Speed vs Strength in a Fight – Which One is More Valuable?

In my experience, the age-old debate between speed and strength can be quite deceptive since they are often portrayed as opposing forces. I’ve heard many argue that sheer strength is paramount in a fight, enabling one to overpower opponents and take control. However, the perspective on this matter tends to differ based on individual opinions and their specific background in various combat disciplines such as boxing, MMA, wrestling, and more.

Speed vs strength in a fight- which one is more valuable? In the real world, explosive strength (power) and technique are far more important than pure speed or strength alone. Coupled with experience, skills will help you win fights against opponents who are both stronger and faster than you.

If you’ve never been in a fight, facing a formidable opponent who appears capable of benching 300 lbs can be quite intimidating. However, it’s crucial to recognize that lifting 300 lbs doesn’t equate to delivering a punch with a force of 300 psi (pounds per square inch). In the realm of combat, success hinges on mastering technique and the skill to strike accurately at your target.

Speed vs. Strength – Unraveling the Key to Dominance in a Fight

Let me tell you something really interesting that will surprise you if you’re not familiar with the basic concepts of biomechanics or fighting. The average heavyweight boxer can comfortably strike with a force of over 1000psi, which is over six times higher than the force generated by an untrained individual (150psi). However, even these heavyweight boxers can’t bench or squat six times more weight than the average person.

They generate this tremendous force by combining technique with basic physics. If you throw a straight punch while standing still and using just your arm strength, you’ll be limited to whatever force your biceps and shoulder muscles can generate. But fighters don’t do that; they utilize the strength of their legs and lower back to amplify the power of their arms.

They draw that power through their ankles into their knees by pressing into the ground with their rear leg. Then, they rotate their torso with their back muscles, carrying that power from the ground into their shoulders and arms. By the time this force reaches their wrists, it has multiplied several times.

Size and strength still matter, like if you get caught with a bigger guy in a closed space. This is typically the case in bar fights, which is why bouncers are massive guys who are over 6’2” and 250 lbs. Another advantage of being big is that people are simply less likely to challenge you to a fight because they’ll be intimidated by your size.

Will Speed Matter in a Fight?

The answer to this question is yes; you want as much speed as possible. But it shouldn’t be the only thing you focus on. There is no point in punching fast if your strikes are a mere annoyance rather than a genuine threat.

Another factor to consider is telegraphing and strike placement. Telegraphing your moves is the worst way to fight because the other guy will figure out whatever’s coming his way and simply dodge it. Next is placement; you must ensure you hit vital spots such as the face, stomach, side of the neck, etc.

A weak punch to the solar plexus will hurt significantly more than a strong punch to the pectoral muscle. A surprise jab to the nose or groin in street fights can give you enough time to run away. The element of surprise is far more important than raw speed or power because the punch you aren’t expecting is what knocks you out.

Does Strength Mean Harder Punches?

To a certain extent, bigger muscles are a surefire way to generate more force. But that would make bodybuilders the best fighters, and we all know they don’t have a good track record against trained fighters despite their massive size. As long as you have a baseline level of strength, conditioning combined with technique is way more important than large muscles.

You’re done if you gas out after throwing a couple of haymakers. That’s why fighters focus on cardio and specific muscle groups that help them with striking/ grappling instead of lifting dumbbells and bench pressing all day. Giant muscles require lots of oxygen, and the added bulk prevents you from moving freely.

What is the Most Effective Way to Fight?

Unless you’re a professional fighter who’s in it for the money and fame, the best way to fight is to simply avoid getting into a situation where you’re forced to defend yourself. Unlike boxing or MMA matches, street fights can be brutal and violent- plus, you never know what the other guy is packing in his pocket. You can rely on technique and experience in the ring, but it’s a fight for survival out on the streets.

For those of you who’ve never trained in any self-defense techniques, the best chance you’ve got is to catch your opponent with a surprise attack. Groin shots, eye gouges, biting- whatever it is that helps you create some distance between you and the attacker. Instead of focusing on raw strength or speed, try to sneak in a jab or haymaker they can’t see.

The element of surprise is very important; you don’t want to telegraph your moves. Where you strike is just as important because a well-placed kidney shot or a palm strike to the ears can drop even the largest guys. As for the most effective fighting style, take your pick from any of the popular disciplines.

There’s boxing, Brazilian jiu-jitsu, taekwondo, Krav Maga, etc. Each has its unique strengths, designed to fulfill a specific role. To be a well-rounded fighter, you must combine striking with grappling and takedowns.

Knowing how to get yourself out of a choke or hold is also very important, especially against those who are bigger and stronger than you. Krav Maga, Aikido, Judo, etc., are all excellent disciplines for fighting against armed opponents. Boxing is a core discipline that lets you quickly end any fight with a couple of well-placed strikes.

What is Most Important in a Street Fight?

This should be obvious, but the most important thing in a street fight is never getting into one in the first place. Unlike boxing or MMA, there are no rules in street fights. A tiny guy with a knife can stab a much bigger, more muscular guy and permanently end the fight.

Things get even more complicated if you’re in a bad part of town and the other guy is a thug with a gun. Against a gun, even the most well-trained and experienced fighters are at a massive disadvantage. The bottom line is you don’t want to get yourself into a potentially life-threatening situation where there are no rules and you don’t know what the other guy is packing.

If you’re cornered with nowhere to run, your primary objective should be to stun your opponent with a surprise attack. Whether it’s a sucker punch, groin strike, or eye gouge- do whatever it takes to create some distance and get out of there. Against multiple attackers, your strategy should be to never let yourself get flanked.

When you have two or more guys ganging up on you, always try to keep them in your field of view. Position yourself so that they are lined up and can’t attack you at the same time. Be on the defense, wait for one of them to swing, and create an opening that lets you escape.

How Do You Fight Someone Who is Stronger Than You?

It depends on whether the guy is stronger or better trained than you. You’re in big trouble if he is stronger and a trained fighter. The last thing you want to do is let the stronger guy get a grip on you.

Because then he will use his superior strength to get you on the ground and pummel your face in. The stronger guy will likely throw some powerful haymakers if he gets close, so always stay out of his reach. If he’s taller and has more reach, use your legs to strike his knees while constantly moving to maintain a minimum gap between the two of you.

Hopefully, the larger guy will tire out quicker than you, which allows you to strike him in a vital spot. Otherwise, you can always use the tried and true method of simply running away. The key to winning against stronger guys is technique and stamina- despite their strength, a strike to the nose or solar plexus is guaranteed to hurt.


I hope this article helped you gain some perspective on what’s more important in a fight- speed or strength. The correct answer is, of course, a lot more complicated than x vs y, and in reality, you need both to win fights. Speed helps you land punches and kicks, while strength ensures the hits you land significantly impact your opponent.

All the strength in the world is worthless if you can’t hit your opponent. Conversely, it doesn’t matter how fast you are if the other guy treats your strikes as minor annoyances. Training and conditioning are far more important than raw speed or strength.

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Gregori Povolotski

I have been practicing martial arts since 2007. For as long as I can remember, I have always had a huge passion for combat sports, especially Muay Thai and boxing. Helping people on their martial arts journey is what drives me to keep training and learn new things. Read More About Me

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