1. Fighting multiple attackers is extremely difficult. Look for an opportunity to flee at any time during the encounter. If the attack takes place indoors, how close is the door or the nearest help? If the attack takes place outdoors, are there others nearby who would hear a scream for help? What brought you to this situation in the first place? If you could do it over, what would you do differently? Thinking about these questions may allow you to avoid a multiple-attack scenario altogether.
2. Establish a position of superiority. Do not allow all of your opponents to attack you at one time (sometimes, though it is not possible to avoid this). You might succeed with this concept when fighting two opponents, but it is unlikely you will be successful fighting more than two people at the same time. If possible, use one attacker as a weapon or shield against the others by pushing him into the other attackers. Using one of the attackers as a shield does not mean you have to be so close that there is body contact. What would be a safe yet effective distance? If you push one attacker into the other attacker(s), how good must your timing be in order for the move to be effective? How hard must you push to make your first and second attacker stumble? If possible, resort to the use of a weapon that poses enough of a threat to make your opponents change their minds about fighting you.
3. Keep your position and escape routes in mind. If you are unable to reach your escape route immediately, how can you move in order to reach it before your attackers have closed the distance? If the attackers are aware of your escape route and they attempt to block it, what would you do next? If in an enclosed area, such as a room or hallway, strive to position yourself near the door. When the opportunity arises, feel the handle. Does the door open inward or outward? If it opens outward, can you kick it open? What type of kick would you use? If you can place the door opening between yourself and the attackers, only one person may be able to pass through at a time. How does it increase your chances to escape or counterattack? If you don’t have the option of getting to the door, what would be your next best course of action? Is it possible to talk your way out of the situation? If you choose to do so, how would you start your conversation?
4. When taken by surprise, know when it is appropriate to fight back. What if you are talking to one opponent and a second attacker emerges and grabs you from behind? Can you use the opponent who is grabbing you as a shield by turning him toward the other attacker? Can you distance yourself from the first attacker or unbalance your opponent by pushing back against him? How easy or difficult is it to break free from the bear hug while moving back or while you or the attacker is off balance? If you manage to break free, is it possible to flee instead of counterstriking? If you flee, are your opponents following you? At what point do you determine whether to keep running or to stop and pursue the fight? How tired are you? At what point does it become impossible to continue fighting multiple opponents? Does fleeing an attack make you feel inferior? If you are fighting one person, and he calls for help and a second attacker emerges, at some point you will have to disengage from the first attacker in order to deal with the second one. What types of strikes can you use? At what range do your kicks become ineffective? What types of kicks limit your power at close range?
5. Avoid turning your back toward an opponent on the ground. Avoid stepping over his body. If you must step over or near him in order to move away from the other attackers, which is better: stepping over his legs, body or head? Why? If you end up on the ground in a wrestling match with one of the attackers, it is critical to eliminate him immediately. How would you go about defeating him and getting back to your feet?
6. If one opponent has a firearm, try to eliminate him first. If he has any other weapon, such as a knife or a stick, try to distance yourself. The firearm differs from other weapons because it extends your opponent’s reach beyond the physical reach of the weapon. An increase in distance might therefore not contribute to greater safety. The same is not true with a knife or stick, where your opponent can harm you only if he can reach you with the weapon. Experiment with your peers to find a safe distance from knife and stick attacks. How quickly can your opponent close the distance? How can he extend the reach of his weapon by switching hands? How intent is he on using the weapon against you? Is he looking to harm you physically, or is he using the weapon primarily as a threat? Disarming an attacker may allow you to use his weapon against the others. What types of disarming techniques are effective when the threat is high and you only have a fraction of a second to act?
7. If a weapon has fallen to the ground, do not lose sight of it. If your opponent loses his weapon, can you find it and use it against him? When fighting multiple opponents, the accomplice(s) might pick up and use the weapon. Consider how your opponent’s focus is diverted when he loses the weapon or reaches out to pick it up from the ground. Is it possible for you to counterattack or flee at this moment? If you choose to counter-attack, what type of attack would you use? Why? If you attempt to pick up a weapon from the ground, can you do so without your opponent(s) taking advantage of your lapse in focus?
8. Use the environment to your advantage. Parked cars can serve as obstacles between you and your opponents. Using the environment involves more than running around obstacles or finding an object that can be used as a weapon. Consider using a distraction that will turn your opponent’s attention away from you. For example, look to the side and wave or shout for help to an imaginary friend. Be aware of your footing. If your footing is poor, your opponent’s footing is probably also poor, and vice versa. Most objects lying about, such as a bottle or a tree branch, can be utilized as weapons. If using a natural weapon found in the environment, how would you em- ploy it to attack or defend? Would you use the weapon in a striking fashion, or could you use it to take your opponent off balance? How?
9. Time is of the essence. How quickly must you react in order to handle at least two attackers successfully? Identify the types of strikes that would cause enough damage to end the fight. How precise must you be with these strikes? How will your opponent(s) react when you counterattack? How can you avoid placing yourself in additional danger when moving in to strike?
10. When the fight is imminent, enter the confrontation with all the determination you can muster. Initiate and stay dynamic. Consider that your opponent, if intent on hurting you, will probably attack with more than one strike and his accomplices will help him. Why is it generally better to initiate than to wait for your opponent to initiate with a move that you can defend against? Or is it? How can you take advantage of your opponent’s strike or momentum to launch a counterattack? How much damage must you do in order to walk away safely?
11. Use techniques that are likely to finish off your opponents with one or two strikes, rather than techniques designed to wear them down. Identify strikes that you can throw with relative ease and that have a high success ratio. Keep in mind that you will probably be tired, scared and experience a high adrenaline rush. How does it affect your ability to use your strikes and kicks? Before commencing the exercise in the training hall, you may want to tire yourself by working the heavy bag or doing push-ups until you get winded. Then have your opponents attack you.
12. Stay in a stance that allows you to see your opponents and that gives you mobility, range of motion and power. The stance that feels natural is generally the one that works the best, particularly if it allows you to run or move with ease. If you normally fight from a left stance, you may want to switch to a right stance if doing so prevents you from exposing your back to either of your opponents. Be aware of which targets your opponent is most likely to attack. Sometimes the events that led up to the fight can reveal your opponent’s motive. Or if he has a weapon, you may be able to determine what type of attack is likely to follow. In most cases, you are probably looking for an upper body attack. Can you thwart it by doing something unorthodox, such as ducking low and attacking his legs? If you choose to do so and your opponent goes down, how does it affect your positioning and ability to fight a second or third assailant?