Are there possible strategies of defense against an opponent with a moderately light stick in a real life scenario (e.g. baseball bat)? What are the odds of winning the fight? And (just an interesting thought), will it be possible for an opponent be carrying two sticks (not linked) at once?

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    For the last question, Escrima does two-sword stick fighting pretty much as the standard. A common commentary about dual-wielding is that humans only have one brain, so dual-wielding generally does not double your efficacy (and may actually hamper it if your weapons foul each other), which is why most dual-wielding styles focus on using one arm for blocking and one for striking. Escrima handles it by drilling a lot of patterns, and honestly also focusing on attacking over defense. Sep 5 at 0:33

A number of broad strategies/techniques are outlined below. Techniques specific to various attacks are numerous, due to the many, many ways in which such a confrontation might unfold. A Google/Youtube search will provide you with a lot of useful technique-specific information, and of course a lot of suspect information as well. If you find some information about defending against a particular kind of strike that you wish to examine further, SE might prove appropriate.

The following are not necessarily ranked in order of priority/efficacy, by no means represent a complete answer, and assume the assailant is armed by a single baseball bat or similar implement.

  1. Evade: Stay out of range. Run if possible. If someone's willing to hit you with a bat, they could well be willing to kill you.

  2. Scan: In moments of extreme stress, you can fall prey to a phenomenon called 'tunnel vision', in which your adrenaline-fuelled senses 'zoom in' upon the threat, to the detriment peripheral vision and environmental awareness. This is difficult to overcome initially, but mere awareness of the phenomenon (mindfulness) can be enough to help you reduce its effects. Another effective technique to break out of tunnel vision is to deliberately scan the environment to either side of the threat whilst keeping the threat in view. You ideally want to be aware of any obstacles/people that might trip you up, of implements/barriers you might use to protect yourself, and of escape routes.

  3. Breathe: Even if you have no prior experience with similar stressors, simple breathing techniques can be employed to great effect when dealing with aggression. Research these techniques elsewhere, but one simple method is to breathe in sharply and deeply through the nose for 1 second, hold for four seconds, release through the mouth for four seconds. Repeat if time allows. No, you will not always get the opportunity to do this prior to an attack, but with practice, it is possible to develop an ability to breathe effectively even during combat. Breath control will also give you much better control of your adrenaline-affected limbs, enable you to think more clearly, reduce panic responses and enable you to move with greater precision.

  4. Close: Quickly take advantage of openings in order to approach to within effective range, rendering the weapon far less effective. Timing is of course critical. The typical moments to close would be when (if) the assailant telegraphs his or her swing by 'winding up', or at the moment the bat passes you and enters the follow-through phase. There are inevitable risks, which might be reduced by utilising...

  5. Invitation/Feint: A provoked (invited) attack is an attack you can better anticipate and evade, enabling you to close with less risk. A feint - by causing your opponent to adjust - can also increase your effective closing/escape window.

  6. Grab/Trap: Again, inevitably risky. It pays to remember that a bat-swing's velocity is greatest at it's striking end. Hovering indecisively at this range is dangerous. By closing during a swing, you can greatly reduce the impact of any contact and make catching/trapping the bat far easier to accomplish. Remember though, that once control of the bat is achieved, it can be a mistake to fall into a wrestle for the weapon. More on this later.

  7. Counter: Using a bat can actually be a considerable handicap, especially if a person wields it with two hands and/or is untrained. If you manage to close/grab during a two-fisted swing, it will be possible in many circumstances to achieve a degree of control over the bat with one arm/hand whilst countering with your other. Even if you are required/decide to use two hands (which will be necessary in some situations) you still have your legs, head and potentially elbows to draw upon.

  8. Parry/Block: If you movement is restricted or if your opponent is simply too quick, blocking/deflecting a blow may be necessary. Again, courage to close can enable you to greatly diminish the impact. Regardless, as a general rule, when you parry you should not do so by presenting a limb perpendicular to the strike (unless perhaps you are quite close), as this will maximise the impact of the bat upon your limb. The aim should be to deflect the strike if possible so that the swing is diverted rather than stopped dead. This effectively dilutes the force of impact, although it may still cause injury/debilitation. A good parry may provide the opportunity to counter or escape. Note that you can learn to parry with your legs as well as your hands/arms, and that - although it's probably rare - an attacker with a bat may decide not to swing it, but to thrust directly at you. If you're prepared for this eventuality, it provides a good opportunity to parry, grab and counter. Beware too, that he or she may decide to throw the bat at you.

  9. Attack: A well timed closing move can enable an out-and-out attack sufficient to cause a panic response in an opponent who has made the mistake of overcommitting or undercommitting with a bat. As mentioned earlier, an opponent who overswings is momentarily open, as is the opponent who telegraphs their intent by 'winding up' for the swing. If you close successfully, you have relatively free rein to strike/scratch/tear at a number of vulnerable points whilst their hands are occupied with the weapon.

A note on kicks: Long-range kicks place you in the danger zone against a bat, although they may still be effective if your timing is good. Simple front/push kicks and long roundhouses may be sufficient to enable escape/deterrence/recovery/repositioning. Kick retraction, maintenance of posture and upper guard is vital in order to maintain balance, height and general defensive integrity against follow-up swings or if the assailant decides to discard the bat in favour of empty hand/leg techniques. If you decide to close, knees, compact roundhouses and sweeps may be of use, although rapid hand/elbow strikes to the face may prove more immediately decisive.

  1. Disarm: This might sound obvious, but it can be very risky to get into a fight over the weapon. Disarming will often be most easily achieved not by focusing upon the weapon, but by provoking a panic response via attacks to the face/genitals. If you commit both hands/limbs to controlling the bat, there's nothing to stop your opponent releasing it to commence the strikes you might have otherwise have executed.

  2. Tactical Communication: Look it up. Tac Comms represent an extremely valuable range of techniques that can be used effectively to deter/delay attack. I would not be doing it any justice by describing it here other than to say posture and verbal persuasion/assertiveness (including tone and volume of voice) can mean the difference between conflict and deescalation.

Even if what I've stated above is valid, it's probably too much information to be able to process usefully without some form of repetitive training. Prioritise the principles of breath control, tactical communication and evasion/escape, and if combat is unavoidable:

  1. Close distance,
  2. Attack very hard and fast to momentarily overwhelm, and
  3. Run/seek police assistance.
  • A nice and detailed answer indeed. A word of apology here for bothering you at SE, which I did because I do not have access to Google and Youtube due to firewall restrictions in China. Sep 4 at 7:30
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    @WinstonSmith. Oh. That makes perfect sense. No worries. Just a tip. You may want to edit your question so it consists simply of the first question. The odds are unknowable. Two sticks will invite separate responses. – Sep 4 at 8:00

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