Grappling & Self Defence (diary entry)



Kingham Hill moved back onto anti-grappling and combat grappling. We looked defending takedowns, symmetrical ground fighting, asymmetrical ground fighting and chokes/strangles.


The lesson began with a high energy series of running exercises, incorporating tactical escapes, grappling footwork, sprawls, covers and blitzing. This then progressed into partner running exercises, training striking whilst running backwards. Here emphasis was placed on moving the hips back whilst striking, training the importance of being able to hit whilst defending a takedown.


Next the pairs pitted grappling against anti-grappling. The grappler wore a head guard and the anti-grappler fought to prevent the grappler from getting hold of him or her. We looked at controlling the head whilst under pressure and defending the takedown at the same time. Next we took the fight to the ground with two simple games that looked at protecting the head and also controlling the head again. One was asymmetrical sparring where one fighter attempted to touch his grounded opponent’s head. This is also great training for defending and getting guard passes in submission. Crazy Baby is another game that I took from Mo Teague and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu involving one person on their hands and knees moving towards their opponent and the other person generally in a seated position trying to stop them from attaining a pin.


We then looked at sprawling applications, which meant all students needed to practise a double-leg takedown. I am becoming less keen to teach takedowns in basic self-defence courses, as a greater level of skill needs to be achieved for an individual to throw another much larger and stronger antagonist in a resistant situation than to strike, choke, trap limbs, gouge or bite. Furthermore, it is very likely that if you do throw an antagonist they will pull you down with them. However, grappling is a fundamental combative urge and larger, stronger aggressors are likely to attempt bear hugs, trips, full-body tackles and pickups. Therefore, it is important for students to know there way around basic primal takedowns in order to drills and test takedown defences.


From here we looked at two chokes – the guillotine and the rear naked choke.

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