Friday fight Breakdown: How to handle a 2 on 1 as a small guy

Hey Fight Fans, Today I’m going to give my take on a 2 on 1 situation, for us small guys. My friend Michael Johnson of the Omaha Ravens asked for some advice on what he could have done in the above fight as the last man standing on his team. He’s this guythis guy


I’m using a facebook video. If you can’t see that one I’ve linked to a youtube version at the bottom but it’s much worse quality. Sorry not techy enough to clean it up.

Before we get to the meat of this article, which will still be a bit lean cause it’s a quick fight, I’m gonna spend a paragraph addressing the action that leads up to the 2 on 1. Ravens, in blue, start off slightly fucked by letting the saints box them in their side. They have no room to maneuver. They compound this mistake by letting the other team act first. The Saints(I think that’s the other team) run a nice play where black dude with an axe starts to charge but stops and moves laterally down the line, freezing the Ravens line. From behind him black dude with a long sword makes an angled charge into Micheal catching just enough by surprise that he’s driven completely into the railsbefore he’s able to perfrom any offense. Meanwhile Black Axe takes the the other two Ravens, who’ve bunch too close, into the corner and lets Green Axe start lighting them up. Raven’s push out but if that were a stronger fighter or a better axeman, they’d be in a world of hurt, probably down to a 3 on 1 real quick. Instead it turns into 3 1v1’s with Micheal using a half nelson to force Black sword over his outstreched leg while green ax and black axe simply over balance and over power the other Ravens.

Now we have our 2 on 1 and again right from the gate, the Raven is fucked. See the key to 2 on 1’s is that you don’t actually fight it as a 2 on 1 but do everything in your power to make it 2 1v1’s. Think of it like a movie fight scene. The bad ass never really fights a dozen guys at once, they all come 1v1 which lets us believe he has a chance.  Turns out that can actually work in real life and this sport. The basic strategy is to keep one of your opponents between you and the other opponent(s). The two easiest ways of doing this: string them out so one gets ahead of the other then step so if he follows your angle he cuts his support off and to grab one of your opponents and use him as a human shield.  The former is definitely preferable as it can lead into the latter but going the other way is much harder.

When the 2v1 starts there’s plenty of time and room for Micheal to try and make this work. However he waits and gets trapped in the corner, round the 20 second mark. Even then though he has the option to escape. The route down the rail is open and even if green axe is trying to trap him, a good shove should get him though and out. He still has that opening available to him 3 seconds later when black axe starts chopping. It might be even more open now if since green axe has started to prep to chop and is definitely not in a position to grab and stop him.

There’s another option that isn’t escape available from the beginning as well. higher risk, but higher reward. Black axe walks right in front of the bodies. A sudden charge, a good push and he’s down. It opens Micheal up to a double takedown or from green axe pushing him over a body from behind. This is why the knights hall stresses agility, especially in armor. We do tire stepping drills so that we are comfortable fighting in the bodies, where terrain elements will give us an advantage over those who don’t train to walk over obstacles. A good push and stepping into that field could turn this from a guaranteed loss into a tie or even a victory.

However that didn’t happen and Michael gets trapped in the corner with two axes pounding on him. He turtles up and at around 30 second it should be  basically over. Black axe wraps him up and it’s all he can do to stay standing. Green axe begins to chop. Michael manages to get his head free and for some reason Black axe backs up instead of keeping the pressure on. Poor tactic. Even poorer, Green and black kinda just stand there threatening him for a bit. Finally Green axe goes in, pulls him out of the corner and Black Axe goes for the sac throw.


Throughout this Micheal had a couple of options. Instead of turtling(good strategy with friends that can come rescue you) he could have tried to strike his way free. Pick one guy and attack him with everything hoping to hurt or daze him enough to leave an opening to get free. He could have attacked a weapon. Take the axe shots from one while trying to wrest the axe from the other. He could have grapped the smaller one and tried to move him into position to prevent the other from striking, hoping a throw would develop. Going straight for a quick throw would be hard as most of the time it takes some work to put someone down and would open him up to  other attacks, but if he’s confident in getting a good trip or throw off, do it. My choice would have been to teep one guy to keep him at range and then try to sweep the legs of one of them as they were swinging.Whether they fall or not they should stumble opening up something else to work on.


After Black axe grabs him,, it’s alot harder. I’d have tried to pivot so Black axe was between me and the green guy and maybe tried to work towards the bodies. After the head gets free, that’s the time to pop out and try to run. They should be a bit surprised and that half second might be enough to get free. A good punch in the face as you go by and now you can begin work. Likewise after green pulls him from the corner, now he’s less secure but also less trapped. Time to break out and get off the rail. Take the fight to one on one and hope you can beat them. And that they don’t just grab you and fall….like they did.


Biggest take away, keep moving, keep fighting,  try to even the odds  however you can. See you in the lists.