Defend Against a Flash Mob Attack

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I know there are many concerns about flash mob attacks.  Without sounding like my grandfather, What
is this world coming to?

Over 12 crimes involving large groups of men have been
reported since the spring and around 29 people have been arrested.  Naturally Chicago’s Officials are
concerned about its impact on Chicago tourism.  I am not a politician and I feel concerned about the
financial impact it will have on visitors coming to see all the Chi-town
has to offer.  Although this is a
new problem facing Chicago’s newest Superintendent Garry McCarthy, it seems to
be his mission – to stop it from progressing [according to news media].  Flash mob attacks should be viewed like
any other type of personal violent crime.   The truth
is that group attacks are common.  In fact, it is quite common for a single man to be attacked
by a larger group of men.  The
recent incidence of flash mob attacks is causing many people to take their safety more

I own POW MMA & Chicago Krav Maga.   Krav Maga  is a reality based self -defense
system.  It was first created for
the Israeli military and law enforcement. 
It’s purpose was to train soldiers how to deal with closed-quartered
fighting – so relevant in the middle east.  Today, in its civilian form, it is known as an efficient,
hard-core, focused, offensive, aggressive and decisive training program.  It focuses on applying the most
effective combatives (i.e. punches, knees and kicks) from a wide variety of
martial arts like muay thai, boxing, jiu jitsu and even karate.  Krav Maga organizes them into an easy
to access arsenal that is inventoried into your mind and taught repetitively so
you have a reliable set of skills when under attack.  It provides you with situational training (re-creations of
stresses found in an attack) and high intensity drills that train you to keep
fighting under all circumstances. 
It addresses what I call the ‘flinch factor’ or ‘freaked factor,’ that
occurs when surprised or under attack. 

As a Krav Maga instructor and the owner of the Chicago Krav
training center, I deal with training for group attacks all the time.  In the last couple of weeks however, we
have been calling them flash mob attacks. 
But the truth is that Krav Maga has always made group attack training
drills an integral part of class. 
The reason why –  group attacks are so very common.  Krav is reality based.  It examines crime statistics, it
watches surveillance video, it studies criminals and how they attack.  In doing so, it provides its network of
licensed instructors with realistic and accurate ways to evolve the training
drills and honestly prepare students for fighting on the street.

krav 2.pngI recently had a conversation with John Whitman, an amazing
Krav Maga senior instructor. 
Whitman is co-author of the books Complete Krav Maga and Krav Maga for
(published by Ulysses Press) and President of Krav Maga Worldwide
from 2000 to 2007.  Since so many
of my students were coming to class asking specifically about  ‘mob attack’ defensive training drills,
I decided to call Whitman and compare notes.    Our first notion of the topic was that it is no
different than our standard training drills that focus on group attacks.  Although we discussed the crime’s
motivation and how it does differ from group gang activity- we felt that the
same advise and training should be employed.

1.     Always
stay out of the middle.  In any
group attack, you must always be working an angle.  Get to the outside where you can run to freedom.

Training Drill 1:  On a simple level, maximize your
footwork drills by simply trying to move away from an opponent in the
ring.  Have your opponent walk at
you at varying speeds and work on cutting an angle.

Training Drill 2:  Whitman calls this the ZOMBIE
drill.  This is a progression.  In a class setting, have a group of 4-6
people walk slowly towards you and begin cutting angles in your footwork.  Each time you cut an angle and push
them away they turn around immediately and begin walking at you again.  The goal of the drill is to never get
caught in the middle.

2.     Progress from moving out of the middle at all costs, to doing damage in the
process.  Any damage is good

Training Drill 3:  I guess this could be called KILL THE ZOMBIES.  Kinda of fun huh?  So now that you have figured out how to
move through a large group of people, give your zombies large shields and
pads.  Each pad should represent
one specific technique (this is for partner safety).  For example, those with shields can only receive a front
kick, those with chest protectors can only receive punches to stomach, those
with boxing mitts can be punched.   Repeat Training Drill 2, but with this
addition.   Try to keep going,
always moving out of the middle. 
Remember even if you move them and create damage, they are going to turn
around and zombie walk back to you. 
The interval should go for about 30 or 60 seconds.

3.     Know
in your mind that you will strike first!  Do not hesitate!  You must
be decisive in your actions and aggressive at all costs.  If you recognize that you are in a
group attack, do not think about it. 
Do the most offensive thing you know and do it fast.  Know you will fight back.  Strike fast, strike hard and move.  Do not sit in one place and do not be concerned for their well-being.

Training Drill 4:  Try a drill called MONKEY IN THE
MIDDLE.  You are in a group of 3 to
6.    Each person has a
target of sort: shield, mitts, tombstone. 
Once again for partner safety – each target represents one type of
combative.  Begin with techniques
that you know.  So if you only know
how to throw a kick to the groin and a palm strike to the face- everyone’s
targets must represent one or these two combatives.  Place yourself in the middle and your team is surrounding
you.  Begin by throwing combatives
to one target, every 1- 2 seconds another teammate will push you – turn face
them with your guard up and strike immediately.  This will continue to happen for an interval of time 30 or
60 seconds.  

4.     All
of us are students of human nature. 
Whitman reminded me that whether we are aware of it or not, we have been
observing and studying our fellow man our entire life.  Some of us of course are more observant and instinctual
than others.  But, rely on your
expertise of human nature.  With
the higher occurrence of mob attacks or group attacks, stay switched on.  If you notice a strange vibe while in a
crowd, change your position immediately and report it.

Training Drills 5:  Learn something.  Learn how to throw a punch, learn how
to smash your cell phone in someone’s face, learn how to throw a kick to the
groin.  We all spend time throughout our life taking precautions for unexpected events.  Case in point.  We have been learning what to do in the
event of a fire.  STOP-
DROP-ROLL.  Don’t take the
elevator.  Break out your windows
if your stuck in a room.  Close the
door behind you if you escape a room with fire.   We go through this practice our entire life in
preparation for being a victim of a fire. 
DO something to prepare yourself in case you ever become a victim of an

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