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Grappling Techniques for Self Defense

I remember back in the seventies when kickboxing became popular. It was said and commonly thought that kickboxing was the "way" and that your karate or taekwondo techniques were obsolete. In the past few years with the advent of the UFC and other "no holds barred" tournments, striking techniques like those used in kickboxing, karate, kung fu and just about any other striking arts were "proven" ineffective for self defense.

Here is my view of some of the realities. First, how often is the average person who is attacked on the street going to come up against an experienced and trainined Brazillian ju-jutsu practicioner or other grappling art student? Probably, never. Why? Because most street thugs do not have the self discipline to attend classes and practice their art for years to become good at it.

More often those attacked are done so by ordinary criminals who, although might be street savy, are not particularly effecient at any martial art. For self defense to be effective we must prepare ourselves for the 'most likely" attack. That probably won't be from a trained grappler, trying a quick, one leg takedown. No, more than likely is will be one of the 30 most commond street attacks we address in Street Self Defense 101 and have elaborated on in Volume II.

Some will say that the UFC has 'proven' that grappling is the best in all out 'fights'. While I might agree with them in the ring (although today most of the champions have crossed trained in the striking arts as well), street self defense is another issue.

Real self defense must consider that there is a good chance that there may be more than one attacker. Grappling has a definite disadvantage here.

So should one ignore grappling altogether? No, I think that a few basics should be learned. More than that would require a great deal of training and practice to make the technques cognitively available under duress. One should learn the basics so that should they find themselves on the ground with an attacker, they can combine their striking skills with some basic grappling knowledge that could help them survive.

It comes down to this. If you are not willing to devote many years, several times a week, to learn grappling skills, it may be better to just learn a few important defenses and escapes from the ground and focus your limited time on striking skills that are more apt to come into play in real street self defense.

Learning to ground fight is quite different from traditional grappling skills. The former are more street adapable, while the latter are better suited for the ring or no holds barred tournaments.

Learn more about learning these skills at Street Self Defense 101.

Shihan Michael Pace

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