Many formal systems of martial arts exist. There is much debate over the relative efficacy of various arts in "real" situations. Some critics claim that arts such as Tai Chi, Judo , Karate and Aikido are too formalised, and that students are taught "proper" forms of attack and defense in preference to effective techniques1, and that the constraints of form prevent the adaptability necessary in the messy world of real confrontations. They point to arts such as kickboxing as being better preparation for a street fight.
However, there exists an art, devastating in its simplicity, which, if practised correctly, can guarantee that the practitioner will never, ever, be injured in a physical confrontation. Unlike the complex activities mentioned above, this art has only two techniques, one of which is almost immediately available to almost any reasonably fit person.
Technique 1 - "The all-seeing eye"
This, unfortunately, takes perception, observation and knowledge. It can take years to master but the effort is worth it. The key lies in noticing details of your environment, your fellow human beings, and the atmosphere around you that you may ordinarily miss. The goal of the technique is to identify that the practitioner may, in the next few minutes, be about to be involved in a physical confrontation. If technique 1 produces a positive result, one should proceed immediately to Technique 2.
Technique 2 - "To fly like the dragon"
Run-Lak Fekh. Don't hang about, don't wonder why that person looked at you like that, do not under any circumstances ask them. If you've got this far, go further and go fast. There will be time later for analysis somewhere safe. If you've got technique 1 down to a fine art, you should in fact be leaving well before there is any actual manifestation of violence. If you're a master of the art, your attacker may not even realise he's about to attack you. If you are a beginner, the violence may be right on the point of starting4. In any case - Run-Lak Fekh. It really is the best way.
Bruce Lee once described his style, Jeet Kune Do as "The art of fighting, without fighting." Run-Lak Fekh is the ultimate expression of that ideal.
Despite the flippant tone, there is a serious point here. The best possible outcome of a fight is not to win it, but to avoid it. Many martial arts teach this as basic to their philosophy. It has been described as "saturating a place with your absence." Sun Tzu, in The Art of War, said "To win one hundred victories in one hundred battles is not the acme of skill. To subdue the enemy without fighting is the supreme excellence."