Hoping to keep this thread alive.
My father, who is in his 70s, is a second degree blackbelt in a mixed martial arts, (a combination of TK, Kung Fu, & Hapkido. He still to this day practices. He would begin the day with punching a brick to build calluses on his fists. He thought that it was extremely important for his son to be able to defend himself (that would be me).
I started in TK, but found it to be less impressive then other martial art styles. Then my parents had paid for a private boxing instructor, so I could learn not only boxing, but more importantly how to take a punch. This they thought was especially important, pain management and the ability to get up until I either win or get knocked out. Talk a bout the love of a parent...
Then it was wrestling & some hapkido training as that I needed to be prepared for when someone got me to the ground.
Finally I was given a choice of the next art to learn, and I chose Fencing. In my High School they had a Fencing program and a Fencing team that competed other schools around the USA. In fact a former fencing champion was in that same class with me. I guess cause I chose this sport, and my love of swords, is the reason why i excelled in fencing. This High school starts for 9th grade, and the fencing levels are (in order of rank 1st one being the highest) A strip, B strip and the starting point C strip.
Some of the participants in class have been there since 9th grade and were now in their senior year and still stuck with the C strip rank, and there were only a few that were of the A strip rank, including that guy that was a former fencing champion. We were using the French Foil and after several weeks we were short a foil so my Japanese friend loaned me his which was a Belgium Pistol grip. It was love at first sight, ( the foil not my friend) and I used it in class ever since. Within the month I moved up to the B strip rank, another month & a half I was granted the highest rank of A strip. Their goal was to have the students match up vs people their own skill level. It was not long until I finally started to be matched up with the former fencing champion. By this time I was beating all the rest of the fencing students consistently.
In the end, i had 6 months of daily training prior to fighting the Asian champion who had a private trainer on top of the school, for over 10 years. Have no doubt, he kicked my A$$, repeatedly, but every match I always scored once or twice on him, which despite losing, I was truly proud to have hit him for points. Our teacher got me a Fencing scholarship, but it was at an University that I was not interested (poor engineering program) so I went to a different college. Due to how many people though that I had hurt in fencing class (big guy that was working in the moving business in HS), I was advised to try Kendo, another thing that I loved.
As for fighting goes, I am a tall, wide Redhead, and have had people trying to prove themselves using me countless times over the year, I have lost count how many fights I have been in. The one thing I have learned, there are always a means to beat an opponent that is either, stronger, faster, more skilled, or much bigger & heavier by changing your fighting styles. I have on two different occasions taken down a full line-back, and at the same time I had my @$$ handed to me on a silver platter by a really short, younger, extremely skilled, Asian guy.
Btw I agree, multiple attackers is a problem, I have had that happen more times I can count. Sometimes I was lucky, like this 8-10 vs 1 that surrounded me in a circle that were either kind enough or dumb enough to fight me one at a time, allowing me to be the last man standing, and other times where all i can say is that I am lucky I lived through it.
Street fighting is pretty much anything goes, and grabbing anything around you: a top to a metal garbage can, tearing off the side mirror to a car, a bottle on the ground or stick, throwing dirt into someone's eyes.