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Registration date : 2007-06-27



MULTIPLE ASSAILANT SITUATIONS Nick%20trg%20in%20legion-1_zpsdaenabz9
[Nick taught close combat to his Foreign Legion colleagues]

Without doubt one of the most appealing aspects of the Martial Arts that so enthralled movie audiences in the early '70s was the ability of the trained fighter to dispatch a multitude of assailants. Exponents of our Western Arts (boxers, wrestlers and fencers) train to deal with one opponent, which, no doubt, stems in part from our adherence to the Queens- bury rules. Nowadays however, a likely scenario is to find oneself in a group attack and the Eastern Martial Arts are the only stylised fighting systems that train with this possibility in mind.

MULTIPLE ASSAILANT SITUATIONS Multiple%20drill%20in%20Liverpool_zpsmk50rmav
[Nick showing a multiple-assailant drill in Liverpool]

Let's face it, multiple attacks are one of the most frightening types of fight you'll ever have the displeasure to become involved in. A fight against a single adversary doesn't -at least on the surface -appear to be too daunting a prospect. As my learned colleague Dave Rubens pointed out in his recent article, you'll probably only suffer a split lip, black eye and a bruised ego (assuming of course you are both physically evenly matched and that you lose the altercation)


In a multiple attack though, the 'pack mentality' can quickly take over and the fight becomes an orgy of violence. Each member of the group, bolstered by their friends' presence, will endeavour to outdo one another by trying to be the more vicious. (Remember the scenes from the Los Angeles riots when rioters pulled a truck driver from his vehicle?) 0 The sad part is that they generally get away with it. The law has to prove -beyond reasonable doubt -which individual administered the fatal blow -which is nigh on impossible when a dozen or so 'gang bangers' are tap dancing all over your incumbent form. All they have to say in their defence is that they were there but they didn't take part in the fight.

MULTIPLE ASSAILANT SITUATIONS Gang3%20mugging_zpsujim1ouu
[Gang mugging tourist in London]

I have first-hand experience of this from an altercation in Australia. My top student and I got jumped by sixty-to-seventy members of a Kung Fu class one night while watching their training session. During the ensuing affray I was stabbed in the back of the thigh with a sword and also in the chest twice with a knife. I never saw or felt either (as is common with blades) and so during the subsequent Police enquiry they couldn't prosecute anyone for assault with a deadly weapon or, attempted murder, because I couldn't identify who exactly used either the sword or the knife.

In just about all self defence books to date, of course, dealing with multiple attackers is a relatively simple affair. You either drop the leader with a devastating display of your Martial Arts prowess, drop the biggest one with the same, or appeal to their machismo and challenge them to a one-on-one fight. Would that it were so but, believe me, having been in a few, I can tell you that your chances of pulling one of the above off are slim indeed. To start with the leader of the gang didn't get to be leader by being stupid; he will stand well back and goad his henchmen into action. The world has changed since King Richard's day and leaders no longer lead their troops into battle (Blair in Iraq?) so you won't even get close. Even if you did the rest of the gang will just kick seven types of shit out of you for doing their mate.

[Girl gang]

Dropping the biggest isn't viable either. To begin with it's just not easy -remember the famous saying 'The bigger they are the harder they hit'-and while you're tied up trying to get him, the others will be getting you. Finally, as to appealing to their sense of honour and/or machismo and asking for a one-on-one fight, forget it! If they weren't afraid of fighting one-on-one they wouldn't be needing the security of a gang and if they had any honour they wouldn't be in a gang in the first place. Gang bangers are gutless and dangerous yes, but gutless, that's the bottom line, so don't waste time appealing to their non-existent sense of honour. Besides, who ever said they're going to stop and chat with you just hasn't been in a real fight. Gangs just are. ..and then they stomp!. Say what you like, but they won't be listening to any of it.

So, enough of what doesn't work letís now look at some options which work.

[Multiple drill, Nick's US class]

Firstly, narrow their field of attack whenever possible. By putting your back to a wall you limit their field to 180 degrees and thus eliminate attacks from the rear. By getting into a corner you halve that field again. History tells the story of the three brothers in arms that stood on a narrow bridge and held off an Army because they could only get on the bridge two at a time. Other possibilities abound, telephone boxes, toilet cubicles, hallways, under parked cars, etc. In one club I worked at in Oz we had the front desk and cloak- room desk set up in such a way as to make access difficult for even one person. Myself and two other doormen held off a thirty-strong stag-night party out to do us no good in that way. One of us would remain in the breach whilst the other two covered. If the front man became injured, Ďtied upí or tired, the two behind would haul him out and another would take his place.
Psychological warfare is another very effective option. Your first technique, for example, should be brutally effective! If you can stick a sidekick through someoneís kneecap and drop them on the deck screaming, punch them in the throat, or, execute a beautiful one-punch knockout flush on the jaw, it definitely sets the others thinking. Another way to use this principal is to do the unexpected. On one occasion I can remember, two neíer- do-wells weíd ejected from a club earlier in the evening turned up with about five carloads of their friends to seek revenge. They started to gather in the carpark over the street, and our manager began formulating a plan as to who would do what, when. I decided ĎTo hell with ití and ran across the road to get into them before they got organised. Very unexpected -they thought weíd bolt the doors and call the law (we never relied on the Police -too often they arrive at the scene of a large-scale fight only to have both sides turn on what they see as the common enemy, so official policy was to wait half-an-hour and then go down and arrest whoever was left!) , so the sight of one nutter running at them screaming like a banshee threw them. While they were still trying to come to terms with this, I was already in the middle of them and had dropped the first two. Dennis and John, the two brothers I worked with (the smaller of the two was 6ft. 4ins. tall and weighed around 290Ibs.) were hard on my heels and doing the same thing when the gang turned and ran. The key to this strategy in a multiple situation is to get one of the gang members to break ranks, turn and run and the lot will follow. (Why do you think armies shoot deserters?!) They can justify their buggering-off then by saying they saw so-and-so running, so they assumed that was part of the plan.
This psychological option really works. Physically, one person canít beat a group of ten or so people, but what works for you is the fact that they canít act and operate as a cohesive group when they donít know what each other is thinking. This is the reason that all the Hostage Rescue Units and Bodyguard details get around with those earpieces and mini-microphones. Theyíve learned the hard way that itís pure folly to operate in a group without communications.

Boot party drill at the Liverpool Gutterfighters. You have to learn to fight back to your feet]

Another example of this I saw work was when a guy pulled a knife on Dennis one night after being refused entry. Whenever it was obvious that someone was only trying to intimidate us, weíd turn the tables by arguing loudly amongst ourselves as to whose turn it was to have the pleasure of getting the guy. Instead of the fear and panic the knifeman expected, he got a bunch of guys fighting over who could have him first. He threw the knife and ran away screaming that we were all mad.
Another principal is to work from the outside in. Assume youíre about to ruck with three or four guys. The spokesman will generally be in front of you and while thus engaged the others will start to flank you. When it kicks off most people begin by hit- ting the mouthpiece. Lot of satisfaction there but usually short-lived because the others whack you from the sides. Itís far smarter to go for one of those in your peripheral vision. Few people expect it, especially if you do it while maintaining eye contact with the Ďmouthí, and, once behind him you can use him as a shield, push him into the others or hold him to ransom. I teach my students a move whereby you end up behind a man facing you with him in a sleeper in half a second or less, from that position you put one finger in his eye and his ear in your teeth and tell him heíll suffer the obvious consequences if his friends donít. F! (Go away!) This works brilliantly, for the same reasons one pistol-wielding crazy can hold a plane load of people to ransom. Obviously he canít get them all but nobody wants to be responsible for the death of the person whose head heís got the gun to.
Yet another option is to split the group up. Fifteen guys in a group cannot all run the same speed. So if you have enough time, take off running. As they give chase they will automatically start to spread out. The real quick one will be hot on your heels, several feet behind him will be the second-fastest and so on. In the middle will be a small pack who are the average; then strung out behind them will be the slower runners terminating with the big fat slug. The further you run, the greater the distance will be between each member of the gang and the more time you will have to deal with them one at a time. One way of doing this is to stop round a corner and wait. The first one round will be going so damned fast that heíll knock himself out running onto your reverse elbow, back kick, etc. The second heís down and out, take off again. At some stage you can lie up and let them run past and then deal with the stragglers (who are usually so out of breath that dropping them is apiece of cake. N.B. Gang members are not generally into road work like you should be!!). It is well worth pulling this one off just to see that look on their faces when they turn to see if the fat slug is still with them, and see you instead.!
If you need to buy some time while running from them (and Iím assuming here that itís night time) head for some open ground, jump as high as you can in the air and then keep running. Theyíll stop to look for the wire fence you just jumped over and by the time they figure out that there isnít one, you should be well away and planning something nasty!

MULTIPLE ASSAILANT SITUATIONS Si%20versus%20two%20Padded%20assailants_zpsjxogqfmx
[Si Porter in full-on multiple-assailant, suit scenario]

The above are some tried and true methods of dealing with multiple attackers. Some other things to bear in mind are that a single adversary -who knows what he is doing -is generally more dangerous than a pack. It sounds crazy but (a) gang members are usually gutless, which is why they need the security of the pack, the man on his own isnít usually afraid of much at all. (b) Gangs canít think as a unit. You can on your own know, at any given second, what your assistants, i.e. your fists, elbows, feet and knees are doing and going to do next. And (c) gangs trip over themselves all the time. Often times Iíve been in amongst superior numbers and ducked or slipped a kick or punch which has gone on to connect with someone else. Try it in class one night. Have about fifteen fellow students try and get you while youíre backed into a corner and see just how many can get a clear shot at, itís usually two or three only due to overcrowding. That brings me nicely to my next point. Any Martial Arts club worth itís salt will have you practicing against multiple opponents on a regular basis, so you can learn how to get outside the pack, split them up, reduce their options, run them into each other and so on.
Nick has a DVD on coping with Multiple Assailants, details here

Check Six,
Dennis Martin
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