If you have ever spent any time on the internet in any forum where people discuss martial arts in a comparative fashion, you will have seen the endless arguments about which style is best for which situation. A major area of disagreement is over self defense or “street fighting”. The disagreement peaks here because of the limited data that actually exists in these areas. The world of MMA and its various promotions have done a good job showing us which systems/styles prevail in caged, one-on-one matches. Initially grappling always prevailed, then as things progressed the most well rounded fighters with the best strategy are the dominant fighters. The argument seems to be over regarding the sport aspect.
However there are no televised street fights. There is simply no way to duplicate the myriad potential situations in which a street fight may take place. People will argue, inserting some potential variable, where their system will be more advantageous. Certainly we can look at a notional street fight and think of multiple attackers, size differences, intoxication levels, concealed weapons, common objects used as weapons, and get some clue about what skills would be valuable (the best probably being a good pair of running shoes to escape unpredictable violence).
I think the search for the superior system is a wasted argument. All legitimate systems of unarmed combat will have advantages and liabilities. Thus I think the take away should be that it isn’t WHAT you train, but HOW you train. That means you can take your system or style of combatives and train it in a way that more accurately reflects realistic violence. You will learn to rely on the simpler techniques that expose you to the least amount of danger. I still firmly believe an eclectic approach to combative training is the best, spreading your skills across grappling, clinching, striking, edged weapons, combat firearms, and trauma medicine will be your best bet for survival.
As soon as we begin thinking within a style we begin to be limited by its assumptions about violence. The first that it is inevitable. If all I have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. If I am a boxer, the aggressive drunk at the bar seems like a prime customer for a jab-cross combo, when in reality the best bet may be to avoid the conflict or even turn and run.
The singular point here is to take your martial arts discipline, or mixed disciplines (hopefully) and train them in a context that attempts to simulate what is likely to occur outside of the gym or competition. Do not settle for notional violence, or a simulacrum, find out what the threats are, do your best to simulate them and find solutions. I believe Krav Maga Academy San Diego’s Krav Maga program is the Krav Maga San Diego needs. It takes a cross section of styles, throws competition out the window, and takes an honest look at HOW we should train.