Re: "Cheating" to survive a real fight
I just wanted to throw out that the idea of ground and pound is a good strategy if there is only one attacker. However what happens when there are three guys? Are you going to take any one of them to the ground and then let the other two get you? Not that the BJJ or UFC fighters are not excellent martials artists but when faced with multiple attackers going to the ground does not seem like the best option.
So this is why I think that atemi is a good answer. Take out the first two guys with a strike and them deal with the third or simply avoid them like in a randori situation and escape. I agree with the person that said atemi is all about intention. You can definately do an atemi without actually striking someone, for example sometimes mere body language or the look you have in your eyes can act as an atemi simply because the intention given is one that surprises or changes the attackers motives. Or more classically a well timed kiai can achieve the same goal of offsetting an opponent long enough for something else to happen.