Boundaries between self-defense and violence

There will always be legal and illegal challenges in Martial Arts. We are concerned    mainly illegal challenges as there will be no rules. Some one may come and challenge you anywhere. It has happened to me and to many others.

It is inevitable to avoid challenges and it is not a surprise at all in this type of hobby or profession. It is unpredictable. It is not important, when and where it happens but the question is how to handle such situation?

As soon as you will be challenged, following five questions will arises immediately:


1. Should I take the challenge?
2. Should I just walk away?
3. Will I be a looser, If I walk away?
4. Should I fight?
5. If I do then, who will be responsible for injuries and what rules will apply in such challenges?

I do remember several people who came to challenge me during my college time in Nepal, Russia, Ukraine. Then in dojo (USA), where I was working as an instructor.
I never denied a single challenge up until now. I had several injuries so as my opponents due to such fights. I have challenged and I had been challenged by several martial artists and fought. Some refused to fight and some took the challenge. But still the question is whether I did the right thing I did not know in my different phases and level of martial arts training, learning and teaching process.

Today, I have the answer about the concept of challenge and way to handle it. I am confident that it will help many others who are beginners or well trained martial artists of different levels.
To have safe challenges and avoid the unnecessary conflicts dominated by ego and emotions, See the tips below:

Basic tips to avoid the fights:

1. Study about the opponent. Make it sure that opponent is balanced both physically and mentally and then talk to opponent to avoid the conflict.

2. Do not hesitate to say no to fight.

4. If your opponent will abuse you verbally and will force you to fight still take a control of your emotion and take firm stand that against any fight.

5. Do not feel embarrassed to walk away from such situations.

The challenges you can accept:

1. If you are well trained martial artists and your opponent is also well trained and familiar with rules and regulations of competitions and falls under the same weight category or not much differences in weight you can do the sparring with mutual understanding for the mutual benefit and technical exchanges. I suggest to do the semi-contact sparring only.

2. Sparring shall not longer than 1-3 minutes in each sparring not to exceed more than 3 round maximum. In many cases 30 seconds or 1 minute is sufficient to test the opponent.

3. If opponent is too weak do not take an advantages, Stop the fight and even before the game will be over.

4. If an opponent is too strong do not hesitate to say that you gave up and stop the fight.

5. After the fight is over make sure to create a friendly atmosphere and talk to each other do not hesitate to exchange the tips and learn from each other.


Still there might have some injuries one shall prepare for and should take appropriate actions quickly so that everyone is safe and will end-up without any tragedy.


It is our nature to take the challenges in our life. It may be at any field. Nothing is wrong with that at all. Particularly in martial arts, we must understand the philosophy behind the martial arts. If one understands and the opponent have the same concept nothing is wrong to take the safe challenges, otherwise avoid the unnecessary fights.