"In a street fight do this", "In a street fight, do that", "You should never do that in a street fight", "A person would never do this in a street fight", "This works in competition, but you never want to do it in a street fight".
Since I started martial arts and self-defense training, 40 years ago, I have heard everyone from a white belt to a red belt to "street survival experts" and "special operators" talk about "street fighting" in one aspect or another. The reasons to use one particular martial art or defensive tactics system over another in a "street fight" tends to come from those who are practitioners or at least admirers of that particular style/system. It all seems to be a rather subjective and ambiguous set of criteria for best practices in a bad situation. My goal in this article is to try to clear up a very troublesome issue with both sides of this argument and attempt to make the argument have a more objective conclusion based on defined terms and real world data. The central theme that needs to be clarified by any martial system making a claim about it's effectiveness in a street fight is - What do you mean when you say "street fighting"?
Often when an individual or organization is looking for self-defense training they wind up hiring the services of a martial arts instructor. In part this is because many people are under the impression that the typical martial arts instructor is capable of teaching the lessons important for effective modern day self-defense. Additionally, those seeking self-defense training services will often do the bulk of their research via Google and it is common for martial arts schools to advertise on their website and storefront signage that they offer self-defense training, when the fact of the matter is that they quite simply do not.