3 Simple Tricks To Win A Fight Without Fighting

self protection tips
Most fights are won and lost at the pre-fight stage. What you do here will dictate how things end. Here are three simple tricks to use at the pre-fight stage that will turn the tables to your advantage and allow you to walk away without fighting.

Not every aggressive confrontation has to end in physical violence. If you know how to control the pre-fight stage to your advantage then more often than not you can walk away from a confrontation without recourse to physical violence (all out fighting).

 Besides the obvious tactic of verbal de-escalation, there are three other simple tactics you can use to end a potential fight situation without actually fighting.
1. The Aggressive Fence
Unless you've been living under a moss-covered rock for the past twenty years, you probably know what the fence is all about. Very simply, the fence is about asserting yourself and controlling your personal space via dialogue and a non-violent posture. 
The aggressive fence simply reverses that, and instead of coming across as calm and reasonable you come across as being more aggressive and more sociopathic than your would-be attacker.
The goal is to front the other guy, psyche them out by being more scary and hard to handle than they are.
You do this by splaying your arms out wide, puffing your chest out and aggressively inviting your would-be attacker to have a go if they think they are hard enough.
Sample dialogue: "Come on then! Come on! Have a go then! I dare you! Come on!"
Done right, with full conviction, this tactic works very well. Your would-be attacker will soon realise that they have perhaps bitten of more than they can chew and will soon saunter off, mumbling obscenities at you as they try to save face.
This tactic has worked very well for me in the past whenever I've used it. You just have to ensure you do it with total confidence and conviction.
Use your judgement before trying this tactic. If you think you will get away with it, use it. If the other guy doesn't look like he would fall for it, try a different tactic.
And if you use it and it doesn't work?
Then you're screwed, aren't you!
Just kidding. If the other guy doesn't go for it, if he refuses to be intimidated, then you simply switch to a more submissive fence. Make a show of apologising, draw him in and then strike pre-emptively.
After wards you can rest easy in the knowledge that at least you tried to end things non-violently.
2. The Throat Grab
This is a similar tactic to the aggressive fence, but a bit more hands on.
If a would-be attacker is refusing to back down or be talked down, suddenly reach out and grab him by the throat or face (grabbing the face works well). Lean right into his face and look him in the eye, then calmly explain to him that if he doesn't stop what he's doing somebody is  going to get hurt, and it won't be you (that's you reader).
The real trick in making this tactic work, aside from the suddenness of your actions, is in holding the other guy long enough so that he feels your intentions very clearly.
If you grab and let go just as soon he won't have had time to feel your intentions and he'll probably get even more riled up by you putting your hands on him.
Hold him there for a good few seconds and make sure that he really understands where you are coming from him. Speak calmly but with menace. You are trying to intimidate him into not fighting with you, don't forget.
Done correctly, this should shut the guy up, allowing you to walk away from the situation and him to save face (sort of).
3. The Whispered Threat
This tactic was taught to me by a friend of mine, a very experienced doorman and martial artist and it's reserved for those annoying dicks who just don't know when to shut up.
Yes, you may be able to ignore such people, but sometimes you just can't, and other times, even if you do ignore them, things still escalate into all out aggression. This tactic will nip things in the bud before that happens.
So if someone is standing by you giving you shit, hurling insults at you or a person you are with, calmly walk up to them and lean in towards them (remember this will only work if the other guy is still relatively non-aggressive. An aggressive person will not allow you to approach in such a way). Calmly whisper the following into their ear so that only they can hear: "If you don't knock it on the head, I'm going to put you down." Then walk away.
One of two things will happen after that. The guy will do as you said and knock things on the head, by shutting up or walking away.
Or he will escalate into aggressive behaviour and challenge you to a fight. If this happens, he most likely wanted fighting in the first place. Even if you'd said nothing, things still probably would ave got to this stage.
At least this way, it looks to surrounding witnesses that he is starting things and you are only defending yourself if things get to fight stage.
In my experience though, most guys take the hint and shut up.
No Guarantees
Need I remind you that there are no guarantees with this stuff? If you are reading this and thinking to yourself that such tactics may not work and might in fact worsen things, you are half right.
The above tactics may not work. But no tactic works all the time. Even a well placed right cross to an attackers chin will fail sometimes.
As for making things worse, well this a common misconception. If the other guy really wants to fight, nothing you do or say will stop him from doing that. So how could trying to solve things another way make things worse? He's going to try and hit you anyway. At least you've exhausted all possibilities before you have to go completely physical.
These are not magical solutions. Such things don't exist except in the hands of snake oil salesmen. There are only options to be tried. If they work, great. If they don't, well, you need to get good at hitting people very hard.
If you like what you read here, then visit my blog for more good self protection tips, tricks and tutorials: http://www.combativemind.com
The opinions in this article are not that of InterMartialArts.com
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cris donovan's picture

another good piece mate- keep em coming as they are good food for thought. you are absolutely right that there is no magic solution to the many variables of dealing with agro d/heads, but having extra ideas in mind might just make the difference. i for one am reticent to do things like the throat grab or whisper in the ear as i feel it may put me in a position that i get struck before i can do anything about it... but i understand their inclussion here and part of gaining experience is knowing when to use what
Neal Martin's picture

You're right Cris, knowing when to use these techniques is key. Try these in the wrong context and you may end up in diffs. It comes down to using your instinct and judgement to evaluate each situation on its own terms. Every situation will be different. This is where social intelligence comes in, which cannot really be taught.
rubycoleman's picture

Nice share, although these techniques are a bit difficult to be executed by a woman can you please guide some self defense techniques for women.
Neal Martin's picture

I'll see about posting something on women's self defence techniques in the near future...just for you Ruby!
kombatarts's picture

As far as prevent a physical situation, I would say simply state the fact that they will end up in jail if they lay a hand on you, and that you have a damn good lawyer. If it is not preventable I would say the best defense is resourcefulness. Look around you to see who can help you, what objects you can use, where you could escape, etc. Lastly I would say misdirection; play along until you have a chance to make you move, whatever it may be.
Chaleira's picture

I enjoyed this article. I also checked out your blog. Some good reading. I look forwarded to seeing more. Thanks for sharing!
Neal Martin's picture

Thank you very much Chaleira.
polishprince's picture

I just start showing off and showing the guys what 10 years of training means and they always backoff, and if they dont well im already warmed up!
Neal Martin's picture

Lol...that's one way I suppose!
Medway Tai Chi Society's picture

Personally, I don't like this article. IME, tip 1 is just as likely to encourage the guy to attack, and should the shit hit the fan, witness will have seen you goading the other guy into the fight, getting you into legal trouble as well as him. Tip 2 will get you arrested straight away for assault. Also, similar to point 1, grabbing someone by the throat is a pretty quick route to making things physically aggressive. Tip 3 - just sounds a bit daft. If someone is being aggressive, walk right up to them, and whisper to them. But it won't work if they're too aggressive? Just seems totally impractical.
kombatarts's picture

THE BEST WAY to prevent a fight non-violently: If someone is talking smack, don't say anything back. Instead hold your ground and give him the look of cold blooded murder. Like a tiger before it attacks its prey. The quiet mysterious intensity of this is scary. You are not provoking him nor are you backing down. He will walk away mumbling something. I have used this many times and it virtually always works. Only once have I had to fight, and I am in the club scene a LOT. I learned this tactic from Jet Li in a Men's Health interview.
mike cole's picture

if you have been trained well you will no to stay calm and say and do nothing other than agree with the enemy (reverse phsycolagy) they want for you to become like they are and be the aggresser dont let this happen only when they try to attack you can then put your training into practice and use thier anger and energy against them allowing you to walk away un harmed and still calm and full of energy. I once had a guy shouting all the abuse he could at me wanting to fight he went on shouting and raring up for ages i just stood quiet and wated when he then charged at me swinging a bottle toward my head i just moved aside using aikido in full but soft motion. End result the guy is on the ground and im escaping with no energy lost and no anger gained.
bruceva's picture

I like this, for all the reasons you said, but also because it helps make clear you're not the aggressor. Grabbing somebody's throat pre-emptively makes it pretty clear to witnesses in a court room that you were looking for trouble, regardless of what really happened.