In the first part of MMA against multiple opponents, a couple of you left comments that bring up some interesting points. Here’s one by Viro:
I think the reason sport-MMA doesn’t have much of a game for a multiple-attacker scenario is that its not an issue for those types.
The MMA folks have boiled down what works and what doesn’t for the model they’re working under: one vs one in a ring with whatever particular rules exist for that venue.*
I think for MMA to come up with a vs multiple-attacker game, there just needs to be a viable venue where someone is faced with multiple attackers. If there is enough money involved, people is going to sign up. Then we’ll see MMA work to find the most efficient method to win in whatever scenario and rule-set is in place.
Oh, based on the video. I think Miller was pulling a stunt. He obviously looks jovial in the beginning of the clip. I don’t think everyone/anyone else was in on it and they displayed a singular lack of humor in dealing with his shenanigans.*
*I think I read it here, but am not sure: In most leagues, you can’t stomp on someone on the ground. In those leagues there is a ground game. In the leagues where you can stomp and kick someone on the ground, the person sent to the ground gets. TF. off. of. the. ground. as soon as possible.
Here are some of my thoughts:
- First, that was exactly my point: multiple opponents is a non issue in MMA.
- Second, the rules indeed make the game. A small change in rules can have huge effects on the game. Case in point.
- As for a multiple opponent MMA competition, there was talk about exactly such a venue. I think it was last year or the one before, not sure anymore. As far as I know, it never took off. I seriously doubt there’ll ever be such a competition, a legal one that is. It comes close to manslaughter and the potential for some really nasty fixed matches is high. But it sure would be somehting to see such a competition. I’m pretty sure it would look very different from today’s UFC…
Another comment, from Jon this time:
You raise some good points, as does Bob. The fact that the bloke was attacked in way that didn’t allow an exit skews the argument somewhat. One aspect of MMA that should be useful against multiple attackers is footwork and movement skills, but again that depends on the fighter in question.
So to the sprawl point. Some fighters sprawl just to ’sit’ on someone while others sprawl to get up again immediately, even using the act of getting up to load for a knee strike or punch.
The weapon thing is an issue for sure, but covering and striking and keep on striking is one possible way of dealing with the attack, knife or not. It may not be the best or most appropriate but if it allows you an opportunity to attack that’s better than nothing. But I take your point about the differences.
I suppose it’s important to train for knives and multiples. I don’t see that training for multiples will be detrimental to a persons MMA fighting. Machida still does his trad karate training, admittedly not exclusively, and that hasn’t stopped him becoming a champion.
I’m sure training for mutliple attackers could actually enhance your one on one fighting, in terms of movement and explosive striking. I’ll be interested in your views.
Here’s my response:
- I don’t think the “no exit” aspect was an issue. Miller didn’t have a chance of escaping. Look at the footage again and you’ll see how quickly he gets grabbed without any possibility of escape.
- Footwork and movement is indeed a key issue with multiple attackers. But that doesn’t necessarily mean the type of footwork you see in MMA. There are other kinds too…
- The tactical use of the sprawl does indeed vary from one fighter to the other. But the technical execution isn’t all that different: for a successful sprawl, you need pretty much your entire bodyweight bearing down on the guy while you scoot your legs back. If you do this halfway, chances are you still get taken down. So in MMA, you train to do the full sprawl instinctively; I haven’t seen many successful fighters who do half-sprawls and get away with it. Here’s the problem: the very act of committing your entire weight and focus on one attacker makes you vulnerable to the other attackers. Half a second delay is enough for the others to get their hands on you. Again, look at how fast Miller is grabbed.
- Your response on weapons is something I very much disagree with. Covering and keeping on striking against a knife is an incredibly risky strategy: the knifer doesn’t need to hit you all that hard to do fatal or incapacitating damage. That’s the strength of the blade; light contact can be plenty to do some serious damage. Punching, elbowing, etc, isn’t like that. Look at how many times MMA fighters take an insane beating before giving up or being KOed. Like Marc said: you can’t trade blows against a knife, you’ll lose.
- The same goes for other weapons. Try covering against a tire iron. I wanna see GSP block such a blow… ;-) If he has any sense, he’ll get the hell out of the way or close before the attack is launched. In both cases, the timing is very different from a typical MMA fight. You just can’t hope to soak up those blows to give you a shot at closing with the guy. One hit could be all it takes to end the fight in his favor and send you to the morgue/hospital.
- Mind you, I’m not saying MMA can’t work. I’m saying it’s dangerous and other systems are better suited for the job. But these have the drawback that they suck in the Octagon. So it’s a matter of choices IMO.
- As for importance, that depends. If you’re into MMA, it isn’t a big deal for you because you won’t face it in the ring. Same thing for learning firearms: you won’t need it in the Octagon so why train with guns? A soldier off to Iraq on the other hand…
- Machida is pretty much an exception to the rule. Just like Ali was one in boxing. It takes a lot of additional factors to do what Lyoto does, factors that are beyond the reach of most people. Which is why you don’t see anybody like him. Anderson Silva is the only one who comes close to being as unorthodox as him.
- The reason why training for SD (including weapons and multiple opponents) is detrimental for MMA skills is clear: it’s a totally different ball game. The techniques that work best in MMA don’t necessarily work as well for self defense. The tactics for MMA fights aren’t geared towards defending against a thug stabbing you in the back. Like I’ve said ad nauseam: the differences are just as important as the similarities. There is overlap, yes but that isn’t necessarily enough.
- Let’s compare it to another aspect of fighting: warfare. All branches of the military use long, short and medium range weapons, they all use strategy and tactics. These are the similarities: they’re all waging war, they’re all fighting. But, some branches specialize in fighting on land, others in the air. Some specialize in fighting in the desert, others train specifically for the jungle or an antarctic climate. Each specific environment requires different skills, different weapons, different tactics.
- You don’t need to worry as much about immediate dehydration when you fight in a European climate. But in an Iraqi dessert, it’s a real concern.
- You don’t need ski’s in Iraq. But on the slopes of a snow covered mountain, they’re pretty frikkin’ handy. Being able to march ten miles in a dessert doesn’t prepare you to ski down a mountain and vice versa…
- No matter how well you can use camouflage in the jungle, that doesn’t teach you to sneak up on the enemy from under water.
- Firing a machine gun at the enemy in a dense jungle is different from doing so in a wide, open valley. Same goes for taking cover.
- Now this is just a comparison but I think it’s a valid one. Different environments/rules/situations require different skills. MMA is not self defense and vice versa. There is overlap, for sure. But there are many differences and those can get you killed. Notice how I didn’t say SD is “better” than MMA. Better or worse doesn’t come into it. A hammer isn’t better or worse than a screwdriver either. They’re just tools, used correctly or not.
For the record, I’m not having a go at Jon here. This is my personal take on things, nothing more. As always, it’s your ass on the line both in the cage and on the street, so feel free to disagree with me. We all make our choices in training and do our best to make it out in one piece.
UPDATE: In Part Three, I discuss a video of real-world violence with multiple opponents.