Thoughts from an old bloke – Ground fighting

Ok peeps, so my old mate Phil Tonks commented a few nights ago as to my thoughts on ground work, it would be rude not to respond so here it is.

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Phil raised a valid point that many fights go to ground. If you are the one on the bottom you are in trouble! The ground is unforgiving, the ground is hard. You may be forcefully taken down or knocked down with a strike. You might even be attacked when you are already on the ground.
Whatever way you end up there, the ground is a very different type of situation to a stand up conflict. If your goal from training is self protection, it is important to know the rules of the game.

These days when people talk about ground fighting, most often they think of BJJ, Judo or MMA. There is no doubt that BJJ is one of the most proficient ground grappling systems around. I am currently trying BJJ to learn the basics of the art at a local dojo. It is certainly a world away from what I know, Kenpo. In Kenpo we have no rules, we take whatever openings are presented. As I lay there with my opponent trying to gain an opening to apply a choke, I could not help thinking I could rip your balls off from here!  Now I realise that rules are put in place for a variety of reasons; competitors safety, to keep the competition true and even and to make the fight more exciting.
On the street, in a real attack, there are no rules limiting your attackers or your actions.
There is no control over the size or gender of your attacker, no trophies and certainly no chance of being able to “tap out” if the going gets too hard. An attacker can and will fight dirty, they will also do anything to win. This could be biting, gouging the eyes, groin attacks, scratching, biting fingers (Phil :-)) or using some sort of weapon. There are no rules, only results!

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Although traditional Kenpo does not carry an array of ground fighting techniques, what I have had drilled into me for the past 30 years is that if, we find ourselves on the ground we will fight without respect for our opponents, we will grab, bite, gouge and scratch with all of our might, then we will get onto our feet at the earliest opportunity and finish the job.

Now I am not disparaging BJJ or any other form of grappling. Quite the contrary the principles of body shifting, weight transference and limb control have very practical applications on the street. These skills, in combination with Kenpo’s street-orientated tactics and considerations, provide a strong base for self protection.

We all need to be aware and comfortable of the basics of fighting from the ground; speaking from experience I would say that there are four general rules to give yourself a chance:

#1 Protect your head and neck
#2 Find and create opportunities to strike
#3 Keep your limbs close to your body
#4 Get up at the earliest opportunity

If you would like to hear more of my thoughts on fighting from the ground let me know.