In competition, you usually have an opportunity to size up your competition before having to fight them by watching them fight other opponents, or you may have fought or seen them fight before at other competitions. In closed competitions, even if you know nothing about the opponents, you at least know the fighting style of all the competitors and you know the rules. In open competitions, you may not know the style of the opponent but you at least know the rules.
In the street, you usually know nothing about your attacker. You usually do not know their intentions, whether they want to intimidate you, fight you, harm you, or kill you. In street confrontations, you must be able to instantly read your opponents and size them up. Since you do not have much time, there are certain crucial things you should quickly look for and analyze, such as:
- Any weapon in hand or visible?
- How many attackers?
- Emotional state?
- What gender, how tall, how big, and how strong?
- Left or right-handed?
- Guard hand position? Is the dominant hand forward? Boxers keep strong side to the rear while some martial artists fight with the best side forward.
- Type of fighting stance?
- Are hand or foot positions or movements indicative of a style familiar to you?
- Is attacker a puncher, kicker, or grappler?
After this quick read, you now have some idea of where you stand and what you need to do. Once you know what you need to do, then do it as quickly and powerfully as you can and then escape.