Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Will You Lose to Multiple Attackers?

Karate class

Patrick Parker’s thought-provoking post, The myth of multiple attackers lays it out!

A conflict with any one aggressor is at best a 50-50 proposition - that is, it's an even chance of you winning or losing.  Much of the time the odds are much worse than that because aggressors can be assumed to work the odds in their favor by using surprise, weapons, and whatever other advantage they can come up with.  Martial arts (any martial art) might tip the odds in your favor somewhat, but they are not magic talismans. When two or three or four guys accost you, the smart option is to comply and give them what they want and hope they go away (that's a pretty good option when one guy accosts you too).

Parker is no newbie, he is 6th-Dan Aikido, and 5th-Dan Judo, and is the consummate martial arts student – he rarely says, “I know ,” but seems to say, “let’s see,” and “let’s try to find out.” He details that his training and competitive levels were very high in Karate in the 80s and 90s, but that “I was also a large, athletic guy in the best shape of my life, but I never approached the ability to beat up two attackers at once.”

How about you? How confident are you? Patrick’s point has to be taken in the manner intended: self defense. If you are attacked, without warning, without being able to choose the time, place, weapons, or numbers, you’ll probably lose. So will I, and your instructor probably will, too.

I remember enjoying having a great class with about 20 kids, and then said, “You guys take me out! Go ahead, attack!” And they did. I utilized all the skills that I’ve taught – shielding, checking, grabbing, and moving, and sweeping, striking, and constant movement to frustrate a gang attack. It was fun. Afterward, they were in awe: “How did you do that Mr. Nathan?” “Wow, I bet no one can kick your ass!” and so on. Then one of them piped up, “We’re just kids.” He got it. And there was nothing of the impact, ferocity, and intensity of even a normal adult in one of them. Ok, almost.

Rory Miller of Chiron and “Meditations on Violence” fame has faced many situations like I think Patrick is describing, and admitted in a post called Worth It that

Bad guys take you out. From surprise. First hit. With a size and strength advantage or, if they can't manage that and really, really need what you've got, with weapons and numbers. They deliberately choose people who won't or can't fight. There's no value to complicated strategy or feinting.

Is what you’re learning bunk? Junk? Probably not. But keep in mind that you really need to stay out of these situations, and keep learning, but, always have a way to stay out of, or get out of things like this.

What do you say?

Like this post? Subscribe to our feed or by email and you won’t miss a thing.

Please interact with us at our TDA Training Facebook page!

All original material is copyright of their respective authors.
All rights reserved. Permission must be obtained before use. Copyright 2011


Noah said...

We have worked some multiple attacker drills at my dojo before and they are TOUGH. I've also grappled with two people at the same time (I was helping one with his grappling between classes when another invited himself into the fray) but they were teenagers where as I am 23 so I had a distinct size, strength and experience advantage and even then it was difficult to manage until I locked a choke in one one and could focus on the other with my legs.

Nathan at TDA Training said...

Thanks for the comment, Noah. It was funny, I had a video reposted on someone else's blog that got a lot of comments as to how ugly it was, and unskillful. The context wasn't there:
The drill was for the two attackers to corner, take down, and pummel/stomp the defender. It changes things a lot. I used to do only stand-up two-on-on or three, and it can be fun. When you know that the attackers have the leeway to pin you against a wall or object, tackle you, or throw you, it changes things. The grappling skills are for one thing in self-defense; immobilizing or taking out someone when we have superior numbers, but when we don't know, use them to neutralize and get up FAST. I when I would spar against two or three of my students, who were very high skill level, I made it out "alive" only 30-50% of the time.

No matter how high your skill level, you have low chances if you're surprised by one, but two or more? Patrick makes a great point. But the real world is that we almost ALWAYS have the opportunity to avoid being there.

The other thing that we introduce is ALWAYS wearing knee, elbow, and eye protection, and we use them. Eye attacks are ok, as are use of most other techniques.

The real fun starts when one or more attackers has a gun or knife, or picks up an improvised weapon. Talk about ugly! :)