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Thread: Grappling vs Groundfighting

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    Default Grappling vs Groundfighting

    Grappling VS Ground-Fighting
    By Rob Ray

    Is there a difference between grappling and ground-fighting? Yes, there is. It is the same difference that exists between martial arts that focus on the aspect of sport and martial arts that focus more on the aspect of self-defense. The end result desired by the combatants governs their actions.

    Sport Karate takes into consideration the safety of the opponent. The idea is not to hurt your opponent but to make them submit. With grappling sports, once a hold or lock is applied, pressure is gradually increased until a level of discomfort is reached causing the opponent to tap out, or submit.

    In self defense the idea is to incapacitate and/or render helpless anyone attempting to do you or another bodily harm. Whereas in sport your concern is not to severely injure your opponent, in self defense injuring an individual that is trying to hurt, maim, or kill you is perfectly acceptable and encouraged.

    Since the goal of self defense is indeed self-preservation, spending any prolonged duration on the ground is ill advised; especially if facing multiple attackers. It simply requires that too much of your attention and efforts be directed at a single individual for too long a time. Having to focus that much attention on one opponent leaves you open to attack from other opponents. Since grappling sports aren’t concerned with multiple attackers they can afford to spend the time it takes to gain a superior position and force a submission. Time is of the essence where your life and well being are concerned and you can not afford to waste it. You must act quickly and decisively without hesitation or suffer the consequences which could mean your life.

    There are other aspects that separate grappling from ground-fighting, like rules governing the competition, but the most drastic difference is in the application of joint locks, twists, and holds. As stated, in grappling pressure is applied gradually over time. For instance: If applying a knee bar after capturing an opponent’s leg and sweeping the supporting leg a grappler would fall to the ground with the opponent and then start to apply the pressure needed for a submission. With ground-fighting for self defense we would use gravity as well as our body weight to aid in breaking the knee as we fell to the ground. We would not wait until we were on the ground before applying pressure. The pressure applied is immediate with the intent of providing instant results so that we may then turn our attention to the possibility of additional attackers.

    Grappling sports have several advantages that can be applied to ground-fighting. Working in a controlled environment with proper instruction you can gain valuable practice applying certain locks, twists, and holds. You can afford to spend the time on the mat perfecting your technique, but on the street time waits for no one.
    "It is sobering to reflect that one of the best ways to get yourself a reputation as a dangerous citizen these days is to go about repeating the very phrases which our founding fathers used in the struggle for independence." – Charles A. Beard

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    Default Re: Grappling vs Groundfighting

    Nice comparison and contrasting of the 2 concepts.
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    Default Re: Grappling vs Groundfighting

    took my first class of Brizilian jiu-jitsu.. It was so awsome... i love it.. it just showed me how out of shape that i am.

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    Default Re: Grappling vs Groundfighting

    Grappling uses approximately 4 times the energy of stand up striking. It will definately help build your endurance. One drill I learned when I studied (and I still do this in Kenpo) is the "get off me" drill. Simply start out by having someone lay limp (dead weight) on top of you in a side mount. Their job is to simply stay on top of you without actually applying any holds while you try to get out from under them. Sounds simple no? Heh...give it a try and see how quick you get winded.

    ...keep in mind, the fact that grappling does take more energy is a very good reason to stay off the ground if possible. Fatique will beat the baddest mo-fo in the valley every time. I remember testing for brown in Jiu-Jitsu. I had to face opponent after opponent. We started standing but I had to take them down (or them take me down) and I had to secure a lock or hold of some sort before moving to the next opponent. By the time I got to the 4th guy...I was totally wiped out...and yes....I tapped.
    "It is sobering to reflect that one of the best ways to get yourself a reputation as a dangerous citizen these days is to go about repeating the very phrases which our founding fathers used in the struggle for independence." – Charles A. Beard

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    Default Re: Grappling vs Groundfighting

    We have our Grappling class tonight for 2 hours. Our sensei has 2 very capable bjj dudes training us one is also a 2nd black in the Parker system. It's usually a painful night. MMA is a huge rage here in Oregon and everyone thinks they are the new World UFC champ. So we are learning what we can so if we get dumped we can get back up. I might add. If these guys want to down. It's tricky at my level to stay up for a long period. Lucky and sometimes unfortuneatly I wrestled for years so I am fairly comfortable down there.
    Please.......don't confuse my kindness for weakness.....

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    Default Re: Grappling vs Groundfighting

    Quote Originally Posted by tiger63
    ...are learning what we can so if we get dumped we can get back up. ... It's tricky at my level to stay up for a long period. Lucky and sometimes unfortuneatly I wrestled for years so I am fairly comfortable down there.
    That's very important in terms of self defense...getting back up as quickly as possible that is.

    Stayin up can be tricky when you're limited to not doing things like... eye gauging...kicking knees....throat shots....etc. LOL Keep in mind, these things are perfectly "legal" in the street, heh....there ain't no rules.

    I would think your wrestling background would be a tremendous asset for you on the ground. You could probably even teach those bjj guys a thing or two.
    "It is sobering to reflect that one of the best ways to get yourself a reputation as a dangerous citizen these days is to go about repeating the very phrases which our founding fathers used in the struggle for independence." – Charles A. Beard

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    Default Re: Grappling vs Groundfighting

    The problem with taking someone to the ground or being taken to the ground is he may have buddies waiting to stomp you. The few times I have been to the ground I knew my job was to get up as fast as humanly possible to put the odds back in my favor.
    Quality outweighs quantity every time.

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    Default Re: Grappling vs Groundfighting

    i also wrestled in school... i did get some complements on my single and double leg take downs, plus my form with my stance... cant wait to go back on friday for my check of being out of shape.. (not the round type either! )

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    Default Re: Grappling vs Groundfighting

    Quote Originally Posted by Rob Broad
    The problem with taking someone to the ground or being taken to the ground is he may have buddies waiting to stomp you. The few times I have been to tyhe ground I knew my job was to get up as fast as humanl possible to put the odds back in my favor.
    EXACTLY! 100% RIGHT! DITTO! ...as stated...self defense vs. sport. There IS a difference.
    "It is sobering to reflect that one of the best ways to get yourself a reputation as a dangerous citizen these days is to go about repeating the very phrases which our founding fathers used in the struggle for independence." – Charles A. Beard

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    Default Re: Grappling vs Groundfighting

    I kinda wanted to correct myself in that I was not dogging the mma guys. I really do have much respect for them. My point was the guys that are being taught just enough to where they are dangerous and then want to go out and fight. There are no scuples in identifying before training these guys. I have had an encounter already by one of my son's friends. His mentality was targeted toward traditional arts specifically. He is definately getting a false sense of superiority after a month.
    Anyway......That is why I started to mix in ground fighting. We seem to have alot of that here. Especially at the highschool levels.
    Please.......don't confuse my kindness for weakness.....

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    Default Re: Grappling vs Groundfighting

    Good Article Celt...

    keep em comming

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    Thumbs up Re: Grappling vs Groundfighting

    Crippler...

    Several very good points. Sorry to drag this back out again, but am just getting around to perusing some of these older threads. It's good to hear someone else who differentiates between the two disciplines.

    Because of exactly what you outline, the fact that there are frequently other bystanders willing to whollup you with a chair, or tap dance on you, or whatever while you're attempting these controls or submissions. We teach both what we call, Controls and Finishes as suffixes to append on the end of almost all of our techniques. The controls, certainly could be submissions, in the ideal scenario, whereas the finishes are more brutal (?) endings involving more traditional kenpo-esque flurries of strikes, stomps and breaks. (As we realize that all too often as cool as the controls may be, in a clinical environment, in practical application, the real world doesn't always cooperate) I do however, find that I use many of these control finishes in my alter ego existance as a bouncer. It is somewhat frowned upon, in many instances, for us to destroy, drunks, however fun it might be, so the finishes are sometimes verboten. I have also been on the receiving end of someone swinging a chair at me, while I had one arm around someone's neck and parrying like mad to avoid getting my head caved in. Knowing how to hold on to someone, and immobilize them long enough, for reinforcement to arrive is a huge boon for me though. Fortunately in my case, there is usually someone not too incredibly far from responding and/or at least watching my back, while the bystanders do their thing.
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    Default Re: Grappling vs Groundfighting

    There are also types of groundfighting, such as in Silat, where the techs have nothing to do with what one may find in grappliing.

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    Default Re: Grappling vs Groundfighting

    Crippler amen, I work for a security company that patrolls downtown tucson,az. We are expected to be diplomatic and understanding towrd the drunks and homeless that congregate.Even while they threaten and throw bottles at us. One incident in perticular was a guy who had a 40 ounce bottle charged me i stepped to side hit him in offending arm them put him in half nelson,his friends began circling me so i applied more preasure he told them to keep back i got hit in short ribs with rock threw him to ground and bolted out of ground tell my back up got there. was an eye opening experience in group fighting now i never approach large groups and i would definetly not go to ground unless was just me and him. thanks for excellent article.

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    Default Re: Grappling vs Groundfighting

    id have to say the grappling sports aye, would give you more advantage.. eg. you're used to a fulling resting opponent. as opposed to techniques where you resist, you get injured.

    its all about how you apply a lock or hold.. dance of death.. what happens to your attacker when you grip by the knee when you drop them down, or when you slide down and grab by the calf or ankle?

    people look at grappling sports and think "oh thats all someone is gonna do, hold them for ages and ages and try to get a better position till they give up" no.. they're going to take what they get.. and dislocate, break, get up, and get out of there. is a sensible kenpoist going to go thru all the punches and sweeps, and kicks of a technique, while the attacker is already on the gorund, hitting air. or how we hit someone and they magically stand still while we pound on them
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    Default Re: Grappling vs Groundfighting

    We probably don't do enough of either. We seem to go in cycles. We do more ground fighting when we do. We have also done the get off of me drill. Great drill and workout.

    Hmm, maybe next week.
    More Shugyo!

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    Default Re: Grappling vs Groundfighting

    Thanks for the post! I enjoyed readin this one.
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    Default Re: Grappling vs Groundfighting

    I am so sorry but, I am going to have to put myself in a place that seems to be all alone in this thread. I'll play the part of a very opinionated devil's advocate.




    Grappling arts/sports vs. ground fighting...very interesting contrast. I have a couple of dissenting points to make about this discussion...here goes:
    1. Even more than Kenpo, mixed martial arts is ever evolving. Techniques are constantly being adapted to fighting styles that are common today. Example: Eddie Bravo's world famous rubber guard.
    2. Mixed martial arts (in the contemporary meaning of the word) is becoming very sensitive to its own shortcomings. I love to compete and I go to grappling tourneys even though I routinely get my ass handed to me by the elite athletes who frequent these events. In talking with many of them, I have found that they (like me) are cross training in "stand-up" arts. Muay-thai, jeet kun do, and kenpo are among the more popular in my state.
    3. And this is the one that just cries out to be mentioned: A person who actually believes that someone trained in Japanese or Brazilian jujitsu (Japanese spelling used here) or wrestler will not throw strikes, gouge eyes, bite, pull hair, elbow you in the throat while piled up on you, or shoot in and take you to the ground so that they can choke you into unconciousness while biting off your ear are, very much in my opinion, kidding themselves. Different methods of training does not mean that the rules are different for each person in a real altercation. I've yet to see anyone actually take a cat stance (even transitory) in full contact sparring in my kenpo training. So, I'm not willing to say that a BJJ'er will "jump into guard" out on the street.
    4. Because of the nature of wrestling and jujitsu, people who train in these "sports" tend to have phenominal anaerobic cardio conditioning. This gives them the ability to deliver more higher intensity, explosive techniques than you'd expect. Unless I maintain some level of training in groundwork, I will very likely get torn up in a very short amount of time on the street...MMA people don't care for long, protracted fights than most karate people.
    5. Violence of action...once you're in the domain of a "sports" grappler, things move along very quickly unless you know how to defend against the common ground techniques.
    I could go on but, I'd like to extend a challenge...don't rest upon your laurels or what you "think" you could do against a sports grappler. Even if you've done it before, years ago. Things have changed. Go sign up for your next local jujitsu or judo tournament. Yes, there are rules there that don't extend beyond that venue. But, those rules are there on the mat. Don't mistakenly believe that these guys would adhere to those rules outside. Or, if you're really feeling your oats, sign up for an amatuer MMA event and get into the cage or ring. I'm rather certain that you'll shortly develop a great deal of respect for those athletes.

    In conclusion, I'd like to maintain my opinion that you'll no more find a need to defend yourself against a BJJ purple, brown or black belt than you would a kenpo brown or black belt. Yes, it could happen, there are exceptions like everything else. But, generally speaking, advanced martial artists from all systems don't tend to be thugs waiting in the shadows. They have discipline and honor...just like many who frequent this forum. They won't be a problem for you unless you are a problem for them. Underbelts, on the other hand, are like underbelts of any art...unsure, lacking confidence and feeling the need to validate what they know. They lack maturity and wisdom that only comes with more time on the mat. Those are the ones that I think we have to train for. And those, I think we can handle without losing the integrity of everything else that we learn. That's why I love Kenpo so much...

    Sorry for the long post.
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    Default Re: Grappling vs Groundfighting

    i wouldn't underestimate (i wouldnt underestimate anyone really) an underbelt in bjj at all. competent purple belts can start schools.. iv seen blue belts that are pretty wicked too.. since grading is about how many matches you've won and how well you're able to apply a tech to a resisting attacker. to my understanding that is.

    id be more than happy just to reach blue in BJJ.. i feel i could pretty much take care of myself on the ground then lol.
    Brian Sheets
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    Only a warrior chooses pacifism; others are condemned to it." ~ Unknown
    "Don't hit at all if it is honorably possible to avoid hitting, but never hit soft." Theodore Roosevelt



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    Default Re: Grappling vs Groundfighting

    To me, the word groundfighting implies a "fight", in which case there very well may be someone about to put their boot in the back of your haid whilst you screw around with his buddy on the asphalt. So, "groundfighting" became a necessity for whatever reason, and the purpose of it should be to allow you to get back on your feet. When I think "grappling", I think one on one. Much of grappling can be applied to a fight for life, but there's also alot that takes too much time, and in a unknown environment I might very well sacrifice getting a wicked arm bar for getting back on my feet and better able to cope with the situation at large.

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