One Against Many...

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One Against Many...

Postby HanshiClayton » Wed Mar 02, 2011 3:30 pm

The motto of the Shuri bodyguards was (or should have been), "One against many, skin against steel." That perfectly described their situation during their 300 years as unarmed royal bodyguards.

We explored the "one against many" side of the equation in class the other night. I had the class break up into groups of four. I had two attackers grab the victim and hold him still for the third attacker to beat up. I insisted on slow-motion for safety, but turned the victims loose to use any karate of jujutsu technique that seemed like a good idea. Everybody got more than one turn as the victim, and we saw some very creative fighting.

At the end of class, we discussed what we had learned. Here are some of the points that the karatejutsu students said were important.
  • Don't go to the ground to hold someone down. You can't fight the other two from there.
  • If you can drop an enemy on his back (wristlock), hit him in the forehead to bounce his head off the floor. He won't get up too fast.
  • When you feel like you can punch someone in the face, do a knee sweep instead. (Students were rigidly required to sweep from the outside of the knee, bending the knee safely. No inside sweeps!) The sweep put the opponent on his knees where it was easy to "finish" him with a knee to the face, a palm-strike to the temple, or a slap to the ear. (All strikes simulated in practice.)
  • Put somebody down hard right away. Then use him as an "island" to force his friends to split up and come at you from two directions. Pick the side you want to engage, and keep the "island" between you and the other side. It cuts the opposition down by half.
  • If you can put a second person down (as by an arm bar or wrist lock), make a small effort to drop him across the body of the first guy. Then holding down one holds down two. Repeat as necessary.
  • In the opening move, when two opponents have your arms and the third is threatening to punch from in front, simply turning 180 degrees to face the other way slams the two opponents together behind you, closing the door on the third guy. The key is to roll out behind one of the two. (I know that's opaque. I'll see if I can get a picture.)
  • If you get a guy down, face-down in a hammerlock, just pin his hand to his back with your knee (really painful for him) and fight the next guy with both hands.
  • The easiest way to take out an opponent is to grab his hair, yank his face down and bring your knee up. Or, take his head back and down, spilling him on his back. Or use his hair to bend him over and then run him into a wall. Or spill him in a rolling fall that hits one of his friends.
  • If you go down, they'll circle round and kick. Grab a leg and roll into it hard enough to spill the enemy on his back. Keep rolling right up his body. Elbow in groin, next elbow in solar plexus, palm heel to chin or hammer fist to forehead. You roll right out of the "circle of death" and create an "island" as before. Get up and keep going.
  • When you knee a person in the groin, your foot is perfectly positioned for a knee sweep on the return stroke. That would be the devastating inside knee sweep, which my students were forbidden to simulate. Even in slow motion it can be dangerous to the knee.
  • In this scenario, do not ever punch with your closed fist. You need to grasp and grapple part of the time, so this is the world's worst moment to break a bone in your hand. Use open-hand strikes instead (or hammer fist strikes). Don't use forefist strikes.
I was very pleased to see the shotokan karate and san ten jujutsu coming together into one fluid fighting art during this practice.
Bruce D. Clayton, Ph.D.
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Re: One Against Many...

Postby colinwee » Mon Mar 14, 2011 6:56 pm

Reflections from our multiple opponent drill:

You don't have to put a person down to put him down.
A wrist lock done nicely can throw a person. A wrist lock done nastily breaks joints and the person becomes your shield. You can drag this shield around with you or push/throw him into other opponents. Additionally, you don't need to rely on wrist locks ... just work on fingers instead. I always thought the first few scoop blocks of Basai as finger breaks. They're nasty ... and are actually less fiddly than wrist locks.

Throwing into the ground
In my son's Judo class, you throw your opponent and hold up one of his arms so he falls nicely. When you're not in a Judo class and need to hurt an attacker, you change your grip so you can accelerate his head or feet to impact the ground. You don't need to throw him 'nicely'! There's a joke I usually use for over-protective parents ... it's not the fall that kills, it's the sudden stop. :-(

The biggest lesson we draw from our multiple opponent drill is that you can feint to move in one direction, then move into another. Sometimes it is wise to use this tactic to drive yourself to one of your attackers, rather than dealing with them coming from all sides. Grabbing an opponent in front of you allows you to catch your breath - instead of moving around so fast, you can slow it down a little ... using push and pull movements to keep him between you and his other gfs.

Colin Wee is the Principal of Joong Do Kwan in Western Australia, and a Board Member of AMAHOF Inc. Colin has recently published Breaking Through: The Secrets of Bassai Dai Kata. He has practiced three systems in three countries for four decades.
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