Sunday, June 12, 2011

Dealing With Multiple Attackers

I visited a dojo recently that touts itself as traditional. Karate schools seem to do that more and more now with the influx of new styles, MMA and "reality" combat. After a few rounds of kata were performed the instructor had us sit down and asked everyone for their personal take on the ancient forms. One student opined that without kata, karate would just be a form of kickboxing. Another said that kata was a type of meditation.

I suggested that kata represents fighting more than one opponent.

Does anyone train how to defeat multiple assailants in a freestyle manner? Have you ever had to fight off more than one attacker? Realistically you can only deal with one adversary at a time, even if there are cohorts present to ensure a certain victory. Realize that bullies and jerks tend to travel in packs.

According to internal arts expert Bruce Frantzis, there is an upper limit to the number of attackers in a given assault.

Now many of you here probably never had to fight seven or eight or ten or fifteen people at once. So I'll speak personally on having done that on more than one occasion. Here's a simple fact: No more than eight people can come at you at once without them basically getting in each other's way. The only way they can do that is if they have long weapons (such as) spears.

With the increasing presence of gang violence, multiple gang member attacks on solitary non-gang affiliated victims is on the rise, even in suburbia. Many citizens have responded to this by claiming their right to bear arms, but naturally the bad guys are packing heat as well. Needless to say that being confronted by more than one attacker is a worst case scenario, even for a skilled fighter, no matter how well seasoned.

But what to do if this happens? One of Musashi's basic rules of strategy was to establish an escape route, even if facing but a single foe. So my advice for prevailing against a band of thugs? Forget kata, psychology or conflict resolution. Run like hell.

Labels: , , , , , , , ,


Blogger Rick Matz said...

A basic strategy I learned in Aikido was to "Pierce the Circle."

You opponents tend to want to encircle you. You have to piece the circle and get outside of it. This leaves the opponents coming at you basically one at a time, in line as the circle collapses.

This gives you a chance to dela with them one at a time until they can reestablish the circle. You should be moving around enough so that is difficult to do.

8:51 PM  
Anonymous Jim said...

Whilst walking home one evening down a path which was way out of shouting for help range, i was blitzed by three muggers, one of whom had a knife. It was not a good situation to be in, and i learned that whilst my innate aggression and Karate techniques kept me alive, avoiding the situation would have been the manifestation of greater wisdom. When fights happen as fast as that one did there is no time for strategy, so your planned strategies are thus hard to implement - you are after all being attacked, not the opposite. Not all situations are like that but if someone is attacking in a group the blitz effect is effective because it works. Force of numbers is after all a strategy in itself.

6:49 AM  
Blogger Felicia said...

"Run like hell" is my motto, too.

9:52 AM  
Blogger Charles James said...

DR said, "With the increasing presence of gang violence, multiple gang member attacks on solitary non-gang affiliated victims is on the rise..."

Please provide me the sources that say this is true, i.e. increasing, etc.?

11:24 AM  
Blogger the ghost eater said...

I tell my students that the best piece of training equipment I ever invested in was a good pair of running shoes. While we train knife defense techniques, 1 vs. many and other such disadvantageous fighting situations, I always tell them- don't be too proud to just run. Who the hell wants knife scars?

2:16 PM  
Blogger John Vesia said...


Here's the most recent story. It happened not far from me in Brooklyn. The poor girl was just enjoying a day in the sun.

Since then a reputed member of the Crips has been charged with second degree murder. Numerous other bystanders were hit with gunfire.

Actually the examples that came to my mind concerned gangs from Long Island, NY that target hits on victims that many times turn out to be a case (or cases) of mistaken identity. (I'm not "DR." Wrong blog.)

4:51 PM  
Anonymous Clint Cora said...

I agree that with a group of attackers, the middle is the absolute worse place to be - we all can't be Bruce Lee!

Even with two attackers, if possible, it is better to get to one side so that at least there is one guy blocking the second one rather than having you face two from opposite directions. Plus, if you are on one side, the better of an escape route.

9:03 PM  

<< Home