Let's face it. Fighting is bad, and when you finally get home, battered and bruised, it's clear there is no real "winner." But when it comes to survival, it's important you're able to hold your own in a fight. Now of course, I sincerely hope that you never need to use these skills in a real-life situation, but having the ability to defend yourself is a great survival skill to learn.

But that's just it. Defending yourself also means staying alive. But it's not always a fair fight. Perhaps your opponent has a weapon, outweighs you, or is just more experienced and aggressive. To overcome these, you need to get an edge.

And that's what we're going to cover today. All the different strategies you can use to get the upper hand in a fight, so you can make it out alive, and unscathed.

Make the first move

Against a bigger opponent, it's important you're proactive in tackling the situation. When you've no other option, I advise hitting first, and hitting hard. This will give you the element of surprise, and could be the deciding factor in you winning the fight. Just be sure that you have no other option before you start swinging, otherwise you could be in big trouble with the courts. Target particularly vulnerable areas like the temple, the nose, the jaw or the throat, and put as much force into your strike as possible.

Gouge the eyes

One of the most vulnerable spots on your attacker's face is their eyes, and if you can successfully gouge these their reflexes are going to send their hands up to protect them. This can give you an opening to land a better punch on their body, or may even get them to drop the weapon they were carrying. Simply grab their hair or their ear, and use this as leverage to push your thumb deep into their eye. It's much more painful than a simple poke in the eye, and can even render an attacker unable to chase you down.

Spray the eyes

We all know pepper spray and mace are some of the best products to disable an attacker without using lethal force, but they're not always available. Often, you're going to need to improvise, and pretty much any spray canister is going to have a nasty effect if you can get it directly into their eyes. Look around for hairspray, deodorant, or even insect killer. The chemicals inside will irritate and cause a temporary blindness that could be all the opportunity you need. A fire extinguisher also works wonders in temporarily blinding your opponent, along with creating a cloud of smoke that you can use to help you escape.

Use an ultra-bright flashlight

This technique is especially powerful at night, when you want an alternative means of defending yourself that's also not lethal. Ultra-bright flashlights send a beam of light, much like the flash of a camera, at your attacker. Remember how it took you a couple of seconds to recover from all the camera flashes at Thanksgiving? That's exactly how this works. Use the flashlight to cause temporary blindness, and get an opportunity to get the edge over your attacker. Whether it's to escape, or to start fighting back and take them down.

Get a concealed carry permit

Owning a gun is one thing, but being able to carry it legally around with you makes all the difference. Your gun can't help you in a crisis if it's tightly locked away in your gun safe. You need it with you if you want to use it to get the edge in a fight. But it's more than just carrying. You also need to know how to draw and shoot effectively, especially in a high-stress situation when your adrenaline is pumping and your nerves are shaky. So take the time to train, and learn how to use your gun effectively first, then get a concealed carry permit. It may just be the edge you need to stay alive.

Get stealthy self-defense weapons

I get that it's not always possible to have your gun with you, especially if you're a regular in places where firearms are banned. In this case, I'd recommend going stealth with your self-defense weapons. You can find stun guns that are disguised as mobile phones, key chains and rings that double as brass knuckles, and even flashlights that are specifically designed to act as a baton. Having an inconspicuous weapon means you'll always have a way to defend yourself, even if you've got to leave your gun at the door.

Don't forget your dog

There's a reason they say dogs are a man's best friend, and if you're wanting an added layer of protection a dog can help tip the balance of a fight in your favor. Not only are they a great warning alarm for intruders, even an untrained dog will generally come to their owner's help in a fight, biting and attacking the opponent. Of course, if you can spare the time to get proper training for your dog I would highly recommend it, having just done it for our two they are much better behaved overall, and I'm much more confident they will listen to me if there ever was a need for my dogs to join the fight.

Now of course, I hope that none of our readers ever find themselves in a situation where they need to put these tips into action. I don't wish that on anyone. But if you ever are, knowing what to do to gain the upper hand in a fight is critical to staying alive.

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