We talk about being ready for multiple attackers quite often at Active Self Protection, so are you? Do you train to survive these kinds of fights? I hope so!
Original Video: http://get-asp.com/n8zk
News story on the incident: http://get-asp.com/nd3k
How do I protect myself from multiple attackers?
1. I think that the Rules of Stupid come into play here. The Rules of Stupid state that you should never (1) go to Stupid places, (2) with Stupid people, (3) at Stupid times, and (4) do Stupid things. You can usually get away with breaking one Rule of Stupid, but two or more really increase the odds of bad things happening. The bar is a bit of a stupid place. If you read the news story, it’s 1:50AM, a stupid time. (nothing good happens between midnight and 5AM) Getting into a verbal altercation against two people at once is perhaps doing Stupid things. So this guy broke a lot of the Rules. That doesn’t blame him for the attack, but it does give us a guideline to work from on how to protect ourselves.
2. A life of self-protection must be dedicated to avoidance, de-escalation, and escape whenever possible. You win 100% of the fights that you don’t get in, so make a commitment to de-escalate, escape, or evade any encounter you possibly can. Having good situational awareness will give you more time and opportunity to see problems coming and formulate a plan to stay away and protect yourself without danger to yourself or others. This is always our first choice as self-defenders.
3. Empty-handed skills are absolutely critical for self-defenders. First of all, more conflicts you will encounter as a self-defender will require empty-handed skills than will require firearms skills, simply because more self-defense encounters are physical than deadly. Second, since a firearm is a tool of last resort, self-defenders need to have non-lethal options that include empty-handed skills to protect themselves from likely incidents. Third, in the moment of the encounter you may not have the time to get to your gun before you can fight your way to it. This guy needed to be able to fight, plain and simple.
4. The Bystander Effect is real. There were lots of people around here, but no one stepped in. You cannot count on anyone breaking the Bystander Effect to help you, especially if the attacker is armed and any help would be at a force deficit from it. Usually the best way to break the Bystander Effect is to have a force multiplication advantage, which is a great reason to keep your force multiplier on you at all times.
5. To defend against this kind of attack, you need emotional fitness. Emotional fitness is defined as the ability to internally represent a situation or predicament to yourself in such a way as to make you strong and able to successfully defend yourself against it. Repeated practice and thousands of reps of sparring and self-defense absolutely build your emotional fitness to be able to handle whatever comes your way.
6. We must never settle for being able to protect ourselves against a lone attacker because of how common multiple attacker engagements are. Rats travel in packs, so we must always be prepared to face multiple attackers!
7. As one of my martial arts mentors, Skip Hancock, is fond of saying, the ground must be your friend and not your enemy. You must know how to fight on the ground and not panic if the fight goes to the ground! You must have skills from bottom position, from top position, and in the scramble. You must be able to regain your feet and fight from wherever you find yourself. Too many fights require this skill to ignore it!
Attitude. Skills. Plan.
(music in the intro and outro courtesy of http://www.bensound.com)