Be Street Wise by Ruddington Photos
Prior to an assault, there will likely be some type of posturing. This could be pointing, shoving, pushing, loud yelling argument or something of that nature. There will generally be some type of distraction or feint an attacker will use to set up his first strike which will generally be a big right hand. They will generally use some type of 'trick' or other set-up to cover their intentions as they throw that first strike.
For Robbery, it may be a little different. Someone who should have been detected on your radar may stop and ask you for a cigarette or the time or whatever to assess if you will be an easy target. The way you reply to his question may be what determines if he launches into his Robbery attempt. On top of that, while you are thinking of a reply, that may be the moment they launch their attack. It is 'cheating', it is a 'trick', but it works.
In both cases, being aware of these Sucker Punches and Cheap Shots will give you a much better chance of seeing them coming and avoiding or countering them. Implement these things into your own training. Use drills which simulate surprise attacks and feints.
Train using these Tactics
One suggestion for doing this includes standing in the middle of a circle with your eyes shut and someone comes in and pushes you then throws a big right hand (with gloves on of course). After you feel the push from whatever direction, you open your eyes and counter the attack.
There are many variations to this one drill. You can do it against a wall or in a corner. You can have a number of training partners line up and one person walks by them at about arms distance. Any one of them can begin the attack. It could come from in front, behind or next to them. You can have two people launch the attack or even three as THREE attackers has been seen to be more likely than two attackers!
You could initiate the attack by asking distracting questions such as 'Hey, didn't we go to the same school?' Encourage imagination from the question askers. Once the question is asked, launch the attack at the moment when the partner is thinking of a response.
Be aware of Sucker Punches and Cheap Shots. They were used in school and are still used on the streets today. He who uses these tactics to launch an attack, has the advantage. If you are in immediate danger, cant escape and feel the need to launch a pre-emptive attack, you may want to use these tactics as well.