MMA against multiple opponents, Part Two

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.

.

Become a Patron and get access to unique content: my newsletter, instructional videos, violence analysis and much more!

Comments

  1. garry hodgins says

    I agree with nearly everything you say here Wim. I have had the good fortune to get some one on one training in facing weapons with an experienced l.e.o. and have been loving it. What I find is that the movements I make in disarming are similar, though not identical, to some wudang applications (single hand sweep lotus leg is a handy one) and, therefore, the learning process is one of assimilation from the get go. I reckon its similar with people from other styles who can learn to formalise the principles by marrying them to techniques which they already know. I’m also reading the book, “On Combat ” and its started me questioning the difference between training for and competing in full contact competitions ( in which my experience is limited by comparison to yours) and training for self protection. I had the experience of acute aural occlusion in a lei tai fight many years ago and was completely unprepared psychologically for it. I had had some instances of it in sparring matches and civil disagreements on the streets before but never so intense. It was actually much more unsettling than getting a good punch in the head and seeing stars or television vision, if you know what I mean. ( I never got to the level of enjoying electro shock treatment, unlike a boxer friend of mine…)This was probably because the event was public, people had paid money to watch the fights and my adrenaline had been surging for about an hour before the fight. i.e. I was really stressed and scared. Psychological preparedness is probably one of the most important aspects in developing the ability to defend oneself but is also one of the most overlooked in the macho world of full contact fighting. It may also be an age thing. When you’re in your 20s, you have the energy levels to go through these intense emotions but in your 30s with kids etc. you have to have the sense to develop a programme of training that addresses your psychological and emotional well being as much as you physical well being. So, with regard to your post, I think it has to do with mentality. The MMA mentality is focused on whats in front of it, a lot of gross motor skills are used, the athletes are often in superb physical condition and have admirable mental strength and are great fighters but seem to have a kind of predator psychology. The self protection mentality is probably more refined in the sense that its probably not as attached to our sense of sight and it demands that we are completely in reality. Unlike the MMA, we are not in an empty space reserved for fighting. We are not fighters in our everyday life. This is the primary difference. In reality, martial arts training or not, the individual will fight to the end to live. The same person’s motivation in a ring match cant be as true. For me, thats the difference. Its great to know how to kick and punch and grapple and move but learning how to survive what seems almost too difficult to survive and still get to know yourself better in the process, thats the good stuff.

    • Understood Garry. On Combat should be required reading for every young boy who hits puberty. It’ll explain a shitload of things he’ll face. As a competitor, you can also do worse than reading it.
      The adrenaline you get in a competition, no matter how intense is still different from when some guy tries to pump a knife into your gut. And you already know what I’ll say about differences… :-)

  2. garry hodgins says

    I agree with nearly everything you say here Wim. I have had the good fortune to get some one on one training in facing weapons with an experienced l.e.o. and have been loving it. What I find is that the movements I make in disarming are similar, though not identical, to some wudang applications (single hand sweep lotus leg is a handy one) and, therefore, the learning process is one of assimilation from the get go. I reckon its similar with people from other styles who can learn to formalise the principles by marrying them to techniques which they already know. I’m also reading the book, “On Combat ” and its started me questioning the difference between training for and competing in full contact competitions ( in which my experience is limited by comparison to yours) and training for self protection. I had the experience of acute aural occlusion in a lei tai fight many years ago and was completely unprepared psychologically for it. I had had some instances of it in sparring matches and civil disagreements on the streets before but never so intense. It was actually much more unsettling than getting a good punch in the head and seeing stars or television vision, if you know what I mean. ( I never got to the level of enjoying electro shock treatment, unlike a boxer friend of mine…)This was probably because the event was public, people had paid money to watch the fights and my adrenaline had been surging for about an hour before the fight. i.e. I was really stressed and scared. Psychological preparedness is probably one of the most important aspects in developing the ability to defend oneself but is also one of the most overlooked in the macho world of full contact fighting. It may also be an age thing. When you’re in your 20s, you have the energy levels to go through these intense emotions but in your 30s with kids etc. you have to have the sense to develop a programme of training that addresses your psychological and emotional well being as much as you physical well being. So, with regard to your post, I think it has to do with mentality. The MMA mentality is focused on whats in front of it, a lot of gross motor skills are used, the athletes are often in superb physical condition and have admirable mental strength and are great fighters but seem to have a kind of predator psychology. The self protection mentality is probably more refined in the sense that its probably not as attached to our sense of sight and it demands that we are completely in reality. Unlike the MMA, we are not in an empty space reserved for fighting. We are not fighters in our everyday life. This is the primary difference. In reality, martial arts training or not, the individual will fight to the end to live. The same person’s motivation in a ring match cant be as true. For me, thats the difference. Its great to know how to kick and punch and grapple and move but learning how to survive what seems almost too difficult to survive and still get to know yourself better in the process, thats the good stuff.

    • Understood Garry. On Combat should be required reading for every young boy who hits puberty. It’ll explain a shitload of things he’ll face. As a competitor, you can also do worse than reading it.
      The adrenaline you get in a competition, no matter how intense is still different from when some guy tries to pump a knife into your gut. And you already know what I’ll say about differences… :-)

  3. Danny Young says

    Excellent points all round. I love learning.

  4. Danny Young says

    Excellent points all round. I love learning.

  5. Hi Wim

    Only just noticed this post. Thanks for the detailed response, discussion is useful.

    And just for the record i take no offence whatsoever at anyone disagreeing with me. It’s pretty nice that we can disagree without having to resort to flaming nonsense.

    I disagree with a few of the things you say Wim but the underlying tone is similar to where I’m coming from.

    “We all make our choices in training and do our best to make it out in one piece”

    I think that sums it up vive la difference!

    I suppose it’s how you train MMA that makes it more/less multiple opponent applicable. Some of the drills we’ve done at Primal are very much transferable to that arena, and I’ve decided to elaborate in some posts on my blog rather than waffle on here, it should be more readable that way.

    One point that I feel I have to clear up concerns the weapons issue. Reading back my comment I can see that I did not convey precisely what I meant and I can see how you took it the way you did.

    I did not mean cover and strike in a karate Ippon Kumite, 1,2,3,4 block, catch, punch, elbow stylee. No no no, that would indeed be ridiculous. Rather I meant cover and strike in an entry wedging manner, wedging against the attacking arm. Thereby stoping the weapon attack early in it’s development. That approach would be adapted to a cover-catch-strike-strike-strike attack or whatever.

    Point is I was advocating the covering aspect as part of the attack, assuming you needed to defend yourself. I’m well aware that block then counter ain’t gonna cut it against an knife, no pun intended.

    Hopefully that’s a more thorough description of what I meant originally, apologies for not explaining properly.

    As I said I’ll be posting a couple of posts on this subject very soon, I’m putting it together right now.

    • No worries Jon and thanks for the feedback. Like you say, disagreeing is fine as long as we can discuss it like adults. a rare thing on the Internet, sadly enough.

  6. Hi Wim

    Only just noticed this post. Thanks for the detailed response, discussion is useful.

    And just for the record i take no offence whatsoever at anyone disagreeing with me. It’s pretty nice that we can disagree without having to resort to flaming nonsense.

    I disagree with a few of the things you say Wim but the underlying tone is similar to where I’m coming from.

    “We all make our choices in training and do our best to make it out in one piece”

    I think that sums it up vive la difference!

    I suppose it’s how you train MMA that makes it more/less multiple opponent applicable. Some of the drills we’ve done at Primal are very much transferable to that arena, and I’ve decided to elaborate in some posts on my blog rather than waffle on here, it should be more readable that way.

    One point that I feel I have to clear up concerns the weapons issue. Reading back my comment I can see that I did not convey precisely what I meant and I can see how you took it the way you did.

    I did not mean cover and strike in a karate Ippon Kumite, 1,2,3,4 block, catch, punch, elbow stylee. No no no, that would indeed be ridiculous. Rather I meant cover and strike in an entry wedging manner, wedging against the attacking arm. Thereby stoping the weapon attack early in it’s development. That approach would be adapted to a cover-catch-strike-strike-strike attack or whatever.

    Point is I was advocating the covering aspect as part of the attack, assuming you needed to defend yourself. I’m well aware that block then counter ain’t gonna cut it against an knife, no pun intended.

    Hopefully that’s a more thorough description of what I meant originally, apologies for not explaining properly.

    As I said I’ll be posting a couple of posts on this subject very soon, I’m putting it together right now.

    • No worries Jon and thanks for the feedback. Like you say, disagreeing is fine as long as we can discuss it like adults. a rare thing on the Internet, sadly enough.

  7. Hi Wim,

    Your article was awesome and informative. I need to know if there are any styles of fighting, particularly geared towards taking down multiple attackers? I ask this because, the other day one of my friends house was burgled by 3-4 guys and he couldn’t do a thing when the robbery was taking place. I guess he froze with fear as the burglars were all armed. In the place where I live, this is quite common. So please advise. I have heard of many styles like Muay Thai, Karate, Krav Maga. etc.. Which do you think would help me gear towards SD?

    • Hi Vivek,
      Re. your friend: he probably did the right thing with the burglars. Taking on 3-4 guys is only easy in the movies. In real life, it’s something that can go wrong in a flash. My standard advice: if you can, run. And in many cases, running is perfectly possible. It’s perhaps bad for your ego, but it keeps you alive.
      Choosing an art that works against multiple opponents is difficult. know people from all the arts you mentioned who have used their techniques against multiple attackers. So I don’t think you can just pick one. The common denominator with all these men was that they were true fighters and used common sense in those situations. It’s easier said than done though, especially if you train in a combat sport instead of a self defense system. Not impossible, just difficult.
      There are no easy answers on this one.
      Stay tuned though because I’ll review a video that covers multiple attackers later this week.

      • Yes, as you said, it is the best option to run. But what if there is no choice and you are totally pinned and you know these people are going to hurt you no matter what? I’m not saying to take all of them down, but just enough to escape their grasp and making a getaway? I’ll be looking forward to seeing your part 3 of the video.

        • You’d be surprised at how rare those situations are, I’m not kidding. In a vast majority of cases, you can run. Or blast through (not fight, go through) one guy so you can run fiercely. In those cases, it often doesn’t matter what style you use, only that you use as much force as you can to blast through.
          You might get more info by reading this.
          BTW, there won’t be a part three any time soon. But I will do a review of “One against many” soon, a video that shows how to fight multiple attackers.

Speak Your Mind

*