Dear Sensei Van Canna,
Thank you for the kind words. And for the phrase "lineage cocoon"- HA!
Dear David and Allen,
Thanks for diving in- I'm learning already. First, I hadn't considered the possibility of encountering a "cohesive" group, as opposed to the stereotypical gaggle of passive guys with one big-mouth "leader". I'm also surprised to hear that calling one guy out for a "fair" fight isn't always honored. I guess ten paces and turn is out of the question, too, huh?
When fighting a group, as with any fight, hopefully we all look to escape first. (The next time you go jogging, think of it as a kata demonstrating your favorite technique!) When escape is not possible however, and fighting a group is inevitable, what then? Is there really anything you can do to survive? We've all heard the "hit the leader first" strategy. If the group isn't cohesive like the wolf-pack in David's post, then I guess it's better than nothing- I mean, you've got to do SOMETHING, right? But what about the cohesive group?
The best advice I've ever heard, (keeping in mind that the odds are against you no matter what, but again- you've got to do SOMETHING) is to 1) hit first and keep moving, 2) fight one person at a time- no "four direction" striking, 3) stay out of the middle, and 4) vital areas, vital areas, vital areas- this is not the time to impress your spouse with a display of sophisticated ankle locks!
For the more easy-going types, I have one other bit of info. I'm a big believer in trying to use the voice to control someone if I can. Telling a lone attacker in a firm voice to "stop" can give the quick picture that you're not an easy target. But, from what I've seen, a group doesn't work that way at all. A couple of months ago, my wife and I were confronted by a group of punks as we were getting into our car. The "leader" had his hand in his jacket pocket, clearly suggesting that he was armed. As he made a line for me, I had time to utter three commands, hoping to change his mind. He didn't even blink. Fortunately, with a foot to spare, my wife pushed me out of the way and we hurried back into our building. (Yes, I had forgotten my "jogging kata"! And yes, I bought her an ice cream cone!) In a group attack, I feel that peer pressure and ego are multiplied CONSIDERABLY, making it foolhardy to try and talk your way out of it. So, run if you can, or else take a quick breath, look for a weapon, and hit first...
I also HIGHLY recommend working with your spouse and children to prepare for such a circumstance. Make sure everyone's on the same page. You don't want to run and leave your kids behind, nor should you let your kids run while you try to "hold them off". Your best chances are if you've all trained to either run as a unit or fight as a unit. The idea that it's your role as the "martial artist" to protect everyone is lunacy. In fact, don't be surprised to look up while you're on the ground wondering why your masterful kiai didn't scare everyone away, to see your "untrained" spouse making mincemeat out of somebody with a bag of groceries!
Any more real-life stories about fighting, or seeing someone fight, a group out there?