Mass Attack! Is This Training Realistic?

Posted by: John W. Zimmer
Under: karate, Self-defense
14 Jan 2012

11 Responses to “Mass Attack! Is This Training Realistic?”

  1. Faik Says:

    Well, John I agree with you on some points but the multiple attackers best defense is a weapon. What have you is what decide if you gonna survive the attack. My best weapon is: if you see many come at you and you don´t have a weapon, strike the first one and then run. Trying to defense against multiple attackers doesn´t work. Only on movies John :)

  2. Eamon Says:

    I agree on the way most karate schools teach multiple opponent…completely unrealistic. However, I do disagree on your point about kata being just a “dance” and meaningless. Kata was never meant for multiple attackers. As Choki Motobu said, the angles in kata do NOT represent where our attacker is, but where we move in regards to them (or move them to). The techniques in kata were developed to be used against common acts of violence from a single attacker and, if trained correctly (which again, many karate schools do not do), they are extremely effective.

  3. John W. Zimmer Says:

    Hi Faik!

    I think the improvised or having a weapon is the best option ofcourse. I also like the attack and get away as I’ve mentioned.

    As far as fighting a groups of guys, I’ve done it a few times without issue. So it works for me albeit I was in the best shape and training level at the time. Thanks for stopping By Faik.

    Hi Eamon!

    Sorry about minimizing the effects of what I called fluff. Kata, techniques and such are an integral part of karate and most martial arts.

    What I should have said is the application for teaching mass attacks should not come from kata because this is more how to train one’s body how to integrate the moves and such for muscle memory and improving technique – not in my opinion how to fight a group of people (even if that is what the kata is about).

    What helped me the most in developing mass defense skills (although I did not know it at the time) was getting into great shape and point karate. I got good at hitting my opponent without getting hit back and moving around.

    Thanks for your opinion Eamon – I think I mostly agree with you.

  4. Eamon Says:

    Point karate also helped me when I was training full contact. The guys that started in full contact (kickboxing, MMA, etc) would always square off against each other and have very poor movement. Because of that, they would always end up exchanging punches and getting hit a lot. The movement from point sparring kept me from getting hit and allowed me to hit back a lot.

    And I do agree about kata not being for multiple attackers. Unfortunately, like the demonstration in your video, many karate schools teach the turns in kata as being facing against several opponents who, of course, all attack one at a time and wait for you to block and attack back. I have heard kata explained like that a lot since I started training, which is absolutely wrong, as you have said. I think Shotokan, as good of a style as it is, is mostly to blame because of all the kihon bunkai against attacks thrown in a way no one will actually attack.

  5. Zara Says:

    I watched the video and can’t say I’m impressed: I guess the guy’s moves were technically correct but the performance was rather bad if this was actually meant to represent a fight against multiple opponents since he barely moved and spent way too much time on each opponent. While I’ve had the good fortune never to have been involved in such a dire situation I know the trick is to keep moving (if you stay in the middle you’re as good as dead) and never hit the same guy more than twice. The object of such a fight is not to win (quasi impossible) but to survive: therefore you should hit and run, look for the exit and get away asap. The longer you stay in their distance the higher your chances of getting seriously injured or killed. If you really can’t run away (if you have to protect someone who isn’t that mobile or you’re stuck in a back-ally with no way out) in my opinion you should attack first (preferably with a weapon if you can get your hands on one) and demolish the guy you’re attacking, so savagely it’ll put fear into the others: even if they don’t back off it might give you a few seconds to move on to the next and fight your way out. What might work, especially if you know your locking, is to hit one guy, lock him up and use him as a shield against the others (preferably in a necklock) although this obviously takes alot of practice.

    In any way I truly hope I’ll never have to find out whether or not I’m ready to face that kind of situation since the chances will be heavily weighed against you (like playing chess against several people at once).

    My to cents as usual.


  6. Dr. J Says:

    I’ve never looked at the martial arts as any more than giving me a chance in a fight that I would not have had without the training. I have never faced multiple attackers in the real world other than that pack of pit bulls. I’m not so sure how you can practice for that, nor what I would do. With flying, I have drilled certain principles into my head as to how I would handle an emergency. When I was faced with one, I reacted immediately and survived it. Strike first, strike fast, strike hard is the mantra. I’d like to keep it a mantra.
    Dr. J recently posted..Lab Notes: Experimental Hepatitis C Drugs Successful; The Choking Game Is Popular with Texas TeensMy Profile

  7. John W. Zimmer Says:

    Well said Zara, I’m with you on the demolish strategy if one has the time. I once got a group of six guys to fight one at a time (for the first three) by saying, “Fight like a man! One at a time.” Then it digressed from there. :)

    Hey Dr J! Somehow I think the canines count. :) I like your mantra.

  8. Jeff Says:

    I had seen this one video which is more believable because it involves running, placing some distance from the attackers then striking the attackers one at a time when they commit a mistake. I have develop some doubts in some martial arts teachings as well. I do believe they are powerful in one on one situation but not so in mass attacks.
    Jeff recently posted..DTS HomeMy Profile

  9. Lori (Vancouver Self-Defense/Martial Arts Instructor) Says:

    I would have to agree with you. Standing in the centre of a group of attackers is hardly a sensible way to handle the situation from a self-defense point of view.

  10. John W. Zimmer Says:

    Hi Jeff – I’m with you about evading and striking when you have a good opening. Unfortunately right now as an older martial artist – I have to lay waste to the first guy and be a little less mobile. Hopefully my wiser attitude will keep me out of most scraps. :)

    Hey Lori – love the new school website. I updated your link. And I’d at least like my back to the wall and a narrow opening if I had a choice. That way it would be just like fighting one at a time.

  11. Jiu Jitsu Maniac Says:

    I have often thought about a multiple on one scenario before and came to a similar conclusion. Run away until only one or two people are close enough to engage and try to take them out one at a time. It might be a different story if you have a bat or a baton.

    In the real world fights are so different than training. In college I did some Tae Kwon Do and had made it to green belt. One day I was with two female friends when three hoodlum girls attacked and mugged my friends. I kept running back and forth from one friend to the other pulling a hoodlum off and then going back to defend the other one. I should have just hit them but I was raised not to hit girls (even if they are mugging your friends). Moral of the story is… IT HAPPENS SO FAST. You don’t have time to stop and think and come up with a strategy. Adrenaline and testosterone take over and your body just reacts. I don’t remember actually making a single decision the entire time of the attack until they were gone.