Bring It On! – Practicing with multiple partners.

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As we have discussed before, you can only fight how you practice. So, what do you do if you are confronted by multiple attackers with no egress? Obviously, the ideal is to avoid the situation, but we can all be careless and end up in a bad situation. So you end up surrounded and you are in trouble. What do you do? If you don’t have an answer to this you need to come up with one.

I was first introduced to multiple attacker scenarios in a self-defense course. It was a simple escape from a two attacker double hand grab. It was a fun exercise, if not the most realistic scenario. It wasn’t until I studied Aikido that I got a real taste for multiple attackers. Understand, that Aikido was one of my side studies. I have a basic understanding of Aikido but I am NOT an expert.

However, in my year of training, I learned a lot and have been able to apply what I learned in my other disciplines. In the school I went to they practiced randori by having 5 students attack one and the one would defend against the attacks. This was typically reserved for the higher ranked students but as a beginner, I was allowed to participate occasionally. My first time, I got nervous and ended up using takedown techniques from my main discipline, but they were patient with me and in time I was able to defend properly.

Where I really got comfortable with multiple attackers was a series of brainstorming sessions I had with friends of mine in martial arts. They had different strengths, some stand up, some ground and we took turns attacking each other. One of us would be the “victim” and the others would be the attackers. It could be one person attacking or four people. You never knew the attack scenario until you had to defend against it. We were all pretty well rounded fighters so even though we had our strengths and weaknesses, you never knew what we would throw at you (even training knives and bludgeons). The goal of the exercise would be to eliminate the threat and/or get to a “safe spot”. Getting away safely without throwing a strike was a win in the exercise. This is not an original concept but I found it very effective. I have seen videos of classes in which you would walk through a park and you would be randomly attacked. The park wasn’t closed to the public, so you couldn’t just lash out at someone before they attacked you, because it could just be someone walking through the park. I find this fascinating and would like to take one of these seminars.

I have been lucky to have had the opportunity to supplement my martial arts studies with self-defense application seminars. These classes have given me a perspective on martial arts that traditional training and sparring alone did not provide. Some of the self-defense seminars were theoretical and others left me with some serious bruises. The main lesson was both application and attitude are important in defense. Having experience takes the mystery away and some of the fear. Although, nothing prepares you for the situation like the situation itself, train for as many situations as you can. Hopefully, you will not need to use this training, but being prepared is important and practicing different situations can be fun.


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