The 40 Second Self-Defense Lesson

The McGregor vs. Cowboy fight was one of those adrenaline pumping events leading up to the event, and then in about forty seconds it was all over. Regardless of who you were rooting for, there are definite things to learn from this fight that can be transferred to a regular old “street fight” or vicious criminal attack. So what can we learn from this short fight? Well, my last lesson might even surprise or even offend you!

The first lesson is that coming out aggressive, just as McGregor did usually pays off in many different ways. It first sets the pace, as in a real fight, you want this over as soon as possible, and escape the scene. Next, it puts you in the driver’s seat, as opposed to receiving the first couple blows, where the attacker has control. If I had my choice of either being back on my heals receiving an attack, or leaning forward into my attack, I would choose the latter every time.

This is not always possible if you are the one being attacked out in the street, as many times, it takes the “victim” by surprise. However, once you realize what it is, and what you are in, the faster you can retaliate with aggression, the better off you are.

The next thing we can learn is that every part of your body is a tool. Of course the know it alls will say that the shoulder bump has been around for centuries, and it has, but we’ve rarely seen it so obvious, used multiple times, with so much aggression as we did in this fight.

Simply know that everything is available to you in a real life altercation. There are no rules, so hip bumping to toss or trip someone, using your knuckles to grind into someone’s temple, smashing the attacker’s face with a head butt, stomping someone’s Achilles with your heal or targeting your body weight on someone’s lungs in order to tire them out or even suffocate them is all fair game.

Lastly, from a broader perspective, realize that hand to hand combat is more like a World Series than a Super Bowl. What does this mean? All respect goes to Connor, as I believe everyone could see he was focused and ready for this fight. But Cowboy wasn’t a paper tiger. By now you know that he had over 30 wins, and you just don’t achieve that by being average.

My point, and the lesson we can learn, is that anything can happen in a fight, and anyone can win or lose, be on or off any day of a given week. That is why a better judge of who is a better fighter might be accomplished by a “World Series” of multiple fights, not just a “one game Super Bowl”… much less one that lasted only forty seconds.

Again, not taking anything away from McGregor, as most believe he was and is the better fighter. However, from Cowboy’s standpoint, I’m sure he would have loved to rematch even minutes later, and I can guarantee the fight wouldn’t have lasted longer than forty seconds.

How can this lesson benefit us? Train with deficits. Start out being attacked first. Not knowing when the first punch will be thrown. Start sparring after you’ve just ran a mile. When you trip and fall, don’t stop the round, keep going. If there is any place that “Murphy” of Murphy’s Law will show up, it is in combat. That is why you have to adapt when things go wrong. I am not a believer in luck per se, but both “lucky” and “unlucky” things do happen in combat. People trip, an improvised weapon is within reach, you miss seeing the first punch while looking the other way, guns jam and weather can effect even the most prepared person.

Recently when students of mine were knife fighting in class, someone dropped their knife. They looked at me, curious if I was going to call “time!”. I never did, instead I yelled “Keep going!” If you can’t get to your knife, fight empty handed against an armed opponent. As stated before, if you trip and fall while sparring, keep going. If you get tired while ground fighting, learn how to fight tired.

Having this resilience and persistence built up in your mind, is an impeccable skill to have, and it will spill over into other areas of your life when chaos erupts or unforeseen problems creep in. Train your body and mind to keep moving, keep adapting and keep going. There is no referee in a real fight, so you will have to learn to fight past inconveniences and even deal with bad luck. In conclusion, come out or retaliate aggressively, use every available to you and train for situations which might take you by surprise, or go as planned. If you work these into your training and mindset, they will give you an edge.

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