Moving off the line into grapplng (diary entry)

Two wrestlers clinching with one getting the back.

Two wrestlers clinching with one getting the back. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today’s training focused more on grappling than anything else. My original mandate was to teach self-protection. However, we have arrived at a stage where the student would benefit from attribute training. It is easy to just teach a range of skills or different martial arts to an individual. It is a little more difficult to link the skills or arts together. However, what is really challenging and the most rewarding, is simplify all of this and have the student understand the context of his cross-training.


In this instance, we begin with what is known as combat grappling. That is grappling specifically trained as a set of support tools for frontline self-defence. We began with some revision of anti-grappling. Before we leave the line and go into grappling sport territory it is important to get the original focus down pat. So, I confirmed the biting, finger locks (breaks) and eye gouging and, most importantly, striking from grappling positions. The latter was trained using the one pad grappling drill – the coach uses one hand to move the student around, replicating a grappling situation and the student strikes the other hand, gloved in a focus mitt. This teaches the student to not get tied up in grappling and to keep going after striking opportunities.


Next we revised primal grappling, drilling head-lock escapes from various stages. This moved us onto grappling with striking. We used muay Thai’s plumb position and clinch-work. Modern muay Thai provides us with a great, if very limited taste, of how to strike when grappling. The student learns about taking and holding balance whilst taking and receiving strikes, mainly knee strikes.


We then moved onto taking the back position and drilled the arm-drag and its counter. This took us into midline takedowns and then onto lowline takedowns. We will layer this with striking in upcoming sessions.


As we reached ground work, I covered the different positions in order of practical merit. All positions are functional and have their advantages, but the knee pin is definitely the best suited for self-defence, as it is the least restrictive and keeps the fighter on his feet. This was followed by transitioning through the different positions, emphasizing the importance of pinning throughout and maintaining close body contact, keeping the hips low.


The lesson was finished with some suggestions for functional fitness exercises to reinforce the different positions; rope pulling to strengthen the arm-drag and all over grappling efficiency, knee pins to a pad, full body attack (plank position/squat thrust/clean), full body defence (sprawl/squat thrust/clean), bridging with a weight to work ground defence and guard attack (changing guard position and pushing a weight).

For a more in depth discussion on CCMA's combat grappling click on this link.

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