Ground Guard for Self-Defence (diary entry)

passing guardThis is the tenth and final part of CCMA’s submission and ground fighting for marital arts cross-training.  We continued looking at how the various attributes trained in this can be taken back the self-defence line. Last lesson we worked the top position, this time we covered using the guard and restraining techniques.

The lesson began with a warm-up of switching from one combat base to another. This position is the most efficient way to fight from your knees, as it is mobile, stable and easy to rise from it to standing. We then moved to combat base from seated (butterfly guard) and then from the back. These progressively fast transitioning exercises through postures are great for warming up and reinforcing the use of efficient combat postures.

The priority through these two final sessions is to get back to standing and to get back to striking whenever possible. The groundwork and various grappling holds are incidental methods when it comes to high level risk interpersonal violence. However, the student accepts the fact that if fights are not over within the first few seconds they are highly likely to deteriorate into grappling range and if balance is compromised, knowing how to fight from the ground is a distinct advantage. Furthermore, it should be noted that there is often a tremendous amount of time and opportunity wasted – which can compromise safety – when an untrained person tries to get back to their feet if they do not understand how to fight from basic non-standing postures. A good self-defence programme should teach a student how to fight from their knees, seated, from a pin and from their backs. When a person scrambles to their feet they usually leave themselves wide open for the punishment being inflicted by their standing enemy or enemies. Having a strong offensive defence is crucial. The fighter should be able to strike from any position.

These points were all covered and tested for combat base, butterfly guard and from closed and long guard. Each were reinforced by drilling it in a compliant application with the coach, on the focus mitts, in a progressive specific training pressure test and then on the heavy bag. Both transitioning from the particular posture to standing and movement whilst staying in the posture were covered. Combat base, which deals with fighting from a kneeling positon, can mainly go straight to striking with the non-striking hand referencing the target. Typically the person who has ended up in a kneeling position covers if necessary, but generally strikes to the groin and works his way back up to a standing position whilst continuing to strike. Strikes to softer parts of the body are better done with a fist, but understandably it Is hard for a novice student to switch between fists and palms early on and a palm strike is by no means an inefficient tool when used on these types of target. The butterfly guard allows mobility when seated on the ground. More grappling support might be required to better enable the fighter to work his way up the body of his standing enemy or enemies. The legs can provide useful for leverage and destabilizing your enemy if you in symmetrical ground-fighting position. The final and most dangerous position is from the back. We looked at this from an asymmetrical ground fighting situation and a symmetrical one. The asymmetrical situation was addressed in the basic Self-Protection course and in then refreshed in the self-defence section of the basic Muay Thai course. The symmetrical situation looked at eye gouging and striking upwards and getting the feet on the hips to create distance for the fighter to get back to a standing position.

defence-from-guard-to-standing2-small_1After ground-fighting we went through some basic holds for control and restraint. These are mid-level risk situations where a fighter might wish to scale down his response to a violent situation. These situations are more common than the frontline areas that we cover first in self-protection. They usually involve intervention in a domestic dispute or dealing with an intoxicated friend or relative who got out of hand and just needs calming down.  We looked at the anaconda and rear naked choke, the quarter nelson, half nelson and full nelson, bear hug, waistlock, finger breaks, as well as double arm ties and the Kimura variation of the hammer-lock.  We then went over using limbs to move an enemy into objects, such as is often taught in the Filipino grappling discipline of Dumog.

The session finished with a brief overview of striking from grappling positions. The best MMA fighters know how to blend these two areas and I think it is vital to a lot of self-defence in-fighting. Most people will default to attempt to out-grapple a grappling attack when the opportunity to strike is available.