Well, the fist fight thing really stirred up some discussion. It ended up being
I wanted to clarify a few points that came up in email, IM, and comments:
1) I'm giving advice based entirely on my own experiences and training. There are as many opinions on fighting techniques, stances and behaviors are there are people fighting in the world, and really, there's no "right" and "wrong" - simply "effective" and "ineffective".
2) My advice is intended specifically for inexperienced people for whom there is no escape from a fighting situation. Flight is not an option. Training is non-existent.
3) The entire goal of the guide is to keep instruction minimal and intuitive - stuff you can readily recall when you're in a dangerous situation, and stuff that won't set a beginner / inexperienced person up for failure.
4) On kicks: In a REAL fight situation, anything that reduces balance or stability is stupid. Kicks - even to the shin - are not an option for a beginner fighter who has not spent time developing balance and strength in the ankles, hamstrings, knees, groin and waist. If you've trained kicks, and you want to incorporate kicks in your fighting style, I applaud you. But I refuse to advise people to disrupt the balance and stability of their base when they're not trained fighters (and more than likely, scared out of their minds to even be in the situation). I won't say you're wrong if you do. I just refuse to.
5) Training - any amount of training - produces a certain amount of rhythm and assumed knowledge (muscle memory). When trained or seasoned fighters read my guide and think things like "why is he suggesting going to the belly when you're on the ground" or "why is he recommending against hook punches" should realize - your training has placed you into a mindset where clarity and conviction are second nature. If you're a rank amateur with no fight training whatsoever, you should focus on the simplest possible ways to disable your opponent and get safe. Kicking, elbowing, knees, targeted blows... These things work. Very very well. But they require a base of training and knowledge that my intended audience won't have.
6) Grappling... If you don't know how to fight on the ground, get the HELL of the ground. It's something I just cannot recommend. If I personally were in a one-on-one fight with someone, regardless of their size, strength or fight style, I'd be on the ground with them in a millisecond, because I've trained in arts that focus on groundwork. But for the first, oh... Three months or so of learning that crap? I got OWNED on the ground. So did you. You can puff your chest out on the net and say "no way, I pwnd!" if you want, but it's a lie. Every beginning wrestler, BJJ fighter, Judo player, etc. found the ground to be the last place on earth they really wanted to be for at least 3 months. You have to learn it. If you have to learn it, it's out of my guide.
7) Thank you all for reading and commenting on the article. Even the dissenters brought to light very important information that is worthy of discussion - and anytime someone can learn a reason to do or not do something, I'm all for it, regardless of the tone in which it's done :)
8) The "stance" pic was only semi-serious. In reality, my hands would be a bit closer together and I wouldn't be fighting near my very expensive Transformers Masterpiece figures (on the wall in the background). And I'd probably remove my shirt to take away another point of grip for my opponent. And I'd be smiling like a maniac. And that's not my mother's house.