Boxer vs. Karate Guy

Today, I want to welcome a guest blogger and old friend of mine to TKZ. Tom Schreck and I became acquainted a few years ago when we shared the same publisher and both posted on a blog called InkSpot. If you know Tom, you are aware of his love of boxing and dogs. He’s written a whole bunch of great books about both. Check out his Amazon author’s page for more info. Today he’s going to give us a lesson in street fighting. Enjoy and take note!

Who Wins, Boxer or Karate Guy: A Thriller Writer’s Guide?

By Tom Schreck

I’ve lived in both of these worlds and this is the most common question I get: Who wins in a street fight?

The answer is an easy one.IMG_2068_2_2

It depends.

It obviously depends on each individual’s skills and training. But let’s work from the assumption that we have two identically trained and talented individuals. One is a boxer and the other a karateka.

They get into it in the street with no rules.

Here are the variables that I need to know.

1. Who gets the first shot in?
2. How much room do they have to fight?
3. Is the karate guy from a style who relies on kicks?
4. Has the karate guy trained in full contact?
5. Is the boxer a good mover?
6. Is the boxer a power puncher or a finesse fighter?

If the karate guy hasn’t trained in full contact, doesn’t get the first shot in and if he relies on kicks (especially high ones) he’s screwed. Not training in full contact puts him psychologically way behind. The boxer will able to take harder shots and not be fazed. The karateka will be in trouble when he takes a full shot.

If the fight is in close quarters the boxer MAY have an advantage because the ability to kick will be neutralized.

If the boxer gets hit with a karateka’s blow first he’s in trouble if it’s well placed. Boxers don’t train in chops to the throat, fingers to the eyes and elbows to the temple. If the boxer isn’t a big puncher, has poor boxing defense and isn’t good at movement, he’s also in trouble. If he relies on finesse in the ring to score points he’s in trouble.

When the fight evolves into holds or winds up on the ground there are many more variables. If the karate guy has experience in holds and pressure points, the boxer will be in trouble. If either combatant has grappling experience they are likely to win.

TVK_FrontCoverHere’s the thing about real fights. If you want to win one throw a sucker punch (or the equivalent sucker technique.) Catch your enemy when they aren’t paying attention and make it count. Incapacitate them by knocking them unconscious or by doing something that really hurts–then incapacitate them with follow-up stuff.

Fair fights are for suckers.

Tom Schreck writes the Duffy Dombrowski Mysteries and his newest release THE VEGAS KNOCKOUT, was released on May 15. Visit and “like” his fan page on Facebook for a chance to win a Kindle Fire.

15 thoughts on “Boxer vs. Karate Guy

  1. Nice breakdown, Tom. And welcome to TKZ. I love your conclusion, that fair fights are for suckers. Ha! I’m off to ck out your amazon page. Thanks for visiting & good luck with your latest.

  2. Jordan, the link is fixed. Thanks. Welcome to TKZ, Tom. Thanks for sharing your experience and best of luck with your new one.

  3. Thanks for stopping by, Tom. Loved this, as I’m writing a series of boxing stories set in 50s Los Angeles, and my guy is always involved in one kind of scrape or another, in smokers or on the street.

    The main thing I learned about real life street fighting bounces off what you say here: catch them with something unexpected (a kick to the right spot, a flick to the eyeball, a car key to the face) and then: GET THE HELL OUT OF THERE. RUN. Life is not a movie and we’re not Chuck Norris. Remember, there are only two kinds of people in this world: Chuck Norris and those Chuck Norris has allowed to live.

  4. As a martial artist, I agree with everything you say (with one possible exception). The exception is the lack of room. That would depend on the type of martial art (and, as always, by the fighter him or herself). I study sanchin-ryu, which tends to be a close-up fighting style (sometimes we say SOS for skin-on-skin), so someone experienced with this, being trained to fight “inside” a boxer might have trouble.

    Another thing I would say is that boxers, in general, train for long fights – 10 rounds, etc. Karateka, in general, don’t. A street fight is going to be fast and dirty and may be over within a few seconds, one way or another. So a karateka with any brains is going to go quickly for disabling strikes – knees, head, joints.

    And yeah, what you said about a fair fight. Even MMA cage fights have refs and rules of sorts. On the street, the first person to either run or do real damage wins.

  5. Tom, welcome aboard and thanks for a great post. Re: street fights, the guy who usually loses is the guy who is the last to realize that he is in a fight. Hit first, hit hard, and keep hitting. There is no such thing as a fair fight; there are sporting contests, and their are fights. The former have rules; the latter do not.

  6. Off topic, but I noticed that Tom graduated from the University of Notre Dame. I’ll be there next week for my daughter’s wedding at the Notre Dame Basilica.

    GO Irish!!!

    Phil – ND 1974
    Phil’s son, Ned – ND 2008
    Phil’s daughter, Sara – ND 2009
    Phil’s brother, Victor – ND 1981
    Phil’s brother, Ned – ND 1985
    Phil’s brother, George – ND 1989
    Phil’s nephew, Ryan – ND 2011
    Phil’s nephew, Jack – ND 2015
    Phil’s nephew, Victor – ND 2016
    Phil’s great uncle, Larry Mullins – ND 1930 and starting fullback for Knute Rockne in ’28, ’29’, and ’30

  7. Wow–thanks for all the great responses.

    Mark is right about close-in styles and I missed that.

    Even thought boxers train for longer bouts they are still conditioned for brief explosive exchanges so I wouldn’t see their training for longer bouts as anything to take advantage of.

    Everyone seems to get that the best move is to sucker punch someone…not sure what that says about us as a whole.

  8. Oh and Phil–Go Irish!

    I was the president of the ND karate club back in 82-83…which isn’t exactly playing for the Rock but its all I got.

  9. Tom,
    More like advice to the martial artist. Unless you’ve been doing a lot of roadwork and jumping rope, etc., don’t plan on going toe-to-toe with a trained boxer. (Actually, good advice for anyone, martial artist or otherwise, is don’t go toe-to-toe with a boxer).

  10. Fair fight? Yeah, fair means I walk away with minimal injuries. I’m going for the trash can lid and broken bottle, then that piece of chair leg leaning up against the wall and any other weapon at hand.

    I work at the VA and was chatting with a retired Navy Sr Chief who works down the hall about some SEALs he knew. He’d met them for some bar hopping the first time they came to Alaska for some training. They drank tactically. The designated driver always parked the van two blocks away and they planned different return routes for each of them in case stuff happened. He said that in one roughneck bar when word got out that there were six Navy SEALs present, about a dozen guys decided to prove they were tougher.

    Apparently they were pleased to discover these guys were not all built like Schwarzeneggar, but mostly just thin young men in their early thirties that could pass for office workers. They were also quite surprised to find out that these SEALS were not all interested in trading punches till the last man standing. They were even more surprised to discover within thirty seconds of the first threatening gesture that the ashtrays in that particular were very hard in comparison to a human skull and that beer bottles and chairs do not break against heads like in the movies.

    30 seconds, Twelve roughnecks on the deck, six SEALs vanish into the night only to reappear at another bar fifteen minutes later, as if nothing happened.

    That’s my kinda fighting.

  11. Tom, thanks for that well-reasoned post. These days so many pro fighters cross train into wrestling, boxing, muy thai, jiujitsu, etc. that it’s difficult to define fighters as one thing or another. But for most people, the only fight they will get into is during a criminal assault or with a drunk person, and the best thing to do is avoid that situation before punches are ever thrown. Cultivate awareness and practice avoidance.

  12. Basil – awesome comment. My brother was telling me about some of his experiences in Vietnam in the Navy and the first time his ship hit Subic Bay. When it came time for the traditional Cinderella Liberty midnight brawl on the dock, he was taught how to best fight the crews from all the different Navies based on national origin.

    The general conclusion was that you wanted to square off with an Australian. They hit the hardest, but meant it the least, and were usually good for the first round the next time you saw them.

    Entirely true story or not, I love it and will use it sometime!

    Thanks to Tom for dropping by TKZ.


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