How to Prepare for and Win a Fight

How to Prepare for and Win a Fight: A Guide To Self Defense

By David J. Stewart

In the last few years there have been many books published which teach self defense techniques. Some are good, some are bad, but most of them lack any real depth or understanding of what it really takes to actually learn how to defend yourself from someone else’s attack. I’m not talking about learning basic moves like “The Cobra” or “The Cobra Roll” (though those would be great too) I mean actually mastering the art of fighting.

You need to understand why certain moves work and others don’t, and you need to practice them over time until they become second nature.

I’ve personally read several books on self defense, but none of them truly taught me anything new. They were all pretty much just rehashed versions of other books, with minor tweaks here and there. So when I started thinking about writing my own book on self defense, I knew exactly what kind of material to include.

My goal was to create something that would provide a comprehensive guide to everything you could possibly want to know about how to properly defend yourself against someone trying to hurt you.

While this might sound like a tall order, it isn’t at all. You see, the same principles of fighting have been around for centuries, and those principles never change. What changes are the tools we use and the techniques we practice, but the underlying principles remain the same.

If you’re a fan of the UFC (and I know you are!) then you’ve probably heard Randy Couture say this phrase many times: “It’s not about what happens, it’s about how you react.” This is the number one rule of fighting and self defense.

While this is definitely true, it only scrapes the surface of what it truly means to be a fighter. There is a lot more that goes into it than that, so let’s start from the very beginning…

Let’s Get Physical

Before we can talk about how to defend ourselves, we need to address the physical side of self defense. In every altercation there is at least one physical aspect: the fighting itself. In order for us to defend ourselves, we obviously have to be able to fight back in some way.

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This is why being in good shape is so important. I’m not saying you need to be a body builder or a marathon runner, but you should most certainly stay in some kind of shape. In fact, even if you are in great shape, you can still be overwhelmed by multiple assailants who are untrained. The other aspect is more mental: intent. Either you are fighting someone who is physically fighting you, or you are threatened with physical violence (even if it doesn’t seem violent). Either way, you need to be prepared both mentally and physically.

Fighting Smart

Obviously the first rule of fighting is to know what you’re doing. You don’t want to be jumping into a street fight if you don’t know how to throw a punch in the first place.

A few years ago, a group of thugs broke into the home of two well known MMA fighters: Jay and Karen Newton. The couple was sound asleep when the thugs entered, and they were hauled out of bed and beaten relentlessly. In Karen’s case, she was even sexually assaulted.

If it weren’t for their two pet bulls mastiffs, who bit and held on to one of the assailants while the pair made their escape, they probably wouldn’t be here today. However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t learn. Learning how to throw a punch is something that could save your life one day, so it’s worth looking into.

However, fighting smart is a little different. I’m talking about knowing when to fight and know when not to fight. It’s better to avoid a fight altogether than to be involved in one and I’ll tell you why…

First off, let’s address the “when not to fight” part.

So while Jay and Karen are certainly fighters, their attackers were more prepared for a fight and had the element of surprise on their side. While they may have had some training, it wasn’t enough to turn the tide of the attack. It’s situations like these that prove the old adage that there is no such thing as over preparation.

If you want to defend yourself, you need to be armed with more than just the desire to fight: you also need knowledge and training. As I said, if you’re outnumbered, it’s best to avoid the fight altogether. However, there are many other reasons not to fight.

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Let’s say someone calls you a name or insults you in some way. In any other situation, you would probably walk away. However, because this person insulted you, your emotions get the better of you and you wind up fighting and getting hurt (or worse).

Even if you win the fight, you’ve still lost.


Knowledge about what you’re doing and training to get yourself in shape so that you can execute that knowledge. That’s when it comes to self defense preparedness.

The other reason not to fight is because it isn’t always going to be winnable no matter how prepared you are. There are going to be some fights you just can’t win. Because you reacted off of emotion rather than logic and lost control of the situation.

More often than not, people get themselves hurt or dead because they can’t control their emotions. This is why it’s important to take a step back and analyze a situation before attacking. Even in fights, there is a line between smart fighting and stupid fighting. You want to stay on the smarter side of that line as much as you can. Someone comes at you with a gun, you can’t just whip out your handy knife that you keep in your boot and go to town (well, you can, but it isn’t recommended). It’s best to avoid situations like these at all costs.

Whether it’s knowing when not to fight or how to fight, it’s a lot easier said than done. It takes a great deal of knowledge, skill, and most importantly experience in order to pull it off successfully.

Now, with all that being said, let’s briefly talk about the other side of this topic: when it IS appropriate to fight. As I mentioned before, you don’t want to pick a fight that you can walk away from. However, there are times when you need to stand your ground and defend yourself or those you love.

The best way to explain this is an example. I can’t teach you how to control your emotions, that’s something you’re going to have to learn on your own (and some of us just have more control than others). What I can do is give you some tips on fighting and give you the knowledge of how to defend yourself if need be.

Whether or not you use it is entirely up to you. Let’s say someone calls your girlfriend a name and she goes to slap him. He blocks her hand and then he pulls a knife.

At this point, you have a decision to make. You can either walk away or assist.

Let’s analyze the pros and cons of both:

If you walk away…

Rule number one in when it IS appropriate to fight: You have to believe you can win. This seems rather obvious, but you’d be surprised at the number of people who go into a fight even when they know they are overmatched or don’t have a chance in hell. It’s usually the people with the least combat experience that do this the most.

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+ You won’t get hurt

+ You won’t have hurt someone

+ You can still hang out with your girlfriend

– Someone might get hurt or worse

– Your girlfriend might be mad at you for not helping

If you assist…

+ You helped someone

+ Someone doesn’t get hurt (as far as you know)

– You might get hurt

– Or you might hurt the person who was attacking the other guy.

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If you don’t think you can win, don’t do it. It’s not worth dying over some stupid insult. You have more important things to do in life other than protect someone’s right to say vulgarities.

However, if you do think you can win, then by all means go for it. If your girlfriend slapping him doesn’t work (which seems rather unlikely), then maybe a solid punch to the face will get the job done.

Now, it might seem odd that the “cons” column has less bad outcomes than the “pros” column does, but that’s because as I’ve said before, every situation has varying consequences. While it’s true you might hurt someone, you might also stop them from getting hurt. Plus, some of those pros might turn into cons depending on the situation.

Either way, whether you assisted or not, it never hurts to tell your girlfriend that she is beautiful regardless of what some boorish lout has to say.

Situational Example: You and your girlfriend are at a party at a friend’s house when some drunk guy decides to be funny and uninvitedly puts his hand on your girl’s butt. She turns around and slaps him in reaction.

If your girlfriend is mad at you for example, well that’s a con. On the other hand, the person who was attacking her is now too busy holding his face to continue with his original plan.

Always keep these things in mind and always try to foresee as many scenarios as possible before you act. If you have any more questions about this feel free to ask me, but I think it’s time we move on to training. He laughs it off at first, but then gets angry and calls your girlfriend a nasty name.

He then says he’s never had such a hot girl slap him before and asks if he can get another slap for five dollars.

Your girlfriend is now furious and is about to do something else. You’ve already noticed that several people in the room have stopped paying attention to what they’re doing and are watching the drama unfold.

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“You will train on your own now. I need to get back to work. Remember what we spoke about today.” Mrs.

Reynold’s says before leaving you alone in the dojo.

As she leaves, you realize you are overwhelmed with the amount of information that has been given to you today. Still, you feel more prepared for whatever this school has to throw at you now.

Looking around the dojo, you see various pieces of exercise equipment. There is everything from nunchuks to staffs to even katanas hanging on the walls of this place. You know you’ll be training with all these weapons in time, but for right now you need to focus on one.

Focusing your mind, you think back to what Mrs. Reynold’s said and then try to remember what you thought were the easiest ones to wield. The first one you think of is the kendo sword.

You’ve never actually held one, but you have seen them used in a school play once.

They are long and somewhat heavy blades with a wooden handle, right?

You walk over to the walls and find one that suits your size. It looks like it was made for a person your size, so you take it off the wall and hold it out in front of you.

You quickly remember that Mrs.

Sources & references used in this article:

The Last Enemy: Preparing to Win the Fight of Your Life by ME Wittmer – 2012 –

Brands versus Private labels-Fighting to win” by JA Quelch, D Harding – 1996 –

The three block war: fighting in urban areas by CC Krulak – Vital Speeches of the Day, 1997 –

Preparing for the Fight Tonight: Multi-Domain Battle and Field Manual 3-0 by DG Perkins – Military Review, 2017 –