Practical advice on how not deal with multiple opponents

Reality is different from movies and gym simulations

We have seen what does it means to face more than one attacker in a self-defense context (read How to fight with more than one opponent at the same time) and the different types of opponents’ groups (read Fight with multiple opponents: the different types), in this article we want to list what to avoid when we are in front of multiple aggressors.

Anyway, before starting, it is important to stress once more how incredibly hard is to prevail in such conditions of disadvantage and why the best choice is always to try to refuse the physical confrontation (read Personal defense: the S.A.F.E. method).

Until we really are in this situation (halfway between adrenaline and pure terror) we can not have even a vague idea of how things really are (read /// Subscribe (it's free!) or Login to see this content ///). The reality is much more complex than what happen in movies or in martial arts simulations (read Sparring type 4: multiple opponents).

To be clear, let’s expose some facts:

  • The distance – The opponents do not attack from a distance, they come very close to us (enough to make us feel their breath); they try (consciously or not) to limit as much as possible our mobility to do not allow us to flee or react effectively (they will probably try to catch our dresses, strangle us, lock or arms / hands, etc.)
  • The attack method – The opponents can attack together, in a cowardly way and from different angles (especially from behind); a common situation is, for example, 1-2 try to block us and the others beat us (they surely do not wait for us to knock out one by one each of them as it happens in Hollywood films)
  • Our perception is limited – The scenario is hindered and our senses cannot work efficiently (read Body and mental perception); the direct vision is reduced by the number of people around us, the touch overstimulated by the concurrent stimuli, the hearing confused by the screams (etc.); worst of all, the adrenaline will also limit our logical and technical elaboration (read How to use martial arts in a real fight)
  • It’s very easy to fall – In a sudden fight, our muscles are cold (read Always be ready to fight: the body) and our concentration rapidly leave us, we will do endless trivial errors; for example, when more than one person starts to obstacle our balance, it’s very easy to fall (read How to avoid the ground fighting) and when we go to the ground we are doomed (we will receive countless kicks from all directions until we will lose our senses)
  • The herd does not fear anyone – To scare a single person is very hard but to scare a group of opponents already decided to attack us (as it happens in martial arts movies) is almost impossible; experts or not, from a fight against multiple opponents, at best, we will exit massacred

A note by Master Kongling – These is only a little excerpt of what happens during a group battle to which, all the unexpected events, must be added.

Face more than one opponent: the wrong way

After the necessary introduction, let’s start to look at what is wrong to do in a multiple opponents scenario:

  • Never stand still – Never stand still for more than 1-2 seconds; if the aggressors can close the distance we are lost (we cannot manage defense / attack and especially we cannot escape)
  • Do not be encircled – Never give (unintentionally) the shoulders even to a single opponent; we must not allow them to exit from our line of sight
  • Do not waste muscles energy – Never trust only on muscles, concentrating on the use of pure strength we will lose all of our forces in a very few time (especially applying strength against strength)
  • Avoid ground fighting – We must try to avoid at all costs to go to the ground, especially on purpose (eg. to use controlling techniques), we will become easy prey of the other opponents
  • Never maintain long contact with the opponents – Let’s limit to the minimum the situations where we grab with tightened hand our opponents (eg. a wrist grab); we also have to avoid those techniques of coercion (not all) that, from completely standing positions, bind us (unfavorably) to the opponent for more than 1-2 seconds
  • Never be distracted by pain – Even if we will be beaten strongly, we must try to do not be distracted by damages or pain we experience; even a small hesitation, a check or an instinctive desire of immediate revenge can signify a complete defeat (read Acceptance and prevention of pain)
  • Do not allow the opponents to easily use frontal attacks – Never allow the opponents to advance in a straight line towards us (we should never become the tip of a diamond structure)
  • Never stay between one or more aggressors – Never allow opponents to attack us simultaneously from multiple angles (this entails certain defeat)
  • Never dedicate too much time to a single fighter – Do not let us to focus too long on a single opponent or the others will be encouraged to seize us by surprise
  • Avoid angled areas – Unless we are able to move extremely easily (in relation to our adversaries), let’s do not go near a corner (we are well covered but we lose all the way out and above all, we will gradually have more and more difficulties to load our blows)
  • Do not have a flexible tactic – Never stubborn about wanting to apply a certain technique or to strike to a certain target
  • Avoid experiments – Never try to use techniques or strategies that we do not master; for example, synchronous / symmetric blows in directions of opposing force (they will fail to reach both targets); even kicks (especially the high ones) should be avoided if we are not sure of hitting effectively (read The use of legs in a real fight)
  • Never stop to think strategically – Never stop using words and cunning to deceive, to try to appease our aggressors, to find an escape (read /// Subscribe (it's free!) or Login to see this content ///), a pacific solution, etc. (read /// Subscribe (it's free!) or Login to see this content ///); our goal is safety, fighting is only an unwanted risk (read Best martial arts for self-defense)
  • Never lose control – Even it is easy to become a victim of fear, anger (etc.) we must try to always remain in the conditions to assess (as much rationally as possible) the situation (read Become the absolute zero); we are not the only ones to be agitated / excited

Daily discipline, concentration, preparation are the key to become able to apply these tips and then to have at least a chance to survive.

In the next article of this series, we will see, in concrete terms, what an expert practitioner of 6DKF could do in a real situation of an inevitable group battle (read Practical advice on how to deal with multiple opponents: how to behave).

In-depth articles

Questions

Reply in the comments and share your experience:

  • What is the worst possible error against multiple aggressors?

Author: Master Kongling

Founder of 6 Dragons Kung Fu.

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