Kingham Hill School covered anti-grappling in this lunchtime’s lesson. This is the stage in their self-protect programme where we are faced problems associated with being gripped, held, tackled and wrestled. Everything prior to this has been about pre-emption and regaining the initiative. I have promoted creating distance and focusing on using strikes to facilitate an early escape.
We began with a short revision warm-up on tactical escape and combative movements on the move. These movements focused more on grappling/anti-grappling such as sprawling and switching levels. Then we went straight onto the focus mitts to re-confirm pre-emptive striking and various adaptions. My concern here was to ensure everyone understood that the objective most of the time was to get back to striking and escape. It is a concern because the bulk of the lesson was going to be about learning how to clinch and grapple. Grappling, being such a primal instinct and also often the method chosen by certain types of predator, is often the default place a fight ends up. In order to help over-ride that instinct we did some hunting on the focus mitts. This is an exercise where the coach keeps the fighter away with hand whilst the fighter seeks and strikes the focus mitt. The concept here is that the fighter strikes whenever they can and does not get caught up in trying to wrestle with a clinching enemy if it can be avoided.
Learning to grapple is an important skill. Civilians do not need to learn control and restraint in a foundation course. However, they do need to know how to perform correct grappling attacks and also the value of positioning that only effective grappling training can provide. We began with the collar and elbow tie wrestling. Next we did neck wrestling. Finally, we did over-hook/under-hook pummelling. From these different positions drilled taking the back and even an entry into a suplex. The latter isn’t a typical self-defence move but we did it whilst exploring the discipline of the clinch.
Next week we will continue work within the clinch range to get everyone comfortable with grappling. From here we will then use this as a means for the coaches safely to grip and take their partner’s balance whilst holding focus mitts.