This is a question that is often asked in the context of martial art forms. Would it be able to fend off multiple attackers? Would it be effective against more than one person? And it’s a legitimate query too.
After all, you’re not going to face a single opponent every time on a street, are you? And therefore, it’s necessary to learn techniques which aren’t just effective against one person, but multiple attackers as well. And without any further delay, here are 5 of the best martial arts suitable for fending off multiple attackers:
1. Krav Maga
A martial art designed solely to overpower your opponent (and even kill them) in a no-holds-barred manner, Krav Maga was developed by Imi Lichtenfeld in the twentieth century. Used initially by the Jewish resistance groups in Israel against anti-semitic forces, it was designed so that it could be learned in a short time and still be effective in every situation.
Survival is the primary philosophy in Krav Maga and which is why, unlike the traditional martial art forms from which it took elements (like Judo, Karate, and Aikido), it has no rules and restrictions.
So it includes not just striking and grappling techniques, it also has groin strikes, headbutts, throat strikes, eye gouges, strikes at the back of the head, etc which is usually prohibited in other fighting styles or martial arts.
Some of the principal strategies Krav Maga uses are identifying the present threat, using the instinctual reactions of your body, counter-attacking the vulnerable areas of the opponent while also defending yourself and using the techniques effectively.
One of the better things about this system is the constantly evolving and adapting nature of it. A particular technique isn’t effective anymore? Remove it. This technique works better? Incorporate it.
Another one of the features of Krav Maga is training the fighters how to fight against multiple attackers, whether they’re armed or unarmed. Krav Maga trains you how to react before, during, and after a fight.
It teaches spatial awareness (where you should and shouldn’t situate yourself amongst the attackers), footwork (the key to maintaining balance, mobility, and agility in a fight), how to counterstrike while defending yourself, and how to maintain the right amount of range and distance to the opponents.
Time to Learn: Krav Maga aims to train its fighters in as short a time as possible and that’s why its training duration is shorter than other martial art forms. It takes around 3 to 4 years to get proficient in Krav Maga.
Mixed Martial Arts or MMA (or as it’s also known, cage fighting) is a very popular combat sport that first found mention in regards to UFC 1.
As the name suggests, it is an amalgamation of several martial art forms from Judo, Karate, Kung Fu to Krav Maga, Taekwondo, BJJ, etc. It aims at taking the most efficient and brutal techniques from each martial art and incorporating them into one to develop a lethal, deadly fighting style.
A full-contact martial art which has striking, kicking as well as grappling techniques, it is the fighting style used in the very popular Ultimate Fighting Championship or UFC. The techniques of Brazilian Jiu-jitsu or BJJ are used in the highest order in MMA because of its strong ground fighting techniques.
Mixed martial artists, nowadays, cross-train in a variety of martial art forms to gain an edge over their competitors (the more, the merrier!). MMA is one of the most effective fighting styles which takes lesser time to learn as well because of its absence of any philosophy, unlike the ancient oriental martial arts. Only the most practical and the most methodical of the techniques are used.
MMA provides holistic training so that you can fight and defend yourself against multiple attackers effectively. Using all the limbs, MMA takes the striking techniques from Muay Thai and combines it with grappling techniques and techniques from wrestling to provide a complete fighting style.
Time to Learn: While there’s no belt system in MMA, one can achieve mastery over MMA in about 4-5 years, sufficient enough to try a hand at several competitive tournaments.
3. Muay Thai
Do you want to convert your body into a hard, brutal fighting machine? Muay Thai is your answer.
Quite often referred to as “The Art of Eight Limbs”, this martial art and combat sport uses your feet, knees, elbows, and fists as weapons: your hands are your swords, your shins your armors and shields, and your knees and elbows your ax. Hailing from Thailand (it’s their national sport as well), Muay Thai has mysterious origins because of the burning of documents by Burmese invaders.
The end goal here is to destroy the opponent swiftly and efficiently. It largely focuses on striking and because of constant evolution in its style, it is perhaps the best striking martial art currently.
Even though all the body parts are used here, more often than not, knee strikes and kicking are more used than fist strikes or elbow strikes. Also, the techniques taught here are very simple (its practitioners are as young as 5-6 years).
Because of the constant fighting involved in the training, it boosts the fighters’ confidence and makes them ready for different types of situations. With time, its popularity has increased because of its effectiveness and lethality and also because several MMA fighters have Muay Thai as their primary fighting strategy.
It’s almost impossible to find a fighter in UFC who wouldn’t have trained in Muay Thai at some point in time. Also, Muay Thai toughens you up physically as well as mentally.
When you’re on the street and against more than one attacker, what you require is speed, mobility, and strength, all of which Muay Thai emphasizes upon. Muay Thai teaches lethal movements which are sufficient for knocking out an attacker in a few moments.
Skilled footwork, solid defensive strategy along aggressive attacking techniques make Muay Thai a perfect martial art form against multiple attackers.
Time to Learn: One can learn the basics of Muay Thai in a year or so, but obtaining a black belt or its equivalent takes around 10 years.
Lending elements from a variety of fighting styles like Judo or Aiki-jūjutsu or the art of swordsmanship, Aikido was developed by Morihei Ueshiba in the early twentieth century.
This martial art reflects in its principles the philosophical leanings of Ueshiba. Aikido might be regarded as the most peace-seeking martial art form because of its values of compassion and love towards everyone, even if it’s your attacker.
Aikido is a self-defense art form in that it develops your instincts and self-awareness in such a way that you automatically avoid troubles in your life.
An ideal resolution in Aikido is when both the attacker and the defender are unharmed. And that is why most of the techniques in Aikido revolve around how to redirect and use the energy of the opponent against them. Training in Aikido improves your flexibility, physical fitness, stress levels, and mental character.
Aikido is one of those very few martial art forms which train the students against multiple attackers as well. Aikido has randori techniques (also called taninzugake or taninzudori) through which students learn how to face and defend themselves against multiple attackers. How to position yourself relative to the attackers, and which technique to use are some of the aspects covered in this training.
Time to Learn: It takes around a year to learn the very basics of Aikido. To achieve the first black belt level, you have to train for around 4 to 5 years.
5. Kung Fu
Developed over hundreds of years, Kung Fu (also referred to as Gongfu or Wushu or Quanfa) is a group of fighting styles that originated in China.
Originally meaning “any discipline that has been learned with practice and hard work”, Kung Fu is now used as an umbrella term for several fighting styles like Wing Chun, Tai Chi, Shaolin Kung Fu, etc, each with their philosophies, principles, and techniques but all of them have quickness and trickery as a common point.
Kung Fu seeks to overpower the opponent by attacking their vulnerable areas using swift, fluid movements. The techniques are very similar to the movements of animals and include punches, jabs, strikes, and kicks. With the rise of Bruce Lee, the popularity of Kung Fu surged in the west and with time, it has become one of the sought after martial art forms.
Originally meant for self-defense, Kung Fu is now used in several fighting competitions and well as for its fitness benefits. It’s also combined with a variety of weapons for fighting.
Kung Fu promotes peace and strength of character in everyone and helps in lowering your stress levels and developing your concentration, self-defense attributes, confidence, self-discipline, etc.
It helps in improving your spatial awareness and spatial memory, physical endurance, striking accuracy, agility, strength, and speed, mental strength and ability to withstand pain.
Kung Fu training teaches you a large variety of techniques for different sets of situations that you can face, which is very helpful in case of a sudden attack.
Time to Learn: You can get a hold of the basics in Kung Fu by 3 to 4 months of training. If you want to obtain a black belt, you have to train for anywhere between 3 to 6 years depending on the style in which you’re training.