This image crossed my path the other day and though there’s never an end to “tips,” especially in this arena, these are five solid goodies to start. They might apply to a professional fighter, but they also make sense in a self-defense scenario.
NEVER MOVE BACK IN A STRAIGHT LINE
When you get “offline” (for example, at a 45% angle), you are forcing your opponent to slow down. As he redirects to refocus his energy on you, his strikes become weaker, and a window of opportunity opens during which you can retreat to a safe direction, strike back if still under threat, etc.
Moving straight back can also have you backed into something (or on the ground!) pretty quick. A stagger is a stronger base from which to work, keeping you on your feet….where you need to stay.
Keep moving! A stationary target is a lot easier to catch and strike. Movement also makes it easier to catch your opponent by surprise – a strike from a stand-still telegraphs your intentions much faster than if you are dodging about.
Along with number one… When the opponent has to shift his focus, he also has to shift his weight, balance, and strength, giving you the upper hand.
FIGHT YOUR OPPONENT AS HE FIGHTS YOU
You never know what a person’s background is, or necessarily their style of fighting. In the heat of the moment, it’s hard to observe, but try to pick up on what he is…and isn’t…doing…as well as what he has in his arsenal. A knife fight when you aren’t armed means you’ve got a bold opponent fighting you (think: lunging slashes and stabs, unafraid of being cut in return.) If you happen to have a knife also, his movements are going to become a lot shorter, hesitant, and self-protective.
Stand your ground as much as you are able, maintaining that you are not a victim or someone to be pushed around. The more calm a person can be (and it is a challenge, assuredly) the more nerve you will evoke in the other person. Chip away at the opponent’s self-confidence and he’s going to be a lot easier to get away from, or submit (obviously depending on the circumstance.)
PLACE YOUR OPPONENT WHERE YOU WANT HIM
If you are fighter by sport or profession, STUDY…and study hard. Observe what you can before hand. If you have no ability to do so, test him to see which strikes he’s resorting to, or whether he wants to stay standing vs get you to the ground, whether he baits you, prefers kicks to punches, and which kinds… When you understand what you are working with, you know where the weaknesses are.
If in a self-defense scenario, you aren’t going to have time on your side. Do your best to note the person’s movement, as it is guaranteed to be either: their natural movement (and going to occur again), or their preferred movement (and going to occur again.) Being aware of the other person’s overall body movement can also keep us focused, giving us less time to panic.
Obviously, there are a slew of techniques and tips and methodologies out there…but these are good tidbits to keep in mind.