How to Fight Multiple Assailants

In the wake of recent mass shooting events, experts have called for more emphasis on personal safety and awareness.

Is it possible to fight multiple opponents? It’s possible, but it depends on the situation. If you are in a large group of people and you can’t find an escape, then yes. If you’re fighting one person, then no. Read more in detail here: is it possible to fight multiple opponents.

A man is fighting against multiple assailants illustration.

Editor’s note: Dylan Edmiston contributed this guest piece.

So you’ve been working on improving your fighting skills. Perhaps you’ve taken lessons or read AoM’s countless self-defense articles and have been practicing with a buddy. You’re no Bruce Lee, but you think you could stand up to the average Joe or punk who wants to hurt you.

But what will you do if you’re up against two, three, or even 10 opponents? Have you made any preparations for that?

Today, we’ll go over various methods for dealing with many attackers, starting with what has to happen in your thoughts to be able to manage this situation and then moving on to particular approaches. Because, when facing a number of opponents, success is determined less by what you accomplish with your feet and fists (though it is important), and more by outwitting your foes.

Zanshin is a Japanese word that translates to ” (Situational Awareness) 

Zanshin refers to a state of alertness in Japanese martial arts, and is related to the idea of situational awareness used in the West. As you evolve as a fighter and martial artist, your Zanshin develops, and the physical nuances of combat become more entrenched — almost second nature. When you reach this level of training, some of your mental capabilities that were previously occupied fully by the battle become available to concentrate on higher-level techniques.

If you’re just getting started in martial arts, your mind is generally totally focused on the physical part of fighting – which movements and strategies to utilize in different scenarios. Your whole attention is consumed by a single opponent, and every fiber of your being is concentrated on surviving; you have tunnel vision. At this point, you’re probably reacting to your opponent rather than thinking forward.

Even if you exercise situational awareness, interacting with an opponent may rapidly divert your attention away from what is going on around you. Because, unlike when you’re in a code yellow state and can passively take in your surroundings while doing a mundane task, once you’re in a conflict, you have to actively divert your focus between what’s directly in front of you (your opponent) and your surroundings (which include other combatants and bystanders, potentially dangerous things you can fall into or tactically unsound positions, and potential weapons at your disposal, to name a few), all while under extreme stress.

The more you learn fighting’s physical abilities and methods, the more you’ll be able to take in from your surroundings, the simpler it will be to move your focus back and forth between everything going on, and the faster you’ll be able to respond. You’ll be able to literally feel an attacker’s intent and react to an attack you didn’t hear or see coming, which is a crucial skill when dealing with multiple combatants; when dealing with multiple opponents, you need awareness of not only who/what is directly in front of you, but also of the other opponents and their actions/movements.


So make it a point to pay attention to situational awareness not just in your regular life but also while you’re in the middle of a battle; what you observe might save your life.

Let’s go into specific techniques now that we’ve established the mental basis.

Fighting Multiple Opponents Tactics

To begin with, engaging many opponents is typically bad, and it’s probably better to retreat (ideally, if you’ve been paying attention to your surroundings, you’ve already planned a decent path of escape before the hazardous scenario arises!). This, however, is not always possible. Perhaps your adversaries are between you and your sole means of escape or a weapon; perhaps a loved one (or even an innocent bystander) is in danger. It is now required to confront more than one opponent for any reason.

As a side note, not all multi-opponent bouts begin in this manner; this is why maintaining Zanshin and situational awareness is critical. Frequently, one person will start a fight, and then their buddies will join in the brawl. 

There are two main rules for confronting several opponents at the same time, whether you’re battling two or twenty. 1) Do not put yourself in the middle of two or more opponents, and 2) do not let yourself to get knocked to the ground.

To neutralize one threat at a time, use the Circling Technique.

To begin, your position and placement are critical: being in the center of numerous people who want to harm you is the least safe place to be and the quickest way to lose a battle. You can only battle in one direction at a time. Life isn’t a kung fu movie, and a flying split kick won’t knock out two people. If you are unlucky enough to be caught in the center of numerous assailants, battle your way to the outside of the throng as soon as possible.

Second, you can only battle one person at a time efficiently.

We don’t want to be encircled by our opponents, so we set it up such that we only have to face one fighter at a time. How are we going to do this?

To do this, you must first line up your opponents. So, if you’re battling two individuals, one should be in front of you and the other should be behind the person directly in front of you. This way, while you’re focusing on one opponent, the other won’t be able to injure or interrupt you.

The strange thing about evil men is that they won’t line up for you to fight one at a time and won’t do what you want them to do (without your influence). As a result, we must use the notion of circling.

How to defend against multiple assailants illustration.

As soon as the conflict starts, choose one opponent to confront first (usually, the one who is nearest to you). Now circle around him so that the opponent you choose initially is immediately behind you. Then interact with the person in front of you. When the man in front of you attempts to engage you by stepping around his friend, circle in the same direction he does so that the guy you’re fighting is always between you and his buddy who is trying to double-team you.


This strategy allows you to focus on one opponent at a time and beat him down. It also has the potential to induce the guy behind you to make a reckless attack, causing him to hit his friend or get tied up with him.

Now, the chances are excellent that the person behind you will become bored of you beating up his buddy and will run around him to get to you quicker than you can circle away from him. This is good; the positions have now been reversed, and you are immediately engaging with the person who was previously in the lead, while the person you were battling is now in the lead.

When battling more than two opponents, the same technique of lining up and circling applies. You want them all in a rough line, but since there are more individuals going about, you wind up circling more and moving quicker.

A man is fighting against multiple assailants illustration.

Circling also helps you to go someplace and into a position where you may be able to defend yourself more readily, such as claiming the high ground or locating a passageway through which your assailants may be channeled. It may also enable you to circle towards a weapon, such as the baseball bat you saw in the corner, or a concealed handgun or kitchen knife if the battle is taking place in your home.

A man using bass bat for fighting illustration.

Furthermore, the circling concept may be utilized to put one or more opponents where you want them, such as just where you can front kick them into that nicely positioned pool of piranhas.

Two people fighting each other along the side of river illustration.

In the same manner that you would circle around an opponent, you may likewise circle around a stationary item. It might be a pillar, a solid table, or anything else that can slow down your opponent. Your opponent will eventually tire of hunting you and abandon you, or may rush around the corner to seize or attack you. The latter is really a positive thing since they will be off balance and unprepared for an assault if they hurry around the bend. As soon as they round the corner, have a strong attack ready for them.

Two people fight each other around a circle illustration.

It’s critical to face the direction your opponent is heading towards you while you circle. Never, ever, ever, ever, EVER, EVER, EVER, EVER, EVER,

Allowing yourself to be taken to the ground is not a good idea.

You must strive to escape being pulled to the ground, where you will be battered by many people, in addition to avoiding being between two or more opponents by employing the circular strategy. If you do end up on the ground, rise to your feet as soon as possible and make your way to the edge of the throng so you may resume your circle. If your opponents are equipped with knives, clubs, or even weapons, this strategy will still work. If that’s the case, you’d best go to work right away or you’ll be looking for a way out.



It’s not simple to fight several opponents. Using this method, on the other hand, will make the battle lot more manageable, and if you’re already a great fighter, it will make battling numerous opponents seem much more like fighting one.

Keep yourself safe and masculine.

Keep yourself safe and masculine.

Dylan Edmiston has spent his whole life doing martial arts and currently teaches traditional Japanese Ninjutsu and Jujutsu as well as Cross Training in Denver, Colorado. For additional information, go to



Watch This Video-

The “how to beat a boxer in a street fight” is an article that discusses how you can use boxing techniques to fight multiple assailants. The article also includes some useful tips and tricks on how to do so.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which martial art is best for multiple attackers?

A: Judo is the best martial art for multiple attackers.

How do you defend against a group of attackers?

A: The best way to defend against multiple attackers is a combination of shields and quickness. Blocks with your shield, then quickly move out of the way.

What is the fastest way to end a street fight?

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