Your options: In this type of attack are pretty simple. If possible, run away. If escaping is not possible you must defend or counter attack in order to survive.
The mechanics of the attack: Given a weapon about 24″ long and an arm length of about 24″ the attacker instantly has a 4 foot reach advantage. Add to that the fact that a typically the attacker will take a big step toward his intended victim, so add another 30″ to 36″ inches. This gives the attacker a seven or eight foot instant reach advantage. It is critical to understand that once the attacker starts his attack you will have significantly less than one second to react.
Know that an attacker with a longer weapon (bat, machete, etc.) will typically attack by swinging the weapon in an arc across his body toward your head (an inside swing) or upper body or, less typically, attack directly from overhead. If the inside swing misses he will step forward and execute a backhand strike with the same type of arc but in the reverse direction. His speed toward you and the violence of his attack will increase as he moves forward.
Typical types of attacks: Long weapons attacks can be one handed, e.g., machete or hatchet, etc., or two handed, e.g., baseball bat, heavy sword, long pipe, etc. Attacks will typically start with an inside swing and then instantly convert to a backhand swing. These attacks will usually be to your head or upper body but attacks to the leg area are not uncommon. Overhead and thrust attacks are much less common and are frankly easier to deal with than the others.
The Danger Zone: Visualize a batter at a baseball game. When he swings the bat the end of the bat farthest from his hands and shoulder moves the fastest. The end of the bat he is holding moves the slowest and the shortest distance. This is why you won’t likely see an out of the park home run hit from the end of the bat near the batter’s hands. Now, in an attack with such a weapon the same principle applies. If you are near the farthest end of the weapon when you get hit things will be very ugly, possibly lethal. The farther you move in toward the weapon wielder’s hands or shoulder, the less damage you will receive. Know that if you follow your normal instincts and jump back suddenly when the attack commences the weapon may miss you but you will be off balance, not thinking clearly and the attacker will be moving toward you at an increased speed with a more violent attitude. In essence this is exactly what the attacker expects.
How to survive: Study and understand the mechanics and movement of the typical attacks. Then, begin to understand the movement that you must make and how to decide when to move. Simplistically, do the unexpected. Move into the attacker, inside the danger or lethal zone of the weapon’s attack and get the attacker off balance. The attacker will not expect this. You will suddenly be in his personal space, you will likely have bumped into him or struck him in some manner and he will be aware that his long weapon is of minimal value at this range. In this situation you have a great chance to escape or to execute any number of counter attacks. Back to the principle of “attack the attacker”, not the weapon.
All of this takes extensive practice. The great thing is that you can get a real good understanding of the mechanics of the attack by watching baseball games, some movies, or having a friend replicate the types of attacks that are likely to occur with a non lethal weapon.
Practicing the movement you must make is critical also and you must do that over a long period of time until it becomes purely instinctive.
There is much, much more but these are the basics involved. Study them, get more information from people who really understand this type of situation and you will have an excellent chance of surviving such an attack if it ever happens.
Dan Rank has been practicing martial arts for nearly two decades and has been teaching advanced black belt and real world self defense applications for several years. His approach includes researching and analyzing real world “on the street” confrontations as compared to training in the typical martial arts school environment. The research also involves the periodic involvement of hands on law enforcement personnel and others who have been and regularly are involved in serious physical confrontations. The training and research for “real world effective” martial arts and street defense techniques and principles is ongoing. Visit http://www.georgiamountainhapkido.com/otheritems.html and http://ponderables-byhh.blogspot.com for more information.