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Self-Defense Against Multiple Attackers, Part 1 of 3

Multiple attackers

The five guys in the car made it clear to Will that they wanted to do more than just “kick his ass.”

He knew that if everyone got a piece of him, there might not be anything left when they were done.

———-

When someone wants to make easy work of tearing you apart, they bring friends.  Being outnumbered in a self-defense situation is the second-best way for the attackers to make up for a lack of strength, skill or nerve.  Even if they’re not sure what to do they can weigh you down with sheer numbers… and there’s always that spare guy who can figure out how to kick you in the head once you’re down.

Self-defense against multiple attackers presents a number of unique problems that you must address in order to survive and win:

1. You’re Outnumbered…

Each of the attackers has only one thing to worry about — YOU.  You, on the other hand, have multiple people to pay attention to and deal with.  Being outnumbered is less of an issue of bodies than it is of splitting your attention while they don’t have to.

2. You’re Vulnerable…

If you hurt one of them, great — but as you do that you’ve got several other attackers punching or dive-tackling you.  If we assume that everyone’s going to be attacking at the same time (and you should) then your one shot will be answered by one from each of the rest of them.

3. You’re Surrounded…

If only you had eyes in the back of your head and a third arm between your shoulder blades then you wouldn’t have to worry about who’s behind you.  (A prehensile tail would be nice, too, but I digress.)  Of course, the reality is that attacking you from behind is the best way to get to it.  Especially if you’re busy with the guy right in front of you.

The goal of any sound defense against multiple attackers would be to handle these issues in a simple and unified fashion, which is what we’ll be looking at in the coming weeks.

In the meantime, this guy does a pretty good job of following the rules for self-defense in a crowd situation:

Though he’s lucky that the attackers are uncoordinated and are kind enough to wait their turn to get punched in the head one at a time.

We’ll take a closer look at what he’s doing right — and potentially wrong — next time.

What about Will?  We’ll get back to him, too.  Hopefully still in one piece.

Until them,

Chris Ranck-Buhr
TFT Master Instructor

13 comments… add one

  • Jim June 1, 2010, 1:11 am

    Well, you’ve got to wonder why he bothered to stick around. Personally, with that many people coming after me I’d try for the world record for the mile. I certainly wouldn’t stick around boxing! He’s lucky he didn’t trip, or for that matter, get run over by one of the cars going by.

    Reply
  • Brian Drake June 1, 2010, 7:11 pm

    Excellent idea to write about this subject. Definitely something on all our minds as far as a violent situation. Multiple attackers, something that will always be a possibility, more often than not, unfortunately. I’m definitely looking forward to what you have to say in the next two installments.

    Reply
  • Clancy June 1, 2010, 7:59 pm

    Avoidance is always the wisest route, so I wonder if this was a road rage or social ego-related incident that could have been avoided by not engaging? Still, then I would not have enjoyed this clip :)

    The guy did great with what he had in his tool kit – mindset, boxing skills, good footwork, good conditioning. Here’s my analysis:
    - He did a great job in rapidly shifting to an aggressive mindset and being immediately willing to fight the initial aggressor and anyone else that wanted to try and take a piece of him.
    -He kept moving, most of the time, so they were unable to surround him and he could pick them off as they came one by one.
    - His footwork was good, as was his balance. Balance allows maximum transference into his blows.
    - His timing was excellent, as was his range assessment. His blows connected a high percentage of the time.
    - He addressed each threat in immediate range without fixating one one person and leaving himself vulnerable to to others.
    - He didn’t let anyone get behind him.
    - He kept scanning to assess who was a threat and who wasn’t (he didn’t hit any bystanders.)
    - He used the tactic of Offensive Retreat – he would hit even while retreating, letting their forward committed energy meet with his fists ( elbows would have been great too).

    How he could have been even more efficient:

    - His skill set and mindset seem that of a (courageous) boxing sportsman. With a *combat* mindset and a rounded out skill set ( such as TFT or our SmartFighting) he could have used his hand speed and accuracy and his elbows to target eyes and throats. This would quickly take the fight out of opponents so they couldn’t come back at him again. Punching is an inefficient way to fight, and you could break your knuckles on heads if you’re not wearing gloves.

    - I’m glad none of those men were armed. Here in Santa Cruz recently a man was surrounded while in his vehicle by gang bangers with shovels, bats and knives. He grabbed a hammer and got out of his car to fight them. Remaining in your vehicle, locking the doors and if necessary, rapidly driving through the imminent threat is a wise option that should be kept in mind.

    Reply
  • Pankaj June 2, 2010, 2:10 pm

    Hi it’s the same scenario as I faced two months ago. And I’m still cringing with pain in most parts of my body. They were five guys who did hit me at every place. When I got unconscious they left me and run away. I just gave them two aching groins and they gave me every shit they could. I think I should take revenge but I want to do it alone! (I know it’s not possible:-C)

    Reply
  • RAYMOND June 2, 2010, 7:13 pm

    I WAS JUMPED BY ABOUT A DOZEN PUNK TEENS A FEW YEARS AGO…I TRIED TO KEEP MY BACK TO MY CAR BUT AGAINST WHAT I KNEW TO DO FROM MA TRAINING..I STEPPED OUT TO “GET A PIECE” OF THE CLOSEST ONE WHO HAD HIT ME IN THE JAW…SHORTLY THEREAFTER I FELT LIKE I GOT HIT WITH A TON OF BRICKS TO THE BASE OF MY SKULL FROM BEHIND..I WENT DOWN AND THEN COULD ONLY JUST ROLL AND COVER I TRIED THE INFAMOUS “COMPTON ROLL” HOPING TO GET A LEG AND POP A KNEE BUT TO NO AVAIL THE KICKS WERE FAST AND FURIOUS SO IT WAS “COVER AND ROLL”…..I WAS VERY FORTUNATE NOT TO BE HURT MORE SERIOUSLY THAN I WAS AS SOME LOCALS AND MOTORISTS STOPPED AND THE SCUMBAGS RAN OFF…I WAS ABOUT 60 YEARS OLD AT THE TIME AND AM IN PRETTY GOOD SHAPE..BUT SOMEONE MORE FEEBLE COULD HAVE BEEN REALLY HURT OR KILLED…RAY FROM CHICAGO…

    Reply
  • Ron June 3, 2010, 8:44 am

    In any multiple attack you must get all of them to stop for just a moment so you can destroy at least one target on one of the attackers and in a multiple attack situation anything is fair.
    In as powerful a voice as you can muster yell, I’m a Police Officer and then rip some important part of the closest guy. Yell “Someone call 911 and say Officer needs assistance” pick another and again find a target and destroy it. Heck if you think you can get away with it yell “I’m the President of the United States” and if they are still in a “buy it” mode destroy another target on yet another attacker. Multiple attackers make it a deadly threat, that means war, and all is fair in war. TFT is the greatest.

    Reply
  • RAYMOND June 4, 2010, 2:22 am

    AS AN EX POLICE OFFICER AND FORMER MARINE I STRONGLY ADVISE AGAINST SAYING THAT YOU ARE A COP…WORST CASE..THEY KILL YOU LIKE THEY DID AN OFF DUTY OFFICER HERE WHO IDENTIFIED HIMSELF AS A POLICE OFFICER..BEST CASE…YOU ARE ARRESTED FOR IMPERSONATING A POLICE OFFICER. THE COPS TAKE A VERY DIM VIEW OF SUCH ANTICS…RAY FROM CHICAGO…

    Reply
  • chris June 4, 2010, 3:18 pm

    hey tft team,

    my personal notes about the situation:
    GOOD:
    kept on moving, stayed alert, struck enemies when given the opportunity

    BAD:
    missed his key targets, “boxed” instead of penetrate, rotate, and follow-thru, and most importantly, postured when he very easily could have avoided it.

    Reply
  • Ymarsakar June 4, 2010, 8:50 pm

    Endurance is a big issue. You can’t last long. The strain will take you down, if nothing else will.

    Making sure they only come at you one at a time is a big plus. When people go into adrenaline state and they aren’t trained for it, their vision tunnels. You can use this to your advantage, as a person focused in on you won’t even see that he can surround you with his buddies.

    Anything like alley ways, constricted spaces. If there’s one person, all you have to do is to go through him, over him. Slip trip him into his buddies. There are a number of ways.

    But when you run away from them and immediately pivot on your front leg while in the striking stance, 180 degrees, and they are running at you, and you then take a step or a running leap into them, the correct structure in your legs will double the impact. Even if your targeting is off, he’s going to fall somewhere. The maximum amount of force, produced by structure, penetration, and the other guy giving you a help hand by sprinting at you, is a pretty good edge to start out with. And if he is the leader, it’s a morale demoralizer for the entire mob as well.

    In lower economies, the car is about their most valuable piece of property. It allows them access to more jobs and resources. Many won’t run away from them unless there is literally shooting going on and the car is just going to get them killed.

    Reply
  • Ian June 11, 2010, 6:31 am

    Hi Chris
    Good 3 part article. When is the DVD set of Mutliple Opponents envisaged to come outon sale?

    Cheers, ian

    Reply
  • Eric June 18, 2010, 6:24 am

    I’m sorry that some of these techniques work for some, but not for others. I purchased the Target Focus Training and personally I would like to return it. Some of these techniques will only upset a man if a women makes her attempt to do some of these moves (kick to the growing, wrist locks) against a larger and stronger opponent. But I do have to give them some credit (up kick knee, palm to the face and couple more) but you will never see me so close to another person.

    In Gracie Jiu-Jitsu we say far away or extremely close (Clinch) never an arm or leg distance. Everyone has to find what works for them. It’s much more easier for a women to get the guy in the clinch and taking a person to the ground (Guard, Mount, or Side) or even a guy on top of her, now the joint restraining is much easier against a larger opponent, no strength but only leverage. Gracie Combabive Jiu-Jitsu is based on no GI, street ready without all the competition techniques like other BJJ.

    I’m sorry to speak negative, but for $200, I wish there was a 30 day money back.

    Thank you

    Reply
  • william June 22, 2010, 4:36 pm

    The guy did a god job at targeting the attackers and keeping them at bay. He seemed to keep them all together,as though he were directing them. He should have hit vital targets though,and stepped in with his whole body,for better strikes,or throws. I was wondering if you step in to strike,what do you do if you get caught by a strike? Also,how do you recover from a flurry of punches,from one person,or a group of people that are good at striking? What do you do against someone who is good at ground fighting,ala Gracie Jujitsu?
    Do you practice counter moves for ground fighters,or attacks from behind,such as being blindsided with a weapon,or an unarmed attacker?

    Reply
  • Rome November 8, 2011, 3:35 am

    How do you charge for self-defense against multiple attackers DVD. With and without weapons.

    Reply

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