View Full Version : multiple opponents / ending fights

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04-30-2005, 07:49 PM
I'm a bit new to Aikido (started a week ago) so I apologize in advance if any of these questions sound stupid.

1) How do you defend against multiple opponents?I've watched the higher ranking Aikidoka at my dojo use very fast techniques but have never seen them practice any way of defending against groups.

2) How can you end a fight? while you're pinning someone you can't defend yourself against other people and you can't pin your opponent there forever so what's preventing him from attacking you again after you let him go? Besides breaking one of his limbs or injurying him severly I don't see how you can end the fight.

Sorry if I messed up any of the terminology.

04-30-2005, 11:17 PM
1) The best way to defend against multiple opponents is to flee on foot or by car.
2) The best way to end a fight is to flee on foot or by car.

If you need to defend against multiple opponents and you want to learn to get fights over quickly, I suggest you practice running, not Aikido.

05-01-2005, 02:33 AM
Gyuwaza with multiple opponents is designed (in my opinion) to teach you how to move in relation to more then one person. If you had a sword, it might be possible to fight more then one person at a time, even if they were equally armed, this I believe is the foundation of multiple assailant attacks. With a firearm it is defiantly possible to take on multiple opponents, and Randori/Gyuwaza, is great for teaching you how to move in relation to several people. However, it's completely impractical, and HIGHLY unlikely, if unarmed, that you will be successful when attacked by more then 2 people, not that it can't happen, but dealing with one person is hard enough!

-Chris Hein

Mel Barker
05-01-2005, 06:24 AM
1) The best way to defend against multiple opponents is to flee on foot or by car.
2) The best way to end a fight is to flee on foot or by car.

If you need to defend against multiple opponents and you want to learn to get fights over quickly, I suggest you practice running, not Aikido.

Wow, it would suck to be your friend when the chips are down.

05-01-2005, 08:08 AM
1 person is tough enough to deal with, 2 people can be delt with depending on your mindset, and how you have been training, 3 or more and your gonna need an equalizer (impact weapon, blade etc) It really depends upon your attackers and how tough they really are compared to you! Trust me, if your outright beating 5 or 6 guys empty handed, its because they just dont want you bad enough!
Also, expect to get hurt unless you have a firearrm and are at a safe range! Believe me when i say you do not want to have to contend with multiple attackers empty handed, no matter who you are!
Awareness is your best friend, not putting yourself in the situation to begin with, or getting out of the situation as quickly as possible! Talk your way out, beg, lie, cheat, run, its not like Seagal movies, i promise you will get hurt!
That being said, if for whatever reason you were to find yourself in the worst of situations, you must be willing to do whatever is necessary just to be able to crawl away! Lets say that you just couldn't avoid the attack. your best bet is to move laterally, to stack your opponents so they cannot surround you, and do everything that you can to stay on your feet! Trying to go toe to toe with one person will always open you up to the sucker punch from one of the others! You fight dirty, like you have never fought before, hairpulling, eyegoudges, biting, groinshots, anything goes, if you have a weapon of any kind, use it! Attacking the weak link or the leader is best when the pack is just forming, youll know when they are egging each other on and trying to get the courage to move. Also, if you have a weapon, use it on the run to escape, if you stand still its over!
In the end you are going to have to tap that primal part of yourself, that bear that sleeps within us all, and has helped man and woman survive from the beginning! Its a scary place to go, you may do things you didnt think you could or would do, cuz if ya dont, well then ya neaither live nor win.
I do think that you should train for this to better help your chances of surviving an attack if you were to ever find yourself in such a situation. The thing is, you must train realisticly, with resistance and weapons, against people that are fighting you back with no prearranged scenerios! The most important thing is that you must develope a winning mindset, and a willingness to go beyond what your self imposed limitations may be! Even with all that, it only gives you half a chance, the other half depends on whos attacking you, and what the gods have decided on that particular day :) Train for it, but do everything in your power to never let it happen!

05-01-2005, 08:45 AM
You can't defend yourself against a group. You take care of one person then move on to the next. Perhaps you can borrow a video tape of multi-person attacks to give you a better idea.

If you need to pin in a multi-person attack, use an informal pin, i.e. where you are standing. In that way you can move quickly if attacked by another person. Formal pins from seiza are demonstrations of control. They are used in testing situations where you don't have to watch your back.

The way to end a fight is to have a non-fighting mind. In a real situation you're not out to prove anything. You only want to remain alive and hopefully not be injured. Walk or run away when you can.

There are also instructors like AikiWeb columnist George Ledyard, who have special classes and seminars dealing with multi-person attacks. If you're interested in the topic or expect to face this situation due to rank testing, you should consider taking a class.

05-01-2005, 09:27 AM
Those are some very good replies to your question. I cldnt agree more with Jason and Ted. Anyhow, to illustrate some points, take a look at tis video if you havent:

Observe how the big guy took his opponents. He went straight in one at a time (I cldnt help noticing how badly he punched but well, it worked for him). Also, notice the part in which he took one guy down with a wrestling styled move but did not enter into grappling range - instead he got right up and turned around in anticipation of the other attackers.

Check out his atttitude during the fight, though it may seem like he was the one who initiated the fight, its interesting to note how he gained the edge by his body actions - removing his shirt to show tt he's not submitting, and by charging right in with his animal instinct.
Body language is impt if you've chosen fight over flight, actions like rolling up ur sleeves or taking off ur shirt may make u appear intimidating as opposed to looking away with heads bowed (ala pizza palor attack).

Btw, theres another video tt i found interesting: http://www.big-boys.com/articles/oldmanfight.html
The old guy actually fell the first 2 guys tt attacked him.

05-01-2005, 02:12 PM
While it is true that you can dance around and use untrained attackers against each other during fisticuffs, waiting for others to break it up or police to be scrambled, and that brawling with stupid/drunk bar patrons is certainly the most likely physical conflict you will encounter, trained opponents will place a-zone hits on your chest and face with their close range firearms, or use their throw-away knives cut your arms and body three or four times whenever you come within range. If you have just begun your martial arts career, or are even a veteran martial artist who is not interested/willing to engage in life and death conflict, your best bet is to GTFO and seriously consider altering your lifestyle. Hear me now, believe me later.

05-01-2005, 03:03 PM
Thanks for all your advice. I really appreciate it. The only reason I asked is because people who want to start fights rarely do it by themselves. I've seen a couple of fights before but people usually weren't that serious and backed off once they had a bloody nose. Thanks again for the commentary!

Charles Hill
05-01-2005, 05:01 PM
There are also instructors like AikiWeb columnist George Ledyard, who have special classes and seminars dealing with multi-person attacks.

Mr. Ledyard has a cdrom for sale on the topic which is definitely on my to buy list. There is a review of his seminar somewhere on this site, I believe, which has a lot of great info on multiple attacks. I also recommend using the search function to see what he has had to say on the subject on this site.


05-01-2005, 05:46 PM
One good thing about Aikido, is that it's always done so you can look about and see what else is going on. All of the pins are such that you can easily see who else might be comming up to kick you in the head. Lots of times fights start one on one, but after you have hurt someones friend a bit, others tend to get involoved

-Chris Hein

05-01-2005, 10:04 PM
Mr. Ledyard has a cdrom for sale on the topic which is definitely on my to buy list....his seminar....Been there, done that, highly


recommend it.

Very precisely conceived exercises in a clear progression of skills. Bar none, no seminar I've ever attended has improved my skills so immediately.

I travelled from one end of the continent to the other to be there. I don't hesitate to encourage others to do the same and intend to do it again myself.

05-01-2005, 10:07 PM
Wow, it would suck to be your friend when the chips are down.


Sucker punch, that one. Wasn't even Zsckxzpean delivering it!

"God save me from my friends, I know who my enemies are."

Nick Simpson
05-02-2005, 05:25 AM
Good thread, some nice disscussion going on here! I really liked those vid clips too, those skaters must have been totally freaked out when that guy didnt back down and then started dropping them. he didnt seem to have good "technique" but he had a good attitude and he looked pretty strong and mad so that must be what did it for him. The old guy looked like he irim=tsuki'd (spelling) those guys in the face which must have been effective cos they were jumping at him.

Randori/ji-yu-waza whatever you call at, is standard dojo practise for a multiple attack situation and can be done in a variety of ways.

In a "real fight" though, the best thing to do is to follow the above advice. If your backed into a tight corner, start screaming, look mad, shout random things and cover your balls.

Best way to dispose of someone quickly is to break their nose. So aim for the nose. Dont pin anybody. If your lucky enough to put someone down and they have friends coming and/or look like they are going to get up and come at you again then kick them. Just be careful you dont seriously injure them and that there arent any cctv cameras around, the courts tend to take a dim view of kicking someone on the floor, even if there is several attackers and they started it.

Always fight dirty ;)

Edit: Dont forget the old disclaimer of: "It was all a blur officer, they jumped me and i just tried to push them off and get away and then I think one of them fell down or something. He must have tripped. I dont really remember much else..."

05-02-2005, 06:02 AM
Any martial at is really only putting the odds more in your favour.
No martial art should lull you into some sort of false sense of security.
Perhaps just the opposite. Training shows you just how difficult it is to defend yourself - on command.
What most people don't ever appreciate, certainly not to any effective extent, is an attack is not clinical. Its messy, violent and dynamic.
To coldly respond to ANY attack, is something I hope I MIGHT be lucky enough to do, and survive relatively unscathed.

An attack is 90% plus, emotional.
And damned if thats one area that few people have a good grip of, let alone train /control.

One of the instructors that had a influences upon me, related this story.

Back in the 60's or early 70's, in London, he was set upon by a group of Teddy boys (these were really nasty pieces of work back then)
He was on his own and knew quite well that he was about to get the living shit kicked out of him.
He was able to defend himself to the point that he had one of the attackers in an arm lock. He threatened the others, that if they didn't back off, he'd break their mates arm.
Well, they didn't back off, its not in their nature. Well Ron broke the guys arm, horrible.
Its seems that the others were somewhat impressed with this, and their mates screaming, kind of dried up their resolve to carry on the fight.

Not very aiki, I hear some say!!!
No, very aiki.

And exactly what I'd would like to see myself doing in the same situation.
A little inflicted discomfort for one (ok, alot of discomfort :hypno: ), rather than a whole lot of hurt inflicted upon myself.

Its self defense after all. Not some after dinner game. It can get messy.

Nick Simpson
05-02-2005, 08:33 AM
Thats fair enough, he gave them a warning, they chose to ignore it...

05-02-2005, 08:40 AM
I got to see the "Tiger Team" who do TDK. One of the best things in the demo was that they handed out a lot of apples to the audience and asked everyone to start throwing the apples at them at once. They punched and kicked the apples to the point that no one got hit! It was awesome! At the time, I was wishing I were a major league pitcher! I'll be the first to admit that I don't think I could move that well in such a random situation.

I agree with Benjamin Edelen that the thing to do is get out of there. How you relate to people on a deep energtic level (which is practiced in aikido) might be the best thing you have going for you - even more important than apple punching skills.


Nick P.
05-02-2005, 08:48 AM
Someone has to back down, or get beaten down, for it to end. I guess there is another scenario; the attackers get bored and give up the attack (which I have seen).

In the skater video, it was interesting to see the "pauses" during the first shoves, and after the go-round, there was another pause. Almost got the impression no-one there really wanted it to continue badly enough.

If you are alone against many, if you back down/try to evade, that might just be the opening the group is looking for as a sign of weakness that would trigger the attack. Conversely, if you come off too aggressive as the individual, someone in the group might think "I can't look weak in the eyes of my group, so I MUST take this guy down."

I broke up a fight in the hall of my apartment building a couple of years back (one-on-one fight). If the opportunity presents itself (me getting angry at the two fighters, and me projecting a "I might not have started this, but I WILL END IT!" attitude seemed to be the opportunity) most people will likely take an easy out from a fight...though the drunk-off-his-ass brawler will be immune to any body language let alone words.

John Boswell
05-02-2005, 09:45 AM
Just as a side note: that big guy in the yellow shirt, taking on 3 or 4 guys... he has an EXCELLENT use of his center.

Notice his posture throughout the fight? Even when all three were on him at once, he stayed over his hips and moved effectively.

I don't know who started that fight, but he did a good job holding his own.

As for the other guy, he looks like he's trained UFC style. Not much training, mind you, but enough to know to hit and move, put em down and move, stike two to the face, go after the 3rd and then move.... he did a pretty good job, considering. THAT... and the punks that had him surrounded never intended to fight. They had the guy out numbered and expected him to back down... and therefore could "win." Well, he didn't back down and all they could do then was fend for themselves. That was more of "multiple 1vs1" fights as opposed to randori, due to lack of planning and poor judgement on the part of the punk kids.

Just my thoughts on the vids

05-02-2005, 12:34 PM
My advice is to go to class and at the end bring it up. Ask for the chance to test out your ideas and theories. Basically train, train, train, and when you wonder about stuff train some more...

Plus it helps not to be in places where a mob decides to tear you apart...

05-03-2005, 07:09 PM
It is entirely possible to take on multiple opponents. i have seen actual footage of O'sensei taking on 4 to 5 opponents at once and none of them seemed to be able to touch him . I've also seen my sensei do it b4. Its all about having swift movements and taking your opponents momentum and using it against them . I've read articles about when O'sensei was in the japanese military and he would single handedly take on many men at once and overcome them... so it is possible

as far as ending fights goes. During aikido its not about ending a technique its about demonstrating and learning from the practice. however in real life ending a fight can happen w/out hurting someone . most likely if u have a altercation , and u pin someone and show them taht u could have hurt them then most of the time they will leave u alone . of course if they dont then it may come down to having to hurt them out of self defense. but of course this is only when its necessary . sry i may have rambled on a little too much .
hope this helps
- Paige

05-03-2005, 08:01 PM
I have also seen Aikidoka take multiple opponents down, it's what first attracted me to the art, is that's it's so powerful (in it's own way, which is of course power through your opponent) But before aikido I studied a style called Bushi Ban karate. A very linear martial art. We would practice multiple opponent and what I found is that it wears you out VERY VERY quickly, if you know how to end it, do it FAST. If 4 guys with only half the energy you have came at you then they still have twice the energy you do. We were taught to only fight one at a time, you have to hop around to get to a position where the guy you are fighting is between you and everyone else. Trained figters can get around this easy if there are more than two of em, but most people aren't trained in any proficiant way. But we were taught to hit the nose first, because it blocks half of the oxegen intake they get, not because it will end the fight. To end this kind of fight we were taught joint strikes, one guy comes at you, you kick his knee hard enough to break it backwards and he will no longer be concerned with you. A strong palm upwards into the chin while you sweep him and force his head into the cement and he won't be a problem. And so on and so forth. But the point is, if the only option you have to leave alive is to fight, then make it hard, make it fast and don't pause, be a smart fighter but stopping to think is a luxury you cannot afford. 'no mind' Of course once you become proficient in aikido you can start worrying about fighing many people at once with out those particular devastating tecniques. Just my two cent's, of course the simple soulution is to hide under a rock. =0) Oh, just IMHO I think the skater dude that took his shirt off didn't just do it cause it made him look scarier, (which it proly did anyway though) think about, here is a loose piece of clothing that can get caught on something, grabbed by someone, used to choke you, get tangled in something or someone, pulled up and over your head. If you are in a fight and can afford to ditch the shirt, do it. And of course there is the fact that it can get ripped, bloodied, and so one, so if you like the shirt there is another reason. Okay I'm done now, I promise.

05-03-2005, 11:23 PM

How can you end a fight? while you're pinning someone you can't defend yourself against other people and you can't pin your opponent there forever so what's preventing him from attacking you again after you let him go? Besides breaking one of his limbs or injuring him severely I don't see how you can end the fight.
Hmmm Kevin, golly! You are right. If faced with multiple opponents, I won't be so nice to pin and let him off so lightly. Breaking limbs and stuff like that are in my cards. Being outnumbered makes the aggressors unfair in the first place so why be nice to them?

...<snip>... However, it's completely impractical, and HIGHLY unlikely, if unarmed, that you will be successful when attacked by more then 2 people, not that it can't happen, but dealing with one person is hard enough!
-Chris Hein
Chris, IMO I think you have such perception simply because when you think of alteration, you are thinking like those macho macho man going one on one trying to slug it out like what you see in UFC etc. (quite akin to two young rams trying to head butt each other). It's OK, it's a guy thing, I know.

However, for the benefit of Kevin Costa, if you are in an undesirable situation faced with multiple aggressors, use your unsoku (leg movement) and tai sabaki (body movement) to move around the group. Use hit and run tactics e.g., an atemi here and there. NEVER NEVER linger and try to slug it out one on one with any members of the group. Cause as much confusion within the group as possible, such as using erratic movement. That is why learn how to irimi and tenkan properly. Use the group members as shield, break up the group.

Next you will ask, have I been in a real group alteration before? No. I have not. Don't know why... must be my lifestyle and demeanour I guess.

Nonetheless, I practice regularly in a dojo (just like millions of normal aikido hobbyist) doing randori often enough to know a little of group dynamics. In a four to one randori, I found out that there is no way I can execute the pins (katame waza) or locks (kansetsu waza). All I can manage to execute successfully are the kokyu nage and atemi waza techniques and they work just fine. I try to move as little as possible (conserving my breath), moving/dodging between uke in an unpredictable manner.

I also found out that in dojo setting, as part of Good Dojo Practice, I hold back my atemi or when say for example throwing using Hijiate Kokyunage (Hitting of Elbow breath throw), I let my uke roll out. In a real alteration, why should I? I can very well hold on to the wrist and bang through his elbow to dislocate it. So I guess if I am in such serious situation, I will damn not try to slug it out mano-uno-mano, but use hit and run tactics.

To further my post... in my randori session, by keeping my movement small and minimal I have manage to somehow outlast and outplay my ukes. They seem more out of breath than I am and I am not talking some old man or old lady, more of high school teenagers. It is not to say I am fitter than them, but rather I chose to make them work hard to get me.