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Paul Anderson
Paul Anderson's picture
Interesting brawlling pictures

Interesting series of pictures about a confrontation here:


Seems to illustrate clearly a number of HAPV.  I wonder how most Karate-Ka would have faired in a similar confrontation.  My guess is not very well since not many train for 1-2 punch and then grapple/clinch.

diadicic's picture

Looks like it was after a football game.


Andrew Carr-Locke
Andrew Carr-Locke's picture

Gotta do the Clinch training, plus -it's fun. 

Iain Abernethy
Iain Abernethy's picture

The need to practise fighting to escape and protecting others within group situations is another lesson such situations should also bring home. I wonder if we get too conditioned to one-on-one thinking through watching and participating in combat sports?

All the best,


JWT's picture

I design all my drills as one to one drills, and this is how they are practised at a basic level, but as soon as we move to full contact simulations then I'd say it is 50/50 between one on ones and 2+ on ones (or 2 v 2 or ever increasing numerical variations).  Some of the videos I posted earlier had 2 v 1, but they were sequential (in other words the brief was that person two would only attack after person one, even though for the defender the 'threat' of two people is there) and I regard those as one on one attacks.

I work this way because (according to the most recent BCS) 39% of all violent crime is committed by groups of more than one person.  These figures vary year on year, but here is my summary of the last 8 years of data for England and Wales.

No. of offenders

Lowest %

Highest %

09/10 %


54% BCS 07/08

65% BCS 08/09



9% BCS 08/09

14% BCS 03/04



7% BCS 02/03 08/09 09/10

9% BCS 05/06


Four or more

19% BCS 02/03 08/09 09/10

25% BCS 08/09


For me one on one training is the best way to learn and drill core evasion, grappling and striking techniques.  However, I feel that as soon as we move into full contact it is important to move into multiple attackers.  This really works people's perception of space and positioning in a different way, and adds extra encouragement to finish quickly (or stun, switch targets, and return as/if necessary).

edit: sorry the data appears as a table until I save it!

Iain Abernethy
Iain Abernethy's picture

JWT wrote:
I work this way because (according to the most recent BCS) 39% of all violent crime is committed by groups of more than one person.  These figures vary year on year, but here is my summary of the last 8 years of data for England and Wales.

Thanks for posting that John. It brings home just how likely multiple enemies are. However, I’d suggest that the majority don’t drill multiple enemies enough despite how common those situations are.

It’s not so much that the nature of technique changes, but the techniques you choose to use and overall tactics can change radically the instant there is more than one person. Methods that work very well in a one-on-one fight can be disastrous when the numbers increase. People also have to consider the best angles to adopt, which threats to prioritise, when to keep facing and throwing strikes, when to turn and run etc.

The element of “luck” also comes into play. The person facing the gang can do everything right, but still get beaten because the attackers do everything right too and there are more of them. There is no guaranteed path to success; only things that are likely to help and things that are likely to cause disaster. We need to apprecaite the difference between the two.

The key thing here though is that approaching a multiple situation like a one-on-one fight is always going to be highly problematic. We need to keep moving, emphasise escaping and not fighting, not fixate on any one person for too long, ensure movement and positioning is tactically sound, etc.

If we don’t practise this regularly then, by current figures, we are not preparing our students for one third of all situations.

JWT wrote:
edit: sorry the data appears as a table until I save it!

Fixed! The input format needed to be full HTML and I’ve changed it to that on your post.

All the best,


JWT's picture

Thanks Iain. smiley

I don't want to come over too much as 'Mr Stats", but (like most modern police forces) I use statistical data to help me judge how I focus training time along with cctv footage and first hand reports from colleagues.

I agree with all the points you've made above.

PaulA's picture

I think karate is about self defence. At the risk of pre-judgement, these guys seem to live in a world where this kind of violence is just about normal; I don't. Therefore my strategy is different. I look to escape and evade at the least sign of trouble and will only use the training that I have as a last resort, and then only to escape (back to plan A). I would hope that karateka would be thinking in rather different ways than these guys. There is a Chinese saying that goes something like this:

'When two tigers fight, one of them is killed and the other is mortally wounded.'

My brother, who has no martial arts training whatsoever, but who has worked very extensively with offenders of all sorts for well over 20 years related this experience he had in Rome. He, his wife and children ( not always appropriate to just kick off) were sitting on the side of the Trevi Fountain. Suddenly a group of local Roman youths sat around them. My brother told me that all the alarm bells went off; big time trouble. No real indications that something was up, but years of the experience of being around potentially very violent individuals kicked in. His immediate, and not very martial arts (I would suggest) reaction was how can we get out of this? Fortunately as it is a very busy part of Rome, there were a number of rather disinterested police officers around. All my brother did was to walk up to the nearest one and then turn and look at the group of individuals. They then realised that the game was up and moved on. To my mind that is a perfect example of self defence. 

Tez's picture

The thing about the men fighting in the pictures though is that they know each other and each others fighting style, I've no doubts this isn't the first time they've either fought each other or that they may have fought side by side before. It's like fighting your sparring partners you know their moves which makes things easier. Fights with these people do generally tend to be one on one rather than a mob against one. If they'd not started this in a public place this would have been sorted out among themselves as it wasn't  random drunken attacks, it was personal and things are usually sorted like this among certain communities. I'm actually surprised that the court case that caused this in the first place ever came about as the police aren't normally involved.

PASmith's picture

The main thing I learn from those pictures is that it's very hard to look tough in long shorts, espadrilles and a little padded anorak. cheeky