WATCH: Choosing the Best Fighting Stance for a Street Fight

Welcome to part seven of our self-defense series with pro MMA fighter Sullivan Cauley. So far Sully’s shown us how to use the bear hug in a fight, a push kick to create distance, the long guard to defend against a punch and how to escape from a full mount. Episode five was using the whizzer and sprawl technique, and last week defending against a schoolyard headlock. Everything’s about technique, so let’s get ready to fight with the best fighting stance possible.

For any sport your stance or starting position is important as it sets the foundation for whatever movements your sport requires. Fighting is no different. Your fighting stance needs to be tailored to the offensive and defensive needs you might have in whatever type of fighting you’re doing. So a karate stance is different from a boxing stance which is different from a Muay Thai stance, etc. In a street fight you should consider being able to defend punches, takedowns, and kicks. Although punches are the primary concern in most street fights you never know for sure what you might see. 

Finding the Best Fighting Stance

Firstly, you want your dominant side in the back of your stance. As with most things having to do with fighting, there are some exceptions to this rule. However, almost all fighters have their power side dropped back in their stance. So you’ll stand with around a 45-degree angle facing your opponent. Again, your power side should be in the back of your stance with weight on the balls of your feet ready to move with a slight bend in your knees. More bend in your knees will make head movement and takedown defense easier, but will limit kicking offense and defense.

Your hands should be up around cheek level, either both tucked close to your face or lead hand extended a few inches in front of your head. Your elbows should be straight below your hands to protect your body and your chin should be tucked toward your chest. It’s important to be as relaxed as possible, as unnecessary tightness will slow you down and burn energy.

Keep your eyes centered on your opponent’s chest and watch his hands and feet with your peripheral vision. When moving it’s important to maintain your stance. Don’t cross your feet, touch them together, or switch stances when moving. Again there are exceptions to these rules for more advanced fighters. A fighting stance is something particular to each fighter’s style and feel and takes time to build properly. Head to your local MMA or Muay Thai gym to figure out what works for you.

Watch the video above to see the move in action. Also, be sure to grab the most recent issue of Skillset Magazine at

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