Multiple Adversaries: what to try to do (if the alternative is to succumb)
We have already seen how not to deal with multiple opponents (read Practical advice on how not deal with multiple opponents), now we want to analyze what could be the roads that can be “traveled”. Before starting, let’s repeat again that:
- Face more than one opponent at the same time is almost impossible and fool (read How to fight with more than one opponent at the same time)
- We are talking about limit conditions where the alternative are reduced to zero (read Personal defense: the S.A.F.E. method)
- Unfortunately, in the personal defense, it is not so rare to be in numerical disadvantage (this is the real reason that pushes us to face an argument so extreme)
Said this, let’s abandon the idea to necessarily knock all the aggressors (which is very difficult if not impossible, read Fight with multiple opponents: the different types) and let’s move to something more realistic. Our real goal should be:
- Gain time – Usually time is an enemy of criminals, being able to resist waiting for external help (Police, friends, passersby, etc.) could make the difference between life and death
- Gain an escape way – Reach a favorable condition (get to the car, reach a crowded area, close a door behind us, etc., read )
- Reactivate the negotiation – For example, against little-determined aggressors, to delude them that no one will come out unscathed from the clash (or that at least one of the members of the group will be seriously hurt) can be decisive (read )
- Limit the damages – Last but not least, we must actively protect the weaker parts of our body (eyes, genitals, throat, ribs, etc.) and / or who is with us (friends, etc.)
A note by Mater Kongling – In self-defense prevails the smarter, who is able to preserve life; there are no prizes on the street, it is not a game or a sport: we must strive to abandon infantile conceptions related to pride, desire for revenge (etc.) and arrive at a broader plan of reasoning.
The characteristics of a group of aggressors
In a fight, the dynamics that characterize a group of people are very different from those related to a single individual opponent; we could have:
- Less determination – In a group of aggressors, it’s rare that each one gives his best; if we add to this the fact that the action is “typically” coward, it is not absurd to think that (probably, not necessarily) there will be more determined individuals and others less willing to expose themselves
- More disinhibition – At the same time, the bigger is the group, the more its components lose their personal rationality; this can mean that people who are normally reluctant to fight, could exert a disproportionate level of violence (sure of the overwhelming advantage and decided to easily appear strong in front of their companions)
Beyond this, it is important to understand that in each group there is:
- A leader – Who decides what to do, how, when to start and when to stop
- The strongest component – He is not necessarily the leader but he is the most dangerous
- The weakest one – The one that (for example) could try to show himself strong but without exposing himself too much
- The intermediates – The remaining ones
We must learn to recognize these roles at a glance and before the struggle starts (read Recognize the opponent’s preparation level).
Face multiple opponents: how to behave
Every situation represents a unique scenario but let’s see a few cases to sketch a plan (always remembering that there are no perfect, always-working or risk-free solutions).
What to do (if we have no choice) at the beginning of the combat:
- The stronger of the group is the more determined – If it is the strongest of the group to be the most determined to attack, we must prove our supremacy above all to him (not necessarily fighting directly on him); it is possible (not certain) that if we demonstrate high-level fighting skills and we start a second negotiation, the entire group desists (read ); the problem is that the effectiveness of this deterrent strictly depends on the situation and on the proportion between our ability and the determination of the aggressors; if the cause of the clash is linked to pride (and not for example to a misunderstanding, a mugging, etc.), it will probably not work
- One of the intermediates is the more determined – If the leader hesitates and we find that is a random member of the group to be more determined to attack us, we must focus on the weakest and show that we are fully able to cause serious damages; at the same time, if we want the others to desist, we must also not exaggerate with the level of violence (read The 6DKF’s diagram about the use of violence) and immediately restart a new verbal negotiation
- Exploit the leader – If the leader does not coincide with the strongest of the group, we could try to catch him as a “hostage” (eg. locking him with a standing controlling technique, a strangle, etc.) and force him to give the “orders” we want to the rest of the attackers; we could ask them to maintain a distance, ask to leave their eventual weapons, gain time to recover fighting energies and so on; the point is that even if this ploy is not directly resolutive it can allow us to obtain the goals we have listed at the beginning
What to do during the combat:
- We should continue to monitor the situation, every moment, considering each second the possibility of a safe escape (for us and for those who are with us)
- We must control the scenario, to find any possible overwhelming advantage (eg. an improper weapon, a defensive tool, an obstacle to exploit, etc., read Improper weapons in a real situation)
- We can try to adopt psychological submission techniques (P.S.T., more on this later) to calm, to divide, to scare, to distract or to “disconcert” the opponents
A note by Master Kongling – It should be emphasized that these strategies, set up this way (on a purely theoretical level), must be taken with due intelligence and as examples to be adapted to the various scenarios: under no circumstances they should be interpreted as practical methods.
A few conclusive thoughts:
- As we said in past articles, it is obvious that to implement each of the tactics mentioned above, a medium-high level preparation is necessary
- There is no way to demonstrate martial skills that one does not possess and even less to deceive others to own them (read How to acquire special abilities)
- There is no way to negotiate if we do not control our mind, if we are not able to sustain the incredibly high level of stress of a similar scenario (read )
- There is no way to improvise negotiation abilities (worst of all in a stressful context), there are a lot of details to cure (body language, syntactic construction, the tone of voice, etc., more about this later, read for example Self-defense: aggression in front of a supermarket)
In the next article of this series, we will see what to do in practical terms of fighting (distance, moves, etc.) against multiple opponents.
- 12 tips on how to survive in a brawl – Ideas and tips on how to manage a self-defense scenario characterized by a brawl
- Self-defense: why 90% of martial arts does not work – The bitter truth about the effectiveness of martial arts in terms of self-defense
Reply in the comments and share your experience:
- If the only option was to fight, how would you deal with more opponents?
Author: Master Kongling
Founder of 6 Dragons Kung Fu.