(This post was copied from an article written as an advertisement by a self defense school. The principles and concepts are very much in line with what we emphasize and teach in IKI Krav Maga)
It could happen anywhere! Many fights or struggles will undoubtedly end up on the ground, whether you are in a street brawl, a domestic violent attack or even involved in a sexual attack. It could happen anywhere, whether it is in your home, in the street, at work or anywhere else.
Ground fighting in Self Defense – is a very important aspect of training. You may have been dragged down by your hair, attacked from behind, you may have simply gone into a clinch and lost balance in the struggle, or maybe you have been punched to the ground. Whatever the reason that you’re in this situation, you must do something and quickly. If you don’t react quickly then you could be on the receiving end of a kicking session by one or several attackers, you may even become the next statistic of a sexual attack. Although we do utilize simple ju-jitsu techniques, it is not any fancy technique on its own that will save you but your hunger for survival. The techniques give you a good grounding on what to do in many situations and practicing them helps build your confidence. You must still find your inner savage. We all have an inbuilt survival mechanism, instincts given to us by our ancestors. In a situation, it’s up to you bring those instincts out.
Effective Targets – Targeting your attacker’s vitals from any position, whether you are on the ground or standing is always effective. A single bite may not work but a bite followed by a barrage of eye gouges, strikes to the throat, tearing the ears and scratching across the face is very effective from any position. Know how to unbalance your attacker if they are in the dominant position and know how to disable your attacker to prevent them from pursuing you as you make your escape. As for any attack, remember to shout out. Shouting serves many purposes from attracting attention, creating witnesses, to startling your attacker, focusing your strikes and tensing up your abdominal region. You have to do whatever it takes in order to get away.
Get Up! – The ground is not where you want to be in a fight, especially if there are multiple attackers involved, so avoid going to ground if you can or look to get up and get away as soon as possible. Many people know how to fight standing up but are very restricted when the fight has gone to ground. It is useful to know some grappling techniques, but it’s the additional dirty stuff, not allowed in competition that makes it different. Knowledge on sensitive areas such as pressure points and motor nerve points and other vital areas enables you to gain the maximum effect from strikes and makes your ground defense so much more effective. Targets like the eyes, groin and throat are very effective if you know how to access them from your ground position, this is especially important when it’s not a match fight and your opponent could be twice your size and strength.
It’s your move – Concentrate on what you are going to do to your attacker rather than focus on what may happen to you. Tell yourself that this person is not going to deny you the right of seeing your loved ones; you are going home and you will do whatever it takes to get there. The ever increasing popularity of Jiu-Jitsu, Mixed Martial Arts and (UFC) The Ultimate Fighting Championships, have made people far more aware of the effectiveness of good ground defense techniques. The biggest difference between competitive grappling and other competition styles from Self Defense is the fact that there are rules in competitive Martial Arts.
In Self Defense there are no rules. You must use that fact to your advantage too. Eye gouges, finger nails tearing at the nose and face, fish hooking the cheeks, elbows to the neck, strikes to the groin, strikes to the throat, kicking out at the kidneys and so on, are suddenly viable tactics that you can add to your armory in self protection. Ground fighting in self defense is part of a system. You need to have a general understanding of many other aspects. For this reason, we have covered Targeting and Striking, Escapes, Take Downs, Hold Downs and the Weapon of Opportunity through similar informational books. You could say that Self defense is a system of systems and each one compliments the next.
Learn Pre-Fight Strategy – Whatever aspects you decide to cover, I would encourage you to learn some pre-fight strategies such as verbal tactics, learn how and where to strike, some ground defense and maybe some take downs. Ensure you practice regularly, either with an organization, family or friends. Do not just go through the motions; once you have created a good grounding start creating some realistic situations.
The goal of Ground fighting in Self Defense is ultimately to help you get up and get away to safety.