Playground Trick to Escape Multiple Attackers

A self defense situation that involves multiple attackers is one of the most dangerous ones to be in. It’s bad enough if you’re facing an attacker on the street that’s stronger and bigger than you are, but when you’re facing a group of people, even when they’re smaller than you, a group like this can kill you. If a group of attackers is able to get you to the ground and start pounding you, the last thing you ever see may be their boots. Your main priority in a situation like this is to escape!

Escaping should not be thought of as cowardly. When the odds are not in your favor and there is a slim chance of winning such a street attack, only a fool would stick around to fight and risk being maimed or killed. Nearly every self defense instructor will advise his students to run from a fight whenever possible. While this is great advice, there’s one thing that many people fail to take into account; what if one of the multiple attackers runs faster than you do?

It’s entirely possible that at least one attacker in a street fight will be able to catch you, unless of course you’re an Olympic athlete. If one of the multiple attackers catches you, you will have to employ some form of self defense techniques. However, besides being out of breath, it may be hard to quickly turn around and get your self set to counterattack. Well, here’s a strange self defense escape technique you will be able to use to get away, even if you’re attackers are faster than you.

Playground Self Defense Escape Technique

Do you remember the school yard games that were played in grade school? There is one in particular that the boys played in the 3rd grade that was a cruel rite of passage. The game is called “Johnny Tackle” and it’s kind of like rugby. One player has the ball and all the other players try to tackle him, smearing his face into the ground. Fortunately, some of us knew about a clever little escape trick that could be used when someone was ready to take you out. You can use an adaptation of this little self defense escape technique to escape from one attacker or multiple attackers. Follow these steps:

Self Defense Escape Technique Step One:

When you are running from one attacker or multiple attackers, you might realize that someone that’s chasing you runs faster than you do. You always need to listen carefully and pay close attention to your surroundings, looking for things like reflections in a window to help you determine just how far away your attacker is.

Self Defense Escape Technique Step Two:

This step might be difficult, but it’s important. Wait until your attacker is just about on top of you. Don’t act too soon. If you do you may as well gift wrap yourself for your attackers.

Self Defense Escape Technique Step Three:

When you hear that your attacker is about an arm’s length away from grabbing you, at the last possible second, drop quickly to the ground and assume the fetal position. This creates an instant obstacle. An attacker or even multiple attackers won’t have enough time to react and will trip over your body, falling to the ground. Once your opponent(s) are on the ground you can jump up quickly and escape or launch a counterattack, kicking and stomping to win the fight or create a better chance to escape.



  1. B.A.Dilger says:

    I’ve been stomped three times by multiple assailants of three to a platoon. While I managed to injure some each time, I eventually went down. Sometime the mob swarms to fast for you.

  2. Wild Bill says:

    Not bad, but if the tactic is to run in the first place, I would much rather make myself look very confused, and helpless. One person in the group is the mouth, usually. He is the least of your worries. Generally the second or third guy in the group nearest you is the one you have to worry about. It also helps if you can choose the environment, so having a wall, or a vehicle behind you is a bonus and forces the gang to have to bunch up in front of you, and hopefully at least this way your back is covered. Then from out of no where just clock the second or third closest one to you, or knock/​throw him to the ground (has to be quick, you don’t want to spend a lot of time here), and then haul rear ends, double time, triple time, 6 minute mile an under time, if you can. If not, then you have created some distance between you and the group, and if they are in pursuit, they will all run at different speeds, so one will get to you before the others, then, your above tactic could be usefull, but again, if you can deal with them without going to the ground, it is a bonus. So while running and just before this person is about to reach you, jut your body in revers, making yourself concave and body slam into him backwards. The jolt will send him flying back…then get some more distance between you an the rest of them, and now use the drop method, or anyothers. Vary it, keep it flowing, keep moving. As you create some distance, in an urban setting, it will help if you can make your way into a large store, hotel, or taxi cab. Try not to get hit by any cars while running across the street at full tilt.

    • Wild Bill says:

      A good circular kick to the first targets knee will probably not make this guy want to chase after you with the rest of the mob. At this point he will be thinking a little different from the mob mentality that chooses to give chase.

    • Lots of great tips in your response Wild Bill! ;-)

      I’d still opt for a fast drop to the ground if they’re on top of you instead of a “fast reverse”. If you were to just try to reverse (hard to do at full speed), physics will take over and force vs. force (his vs. yours) will mean a collision and most likely his momentum will win over yours. Concept is the same though — just when he things he has you, surprise him with a quick change.

      Everyone should read your response several times because you’ve brought up some fundamental tricks to dealing with multiple attackers in a real fight.

      Thanks for a great response WB!

    • MamaLiberty says:

      This all sounds great… unless you are someone like me. I’m a 64 year old woman who can’t run at all. I can’t fist fight either.

      That’s why I carry a gun. I’m VERY good with that. :) And I’m very aware of my surroundings as well.

      As one of the other articles said… our best weapon is our brain.

      • JG says:

        @ MamaLiberty,

        God bless you. An idea to help with your health & to protect yourself, check into any YMCA’s or martial arts schools that may offer Tai Chi or Bagua. They are both very fulid & soft health sustaining martial arts that will enhance your overall quality of life. The Chinese have been practicing these for thousands of years.

  3. Wild Bill says:

    I forgot to mention, as a follow up, if you do manage to duck into a store or hotel, or bar, or whatever, enter thrhough one door, hang out to see if those chasing you enter, buy yourself some time…buy a coke, just chill. Then go out another door, or call for a cab and then make your departure.

  4. B.A.Dilger says:

    In one mob attack, I went in to pull a buddy out and was ID later. Should have left area but not too smart then.

  5. Ray Willis says:

    Getting away when you can’t win is good. If you are boxed in somewhere, and if there are only 2 people, move so that the biggest guy is between you and the other guy. Then the other guy can’t touch you. Keep the biggest (or toughest) between you and attack him.
    If you take out the toughest guy, the other one will leave you alone. If you can’t take out the toughest guy, well he and the other one together wasn’t a better option. At least you have a chance. Be aggressive and scary as ****. Attack, offensive, yell, act crazy. The alternative is more pain.

    • Bryan says:

      I kind of like keeping the smaller guy between me and the big ugly, and rotate as I work my way to freedom with fighting as little as possible. I don’t want to take the chance that I may get sent to the ground with the two of them having access to my head with their boots. The instructor is correct, get away from the problem as quick and as safe as you can.

      It is easy to be tough, it is tough to be smart.

      • When defending against multiple attackers, I know that one of the lessons often taught is to try to “line up” the attackers in a row so you can fight them one at a time. We’ve experimented with this in training and have never found it to work.

        The only way it’s worked best is to move your body into close quarters combat range (“trapping range”) in a way that the one you’re attacking is in front of the other one. From there, you have to use the guy you’re striking as a weapon (not a shield) and shove his head into the other guy if he’s close enough.

        You can also shove one guy over a chair, table or car to quickly take him, at least temporarily, out of the fight while you escape or strike another attacker.

        Great input Bryan and Ray!

  6. lj says:

    what if he anticipates that as your next move?
    then you are screwed.…

    • Timing is everything. He won’t anticipate this move. No one will expect you to fall and trip him. His brain is focused on grabbing you by the shirt and hauling you to the ground or shoving you to the ground when he gets close enough.

      This is the time to strike back.

  7. shawn199 says:

    The only problem with this is if the guy behind you has experienced this before. When my brother, my friends, and I would play Tag, my brother, who was slower, used this technique… constantly. He got me the first time, but after that, when he dropped, I would put my hands on his back and vault over him, pushing him down and giving me time to turn around and tag him.

  8. JamesWilson says:

    I think a 45 pulled from a pocket also does the trick. The flick of a baton works well too.

  9. Bryan says:

    No one method of SD or Fighting is the answer for all situations, it is too easy to answer with, “I will just pull my 45″. Teaching Martial Arts to kids, you will always hear, what if the attacker has gun, a stick, a knife, a nuclear weapon… there is no one technique that is the answer for all situations, I believe this technique to be a great, easy, no practice solution for the a novice as well as a well trained fighter. Well done, thanks.

    • You’re absolutely right Bryan! Your comment is the reason why “reality based self defense” has become so popular in recent years. People interested in self defense are abandoning the “my Master can beat up your Master” mentality and just looking for whatever weapon they can add to their self defense arsenal.

      This includes even tactical firearms training and baton work as James pointed out. In fact, we’re even now finding incredible value in expanding the definition of “survival” to areas such as wilderness and urban survival training.

      Keep up the great work man!

  10. Karliner says:

    Yes Pa Kua is soft but you get the right master look out those moves are interspersed with all martial arts for a reason. I took weapons to a new height from my dan(4) in TKD and other belts. Still however for a 64 year old woman with no tunning or hitting skills I agree Pa Kue or Tai Chi is fun and helps in a more focused movement. Aklso a note since she is older it’s wise to carry a walking stick always or a cane. I have some sharpened and need only pull off the rubber walker( never used it for the ten years I’ve walked with this stick). But it helps and putting somthing between you and the first person to get to you they MAY keep their sistance even with a knife or a chain and then she can whip out her hand gun, take aim and the rest of the fight is a pea shooting contsest. Just a suggestion. I’m not a great runner myself and handicapped but a stick, a knife a concealed carry makes up a bit for running.
    Problems with knives are, you will get cut no doubt about it unless you can hide it wekll and then these’s other options like a baggie of sand, a razor, nasty little deals I do not teach but learned through the streets and past army experience( many moons ago) anything can be a weapon and running as you stated and dropping in the fetal works well as long as there is only one person chasing, sometimes if you mess the first person up bad enough the rest run, hopefully, if not I also suggest one of those squeely alarms one can buy as a dollar store and they are REALLY loud and scare folks bad, then there’s stun guns and mace…when one can’t run noise and dispersion of the group searching for a weakness is optimal.
    Okay enough from me but I feel for a woman with no punching or hitting ability and any one uppance will help until she can get her hand gun out. Hope this helps a little. Oh I know Filipina ladies that carry a , I sddon’t know what it’s called but it’s about 6“s and metal with a sharp end and they are adept at hitting pressure points and walloping bones with that thing. They’re probably illegal but in a street fight they’re a small savior.
    Thanks again for the essays on street fighting. I am thankful I’ve only been in a couple since grade school and mainly drunks or just outside the martial arts studio, lucky I suppose but I arm myself every time I leave home and yes have a concealed carry also.

  11. Navi says:

    I’ve been to alot of fights and been caught in such situations when more than couple of guys tried to beat me up,what my advise would be that one should never try to run in start,they might outrun and get hold of you from behind put you down,the better idea would be to go for eyes and groins of the assaultants who starts the fight first and try not to let them corner you so you shall keep changing your position constantly for four or five steps,it will give you sometime to evaluate your environment and then try to get out as fast as you can,eventually as you stood ground in start so some of them might not dare to chase you alone.

  12. eddy james says:

    Pull your legally carried .45 acp and put two quick shots into the center of the leaders chest then one round in as many as you can before the crowd breaks and runs​.As long as any one of them is facing you continue shooting reload and empty all six extra magazines that you carry. When it’s over walk slowly away and don’t make eye contact with anyone that might be able to identify you. Go home shower get rid of any cloths that might have gun shot residue on them lose the gun and never admit anything to anyone.

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Jeff Anderson

Jeff Anderson is a 10 year veteran of the U.S. Army, a Master Fitness Trainer, and Master Instructor of Close Quarters Combat self defense. A full time fitness and self defense author, Jeff has trained thousands of men and women in the practical application of advanced military fitness methods as well as close combat tactics for "real life" self defense.

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