A little plagiarism on my part but I would like to discuss the dynamics of a real street fight. So, let’s talk fighting.

I don’t discount anyone’s experience or background but I have to abide by my own experience first and foremost. Theory is nice but for it to be acceptable it has to be based on something other than opinion. If I want to know about fighting I’m not going to go to a tournament champion or a kata competitor. I’ll go to someone that has fought a real street fight, not once but numerous times. Everyone seems to have a theory about fighting, how fights evolve and the dynamics of combat but how many of these individuals have experience in real combat?

In many instances I have to rely on the experience of others due to my lack of experience in a particular area. No-one knows everything and in spite of my claim of a doctorate in everythingology I’m no exception. However this is an area that I have extensive experience in. Not that it was my choice. It was my reality. I grew up in the tougher neighborhoods in one of the roughest cities in the nation. I fought out of survival. I was never a tournament or kata champion but I could and I did fight.

One of the things that are liberally said by martial artists is that most fights end up on the ground. I wonder where have they been fighting and who have they been fighting with. Try rolling on the sidewalk with some street fighter and see how long you last. If you don’t get a knife in your belly you are subject to be stomped or kicked to death. Fact; wolves run in packs.

Please don’t think that I come with prepackaged agendas. I’m primarily a striker first and a grappler secondly but I love grappling. I trained in judo and jiu jitsu and I wrestled in high school. I was also a darned good street wrestler. I started boxing and karate some years after training in grappling. The reason being that, as much as I loved grappling, it wasn’t practical for the challenges that I faced in the streets. I got my clock cleaned trying to wrestle against street fighters. It was okay if the fight was one on one or with an unarmed opponent but this is the ghetto we’re talking about.

In my many years in the martial arts I have studied, trained and taught various martial arts not the least of them being grappling. Grappling builds strength and endurance. A judoka is one of the best conditioned fighters that you’ll ever face. One on one they offer some of the best in the way of combat alternatives but those types of confrontations are the acceptation rather than the rule in the streets. I’m not talking about adolescent fights on the playground or the drunken brawl in the local neighborhood bar. I’m talking street survival.

If you are confronted by an aggressor in the streets it’s because he figures he has the upper hand. It may just be that he is bigger or feels he is more skilled but more often it is because he has stacked the deck in his favor. He is either armed or has backup. Roll with him if you want. It may be only him. In such a case you may very well have the advantage but do you want to base your life and survival on that eventuality? The wrong decision could cost your life.

To be fair most of us don’t have to exist in the ghetto or the inner city. Most of us don’t travel the back allies and side streets of the city but you never know who you’ll face in a fight. You have to be prepared for any eventuality. The streets are real and the dangers they present are real. Given the opportunity I would err on the side of caution. Survival depends on expecting the worst case scenario. It’s better to expect the worst and face a lesser threat than find yourself in a deadly situation due to miscalculation and be unprepared. That a tragedy waiting to happen.

I do teach combat grappling to supplement the striking art that I teach. Every situation doesn’t require beating someone unconscious or kicking a person’s teeth through the back of his neck. Judo, jiu jitsu, aikijitsu or chin na (often interchangeable) offer another alternative that would cause less injury. There’s no gentle way to subdue an aggressor with karate or tai boxing. Grappling, especially joint locking, offers such an alternative. I teach a modified system of aikijitsu and jiu jitsu. The grappling system I teach avoid ground techniques. We will fight on the ground but only long enough to regain our feet. Locks, throws and takedowns end many of our fighting techniques. They give us another way of dealing with non critical situations. Grappling is wonderful but use it realistically and be realistic in your approach to fighting. Please keep in mind that just because a statement is made by some fighting master or another it doesn’t have to be right. Train for the streets. That’s where the rubber meets the road.

Of course that is only one of the fallacies that are propagated by many instructors and fighters. I will deal with some others in another article but I will say now that we have to be realistic in our approach toward fighting. Don’t base your personal system on the claims of some self proclaimed expert. You fight the way you train. You aren’t going to be confronted with a lot of double leg takedowns on the streets. Your opponent won’t be any more eager to roll around on the sidewalk than you will. Train to keep your feet and to fight in that position. Your life may depend on it.

God bless you, my brethren. Train hard and go with God.

Rev. Dr. Donald Miskel

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