In a new video on his YouTube channel, MMA fighter and kickboxing champion Gabriel Varga shares his best advice for how to defend yourself and get out of a street fight with minimum violence. “I’ve never been in a street fight where I actually had to hit somebody,” he says, explaining that he will deescalate a situation whenever possible.
Keeping that in mind, Varga’s first tip is to create distance between yourself and the aggressor and holds your palms up. “I do not want to take a classic fighting stance, because this looks like I want to fight,” he says. “As soon as something happens, step back, hands high.”
His second piece of advice is to keep talking, calmly and firmly telling the other person how much you don’t want to fight. “It’s all about not coming across aggressively,” he says. “If I start screaming at this guy, that’s an invitation to fight.”
Rather than throwing a punch, Varga states that a swift kick to the thigh or groin can be highly effective if your goal is to momentarily subdue your opponent in order to give yourself time to get away. “Most people don’t have the conditioning to take a low kick, and then you can leave,” he says, adding that being at a kicking distance will also mean you’re out of punching range.
However, if the other person starts moving in on you, Varga recommends knowing one or two close-range self-defense tactics. Firstly, he advises against using your fist, as throwing a punch to somebody’s head will likely damage your hand, and instead suggests using an open palm. “It’s essentially the exact same power,” he says. “I can throw it really hard… but I’m not going to break my hand.”
Finally, Varga demonstrates the best way to block strikes, extending your arms out and stopping the punch at enough of a distance that your head won’t take any damage, immediately followed by an open-palm hit in a rapid one-two that will enable you to get out of there.
“If you leave ego aside… if you don’t feel that need to respond, to hit them back because they disrespected you, you can get out,” he says. “It’s when the ego comes in that things go awry.”
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