Difference Between Street Fighting and Self Defense

The reason i’m writing this is because i wanna make something clear, Street Fighting is not Self Defense, but an individual does fight in a self defense situation.

First, lets start with: What is a Street Fight? A street fight is a violent confrontation between two or more people, there are almost no rules in street fighting, in a street fight, there are two or more people who are angry and/or willing to fight each other, not for self defense, but for many different reasons, one of them being, fighting for cash prizes or for their own status among peers.

Now, what’s Self Defense? It’s definition, as you can easily find it on google, it means, the act of defending yourself (against an attacker), it can be from a violent criminal to some insignificant punk who wants to make a name for himself on your expense. To put it simply, it’s a legal term describing that the force you used on another individual was justified in order to maintain your safety.

Now, how do these two differ?

Well, it’s the situations they take place in that differ from each other.
For example:

1- Street fight; Two drunk guys fighting in a bar and then they decide to “continue it outside” and beat each other up, either both or one of them ending up on a hospital bed, this is a bar brawl turned into a street fight.

2- Self Defense; You’re going home from your job at late night hours, tired and/or busy on your phone, an individual or some young punks looking for some “fun” walking towards you that you failed to see or identify, threatens you, maybe with a gun or a knife or a lead pipe or just overwhelm you with numbers, to give them your phone, your wallet/purse, etc. you give it to them, but they don’t seem to be running away after taking everything from you and you having no other option, use force and do everything possible to get out of there, that is self defense.

In short, when someone is threatening your life with physical violence and you respond with physical violence in return to protect yourself and if you can prove it as such, it’s self-defense. But it can only be proven as such if you had no other choice, i.e. running away or avoiding it altogether by identifying the threat early on (Self-Protection).

There are different laws in different countries and states as to what is and isn’t considered self defense, and when you can and cannot do certain things, that you’d have to check for yourself. Research the laws on self defense, research past cases of violent assaults and self defense.

The difference between Street Fighting and Self Defense is:

– In Street fighting both the fighters are angry, violent and want to hurt each other and/or win for their own purpose or to gain status among peers.

– In self defense only one of them is willing and has the intention of hurting you, all you want to do is survive by any means, if you’ve failed to avoid or prevent it.

Severe injuries and even deaths occur in both situations, everything in it happens simultaneously, quickly, they’re both messy and don’t ever end well, things happen in seconds.

But it doesn’t mean that they happen out of nowhere, there are always pre-attack indicators. Many just can’t identify them and so they think it happened out of nowhere.

If you’re not environmentally aware, alert and quick enough to adapt and act in the situation, chances are you won’t survive at all.

See, a fight can be for self defense, if/when you fight back to protect yourself (when you fail to avoid it), but self defense is not street fighting, it’s a legal term applied to a situation that has you protecting yourself from a violent threat to your life.

You’re pushed into that situation by someone who will use violence to get what he wants from you, you are not a willing participant in it.

Self defense situations can occur in many different places, from a parking lot to your own home, which is also known as home invasion, it’s better to have a plan in those kinds of situations, a counter attack and escape plan, there are many home invasion cases out there, you can research them and based on that research, create kind of a drill (like fire drills) that you can conduct, with your family every month or so, that way you can be prepared for those situations. It’s not a 100% as nothing is as far as violence is concerned, but at least you would have an idea of what you could do if something like that happens, provided the training and drills are set up realistically for practical purposes and not for fun, same can be applied in training for any other type of violent situation. The best type of defense training is for prevention and avoidance though.

It’s your right and duty to protect yourself and the people you care about from any threats. But it’s also an individual’s responsibility to protect themselves and not put all their safety responsibility on you.

The term- “Self Protection”.Now while “Self Defense” is a legal term for an act of defending oneself, ‘Self Protection’ is more of a precaution from threats beforehand.

You carry a legal concealed weapon for Self Protection. But when you use that weapon to save your life and only if it’s proved to be justified use of lethal force, then its defined as ‘using that weapon in Self Defense’. If it’s not proved in court that it was self-defense, then it’s not. Remember, it’s not what happened, but what you can prove in court that will determine your case.


There are always going to be people who will start fights and who have the perfect violent intent to hurt you and to deal with those kinds of people, you’d have to have the same, but the difference between you and them being, that you should be able to turn off that violence whenever you want to, be in control of yourself and your impulses and that you won’t go psycho on everyone around you for no reason.

The best way is to avoid them altogether by not being in places that have them in the first place. For example if you go to a bar, get drunk, mess with some other drunk and when that drunk threatens to kill you, you respond with “fuck you” and use lethal force, is that self defense? No, it’s not. You could’ve avoided it all, if you did just one thing right, or didn’t do one thing that was wrong and dangerous.

When dealing with the kind of nut-job above, don’t go all “terminator” on their asses when you see them walking towards you or trying to start a fight with you, try reasoning first, as they might have more experience in violence than you, if you get into a fight with them, you’re surely not coming out of it in one piece or maybe even at all and the legal consequences will be even worse.

As far as self defense situations are concerned, most of those violent situations can be avoided if you just trust your intuition and use common sense, for example, most mugging situations can be avoided just by having some environmental awareness and by observing the little details around you, instead of keeping your head buried in your phone. Same goes for an ambush assault. Remember, attackers don’t just appear out of thin air.

I wrote this article to give you a very basic idea of the difference between self-defense and street fighting. The examples given were just to emphasize my points. I’ll be writing another article that goes into much more depth on this subject with real examples.

I’ll also give you tips on what to do, what not to do, how to deescalate these things, etc.
I’ll also be posting on difference between sport fighting and street fighting, and is sport fighting training and mentality going to help you in a real fight?

Later a post on movie fighting vs real fighting, now i know many of you do know the difference between the two , but there are some people out there, and i know, i’ve met them, that still think that, fighting like in movies can be possible in real life fights too.

Then there’s military combat vs street fighting and self defense, law enforcement vs street fighting, and a topic on why it’s not advisable to go to the ground in a real violent situation and a street fight, plus an article on different types of violence, and much more to be posted.

So keep an eye out for my new posts and that’s about it for today.

Thanks for reading.

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