As someone who is preparing for the worst, we are all aware of some of the dangers that we might face if the SHTF.
We spend countless hours researching, preparing our homes and vehicles to help us survive through the worst, and learning survival techniques that range from EMP attacks to complete civil unrest.
One thing that is overlooked by a lot of prepper? Basic hand-to-hand fighting.
Obviously, the best way to learn effective hand to hand fighting is from a certified instructor in a system designed to win a fight quickly or to out-smart or outlast your opponent.
There are systems that, even though they help train the body and mind, are ineffective in a real fighting situation.
Fighting Styles Worth your Time
There are a few systems that are worth your investment if you choose to find an instructor. One that is gaining a lot of popularity is Krav Maga.
This system was developed by the Israeli Defense Forces as a way to eliminate your opponent quickly with quick strikes to vital and sensitive areas on the body. It also has some elements of grappling and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) is another fighting technique that would be worth your investment. It is a system based on the premise that most fights end in a scrappy mess on the ground.
This fighting style teaches you how to take people to the ground in various ways, and win the fight on the ground through joint locks, chokes, and other submissions.
You won’t learn how to throw a punch correctly, but you will be an effective fighter when you take someone to the ground.
The last one we will highlight is Mixed Martial Arts (MMA). This system was developed in the early 90’s as most of you know as a competitive competition to see what martial arts were the ‘best.’ What they found out was that the best fighters in the competition were the ones who trained in various disciplines – primarily boxing, grappling, and BJJ.
Hence the birth of Mixed Martial Arts. If you can find a good instructor near you that teaches MMA, you have the best opportunity to learn how to be a well-rounded fighter from them.
1. How to Throw a Punch
Most people usually overlook the importance of throwing a punch properly. And once you know how to throw one properly, you will notice quickly that most people do not know how to throw one properly. Understanding these dynamics will give you an advantage over the average Joe.
We will be using a lot of FightTIPS youtube videos to demonstrate these proper techniques. It is amazing channel if you want to learn more about proper fighting techniques and ways to defend yourself in a street fight.
As you can see from the video, the most important aspect of throwing a punch properly has nothing to do with the hands themselves, but with the feet. Knowing how to stand, and how to move your feet is the key fundamental in boxing, and it’s why boxer train so much in their footwork.
The next thing to always keep in mind is the amount of punch-able surface area you are giving your opponent. You want to stand with your strongest hand to the back and your weak hand forward.
This weak hand is used for jabs, counter punches, and quick hooks and quick uppercuts. Your strong hand is used after you have jabbed and opened up opponent’s defense. Standing like this will give you a smaller profile and make you harder to hip.
Most of your punching power comes from your hips, so it’s important to practice slowly in the beginning and train your body to twist your hips when you are throwing punches. This is one of the keys to throwing a punch correctly and distinguishes a person from knowing nothing about throwing a punch, to someone who has some skill in it.
In the video, he also goes into detail about open hand strikes as they are a good way to throw jabs without injuring your hands. This happens a lot with professional fighters, let alone someone who has never fought before.
Once you understand these fundamentals, you can start practicing some of the specialized punches like hooks and uppercuts. Your jab should be tight and quick as this is your most significant punch and someone who is proficient at jabs can win a street fight just with those.
2. The Clinch
The clinch is arguably just as important as the punch, especially if your fighting style is based around grappling or BJJ. A lot of fights are a mess, and you end up clinching anyways, so it’s important to know what it is, how do it, how to escape it, and how to take someone to the ground with it.
As you can see, it is used as a defensive tactic when you are dealing with someone who is a superior striker, or just throwing a lot of wild punches.
The technique he shows with the flying knee is an aggressive way to gain the clinch, but it is very effective and causes the opponent to get on their back foot and give you the ability to sweep them quickly.
The easiest way to gain the clinch is to simply charge in till you can smash your face in their chest. It’s important to continue to move forward with your hands up for protection till your face is on their chest.
Once this is achieved, you will have to either gain control of their arms so you can clinch them, or if you are lucky enough, you will be able to get both your arms underneath their armpits and around to their back.
Once you are in a clinch position, you have control of their body. Depending on the clinch you have, you can either continue to fight on your feet, or take them to the ground and ground and pound – throwing big haymakers with the person underneath you – or you can go for a choke or submission if you have some experience in grappling on the ground (Wrestling or BJJ).
As you can see from this video, if you have any proficiency in a clinch, you can control your opponent and make the fight tough for them. This particular clinch was developed for Muay Thai Boxing were you are allowed to throw kicks and knees.
As you can see, it can be devastating for the person who is being clinched because of the amount of control you have over their body and the knees that you can throw to their body and head.
Now, What about clinches to take someone to the ground? This video shows you some techniques practiced in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu to do exactly that.
BJJ is all about gaining the clinch and taking someone to the ground were your techniques should overwhelm them if you have experience in the martial art.
You will notice very quickly in BJJ that there is always a way to gain a dominant position, a choke, or a joint lock and it is often referred to a chess match with the bodies. This is why BJJ has become a fundamental practice to learn in the Mixed Martial Arts scene.
This video also transitions us into our final thing you need to learn.
3. Ground Fighting
To understand this art takes dedication and a lot of practice and sparring, but once learned, you will have an edge on nearly everyone you come across. Nearly everyone that has no fighting experience has no counter to a good grappler and ground fighter.
The style in and of its self is very foreign to the way we traditionally view fights. It is this reason that most people are unaware of what is going on, and it’s why you will have a huge advantage to your average Joe.
In this video, you will hear them say “full guard” and most people would say, “How is this a dominant position when he is on his back on the ground?” The reason this is a dominant position in ground fighting is because of your hips.
The hips are one of your strongest muscles, and they give you the ability to control the person on top of you. You can push them away or pull them closer to you with relative ease; giving you opportunities for chokes and submissions.
The techniques shown in this video are some of the bread and butter techniques in BJJ. They are some of the easiest to learn and the most effective in finishing a fight.
These methods can be very dangerous when not practiced properly or without care for who you are practicing with, so it is important to note that the best way to practice these is with an instructor if you can.
These chokes and submissions have many variations and ways to apply them, and this is why it is so important to learn these techniques with a certified instructor and to practice these with sparring partners.
Not only will you learn things that can’t be taught through youtube, but you will also gain valuable experience dealing with an opponent that is trying to the same thing to you. End the Fight.
Final Tips to Be a Better Fighter
The best defensive advice is to keep your feet moving. Circling and moving back from punches will keep you from getting hit, and set you up for devastating counter punches. You have probably heard that the best defense is a strong offense, and this is one of those situations.
Moving your feet effectively will make your offensive strikes stronger and keep you from getting hit as much as you would if you were stationary.
The scariest situation you could find yourself in a fight is when someone has control of you on your back and is attempting to apply a rear-naked choke. The following video gives you ideas to get out of it if you are standing up.
We will finish up with kicks. If you find yourself fighting a kicker, you have two options that you must try to accomplish to keep them from kicking and damaging you. If the kick is high, you have an excellent opportunity to catch their leg and sweep them to the ground. DO NOT try to catch kicks lower than your hips as they will leave you open for a punch to the face.
For leg kicks, you have to ‘check’ the kick by raising your leg and having them connect to the side of your shin. Although it is painful, it is much better than taking straight kicks to your thighs or knees. These kicks, if not checked, will leave you crippled very quickly in a fight.
If you choose to throw kicks, keep them below the hips and aim for the thighs and knees. This is especially effective in keeping a big guy away from you and cripple their legs, slowing them down, and wearing out their will to fight.
Although the best way to prepare for a fight is with certified instructors, you can prepare for these situations through practice and the wealth of knowledge you can find on these subjects on the internet.
Remember to practice in real life situations with a sparring partner to get the most of your learning, and always spar in a safe manner so you can continue to learn and not have to recovery from an injury that won’t allow you to fight.
Heath is a homesteader, permaculturist, farmer and ex-level 1 combatives instructor in the U.S. Army, with a lifelong passion for martial arts.