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Want to know why people call them “dirty” fighting moves? Because they’re so effective they’re almost unfair. In boxing competitions to the UFC, athletes who have trained their entire lives know the dangers these techniques represent, many of which can be lethal or do permanent damage to your opponent.

But my stance on this is a little different. If the life of a loved one, or even their health or wellbeing is on the line, you can bet all rules are off. There’s no “good sportsmanship” when it comes to fighting for your life, your job is simple. Do whatever it takes to win. Do whatever it takes to take the bad guy down. Because a street fight isn’t fair. You may be outclassed by a superior fighter, you may be outweighed by a larger opponent, but if you know these dirty fighting techniques, your chances of survival improve astronomically.

Use them well, but be warned. They can do serious damage and you should only ever use these in a real life or death situation. Oh, and remember to “always kill the zombie.” One of these techniques may take your opponent by surprise, but if you don’t knock them out they still present a risk. Keep fighting until the threat is over, you’re safe, and you can escape.

Target the throat

One area prime for an unsuspecting attack is the throat. Land a punch or a strike targeting their Adam’s apple (or the spot where it would be) and you’re going to do severe damage to their windpipe. It’ll knock the wind out of them, they’ll struggle to catch a breath, and you can use this brief respite to follow through and put your opponent out of the fight. Ideal if you’re facing a taller opponent, you’ll be at the perfect angle for this technique to work.

Target the eyes

Blinded, your opponent isn’t going to be able to fight effectively. An eye gouge is a common fighting technique, grabbing your opponent’s head as you push your thumbs deep into their eye sockets. It works well in close quarters, and may even result in long-term blindness, so only use this if the situation calls for it. It’s a rather extreme measure, because it works. Personally, I’d even try throwing a handful of dirt or dust into their eyes as well, if you can blind them, even for just a second, it can be enough to land your follow through strike.

Target the temple

A strike to the temple can be deadly if done with enough force, and if you’ve got a strikepen or anything else held in your fist this is one of the most effective moves you can make. Swing your fist like a hammer, driving whatever you’ve got in your hand, whether it’s a cigarette lighter or even a rock, straight into their temple. This is one of the fastest ways to knock someone out, giving you ample time to escape. They will drop like a rock, and in some cases a strike here can even be fatal. Use it only if you’ve got no other choice.

Target the groin

Because most fighters expect you to throw a punch, a kick or a knee to the groin is a dirty fighting technique that can often catch your opponent by surprise. Do it hard enough and they’ll go down hard, and stay down long enough for you to finish the fight and escape. This technique works very well against a male attacker (for obvious reasons), but you need to hit the sweet spot for it to be effective. If your aim is off or you don’t get a clean shot, don’t expect it to be as effective against your opponent.

Target the knees

As someone who has experienced a busted knee, I can tell you from personal experience this is one particular area that’s a weak spot if hit from the right angle. Stomp or sweep the knees of your attacker, ensuring you come at it from a 90-degree angle. Knees are very strong as a piston, moving straight up and down, but as soon as you hit them with any sideways force, they will crumple, and your opponent will struggle to get up again, if at all. You may even do permanent damage, but it will get you out of there, without being followed.

Use your teeth to bite

This works great if you’re being held or grappled with, as most attackers are not going to expect that you will bite them. Don’t be shy, target soft and particularly delicate areas like the nose or ears, the soft flesh in their arms, or whatever you can get a hold of. Your teeth are one weapon you’ve got as a last resort, that will do significant damage to your opponent. No one wants to fight a biter.

Grab a weapon

Arming yourself with anything, whether it’s a knife, a broken glass, or even specific tool for self-defense like a set of brass knuckles is one of the best ways to get an edge in a fight. Every strike you make is now incredibly deadlier, and that’s going to help keep your opponent at bay. But be careful, because if you drop the knife, or it’s taken from you, you’ve now given your opponent the weapon. If you’re introducing weapons to the fight, strike with all your power and force, to end the fight then and there.

In a street fight, you have one goal. End the fight as soon as possible so that you can escape with minimal injuries. But that doesn’t mean you need to fight fair, and I can tell you this right now. Your opponent won’t be fighting fair. If you want to win, and live to see another day, you need to use these dirty fighting techniques to stay alive.

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