing your hands should stay lose.

  13. To play Devil’s advocate:
    Street fighting requires awareness, and it doesn’t matter how chop-socky you are, getting cold cocked will be your end. You can be world champion but if you don’t see the mofo behind you with a baseball bat, that’s it. Similarly, if you do not see the tide moving or danger brewing, then you will be fucking done when blows come to blows.
    The mental aspect is at least, if not more, important.

    1. I don’t think you’re playing Devil’s advocate at all actually. My article was to fulfill ROK’s request for posts on fitness, so that’s what this is tailored to with a martial arts twist. Like I said in the actual article, it’s by no means comprehensive. You’re absolutely correct that situational awareness is your first and best defense.

  14. This is all excellent advice both for personal growth and for A PARTICULAR type of fitness. If you are looking for that lean and cut look to get ready for the beach, combined with a good diet, proper supplementation and a little weights (like add the 45 minute Spartacus program to this as well) you will get it. I will warn, however, if you are bulking, looking for pure raw strength or just overall size this type of work out (along with crossfit or any of the ballet class bootcamps) will be the quickest way to destroy your gainz.
    I make no suggestions because each man has his own check list of goals, but for me I will usually do a mass gaining program from late august until late feb and then take a few weeks off before, early march, killing some very intense light weight fast movement program coupled with HIIT cardio so that I can get some good size and then, even if I gut a little of my gainz, shred off the fat allowing it to be shown off.
    Mind you, I am not talking powerlifter dirty bulking here which I regard as a means to an ends and essentially unhealthy but, without the juice there simply is no way to get big and shredded at the same time and no one system of exercise/diet/supplementation will get you that look which is both strong and solid but also shredded.
    However, if you are looking for that brad pitt circa fight club look (which is 6 foot 160 and with legs like toothpicks btw) that is a totally valid goal and, again with good diet, this is the only way to go.

      1. absolutely! Or a finisher afterwards. But more than all of that I think that this work out is a recipe for not just cardio vascular but overall health.

        1. At my stage of life, that is my primary goal: Overall health and fitness. I’m not looking to be huge, but I do want to be fit and capable. In that regards, pushups, pullups, and squats are really all I need to accomplish that. All the martial arts training I do on top of it is so the muscles I do have can be effectively utilized should the need arise.

        2. Makes sense. I also am long past the point of ever getting huge and my lifting PR’s are just never going to happen for me again. Overall health is an important part of my goals as well. However, there is something about the feeling of lifting as heavy as you can or accomplishing a measurement you aimed at and worked on for months that makes me happy. There is also something fun about the dread game one pulls on women 10 years younger when they realize that 10 years younger is still 10 years older than the girl checking you out 😉

  15. Big thumbs up on this article! good work by the author.
    I keep pads at home for when buddies from my club come over. Holding the pad against strikes is an art form in itself. Really tightens up the abs and grows confidence with defense. And don’t go cheap on a standing pad, you’d be surprised how quickly even out of shape guys start to throw hard strikes quickly.

      1. No doubt.
        I’ve taken a few kicks to the side or punched my own chin from well placed kicks while I was holding the pad too passively.

  16. I practiced kick boxing and some throwing for a while. But in today’s world, a U$S 500 handgun saves years of training and money. It’s the 21st century, people. I’m a fan of empty-hand figting too; but even in the past centuries, soldiers must be trained in blades, spears, axes and non-gunpowder weapons. Sorry to be a party-pooper, but It’s the truth.

    1. A gun isn’t the end all be all that many people would believe. I’ve seen a video where a man with a machete chased around what was equivalent to a Mexican SWAT force (tactical gear, semi-automatic rifles, etc). Even though there were 4-5 guys with guns they were at the complete mercy of this guy with a machete because they panicked. If you want to train with a gun, more power to you. I’ll take a gun as well….along with my kali sticks, my knives, my bo staff, and my body.

      1. Sorry to disagree. But that only happens in movies and wardancing. Real life is very different. I live in Argentina, and live with violence every day. The probability of disarming an armed person is close to nothing, this told by friends of mine in the navy, not by me.

        1. Be that the case, I would still want to give myself as many tools as possible. To JUST rely on one means of self-defense is a risky gambit.
          And just to clarify, the video I’m talking about was a real-life situation, not something from a movie. Not sure if you were referring to that in your comment on just speaking in general.

        2. In general. A trained person can disarm a guy with a gun, but in order to do so, the armed person must make mistakes. Even if there was a chance to succeed, the chance is minimal. If you, being armed, keep the distance and know how to handle the situation, there’s no chance of disarming, even for trained people.

    2. The only place where you can learn to fight is the street. Survival instinct is stronger than martial arts tricks

      1. Both are useful: street fighting and martial arts. But I repeat: against firearms there’s nothing We can do.

        1. And acknowledging this, the choice becomes whether to certainly die or to take the .0000000000000001 chance of living.
          Die tired or die trying to live.
          But yeah, someone trained to know to step back as they draw is very likely going to kill you. The only chance is that you are either already nearly within arms reach or you are that close and they are still holstered.
          Disarms depend entirely on surprise and whether there is any hesitance in the armed individual to use them (even trained individuals can freeze), not to mention perfect execution and a bundle of good old fashioned luck. Better to avoid the confrontation if at all possible.

  17. I would like advice on the best martial art for the middle-aged man. I have a second degree black belt in TKD from Korea, but blew out my right knee last year while sparring and it’s pretty much just good for walking now. Also, I did Gracie jiu jitsu in the army, which, while effective, is way too gay for me, and I have a background in judo.
    So, what’s the best martial art for an old cripple like me?

    1. There’s quite a few to choose from that are practical and lack the acrobatics of TKD.
      If you’re looking for something more self-defense oriented, look for Jeet Kune Do, Krav Maga, or Filipino Kali.
      If you’re just looking for something fun and relatively low impact, try Aikido.

    2. You could try Aikido (dang Unabashed ftw while I was typing, quick mind quick fingers).
      or even Tai Chi Chuan or Piguaquan, there are many Chinese Wushu styles that have a higher focus on upper body.
      Small Circle JiuJitsu.
      You could also try tailoring the things you have already studied, which you know you are still capable of performing, together with new suitable techniques to form a more effective personal discipline.

  18. Good suggestions, most people can’t take a kick to the leg. I myself trained in greco-roman wrestling and boxing when I was younger, but admit that muay thai and kickboxing are more complete forms of defense. I just like punching people.

  19. Choy li fut is a great Kung fu style that combines many techniques against multiple attackers and also many weapon forms. Great for using a stick or pool queue or umbrella to kick a bad guys ass in real life. Sparring is mandatory.

  20. Seems like I am late joining this conversation, but I’ll throw in my two cents. For years I was an avid bodybuilder…I thought who was going to mess with me. Needless to say I learned my lesson and it was a somewhat painful if not humbling lesson. While drunk at a bar I picked a fight with a guy who I thought I could beat because he wasn’t muscular like me. I thought I could intimidate him with my size…he wasn’t. what I also didn’t know was that he was a former golden gloves and about to turn pro middleweight boxer. I threw the first punch and I thought I was going to connect and destroy this guy. He saw it coming a mile away. He slipped and connected with a vicious left hook. I don’t remember getting hit but I do remember him standing over me when I woke up and asking me if I was ok. Though I did have a black eye I was no worse for wear and the only thing that hurt worse than my eye was my pride. Every guy thinks they can fight, but when you actually fight someone who is trained you come usually too late to that aweful conclusion…maybe I can’t. I’ve stopped bodybuilding( nothing wrong with bodybuilding) and have started traing as a boxer…same guy who trained the guy who kicked my butt (he recommended him). I have no illusions of turning pro, but I will never be unprepared like that again…there are a-holes everywhere…I know I use to be one. Take care and keep your hands up!

  21. What beats two 18’s every time? A .44.
    God made man and Henry Winchester made them equal.

  22. That’s pretty basic. If you break down martial arts it’s the ability to train your body into a weapon of war. In order to be the most effective you have to train like the monks. You have to punch, knee, elbow and kick hard surfaces to create microfracractures and strengthen the bones not to break. Practicing with gymnastics rings and weighted clothes does 100x more then pushups and pullups. You have to slowly engineer each muscle in your body to move in any direction with active flexibility and support your body weight in ANY posture including upside down. Legs must be as coordinated as hands and hands must be as strong as your legs. Its no easy journey and most people even pro fighters use watered down basic training routines. Study the movements of a shaolin monk vs your 5th degree taekwando teacher they are on a whole different level.

  23. One of my favorite life moments was when I was jumped on the street by a drunk guy and I broke his nose and teeth. Fuck with the best, die like the rest.

  24. I might have skipped passed it but you forgot mention, stand shoulder width apart with one feet always leading and never switch it up. If you are right handed, keep your left foot ahead and vice versa. The reason for this is to keep your center of gravity at an even keel. If you keep switching stances (google it if you’re interested) you will lose balance during a punch or kick and leave yourself wide open to attack that can knock you down. Watch amateurs on youtube and you can see them do this. Foot work is key in any good fight. Also, Keep you knees bent a little when punching or kicking as this will give more power from your core directed to your target.

  25. Back in my Marine brawling days, i found out the most effective technique was to throw several punches right at the face. Against the usual drunken bar fighter, it’s over.
    I have studied various disciplines. Indonesian, jujitsu, ninjitsu. Now i know methods to injure, but i had great teachers who also taught me discipline. The last time i was in a fight, i went defensive, blocking his punches, then when he was winded, put him in a triangle choke and asked him if he was done. His friends took him away and i went back to my beer.

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