Last night in class we worked a lot of multiple attacker drills and a bodyguard drill, and I thought they were all very fun and useful. Before we started those drills, though, we wore ourselves out with jogging, calisthenics, bagwork and kicking pads (normally we don’t do running or calisthenics in the adult class so between that and being out for a week I was already running on empty when we started the drills). When I was actively training judo we routinely did Crossfit workouts so I was in better shape as far as running and calisthenics go, but since I absolutely hate running and doing weight exercise I will admit that I almost never do them on my own even though I should.
The multiple attacker drills started off with four people holding large kicking shields surrounding one person and randomly pressing toward them, sometimes one at a time, sometimes two at a time, sometimes three at a time and sometimes all at once–we didn’t plan it at all so whoever decided to press forward did so. The person in the middle had to keep the people with the pads away, and we all had different methods of accomplishing that goal. Khang, one of our teen students who is plenty tough enough to work with the adults, used non-stop barrages of punches, kicks, knees and elbows on the pads to keep us away. I used bursts of kicks and elbows while evading and pushing the people with the pads so I could escape. Mr. Getz alternated between evading like I had and throwing fight-ending combinations of kicks, knees and elbows. Mr. Allred mostly kicked us all away because he’s big enough and strong enough that he created a lot of space doing that.
After that we worked a similar drill, but aimed at escaping a crowd and countering a pursuer. The people with the pads all squeezed against the person in the middle to close them in and the person in the middle had to slip out and strike the pads of anyone who followed them. This one worked out pretty much the same for all of us, to differing degrees of success. Khang, being smaller than the rest of us, had a harder time breaking through and ended up opting to duck down to slip out of the crowd, while Mr. Allred, being the biggest and strongest of us, simply started walking the direction he wanted to go. Mr. Getz and I both have a bit of a judo background and didn’t have much of a problem feeling the gap and slipping out quickly. As a continuation of this drill, we also did it with the defender lying on their back on the ground with the pad holders standing over the top of them, which worked out much the same except with a lot more up-kicks and awkward rolling.
At this point we dropped the pads and moved on to having the four attackers randomly attack the defender with whatever they wanted, whenever they wanted, and the defender had to do whatever they could to get away. This drill was pretty hectic and high-stress because you didn’t know what was going to come at you from what direction. In addition, Sensei Poage jumped in at random with a training gun so we had to randomly work gun disarms as well. I really liked this drill, and would love to do it more. I threw Khang and Sensei Poage to the ground in this drill, but with Mr. Getz and Mr. Allred (who are bigger than me) I stuck with a lot of knees and elbows.
To expand on this, we picked up the kicking shields again and the defender was now responsible for keeping the attackers away from him AND from Rachel, who was acting as our person in need of defending (even though she is more than able to defend herself :P) while escorting her from one side of the mat to the other. I noticed that this worked out very much like our first multiple attacker drill in that Khang was striking non-stop and Mr. Getz was evading and blitzing. The differences were pretty evident in the way I went about it and the way Mr. Allred went about it. I worked plenty of moving and throwing the occasional kick, punch or elbow to keep them away, but I also grabbed a hold of Rachel’s gi to make sure I knew where she was and could pull her along with me. Mr. Allred just picked her up on his shoulders and ran, which was hilarious even though it defeated the purpose of the drill.
At the end of class, Mr. Street discussed with us some of the tactics that he has used in the past as a bodyguard and working security for concerts, which added some great context and ideas to our drills. Overall, I really found a lot of value in those drills and believe that everyone needs to work at least some multiple attacker drills, because 1-on-1 is an ideal scenario and you should always be prepared for the worst.