Street Fighting Mistakes: Every Fight Is To The Death

There are many street fighting mistakes that need to be exposed and this is perhaps one of the most common: thinking that every street fight is to the death.

I’ve seen numerous self-defense instructors and their students claim you should always use lethal techniques, treating every street fight as if the other guy is trying to kill you. That simply isn’t the case, not by a long shot.

There is a problem though, a particular issue inherent to all violence, and I’ll cover that later in this article, but first let’s look at an example of a street fight not devolving into death and destruction.

The usual disclaimer:

  • I wasn’t there and neither were you. So all we can do is interpret and give an opinion on what we see. No more, no less.
  • I don’t know what happened before the video starts or if after it ends. Maybe the guy walked away, maybe he got beat up anyway. No clue.
  • Just because it worked in this video, doesn’t mean it will always work. Nothing does, violence is too unpredictable.

That said, here is the video:

Some of the critical points in this incident:

  • Leather Jacket is talking lots of trash. He’s going on a righteous tirade in French, calling Grey Jacket a dirty faggot and more. He’s escalating things really hard.
  • He avoids a first intervention. The guy next to Grey Jacket gets ready to step in, but he is stopped by the guy in the hoodie. Leather Jacket keeps on insulting Grey Jacket, doesn’t reposition, nothing. He’s oblivious to the danger.
  • He avoids a second intervention. Grey Jacket slaps Leather Jacket’s hand down, steps into the street and it looks like he’s getting ready to start the fight. Leather Jacket doesn’t care and yells at the guy to hit him.
  • He is completely blindsided. Mr. Dreadlock catches him completely by surprise as he rushes in and drives him down on the ground. He gets very quiet as Mr. Dreadlock talks to him and eventually lets him up with the clear message to move on. Mr. Dreadlock seems to go away to hand off his glasses and make the guy leave, but he doesn’t return for an unknown reason.
  • He’s not sure what to do next. Leather Jacket waves his finger about a bit and seems unsure how to proceed. Go away? Get back to whipping himself into a frenzy? The video ends before we find out.

As a friend of mine would say: no blood, no foul. Street fight avoided and everybody gets to go home alive and (more or less) unharmed.

Could this have turned into a full fight? Yes, absolutely. But it didn’t, and that’s my point. More on this below, but for now I’d like you to focus on the fact that not a single blow was thrown and the fight was nipped in the bud. There was no need at all for lethal techniques.

Street Fighting Mistakes - Every Fight Is To The Death

Street Fighting Mistakes: Not Every Fight Is To The Death

Before you go out and try this, some points to consider:

  • Surprise. Mr. Dreadlock catches him by complete surprise, which avoids potential counter moves. Leather Jacket is completely wrapped up in his woofing and only knows about the attack when he is already on his way to the ground.
  • Overwhelming force. The rush is violent and fast, leaving Leather Jacket immediately overwhelmed. There is no hesitation, no feeling out, just a blitz attack forward. If you haven’t experienced this before, it’s a both physically and mentally intimidating experience.
  • Continuous pressure. Mr. Dreadlock rides the guy to the ground and keeps him pushed down with both hands, leaning forward with his entire body weight. This limits Leather Jacket’s options and intimidates him some more. He goes into submissive/freeze mode and doesn’t offer any resistance.
  • Dominating presence. Mr. Dreadlocks towers over the guy for a bit. This is another domination display, while also positioning him to kick or punch the guy if he makes a move. The same happens when the guy gets up: Mr. Dreadlock positions himself overtly for an ass-kicking and makes it clear to the guy that he’s ready for him
  • Leave an easy exit. Mr. Dreadlock simultaneously gives Leather Jacket an easy exit: just walk away. After dominating him mentally and physically, Leather Jacket’s brain is likely telling him that this is actually a great idea. He’s too worked up to just up and go and you can see him yapping like a little dog and waving his finger around, but it is clear who the big dog is.
  • They ignore him. The guys at the entry basically ignore him, sending the message that it’s settled and he should move on. Grey Jacket positions himself to keep an eye on things, but nobody makes threats or gestures that could escalate things again.

There is more, but these are some of the reasons why it all worked out. If you can’t manage these, things might not end well. Which is the problem I mentioned in the introduction:

Whenever you engage in violence, injury and death are always on the table.

Though this incident ended before it could become a street fight because Mr. Dreadlock didn’t make any mistakes, it could have gone real bad. You never know, nobody does. There are no guarantees in a street fight. Just because it worked here, doesn’t mean it always will. Many factors have to align successfully for this strategy to work and even then it can backfire. If it does, things can end with brutal consequences for you.

My point is this:

It would just as much be a street fighting mistake to not take a situation seriously as it would be to go in with a “Kill ’em all!” mindset every single time.

As you just saw in this video, sometimes you don’t need Killer Kung Fu moves.

The real trick is knowing when you need to control the aggressor like in this example and when to take the guy out before he kills you. And of course, know all the steps in-between these extremes.

Nobody ever said this stuff was easy.


Quick note:

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  1. Spot on analysis…..reminded me of Rory Miller.

    Thanks for doing this

    You might consider having readers memorize, quote and comprehend their local laws on the legal articulation of scaling force in self defense…..when and how much does the law greenlight.

    Lastly, I didnt see the guy leather jacket was screaming at put his hands up defensively, blade, or do a head/toe, beltline, hands sweep for weapons.


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