Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Fighting on the Ground

For many years my training was mostly confined to stand up fighting and self defense. I figured that if I honed my skills in stand up fighting that I would not have to deal with grappling, wrestling or fighting on the ground.

Then came the UFC...

If you are not familiar with the UFC it is the Ultimate Fighting Challenge. The UFC is a professional arena where two opponents use mixed martial arts skills to fight to a knockout, submission or decision by judges.

While they claim there are "no rules" there are certain illegal or disallowed strikes and techniques which are mostly known and accepted. Such as no strikes to the groin.

I will never forget UFC #1. There where some really tough stand up fighters in that match. Full contact kick boxers, Muay tai fighters, experienced karate, kung fu and tae kwon do fighters. If you didn't see it, there were several kick and punches to the groin.

It was a real eye opener for many martial arts instructors, black belt competitors and I think the general public as well. How could these experienced stand up fighting experts be taken down so easily?

Hindsight has shown us. The stand up fighters knew nothing about fighting from the ground while the grapplers had at least some good basic stand up skills. Today of course, this has all changed, as the current UFC participants are well rounded fighters who can fight standing as well as on the ground.

Look, you are not apt to having to face a skilled UFC fighter on the street, nor do you probably have the time or inclination to train that long or hard. You need some good basic skills to stop the mugger, rapist or street thug.

So, being a martial arts innovator, I set out to learn how I could improve my ground fighting skills in a way that was 'street' focused, was easy to learn and execute, and would work in most realistic street situations.

It had to be simple. It had to include striking. It had to be quick and easy to learn. I set this criteria because I know that without those qualities most of my students probably wouldn't 'get it' or if they did, it would never work on the street anyway.

The most often overlooked obstacle to effective street self defense is dealing with the adrenaline rush which is the natural effect of real aggression. Loss of fine motor coordination, the shakes, tunnel vision, auditory exclusion (you can't hear much) and loss of most of your cognitive thinking are the main negative effects of the "adrenal dump" as we like to call it.

What this means is simplicity and directness are key. Complication is the enemy. Stick with things that are simple to learn, easy to execute and very effective.

After many years of trial and error, looking for simple solutions and effective street self defense techniques on the ground, we developed what has become


  1. good luck with your training and keep innovating

  2. great post so far! you should look into krav maga, israeli style fighting focused on being outnumbered and real life situations