Tonight we moved onto anti-grappling and combat grappling. We began the session with a review of the previous lessons. Every student is different. In this instance, given the limited time, I felt it was important to make sure the student had pre-emptive striking and an understanding of the importance of striking whenever possible. We warmed-up with line-ups and pre-emptive strikes from the fence. This was followed by striking through postures. We covered both the straight and the hook hand strike (forwards and backwards), bringing in supporting striking weapons like knees, kicks and elbows. Then we went back over the cover, which was introduced last lesson. The cover is a fantastic recovery method that can be utilized for both striking and grappling.
We then moved onto anti-grappling. Anti-grappling tactics are used when pre-emption has failed and the distance has been closed; the attacker has hold of you. We first covered striking from grappling holds. This must be reinforced: grapple if you have to; strike if you can. Striking was worked by having the coach grab and moves the student with one hand and providing a target by holding a focus mitt in the other. By doing this we reinforce the principle of striking at available moment rather than trying to match a much stronger and heavier person with grappling moves.
If striking is not immediately accessible, I advise to go for the eyes. The eyes provide a good purchase and enable a person, who is proportionately weaker than their attacker, a means for controlling an attacker's head. We employed an eye gouge using the thumbs first. This came from when an attacker is at an extremely close range. The tactic should provide enough room to head-butt and elbow. The head-butt is a controversial anti-grappling tactic. Its efficiency is in little doubt. Several martial arts, such as Burmese lethwei, use them with great effect. A well-aimed head-butt works with startling effect at close range and can be easily classed as man-stopper. However, the key words here are "well-aimed". A badly aimed head-butt can cause just as much trouble to the head-butter as it can be for the intended target. It can be harder to recover than if you miss with a strike with a limb. I teach them in accordance to size and skillset as a possible option, but not without caution. When you head-butt, the golden rules are to strike with anything above the eyebrow and your target is anything below the eyebrow.
Next we moved onto attacking the fingers. Sometimes the head just is not an obtainable or appropriate target, especially if there is a significant size difference. When being attacked the hands are going to be the nearest target to you and a useful one to attack immediately in a grappling situation. Locking or breaking them can be done with minimum skill level.
Then we looked at biting. Biting can be effective, although it often a pain or psychological weapon it can immobilize or even kill an attacker. However, humans do not have relatively good teeth for fighting compared to the rest of the animal kingdom.
We finished with an introduction to combat grappling, briefly covering the strangle and how to get the back .