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Fighting Multiple Opponents Martial Arts Strategy

Practicing self-defense against multiple opponents helps build your instinctive reactions against various attacks. In this article you will learn basic multiple opponents defense strategy.

To practice, one person is the defender and everyone else attacks. The defender defends as best as he can.

There is a wide range of variations you can apply to this training exercise. You can set “rules” such as grabs only, one at a time, weapons allowed/not allowed, etc. 

As your training in this exercise becomes more intense you should use protective gear.

How to Fight Multiple Opponents

A second opponent is often more dangerous than a conventional weapon. 

Three or more opponents become exceedingly dangerous due to their pack mentality.

Avoid being surrounded, and stay off the ground. 

Use footwork and your surroundings to put yourself in advantageous positions:

  • On higher ground
  • With your back to the sun (so your opponents have to look into it)
  • Behind obstacles

Staying in one spot is dangerous. Change your distance and angles continuously. 

Line up your opponents using footwork and/or funneling.

Funneling multiple opponents in a street fight.
Funnel multiple opponents so can fight them one at a time.

Head Control

A person will follow his head. With a modified guillotine or rear naked choke (preferred), you can use one attacker as a human shield against the others. 

Pin the hand of your choking arm to your chest (or hold your shirt) and hold him tightly, so you can use your other hand to fight the others.

Constantly move so he can’t regain his balance. 

When you have enough distance/time, you can choke him out

When Surrounded

Pick a target and attack him hard to break out of the circle.

In a “weak” group, such as a bunch of unorganized youths, taking out the leader may be enough to scare the others off. Be brutal, and tell his friends to take him to the hospital.

In other cases, when it seems all opponents are willing to fight, it may be better to break out through the weakest link, since that will be easier.

If they have weapons, always pick the least threatening person, in the following order of preference:

  • No weapon
  • Least dangerous weapon
  • Best chance of overcoming (mentally and/or physically) 

Once you’re out of the “circle,” run away or, if that isn’t possible, turn to face your opponents. 

Turning Strike

The turning strike is an alternative rear defense to the side kick.

To perform one, do a rear high elbow and then turn and face your opponent. Step back with the foot on the same side as your elbow.

As you turn, use a downward strike. Make contact with either your forearm or the back of your fist.

Continue your momentum, throwing a palm heel or rear straight punch.

Using the turning strike to attack to your rear in a street fight.
The turning strike is good for attacking to your rear.

Group Fighting Strategy

You can also apply this exercise to different numbers of fighters. For example, one on one, one vs two, two vs three, etc. You can even practice it on your own as a kind of shadowboxing. Imagine the attackers.

Don’t get surrounded and do not try grappling multiple opponents. A strategy of boxing multiple opponents one on one is best. 

Boxing in this sense means keeping on your feet. Dirty street fighting techniques is a must if you want to survive against multiple opponents.

Here are specific strategies for when it is not a one-on-one fight. 

In this section, the first number indicated is your “team.” For example, Two vs One means two of you against one opponent. 

Communication between team members is important to adapt to the situation, especially if one of you needs help.

Two vs One

Advance together on either side of the enemy. As you close in, the person he isn’t focused on should go for his legs, while the other concentrates on his upper body (or weapon). 

Three vs Two

Advance and close so the outside two of you are to the outside of the enemy. Whoever is facing his opponent alone can fight or stall until the others have finished and can come to his aid.

Even Numbers

One fighter stays in reserve until the enemy has committed their entire force. The reserved fighter then attacks from behind.

Two vs Three

Both of you attack one opponent at a time until you have defeated all three. If you’re separated, then Fighter 1 defends against two, while Fighter 2 fights one-on-one. Fighter 2 comes to Fighter 1’s aid when he has finished with his own opponent.

Teach yourself self-defense that works,
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The Self Defense Handbook Cover 300

Self-Defense Against Multiple Opponents Conclusion

Self-defense against multiple opponents is very dangerous. Each additional person is like a weapon that can think!

That is even more of a reason that this training is a must. It will also hone your instinctive reactions.

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