Even if you've been studying martial arts for years, if you're in a fight with multiple opponents, you're going to be at a significant disadvantage. Two and you may hold your own. But what if you're facing four, six or even ten opponents?
Real life isn't like the movies, and if you want to have any hope to survive, you need a strategy. Because fighting smart is what's going to keep you safe. Today, I'm going to cover the mindset you need to take the fight to your opponents, along with some strategies to ensure you come out on top.
Right. Let's get straight into it.
Developing your situational awareness
This is one of the hardest challenges to master, especially if you're only a beginner in self-defense. It requires you stay alert, and focus not only on what's right in front of you, but to take in everything in your surroundings so you can act accordingly. In a fight against multiple opponents, good situational awareness is critical, as it'll help you react to any new opponents stepping into the fray, and keep your focus on multiple targets at once. My advice, is to work on developing your situational awareness in your everyday life, so you can rely on this skill when you need it most.
How to actually fight multiple opponents
My first piece of advice is to run. Fighting is a massive risk, even when there's only a single opponent. Add more people into the fray, and you're at a massive disadvantage before even the first punch gets thrown. So pay attention to your surroundings, and choose a direction to run.
But there are times when running isn't an option. Perhaps you're cornered. You're with someone who needs protecting, or there simply isn’t anyplace safe to go.
Now it's time to fight.
I've got three main rules for you to follow in a group fight.
- Only face one opponent at a time.
- Do not let yourself end up on the ground.
- Unleash the beast.
Simple rules, but they can be difficult to put into practice.
Face one opponent at a time
Being surrounded is the opposite of what you want in a group fight. Instead, you want to use any objects near to you to create barriers so that you're only ever up against one person. You can take down one person. The trick then is to keep doing this until you're the last one standing. If there's a hallway or a position you can maneuver yourself into to help you achieve this, slowly back up until you're there.
In a fight, you're only going to be effective against a single opponent. If there's nothing around you that can help, use your footwork to position yourself on the outer edge of your opponents, stepping around them so your attackers are effectively blocking themselves from reaching you. This is a basic concept of the circling technique. You want to keep yourself agile, and moving, so that only one person can attack you at a time. It won't work forever, so you need to react quickly.
Always stay on your feet
The worst outcome in a group fight is to lose your feet. If you're tackled or taken to the ground, you're a goner. It'll allow multiple attackers to pounce on you, striking and kicking while you're in no position to evade them. If you are taken down, try your best to roll or get to the edge of the circle again, so you can regain your footing. Of course, at this point of the fight anything goes. I'd be attacking your opponent's ankle and knee joints, and grabbing on to anyone I could to bring them down to ground level too, and perhaps get an opportunity to stand.
If it's not possible at all, curl up and use your legs to protect your stomach and vital organs, and your hands to protect your head. Obviously, this is not a good outcome, but it may help to reduce the extent of your injuries if you're on the losing side of this altercation.
Don't be afraid to unleash the beast
This last piece of advice is one of the most important. No one likes getting injured, and often in a group fight your opponents believe they have the upper hand, and group mentality pushes them farther than they may go alone. You are in serious danger if you don't fight back with every bit of force you can muster.
When facing multiple opponents, you need to fight for your life. Grab anything that will give you an upper hand, whether it's a discarded bottle, a brick you can wield in your fist, a piece of pipe or anything you can get your hands on that you can use to fend off your opponents. If you've got a can of pepper spray, use it. You can't be afraid of doing them harm. They intend the same for you, so fight back with as much force is necessary to ensure you get yourself out of the situation you're in. Hit hard. Hit fast. And as soon as you have the opportunity to escape, do it. You never know how the situation may change.
In a group fight you're at a significant disadvantage, but you can effectively fight back if you remember a few key rules. Stay agile and circle so you're only facing one opponent at a time, using your surroundings to help you in any way you can. Don't get too close and risk being tackled to the ground, and fight back with everything you've got. There's no rules when it comes to a street fight.