A comment often made, usually by those who do not train and fancy themselves as a bit of a fighter and able to handle themselves and usually made in a situation where egos are rampant and the need for macho knowledge is required, is that of the street-fighter versus martial artist argument.
This argument is based on stereo-typical versions of each of the proponents and so I’ll discuss this opinion from that perspective.
However, as a trained martial artist I can attest that many of us are not foreign to the street fighting scenario.
When contemplating this comment, it occurred to me that where some of the problem with this statement lies, is that people get the idea of a street fighter possessing some techniques that will defeat a trained martial artist.
I would suggest, from my observations, and experience, that it is not about the techniques, but rather about the tactics used and the conditions that the proponents are familiar with. The so-called street fighter relying on either the surprise attack, the “king hit” or a blitzing, frenzied attack that is intent on overwhelming the opponent.
Neither of these tactics separate the street fighter into any technical distinction, as far as fighting techniques go, as these are tactics that are readily adopted by a trained martial artist if he so wishes.
A major part of the problem appears to occur in how each of these types of fighters enters the potential fight, in respect of their attitude.
An experienced street fighter enters the impending battle with a clear intent to “take out” or “deal to the opponent”. He is fully committed to the end goal and will do what it takes to fulfill that end.
In addition, they are often thugs who are not newcomers to the prospect of incarceration and have little concern about facing an assault charge.
The psychological aspect of the game is well under control and this is a dominating factor in any endeavor. In addition he usually has a few techniques and tactics, he has used in past fights, that he is well practiced in and knows how to set up and use to best effect.
These techniques are no different to the martial artist’s techniques and may in fact be not as efficient, but they get the job done. The way that he sets up or applies the techniques will usually take advantage of the element of surprise or completely overwhelm the opponent who is not fully committed psychologically to the fight.
He is well versed in the importance of keeping and then quickly closing the distance between himself and the opponent. There is no trained ability to defend any attack from his opponent it is almost entirely about offense.
The stereo-typical martial artist, on the other hand, often fails to have this commitment to take the opponent out. They more often than not have a high moral regard for their fellow human beings and seldom go looking for trouble.
Often trained in defense and without real practical tactics to deal with the sudden onslaught they are caught of guard and can be quickly overwhelmed.
Most are used to sparring with an opponent who uses techniques and tactics that are the same or similar to what he uses. They respect each others techniques and fight by an agreed set of rules. There is no attempt at sneak attacks and there is always the knowledge that if the one or the other is overwhelmed then the dominant opponent will back off to allow his training opponent time to recover.
All of these conditions are not present in the street fight. This not only plays a major factor in the physical aspects of the game, but once the engagement is under way will have a dramatic effect on the trained martial artist who is caught in completely unfamiliar territory.
This will, at least momentarily, create a state of confusion and make him/her vulnerable to attack.
It is therefore important that if a martial artist wants to prepare himself/herself for dealing with a street-fighter then they need to develop a street-fight state of mind, that he/she can readily access when the situation calls for it, or else try to completely avoid potential street-fights.
For those martial artists who have never been exposed to the reality of a street-fight environment but wish to prepare themselves for the possibility, I suggest they spend some time in places where they can experience exposure to the street-fight environment. At first just observing at a distance and then increasing the degree of interaction, and thus risk of becoming actively engaged in a street-fight, so that they can become more aware of what the situation feels like and the way in which a typical street-fight unfolds.
This can then be used as the basis for developing a state of mind that can be anchored using visualization and the cognitive behavioral techniques of NLP/Neurosemantics and integrated into their training regimes. Note I am not promoting the idea of going out and getting into street-fights, but rather exposing themselves to what it is like so that they know what happens.
"By failing to prepare you are preparing to fail."