Five On One
By George Donahue
What can you do when your attacker, who is larger and stronger than you,
already has some measure of control over you? It’s of no use to
try to match his force with your own, as you just don’t have enough
to go one on one. Well, you could go five on one. This may sound simplistic
or stupid, but often it’s the only way to escape your predicament.
Long ago the Greeks learned that they could defeat or hold off enemies
with much larger armies, or navies, if, instead of trying to match their
enemies’ battle formations line for line, they concentrated their
forces on just one or a few vulnerable points in the enemy line. Thus
the flying wedge formation that enabled the puny Greek confederation to
repel the mighty army of the Persian empire. On land, the Spartans led
the forces of the other Greek city-states in stymieing the Persian army.
At sea, the Athenian navy concentrated its attacks on vulnerable spots
in the Persian fleet, enticing and herding the fleet into narrow straits
where they couldn’t maneuver well. Their greater numbers were neutralized
and they were destroyed as a fighting force by the Greeks, with their
smaller ships and abler commanders.
In personal combat, it’s a great advantage, when you’re outgunned,
to follow the same strategy. If your more powerful attacker seizes your
wrist with one hand and puts you in a neck lock with the other, your impulse
is to fight at all points. You struggle to free your neck at the same
time you struggle to free your wrist and you struggle to get your body
away. You are already in your attacker’s control and you don’t
have the power or leverage to free yourself. You’re trying to match
your attacker line for line and you’re grossly overmatched. You
lose, maybe fatally.
Since you don’t want to lose, especially fatally, you have to learn
how to react more logically. That is where the five-on-one rule comes
in. You have to quickly decide where you can use your strength optimally
and where you can afford to let your attacker keep in control for a while.
Let’s say in this case that your attacker’s hold on your neck
isn’t going to choke you out for a while. Therefore, you can afford
to disregard it and concentrate on the wrist. You still have a free hand
to work with, but your hand is much smaller than your attacker’s
hand; you can’t match strength in hand-to-hand combat. So, you do
something better. You concentrate your forces. You use your hand, with
its five fingers, to fight just one of your attacker’s fingers.
Maybe not even a whole finger but a small part of a finger: one joint
or one muscle or one nerve. To the power of your hand, you add what you
can by focusing your body weight on your hand, too. Gravity is your friend,
not yet another force to struggle against.
Now all the power you can muster is applied to just one small part of
your attacker, one vulnerable point in his battle line. You strike with
all the explosive speed you can manage, snapping your target and then
twisting it away from your wrist. If the counter is quick and thorough,
your attacker will have to let go before you damage him more. You, however,
don’t have to let go. As soon as your attacker increases his distance
from you, to try to free his finger, you have gained extra leverage. Now
you snap his finger off and run—or grab another finger. If you need
to, you can break them one by one.
Copyright © 2008 George Donahue & FightingArts.com.
All rights reserved.
About The Author:
George Donahue has been on the board of FightingArts.com
since its inception. He is a freelance writer and editor, providing literary
and consulting services to writers, literary agents, and publishers, as
well to advertising agencies. He has worked in publishing for more than
three decades, beginning as a journal and legal editor. Among his positions
have been editorial stints at Random House; Tuttle Publishing, where he
was the executive editor, martial arts editor, and Asian Studies editor;
and Lyons Press, where he was the senior acquisitions editor and where
he established a martial arts publishing program. He is a 6th dan student
of karate and kobujutsu—as well as Yamane Ryu Bojutsu—of Shinzato
Katsuhiko in Okinawa Karatedo Shorin Ryu Kishaba Juku. He was also a student
of Kishaba Chokei and Nakamura Seigi until their deaths. He teaches Kishaba
Juku in New York and Connecticut, as well as traveling to provide seminars
and special training in karate, weapons, and self-defense. His early training
was in judo and jujutsu, primarily with Ando Shunnosuke in Tokyo. He also
studied kyujutsu (archery), sojutsu (spear), and kenjutsu (swordsmanship)
in Japan as a youth. Following his move to the US, he continued to practice
judo and jujutsu, as well as marksmanship with bow and gun, and began
the study of Matsubayashi Ryu karate in his late teens. Subsequently,
he has studied aikido and taiji and cross trained in ying jow pai kung