I worked as a bouncer doing nightclub security for five years in New York City and San Francisco. I saw a lot of crazy stuff during this time, though I got out of it relatively without a scratch. I was a young black belt in my 20s, weighing in at 165 pounds and standing 5’9” tall. Typically I was the smallest of the security staff at the club I worked in, although I had full respect of my co-workers due to seeing me deal with situations. I was never able to visually intimidate most people. However, intimidation was never my intent at a bouncer. I was there to diffuse and (if I’m very honest) to put my training into practice. During this time I saved a number of club goers from danger, but there were those that weren’t so lucky. This was never due to any fault of my own; some people are just hell-bent on fighting. I once saw a one-on-one fight turn into a five-on-one fight in the span of 5 seconds. The loser was beat to a pulp. I would bet good money he never forgot the experience. So, if you want to know how to survive a street fight, here are some personal observations from my experience.
Don’t get into a fight with a stranger if you can avoid it. You never know whom you are fighting or what their capabilities are. You also have no idea the level of insanity the other person may posses. In all reality, dusting it up over something that can be talked out is just bad for personal business. It’s not worth it.
Talk your way out of it. Please take my advice on this one and let your ego be bruised. An extremely low percentage of fights are worth it. Let someone else think they’ve “won” rather than risk damage or worse.
Should you be unwittingly dragged into a fight, don’t ever underestimate the capabilities of your opponent. Looks can be deceiving! Take my example of being small for a bouncer. I was just as, and sometimes a lot more, effective than my peers who had 100 pound of weight on me.
Watch out for their friends and even strangers. There is no such thing as a fair fight. Rarely will you see in this day and age friends who will let their buddy fight one on one. Especially if their buddy is the one losing! Always assume that there is a potential second or third opponent and watch your back. Keep moving, and don’t stand still. This will help you catch your surroundings.
Get out of there. Don’t stick around to gloat. Get to your car or to anywhere that would be safe. You run the risk of being hurt further or winding up arrested. You might not be charged with a crime, but the police are well within their rights to arrest people who are fighting and sort it out later in the courts.
Don’t do any more damage to someone than it takes to defend yourself. Should you find yourself in legal trouble, you will have to be able to prove that your response wasn’t excessive to the incident at hand. For instance, say you wind up in a fight in a bar and your opponent is on their last legs. For good measure you wind up hitting them one last time and their head hits the bar railing, killing them. You are now potentially (depending on the local laws, I’m not a law professional) on the hook for involuntary manslaughter. You can’t at that point in front of witnesses prove that you felt in fear for your life.
At the end of the day, just don’t fight. If you have to fight, keep good awareness of your surroundings and get the hell out of there as fast as you can. Don’t hurt anyone in excess to the danger of the situation.