Thursday, 16 April 2009

Going To Ground

Last night in training we did something a little different. We had a visiting black belt Shotokan karateka from Denmark who had asked to train with us whilst he was here on a conference. He joined in with us for the first half of the class, learning one of our katas and some combinations, then sensei asked him to teach us something.

In his club they have introduced some Brazilian Jujitsu techniques to help karateka deal with being thrown to the ground. He decided to teach us some basic ground fighting techniques. This was a novel experience for me as I've only just really learnt how to be thrown let alone deal with an attack down on the ground. The first thing we learnt was the basic guard position when you are lying on your back with the attacker lying on top of you with your legs around his/her hips. This seemed a rather vulnerable position to be in initially. I couldn't help feeling that this was exactly the position a male attacker may want to get you in if you were a woman. However, it is actually a good defensive position to be in for the following reasons: You have all four limbs available to defend yourself with and you can control the attackers hips with your legs - if you control his hips, you control him.

However even though I could get control of the attackers hips I found it very difficult to turn him over so that I could escape. The shear weight of a man is very difficult for a petite thing like me to shift! Help was at hand though, I was shown how to use a twist of the hips (very karate) to get my hip and thigh under the attacker's abdomen which made it a lot easier for me push and roll him over. We also learnt how to push someone off from the 'mount' position where the attacker straddles over your abdomen.

Overall I enjoyed this introduction to ground fighting (at least on the comfort of a padded mat). Clearly someone like me could not rely on strength to defend myself and I would need to learn some more diversionary techniques as well as these basic techniques. I think slapping, pinching and biting were mentioned - in other words, fight like a girl!

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Anonymous said...

Training for groundfighting is a necessity when you want to acquire adequate self-defense skills, however training it once in a while as a novelty is fairly useless since you'll never be able to use it on the street for lack for muscle-memory and proper technique. Besides that BJJ is a great martial art but it's not so great for self-defense since it fosters over-reliance on groundfighting and grappling and the rules actively discourage dirty tactics like eye-gouges which you'd surely want to use in a fight against a superior opponent. BJJ is a chessgame (highly refined, beautiful and intriguing to watch and it pits skillful players against eachother), groundfighting for self-defense is more like rugby: get up asap so you can get back into the game.

Sue C said...

I entirely agree with you - just doing it once is not very useful but at least it alerts you to what is possible. I wrote this post a while ago and since we left the SKU to join the SSK we have been doing a lot more defences on the ground. In fact on Saturday for my 2nd kyu grading I have to demonstrate 3 defences against kicks to the head whilst on the ground.


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