At 12/9/12 09:25 PM, Cootie wrote:
I used to quite a bit of martial arts back in my day. It was a blend of different styles my master had picked up over his many years and it seemed well rounded enough. I should probably get back into it.
Anyways, I wonder about the effectiveness of grappling in a real street fight. It seems like the second you tried to wrestle a guy his friends would start stomping your head with their boots.
Depends on how many people there are and what their skill levels are. Against two guys, it can be advantageous to put one guy between you and the other (as they taught us in Systema) as a shield, sometimes even with three, Especially in tight spaces like small alleys, hallways, stairwells, bathrooms. In tight spaces and when cornered, one must generally consider that the route of escape will be through, not around or away from, their assailants. Backing yourself into a corner with one of the opponents locked up in an injurious hold is a gambit of desperation, but it is generally better than being flanked and surrounded (your number one threat). However, keeping one of them locked up with their shoulder/elbow/wrist broken/dislocated/terribly mangled (fingers work well for disabling, but once someone's finger/thumb is broken they can lose the impetus not to resist and wrest themselves away since they usually have the full power and leverage of their arm, the other arm and their body at their disposal and you've already broken it) and cattle-plowing with them through the other opponent(s) Can be effective, especially if they are friends who really care about one another and do not want you to injure their compatriot further. That said, never count on pity or mercy, either for you or amongst themselves. In an open space, however, your best bet is to use quick-injury techniques, minimize entanglement and get the fuck out.
When multiple people attack one, they generally rely on one another heavily instead of acting as tactically-individual combatants in cohesion with a group. They let one guy make first and primary contact and the rest will jump in and out, picking potshots, waiting for him to tangle you up, and they will almost immediately try to flank you and get behind you. Excepting trained or experienced fighters, or crazy nutshits on tweak, most people who will rove in packs or get into dumb fights in groups will shy away from any chance of getting hit or hurt if one of the group occupies the most threatened position of primary contact. Usually there's one powerful fighter who occupies alpha role and will be expected to engage. The most dangerous aspect is that they will instinctively move to get behind you, at which point their (generally) unorganized combat style will inevitably be effective. Keeping everyone on one side of you is one of the most important considerations in one-on-many combat, if not the most important, and if you can control one body and keep it in between you and the other you're halfway there. If you have someone in a chicken wing and he's screaming bloody murder over his dislocated shoulder and torn tendons and fascia, he's pretty much going to go wherever you put him with next to no resistance.
The key to minimizing entanglement is to keep your grappling at mid and long range (mid and long grappling range). Eg., no torso-to-torso contact. The exception is with throws and Judo techniques where hip and thigh contact are integral, but otherwise only grab hands and elbows until your control of the opponent's body is secured and you are either behind him or safely in control of him, then, if appropriate, contact the shoulder. Choking someone in a one-on-multiple scenario is highly disadvantageous, however there is an exception to every rule and sometimes one must choose a lesser evil over a greater one to survive an encounter.
Grappling techniques like key locks, wrist locks, finger holds and quick, minimal-entanglement maneuvers are perfectly applicable to such a situation. You just have to be willing to actually injure someone immediately with murderous force rather than simply submitting them with pain alone and increasing force by degrees. More than two guys, however, and the extent of your grappling should be wrist, finger, elbow and rarely shoulder techniques designed to break or dislocate quickly.
And, of course, Never go to the ground with one guy if there are any others still fighting. Ever.