Fighting a Multiple Attacker Kidnapping

Eliza Fletcher was a kindergarten teacher and mother of two who in the fall of this year went out for her morning jog, and never came home. Her body was found with a gun shot wound to the head, and several injuries to her jaw and right leg, due to blunt force trauma. She was kidnapped by Cleotha Abston in Memphis Tennessee, who is a repeat offender.

Kidnapping was the method he used to hunt her down on her jog, remove her from a public environment and according to tire tracks found around the scene of where she was running, it must have been a very scary ordeal for her. Abston was caught on by video footage and with help from his brother, after footage shows him washing his car, and his brother observing him cleaning his clothes in a sink and acting weird.

Two months ago, I wrote about the basics of multiple attacker defense, using the “Equalizer, Zone and Footwork” strategy. Last month, I covered handling these attackers when in a very tight and limited space.

This brought on a lot of questions from my students about being kidnapped by multiple people. Although these predators usually hunt someone down by stalking them for weeks, it can also be random as is the case of Eliza. In either of these situations and whether a single kidnapper or multiple attackers, their objective is to simply get you into a car or move you to a remote location, which was obviously done to Eliza.

If you think this is just something women need to pay attention to, think again. Have you ever traveled outside of the United States? Have you ever been to Mexico or Central America where kidnappings are not uncommon? Have you ever seen the cases where men are kidnapped in order to access their financial resources? The fact is, kidnapping is very real for both genders.

Here are some quick tips on not only how to fight off a mass attack kidnapping, but keep yourself clear of one in the first place. I’ve tried to make it easy to remember, by using the “Where, Who, When and How” outline.

First, “where” you go is important. Whether you are in a familiar or unfamiliar place, there are locations where kidnappers can hide out while observing which target they are going to hit. Know your environment before going there, and if you can, gain intel on the area by traveling there first to scout out which areas you need to pay extra attention to or even avoid.

Secondly, “who” is around you is a fact we sometimes ignore when in a crowded venue such as a mall, concert or airport. The practice you should develop is to not keep your head down, or buried in a cell phone, but get used to looking as many people as you can in the eye as you pass them, including those who might be walking behind you.

Next, knowing “when” to move could be the decision which saves your life. Don’t disregard the churning in your stomach if you feel something isn’t right. If you feel like someone is following you, go to a more public area, locate the closest improvised weapon or change up your pace or destination to see if this person mirrors your moves. The point is to do it now!

Lastly, knowing “how” to fight off multiple people when they don’t necessarily have the goal of hurting you but removing you from a location as quickly as possible is similar to mass attack defense. You never want to get in the middle of two or more people. That is why you must zone, and we can use that technique to escape, and not physically fight back if it is more economical to simply run and escape.

If by chance you are grabbed by more than one person, you want to become the hardest piece of mass to hold on to, carry, move, etc. That means you are kicking, punching, biting and clawing any vital organ which comes close to you. If you get thrown into the backseat of a car, try to go out the other door, or even escape to the front seat while you lay on the horn. If you are pushed into a trunk, kick the door up every time there is an attempt to shut it.

The fact is that worse things happen when predators take victims to secondary locations, so you do whatever it takes to never give them the chance to do that. My advice is to practice this, have one or two people try to put you into a car and practice not letting them. If a weapon is used, it is better to make a stand then, as opposed to having to make a stand in a more remote area on their terms.

Using all of these countermeasures together will hopefully help you never to get in that position, so practice all of them the next time you are at the mall, in a parking lot, a social setting, bar or talking your dog for a walk. Prepping before it happens is the best thing you can do to not let it happen.

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.