Kingham Hill Anti-Grappling & Ground-Fighting (diary entry)

eye gouge eye gouge (smaller)elbow strike18.03.20


Kingham Hill School’s Self-Protection course continued with anti-grappling and ground defence.


Continuing on from last week’s anti-grappling from against a wall, we covered the eye-gouge/head/elbow strike/palm incidental combination. Points made whilst the technique was being drilled were as follows:


  • Ensure you adopt a good wrestling posture before attacking the eyes, getting under the force pressing you forward into the wall. No matter how dirty your technique, if you are not a mechanically strong position the chances are your enemy will simply respond with something at least as nasty back and they already have the advantage.
  • The eye gouge – like biting and other “dirty” moves – is not an automatic panacea in a fight situation. They are an add-on.
  • Likewise, head-butts are merely the nearest striking technique available when fighting at very close range. Containing one of the most valuable organs in the body, it shouldn’t be used liberally but as a means for creating more space. The head-butt must be delivered using the area above eye-brows and the striking area are those below the eyebrows. The technique is executed with a stiff neck supported by hunched shoulders and driving upwards from the feet.
  • The elbow strike is a far more versatile tool that can be used a lot at close range. However, a key drawback is its lack of dexterity compared to the hand. Therefore, it is also used to create distance before the repetitive palm strikes can be used.


These techniques were then pressure tested using full face head cages. The defenders had to fight off their grappling opponents, beginning against the wall. They were urged to keep striking and then to make a tactical escape before checking for injuries. Next this was transferred onto focus mitts so that full power could be applied in each technique.


The lesson finished with ground-defence. This was divided up into two sections. The first section concerned asymmetrical ground-fighting with one person defending from the ground against a standing attacker. We looked at the use of the cover to minimize trauma to the head, movement away from kicks, getting one’s own kicks onto the attacker and getting back to one’s feet as quickly as possible. As is always the policy with our self-defence, we attack the attacker. Then we moved onto symmetrical ground-fighting. We looked at acquiring the guard position if the defender ends up on their back from there we looked at escape and sweeping before getting back to one’s feet.

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