Alley Scenario Mass Attack

In the previous article on defending against multiple attackers, I laid out the three main steps to help you survive through that situation. In a nutshell, you first look for an equalizer (i.e. weapon), zone around the attackers to create a “1 on 1” stack and then use “footwork” to keep moving and keep on that stack so you only have to fight one person at a time.

However, when teaching in my classes, and covering this topic, a common question I get is an environmental one. Meaning, what if the environment is set up in such a way, where zoning and moving are difficult, like in an alley way. The same could be imagined if you were stuck in a row of cars in a parking lot or more commonly a hallway of some type.

My point is that navigating through this scenario has it’s own challenges, because they force what I call the “cardinal sin” in mass attack defense: Never go up or be caught in the middle. Unfortunately, movies and TV shows have taught us the opposite. They have us believe we can be in the middle of two people and go back and forth, kicking and punching one, while the other awaits their kick or punch.

However, attackers don’t wait their turn. Most, especially in close quarters, attack simultaneously, where everyone finds out you can only fight one person at a time, and taking on two people is nearly impossible. When in these “alley way” situations, our defense can follow the same three step process as previously taught, but we must do so with some extra tips in mind.

First off, grabbing an equalizer is still first and foremost your best chance of survival. As I’ve stated before, if you have two people attacking you, you are already at a disadvantage, and you must “equalize” the playing field if you can. The problem with an “alley way” situation is that we usually have less time to look for and even grab a weapon, which makes this first step challenging, even as necessary as it is.

Secondly, zoning has its own challenges as well. Why? Because most of the time we zone, being able to step back and gain a little bit more distance in the onset of a fight gives us more time and a better angle to get around one of the attackers. When space and distance are restricted, such as in an alley way environment, we usually don’t have that extra space.

What then do we do? We must zone one of the attackers around us, instead of just zoning ourselves around the attackers. This can be accomplished in one of three ways: The Pain Shot, The Duck or The Spin. The first option is where we freeze a second or two of time with a debilitating shot to a vulnerable area of the closest attacker, whether it be the shin, groin, solo plexus, throat or eyes. That shot will give us a second to zone around the attacker and create that 1 on 1 stack.

The Duck, is what it sounds like. If grabbed or swung at by an attacker, we can use that to duck under the attack and zone around that person. There is nothing pretty about this move, as we’re simply getting low and “ducking” around that person. Even though it seems simple to be true, we see it happen frequently in MMA fights, when a fighter is stuck against the fence, or boxer against the ropes. Getting low and moving around someone is an easy evasion move, but one which still needs to be practiced.

Lastly, there is The Spin. I’ve once again used a word to describe what we do. We lock up with the person and simply spin them around, putting ourselves on the outside of both attackers. The “lock up” can take on a couple different positions, but using a simple “clinch” move might be the best, where you’re wrapping up an attacker’s arm and/or neck. Also feel free to use this position to deliver a couple close quarter shots to make your defense and escape easier.

The goal is to simply put ourselves on the outside of the attackers, still creating that one on one stack. After we can do this, the “alley way” set up actually lends itself to our survival, by making it harder for an attacker to get around another and flank us, which can be more easily done in an open setting. Having the awareness to do this first and immediately in this situation can not only be a huge advantage for us, but help us defend more successfully.

Sifu Matt Numrich

Sifu Matt Numrich is a martial artist and self-defense expert, renowned for his training in Krav Maga, Jeet Kune Do and Filipino Martial Arts.