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Brawling: How to Brawl in Self Defense

Updated on January 27, 2013

Self Defense: Learn to Brawl to Defend Yourself

Learning brawling for self defense is a solid strategy because you are learning a fighting style that is immediately practical because by its very nature brawling is designed to be used in an all out drag out fight, often in narrow areas or with unfavorable odds. I wouldn't take a brawler against a black belt in an open field, all things being equal, but if you want to learn more self defense or learn any at all, then learning even the basics of how to brawl will make a huge difference.

Classic Brawl Painting

Know Your Surroundings in a Brawl

Part of getting through a brawl is knowing your surroundings before the actual brawling takes place. Tables, stools, chairs, and bottles can all be quickly used as weapons, or used just to stumble up a group and make your escape. Being familiar with what's around you can buy critical seconds, an also help you if things go bad and it's brawling time.

Using anything at hand as a weapon isn't just a mainstay of learning how to brawl. Many other self defense techniques teach the same, and even certain styles of Kung Fu are renowned for teaching this aspect of fighting.

Brawling is a natural part of self defense because most fights don't break out in a ring with a referee. Learning to fight in an actual fight setting is a critical part of self defense. Even when it's a quiet night, look around your favorite bar or hang out and study your environment to see how it can be used in the future. Getting into this habit can also help teach you to be more aware of your surroundings and therefore help to stay out of bad situations by recognizing them before they start.

Krav Maga Self Defense Against Armed Assailant

Bas Rutten Brawling Demonstration - a Little Over the Top

"But What If?" - The Enemy of Good Brawling and Self Defense

Before starting this section, I need to start with the caveat of don't take this section as legal advice.  This advice, and this hub by extension, is not about legal definitions of assault or self defense, but merely deals with real life self defense and brawling.  Many people get hurt because they let up, and they let up because of the "what if" fears.  "What if I hurt him?"  "What if I get arrested?" "What if I get in trouble later?"

My issue with these thoughts is simple: they don't keep me alive.  In fact, they might kill you if you hold back during a really nasty brawl.  You learn brawling to keep yourself from getting assualted or worse.  DUring a fight or an attack, that should be your one and only priority.

After brawling your way to a successful self defense, then you can worry about the rest, but during a fight, if you die then the rest doesn't matter.  Even in an absolute worst case scenario (and if you're defending yourself most likely you're going to get through a brawl completely free of any legal reprecussion), better two years in jail than dying.  Better getting sued for hospital bills than being sexually assualted.

When you're in a self defense scenario, worry about defending yourself and nothing else.  If you're truly defending yourself, then there's more than a 90%+ chance you won't have any legal problems.  Many people are amazed at the sheer number of brawls or fights that never get the police called - and if you're defending yourself, then legally you're in as good a position as you could ask for.

Survive first in a self defense situation, and don't worry about the rest until you're safe.  You hope it never comes to defending yourself or needing to know how to brawl, but if you're in that situation, hurt your opponent (or opponents) and get out as healthy and unharmed as possible.  Deal with any reprecussions later.

Weird Bar Brawling Video

Brawling for Self Defense: A Conclusion

Brawling can be harder to learn for some because there are no hard and fast rules as there are with different styles of martial arts.  That said, brawling is a natural fit for self defense because it's a natural style of fighting that comes from the normal assumption that you are going to be in a fight.  In many ways, effective brawling comes down simply to this idea: inflicting as much damage as possible as quickly as possible.

It doesn't matter if the attacker is 6'8" and 280 lbs - a kick to the groin, an eye gouge, a punch to the throat, and a knee to the face will put down about anyone.  If you want a practical method of self defense, then learning how to brawl is a very solid choice in getting that education.

Self Defense & Brawling Poll

How many times have you had to fight hand to hand or brawl in self defense before?

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Brawling Comments, Tips, Stories - Keep it Tasteful

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    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I've both seen and been involved in many street fights over the years and the one thing i've learned is that as long as you know what your doing, size is irrelevant.

    • PassinItAlong profile image


      9 years ago

      Someone said, "The best Self Defense Technique is to run away from dangers." Well, if all else fails, brawl. Thanks.

    • Richard Thomas profile image

      Richard Thomas 

      9 years ago

      Wow! lots of good information in this hub! Ido agree that learning to fight is essential; "never look away from your oponent"!

    • captainchris profile image


      9 years ago


      Great hub page!!you did a wonderful job on posting this!!

      i really enjoyed reading it!!

      Thanks for the tips!!

    • Jerry G2 profile imageAUTHOR

      Jerry G2 

      9 years ago from Cedar Rapids, IA

      Hi Jeanie,

      Great point and great comment. I definitely agree that whatever way gets you out quickly and safely is the best, and by all means: carry the pepper spray or stun gun. But it never hurts to know how to defend yourself hand to hand since that's one weapon that cannot be taken away from you.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Of course, nobody can be expected to react very well when surprised, at least not if they want to remain in good standing in society. But the best way to remain un-surprised is to be prepared. And this generally means doing your duty as a free citizen of a free country and arming yourself so you can ensure that your civil rights are not violated.

    • Jerry G2 profile imageAUTHOR

      Jerry G2 

      9 years ago from Cedar Rapids, IA

      Yeah, kjh, I haven't lived in gang territory too often, but life is unpredictable and it's always good to be prepared. I've known people who literally pick random fights when they're in a bad mood, and better to be able to defend yourself than not.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      It sucks cause i got jump by some bloods cause i was wesring blue. they best the shit out of me.

    • The Guardian profile image

      The Guardian 

      10 years ago from Florida

      Great hub. Most people would be amazed that they don't have what it takes to go "all in" in a fight. Education is the key to survival.

    • Jerry G2 profile imageAUTHOR

      Jerry G2 

      10 years ago from Cedar Rapids, IA

      Yeah, I hate violence, but I also believe in stepping in and doing the right thing, and I've lived in some shady places so learning to fight effectively is really important. I'm somewhat lucky as I'm naturally a big guy with a great frame, but I agree, usually people don't want to get involved in a fight so if you can't handle yourself, there's a big chance that you'll take a serious beating without anyone helping. Knee to the face is good, I'm also big on throwing elbows to the head and kicking the knee cap when I have no choice but to fight. Hope this hub ends up helping out some people, or at least interests them into finding out more. I have nothing against martial arts, they can be effective, but people who watch Tai Chi or Tae Bow videos and think they can handle themselves are in some serious trouble if things ever get really bad. Thanks for the comment.

    • ocbill profile image


      10 years ago from hopefully somewhere peaceful and nice

      A biker & someone I know got into it in Vegas (road rage). I don't remember if the biker guy was hurt because he had a full covered helmet on. The normal dude had some bruises on his face and did use the knee to the fece technique. Yeah, there were no refs so the biker threw the 1st punch but normal guy was unscathed and it was a stand-up wrestle. Guess what, the public was just watching as these two tussled in the street in front of a post office.


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