How to Win a Fist Fight

Sometimes, either because your manhood (or womanhood) is questioned, or because there's literally no other way out, you'll have to put your dukes up and fight. It's not about winning or losing the fight — although that would be nice — but more about proving you can stand up for yourself. If you want to win a fist fight, potentially against someone bigger, stronger, and more experienced than you, follow these simple rules.


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    Always maintain an awareness of your surroundings. Know who is capable of assaulting you and how to exit the area quickly. This will help you see violence before it happens, and give you time to prepare a response should you need one. It will also make any adrenaline work in your favor, rather than causing you to freeze.
    • Keep your periphery active while your eyes move around. Your periphery is the outer boundary of your vision, the stuff you indirectly see when staring at things. Keep this periphery active. It'll help you anticipate obstacles while you still have time.
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    If you feel that you are in serious danger, leave as soon as possible. If you believe that a person or party is intent on attack by the time you decide to exit, attempt to do so without causing them alarm. Attackers are more likely to rush you if they think you are actively fleeing.
    • Swallow your pride — mild altercations can quickly escalate into serious harm because both parties could not control their egos or did not know their limitations. Going to the hospital with a broken nose might not be worth the "cred" that you get for staying in a losing battle.
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    Try to defuse the situation. This is the negotiation phase of the fight. Talk to your assailant and try to get him to step down or see the value of making truce. If you've got the gift of gab, here's where you can use it. Keep your guard up while you negotiate.
    • Say something like: "I'll fight you, but I'd honestly rather not. Let's just calm down and try to fix this like adults."
    • Or try something like: "I really don't want to hurt you. I have nothing to prove. You can try hitting me if you want, but I wouldn't recommend it."
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    If escape is not possible or viable, get into fighting stance. Raise your hands up, palms out, at neck level, and angle your body away from the aggressor. This accomplishes three things: it controls the vital distance between you and the aggressor (acting as a "fence"), it covers your head and vital organs, and appears non-aggressive. Always stay moving somewhat, but never backwards.
    • Protect your face with your hands. Look at a picture of a boxer whose gloves are covering his face; this is where you want your hands, unless you are delivering a punch.
    • Keep your legs spread apart and your knees slightly bent. This will give you more balance. You don't want your assailant to be able to knock you over.
    • When you're not talking, keep your mouth closed. A well-placed hit to an open mouth can break your jaw.
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    From this "fence," continue to use passifying dialogue. (e.g. "What's the problem? How can I help?") The best way to win a fight is to not let it happen in the first place. "Calm down buddy" and "Take it easy" can increase tension.
    • Passifying dialogue has several positive effects:
      • It affords the aggressor non-violent options.
      • It may lower the aggressor's guard or cause them to underestimate you.
      • It establishes your position on the fight.
      • It illicits a choice on the behalf of the aggressor which will buy you time.
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    Watch for the adrenal response in your aggressor. When the adrenaline is really pumping in your assailant, the attack is most likely imminent. Most people will not back down from an attack once their adrenalin has surged, be prepared to be hit no matter what they seem to be doing.
    • Signs that your assailant's adrenal response is in full force:
      • Monosyllabic speech or grunting
      • Excessive swearing
      • Splaying of the arms
      • Furrowed eyebrows
      • Dropping the chin
      • Face goes white
      • Baring teeth
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    Make noises while you fight. It may sound strange, but it works. Deliver your fiercest war cry in a fit of fury. This serves two purposes. For one, you'll intimidate your assailant if your grunts are really fierce and violent; second, you'll draw more attention to the fight, making it easier to end it.
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    Maintain the distance with your fence. To strike you, the aggressor must get past your fence. 95%+ of the time, they will attempt a strike to the head, usually with a right hook. (Most people are right-handed.) If you know that your assailant is left-handed, be on guard for a left hook to the face or body.
    • Use your fence as a tripwire. If your assailant touches it once, line up for a pre-emptive strike. Strike on the second touch, in a place where they are vulnerable.
    • Do not wait for your opponent to correct themselves or escalate their attempts. If they even touch you once, brace yourself for counterattack the next time they attempt contact.
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    Be very careful when you hit someone in the face. You could very easily break the small bones in your hands, or even collapse your knuckles. Aim for their nose and lips to minimize that risk.
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    If the opponent is bigger and more skilled than you are, make it an extra effort not to get hit. If they are strong, chances are they can also punch very hard. It can take just one well-placed punch to take someone out.
    • Dodging is the key. Stay on your toes and dance around like a boxer. If your assailant doesn't know in what direction you'll be going, he'll have a harder time punching you or getting you down on the ground.
    • After dodging a punch, they will be off guard for a split second. This is the time to hit them. Soft spots are extremely useful. The nose, face, kidneys, temples, and throat are all good places for a punch. This may temporarily incapacitate him (especially the throat, but it could collapse their windpipe). Kicks to the side of the femur are also effective. You can throw him off balance long enough to catch him in the jaw with a punch or kick.
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    Know how to take a hit. Unless you fly like a butterfly and sting like a bee, you'll probably be hit at least one or two times during the fight. Knowing how to take a hit will help you last longer and be able to take harder hits.
    • How to take a hit in the face. Keep your mouth closed, clench your neck and jaw muscle, and move toward the punch. Moving toward the punch (unless it's a straight-on punch) could cause the assailant to mishit, giving you an opportunity to strike back. If you can, try to get your assailant to aim for your hard forehead, which will hurt his hands.
    • How to take a hit to the body. Tighten your stomach muscles without sucking in lots of air. Try to move around the punch so that it hits you on the sides (obliques) rather than dead on in the stomach or against any organs.
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    Aim your reactive strikes at the chin or jaw. Fist and hand techniques are the most viable option. Look at the jaw before you strike it. This not only gives you the chance to disable your opponent, but even a strong failed attempt can force an attacker to reconsider further efforts.
    • If he's leaving his stomach unguarded, try to go for a gut punch in order to knock the wind out of him. If you succeed in knocking the wind out of him, the fight is effectively done.
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    If he falls over, kick or stomp at his legs and torso. A knee drop to the chest is also very effective, but realize that it places you in close proximity to any attacks of theirs. Do not kick to the head, as it is easily fatal.
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    Escape once the assailant is down and vanquished. If your punching technique is strong enough and you have mentally disarmed the attacker via your dialogue and "fence," he will be knocked out or at very least disorientated. Use this time to escape if you can. If your strike did not have this effect, he will still be caught off-guard. Continue forcing him back with strikes to the chin, jaw and neck, until they are unable or unwilling to fight.


  • Also always stand your ground.
  • Alertness is key! Keeping an eye on surroundings is very beneficial.
  • Don't strike first, no matter which way the fight goes you can sue the other person for assault, and you did not start the fight, which makes the chances of winning the case so much higher
  • To avoid punching mouth area, as teeth could injure your knuckles with cuts, try to use open palm strike instead or open hand slap to the ear area. Be careful not to hit upwards towards the nose area, or you might accidentally kill your opponent.
  • If the assailant is bigger, it is better for you to immediately try to get him on the ground and keep him there. It gives you a major advantage.
  • If they try to kick you, grab their foot and swing it either forwards (to topple them onto the ground) or backwards (causing them to stumble off balance)
  • Your levels of strength and endurance will be a major factor should the fight last more than a few seconds. Some combat-specific weightlifting will be immensely beneficial - one of the best sources of information for this is Bud Jeffries, at
  • Strike when they're distracted, and don't stop till you see blood. Take all your anger out on your opponent.
  • If your assailant is disorientated go for multiple hits in rapid succession, combo's can put the attacker down quicker with less chance of being hit. The downfall is you have more chance of a miss-hit and hurting yourself, remember to be quick but not too quick (you're not Bruce Lee).
  • Before engaging in combat, make a mental note whether your opponent is right or left handed. This can help preempt a strike.
  • Don't worry about pain, because with the adrenaline rush, you won't feel anything until after the fight is over.
  • Some powerful body mechanics for a pre-emptive strike are the "double-hip" and "waveforms". For more information on these two subjects, see Peter Consterdine's Powerstrike and Powerkick DVDs, and Russell Stutely's MFFS DVDs.
  • When fighting, just keep yourself calm, and you should be guaranteed a win (especially against opponents under the influence of alcohol, or emotions).
  • Lean with the punch so it doesn't have as much pressure and ease back with it. If you lean toward the punch it'll just hurt worse and probably bruise worse too.
  • Be aware of your surroundings. If the fight isn't going your way, using your environment against the opponent could turn the tide. Examples include things like cups of water or other liquid, metal rods or other such objects, and anything else that could be used to cause damage to the attacker's arms and legs. Aim to disorientate, knock out or disable, not to kill.
  • Do not hit upward at the nose because it can break the nose bone, and make it go to the skull which could be fatal.
  • Also if you know you can't continue its not a bad idea to play dead. This comes with some rules though. If he really wants you dead, don't do this. Do this after your opponent has hit you a couple of times. But do it right when the opponent makes contact again. Another rule is don't do this where you could get hurt. Ex: tile, wood, stone etc. another rule is you have o be at least a little good at acting. Do that until the opponent leaves. If you wanna be sneaky then when he turns around you could finish him off. But don't do this for everyone, cause he may not go down. Lastly don't do this where you can't get help. Because anger can get to your opponent and make him do stuff he otherwise wouldn't.
  • If you're in a fist fight a good way to win is search for weak spots. Let's say you find out that spot is the stomach or the sides. One hit at a weak spot could result in you winning.
  • Try to block the shot with your hand and twist the person's arm to put them in a choke-hold.


  • If you fall on the ground, do everything in your power to keep your opponent away until you can get back up. Every second you are on the ground you put yourself in danger of getting kicked or stomped by anyone standing by as well as your attacker. Realize that you will be very vulnerable when trying to get up, and might actually have a better position on the ground if an opponent is very close. Keep your arms high on your body, prepare to roll away from attacks, and use your legs to keep your attacker distant.
  • Never drop your guard. Before relaxing, check that there are no more opponents in the area.
  • Do not, however, hesitate or worry over the legal ramifications of what you are doing once you're actually being attacked. If you are in danger, it is far better to defend yourself vigorously, and explain your actions later in court, than it is to be hurt or killed.
  • Any fight you get yourself in can have serious, even life-changing consequences. Fight only if it's absolutely vital - the legal aftermath is not worth anything else. It is easier to permanently damage or kill people than is commonly understood, and weapons frequently enter into modern engagements.
  • Never try to grab an opponent's legs while he or she is standing firm with your arms or hands. Most of the time it will be much too difficult to move them, and will leave you prone to many attacks such as kneeing or being hit on the back of the head. It is possible to knock an opponent down by grabbing the calf and simultaneously pulling the leg towards you whilst you push into the knee with your shoulder, this technique can also be performed using one foot to hook the leg and the other to push the knee.
  • Address all injuries as quickly as can be managed.

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Categories: Martial Arts