Traditional arts were for fighting in crowds

Traditional Asian martial arts may have evolved as much for fighting in crowds as for one-on-one duels: a high number of traditional Asian arts use a cross pattern for their forms, the practitioner turning on a central point to face each cardinal direction. These patterns are built into many Indonesian and Malaysian Silat systems – sometimes the very first movement will be a ‘four corners’ twisting rotation from a basic horse type of position. Other styles such as Cimande and Sera are structured in a way that encourages the practitioner to make their own cross stepping sequences, and Malaysian Buah Pukul contains pre-set cross pattern jurus. More surprisingly perhaps, some styles of Bagua also practice stepping on a cross: the originator of Fan Bagua, Fan Zhiyong, was known as ‘Fan the Madman’ because he would strike out explosively in all directions. And then there are the southern long fist systems such as Choy Li Fut, Hop Gar and Hung Gar which not only have such patterns, but form their fists in such a way that is particularly suited to being flailed around in wide arcs: Pavel Macek has just posted a nice clip of his Hung Kyun class training for multiple attackers

Neil Ripski practices Drunken boxing with a similar multiple attackers mindset

which makes sense considering the prevalence of drunken sets in various lineages of Hung Gar and CLF.

The application is fairly obvious, although nowhere clearer than in Russian folk styles such as Skobar (which funnily enough has a ‘drunken’ aspect)

Here’s another very nice clip of the Skobar teacher, Alex Kostic and his students in action, from softwork to full contact