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In my Krav Maga class, my instructor had us go against 12 opponents one at a time and then 12 opponents all at once. My instructor asked the class why we could fight 12 people one at a time but not all at once, and we had no answer. He told us to go home and think about it. I have not been able to come up with an actual tactical analysis of the difference between 12 people all at once and 12 people one at a time. I can only say that it is easier to fight 12 people one at a time, without much of a tactical understanding of why (after all, 12=12). Can anyone here help?

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Because it is difficult to respond to multiple things at once

It is incredibly hard to respond to multiple things at once. If two people are punching you, trying to block one will do nothing about the other punch. Trying to dodge one just might dodge both, but might drive you straight into the other.

This is the primary factor. It is very hard to respond to more than one thing at a time.

Because more people can do more things.

Related to the prior item, more people can do more things at once. If you are fighting 3 people at once, they can do 3 attacks at once in response to your one.

Because additional people can come at you from additional angles.

With minor, temporary exceptions for specific techniques, you generally want to face your opponent. When there is one, you can generally do that most of the time. When there are more than one, especially if they are even somewhat coordinating with each other, one of them will almost always be able to come at you from a side and possibly even from behind you. This is a major advantage to that attacker.

It is of course possible to fight more than one person at a time and win. Plenty of real life examples exist. But it is dramatically more difficult than fighting the same number of people one on one. If you are doing several fights in a row, you have to contend with fatigue and possibly cumulative injuries. But if you are fighting them at the same time, you have to contend with fatigue, cumulative injury, trying to address more than one thing at a time, trying to address more than one angle at a time, and the fact that the other side can simply do more than you.

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    I wish I could upvote this answer more. These points apply outside of Krav Maga, too! In many competitive or combative situations, the benefits of teamwork can eclipse individual skill very quickly!
    – PipperChip
    Aug 23, 2022 at 21:51
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    I would add multiple attack angles as an important factor. The human eye is made to cover about 170 degrees but the central part of the view field is good for focusing objects and estimating trajectories while the peripheral view is only good for but at the same time much better at noticing movement outside of focus. This means for defending an attack, you must face and have your focal point close to the threat, which is obviously much harder for attacks from different angles and directions. Also, it is biomechanically impossible to exert force in several angles and directions parallely. Aug 24, 2022 at 7:49
  • @PhilipKlöcking Good point. I thought that was largely covered with my first item, but it probably is worth clarifying and giving it its own item. Aug 24, 2022 at 16:09
  • Add multiple opponents ability to kick, punch AND grapple at the same time. If one of them gets a good hold of you, you cannot attack - others can quite easily punch you while being held.
    – diynevala
    Aug 25, 2022 at 4:55
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    Add fear of getting hurt/injured: once you attack one of them, others do not have to defend as much, they can just go all out on you.
    – diynevala
    Aug 25, 2022 at 4:57

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