Whenever people ask me how one should approach someone who is trying to rob you in the street, my answer is always the same. There are no rules. Unlike any legally sanctioned fight, a street attack should be approached open-mindedly with no mental reservations. No matter how hard you train in the gym or in your martial arts class, you will never apply the skills that you've learned if you do not have the proper mental attitude. There were some incidents in the past wherein some notable personalities in the martial arts world was not able to apply the techniques they have acquired from years of practice given a street situation. A muay thai fighter got stabbed after doing some shopping in a dodgy place of town. An incident involving a famed Filipino Martial Arts instructor getting slashed in the arm when he was out with his girlfriend one time even after giving away his money. All of these are professional fighters and teachers. But why have they froze during an altercation with a street element who had no martial arts training whatsoever? Why did the muay thai fighter not apply his ill-famed roundhouse kick? Why did the FMA instructor not apply his numerous disarming techniques and stick skills that he demonstrates over and over again? Have you ever asked what the difference was between the street thug and these professional fighters? It is clear and evident that it is the will to survive! Street thugs always have the proper mental attitude when they're out to rob you. They are out there starving and/or living a difficult life. The minute they try to rob an innocent civilian, they would be always convicted in whatever sort of action they resort doing. When someone threatens you with an icepick to your neck, you know they would really plunge the blade to your skin (if they haven't yet) if they do not get what they want. To a junkie's line of reasoning, he would do anything and everything to get that next fix. He has no morals. All the people that he knows, family and friends go out the window once he gets the urge to get high.
Just like in a cage match, when someone asks for your money with a knife, do you tell him wait, hold on, let me take out my knife as well so the fight would be fair, or wait, let me change to my gi first or let me take off my shirt and change to my board shorts before I fight you. In some technique oriented schools probably they even think of the different angles that his attacker may possibly make. So out of the 5 angles of attack that he already knows, once the angle does not fall in one of those 5, he is already dead. Ironic isn't it? Funny even how some people, after being presented with blood, sweat and tears training, still go back to their comfort zone form number 75 and forego any skill he has learned from you. They would rather spend hours and hours of useless movement and exercises when all they have to do is train wisely. You can learn all the techniques you like, but when someone makes an attempt at your life, will you make it look as simple as if you were just coming out of ballet class?
After all those years of studying different katas, becoming a black belt, shouting "kiai" or "aye" once you strike the final blow and yet you still cannot apply any of these given a real life situation, in my opinion you should stab your instructor for giving you a false sense of security or maybe just to see if his blood is red. Or maybe your instructor will do the same and freeze when presented with a blade. You maybe able to run a marathon without breaking a sweat, do a full side split and still smile or properly do all these magnificent chokes and holds with your eyes closed, but if you do not have the proper mental attitude and discipline, all of these are useless.
So what are the rules of engagement again?
Would you be the next victim?