Street Training

Street Confrontations

Who? What? Where??

 An article published in 1996 by the late Michael Gent

 For many years there has existed in our culture a particular style of fighting. You won’t be able to watch this style in local church halls but you can read about it in the local paper. The techniques are easy to learn and are very effective when used. The tactics of the style have been proven time and time again and will cause most martial arts to rethink the strategies of their arts when they are confronted by this style. Many people have at sometime of their life been influenced and involved with a style of fighting. The style is called Western Street Fighting and is something that we as martial artists must confront if we get into a street confrontation.




In this article, I wish to explore the street confrontation we will be involved in if the need arises and more importantly, who we are up against. Street fighting isn’t some vague collection of techniques that have been picked up watching T. V.  shows, it is a set of movements that have been put to the test, not once and not twice, but many times over a long period of time. Because of this fact, we need to become aware of our most common threat. Why a common threat? All you have to do is read the local papers and put yourself in touch with the real world. We say it will never happen and yet people still drive drunk and kill each other. We hope that if we are attacked today, then our art would work and we could defend ourselves and win. This is why I wanted to write this article, as the experience I have had and seen on the streets of this country, I felt that we need to be aware of what we will be up against.




Firstly, the street fighter is a human being just like you or me but with one small idea, HE LIKES TO FIGHT AND WIN. He won’t fight with any type of rules as he always sees himself at the assh*le end of life. He loses a lot within his life and so builds a reputation based on fighting, so that his self esteem and status is restored within his circle of friends. He will use everything and anything to beat you and win. This strategy is what catches most martial artists unaware. The arts they practice time and time again have codes and rules that don’t belong in the street fighter’s realm. For example – I have seen a street fighter turn his back while arguing and while holding a pint glass under his armpit, turn back and slam it into the person’s throat. You don’t see it coming due to the heat of the moment and if you are still standing then many more strikes are following the first one. Another one I have seen is where a person will pick a fight with you and while you are distracted a punch will be thrown at the side of your head. From here a number of people will jump in and kick and punch you until they have knocked you down and even then they might not stop. These attacks work because most people want to avoid street confrontations, where as this is the Dojo of the street fighter or in others words this is where he trains. What we must realize here is the fact that if you are already having an argument with a street fighter then he has already made up his mind to kick the sh*t out of you or even kill you. He will try his hardest to make sure that he can get you first so that surprise is on his side.



Three things I found work on the street and that the street fighter will use 90% of the time.

1.       Always use surprise attacks.

2.       Always go straight in and don’t stop.

3.       Never back off until you have won.      



If you watch football on T.V. you will see some of the techniques street fighters use and you might hear yourself commenting on how effective that punch was. A good street fighter should warrant respect for his skills as he puts this to the test many times. Even now many arts have included into their personal way of fighting, many aspects of western style fighting, for example the roundhouse punch or curved punch, which in some cases a number of arts have had to change some of their blocking etc. so they could deal with this type of attack. A street fighter is not an easy person to beat and a lot of the time martial artists find themselves in a position where they don’t have the room to move, as many attacks occur in confined spaces. This is very different to the large Dojo’s that the martial arts train in most of the time. We must remember that Western fighting works because of the culture it stems from. This is why you don’t see it in Eastern arts, simply because their culture is so very different to our own.




We as martial artists don’t have to rush out and take a fast lesson on the streets of New Zealand or anywhere else for that matter, what we have to do is become aware of the code of the street fighter. A stare or harsh word can create a confrontation, a bump or a push can turn into a punch or a kick (with a kick being aimed at your head while you are on the ground) which can catch you out if you are unaware. Remember that surprise is the key element in the strategy in the street and because most of us are fairly nice people with an “I don’t really want to hurt you” frame of mind, then we are setting our own art up so that we might fail when we try and use it. Any type of the above can break the code of the street and when this happens all hell can break loose on you. One way of countering this is to be able to walk the streets a little more aware and to understand the above structure and prepare yourself with a mental strategy so that you won’t be caught out. Keep your wits about you and take nothing on face value and above all train so that when you do move, be DAMN effective for you might not gain a second chance. My years of fighting on the streets taught me many things, but one thing that really made a difference was to be ready to do anything and I mean anything. If you have to bite, then bite. If you have to kick someone when he’s on the ground, then kick him on the ground and don’t be embarrassed if you end up rolling around on the floor with your attacker as this is rather common. But all of this is up to you to ensure that your skill is refined and that your technique is practised. You have the greater advantage as you have a greater supply of tactics then the street fighter all you have to do is prepare yourself so that they will work in this situation. All martial arts teach you how to deal with all types of attacks and those attacks were the way warriors attacked many years ago. We make room in the art for a small amount of the types of attacks that are common today, for one day they will be the attacks of the past.




Maai Hyoshi Dojos allow its students the chance to experience rather than learn by trial and error in the street situation. This won’t happen at every class, just as you won’t be involved in a fight every day, but it will be presented in the class. Well my time is up, so good luck in your study and train hard.


 Thank you


Killer Instinct

Article by Sensei Stephen Clark


A student asked the question, “How do I get or develop killer instinct?”


Yeah, well, what came first the chicken or the egg?


Interesting question, that also, at least to me brings other questions or topics into the equation or debate.


Firstly what is Killer Instinct?

Is it the ability to kill or inflict serious harm against another person, or can it also be regarded as having the will to win or survive at any costs? Am I born with this ability or is it a learned skill?


Well, as human beings we seem to have this innate ability to inflict harm on others, at times without a second thought. How and why we do this when we also have the ability to love unconditionally is beyond me. And looking at the world, the violence that is experienced on a daily basis, it certainly shows that anyone is capable of inflicting harm on others (harm can also be delivered on a emotional level, not just physical), but what about in a situation outside of my control that I may be unprepared for - can I turn on the switch when it is needed?


Here are a few situations to consider.


A women is out walking with her child in a pram and a man jumps out and hits her and threatens to kill her if she doesn’t give him her money, she is scared and submissive and gives him her purse, she has no thoughts of fighting back, just to give him what he wants ( hoping he will then leave, doesn’t always work that way), he then attempts to grab the child the women flips out, starts screaming and begins clawing and attacking the man, he drops the purse and runs away. Well, what happened there, her survival instinct kicked in, though not for her, for her child, and for most women there is nothing they will not do to protect their children.


A male approaches me and is mouthing off, I tell him to go away and that I am not interested, he continues with the verbal assault and moves closer, then I close the distance, stepping forwards, I grab his elbow with my left hand and his throat with my right hand, I squeeze as hard as I can, letting go, as he starts to feel heavy, he slumps to the ground unconscious, I told you I wasn’t interested ‘d*ckhead’, not that he could hear me.


What about a boxer that dominates the ring and knocks out his opponents.

All of the above can be thought of as having killer instinct in one way or another. It is having determination and the will to deal with any challenge one is confronted with and having the will to survive no matter what the cost. A physical fight is just the one we are more familiar with, though it could just be surviving dinner with the in-laws.

The warrior accepts any Challenge that comes his way.


Most people at some time or other will unleash their killer instinct; the secret is finding what button needs to be pushed in order to use it. Think deeply about this, what would make you want to hurt another person, visualize it, feel it. Next time you are training, bring this feeling up and use it against your partner. If you trap an animal in a corner; it will fight its way out, survival instinct rules over all others.


How can we address and develop our killer instinct?

Through training? Yes and No, martial arts training will develop our warrior spirit, but in no way does it put us under the pressure that occurs in a real situation. Boxing, MMA and other competitive sport can help and should hone our will to win, getting in fights and confrontations is another method but also may introduce you to the prison system.


English author and Martial artist ‘Geoff Thompson’ addressed his fears and honed his skills by becoming a bouncer, working in numerous rough and tumble bars, he has had hundreds of fights and almost killed as a result of wanting to test himself and improve his life. Reading his book ‘Watch My Back’ has many insights into developing from a martial artist to a fighter. The Military and Police also provide similar career choices. The Army train their troops for combat and to develop their killer instinct in preparation for war.


Put yourself in situations that are competitive and test your will and desire to win. Study the psychological aspects of fighting, fear management, adrenal control, this will provide some insights into why we act the way we do. Train in such a way that it puts you under pressure, both physically and emotionally. Having the shit kicked out off you will prepare you for the real world. I have been more scared of what my training partners can do to me then some punk on the street. “The more you bleed in training, the less you bleed in combat “- Navy SEAL Axiom.


Mental toughness or strength of will is required to survive against exceptional circumstances. Being tough is not the ability to beat many people but to survive an onslaught and then beat the crap out of them. “Take a kicking and keep on ticking” is a Gracie Jiu-jitsu motto that supports this notion.


Alcohol and drugs alter the mind shutting down the logic centres of the brain. There are many people that under the influence of alcohol and drugs cause violence and start fights, though this has little to do with killer instinct and more to do with the fact that alcohol shuts down the brain to its core functions, and drugs, particularly methamphetamine or ‘P’ actually fries the brain. People under the influences of these substances feel little or no pain and are like a train out of control. Though without these drugs, some of these people have trouble tying their shoe laces. When confronted with people under the influence of drugs and alcohol, this is where the survival and killer instincts within us all come into their own. I must first survive the onslaught, then control and finish it.

 Survival first, as it is very difficult to walk around in a state of preparedness all of the time, unless you sleep with one eye open and one hand on your sword!

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