I know, I know. As a martial artist I’m supposed to be open-minded. And this title may not reflect that (or does it?). My martial art style / philosophy in particular teaches that a person should train the three basic ranges of attack (the ground being one of them). So why the stinky attitude?
Alright everyone. Don’t freak because I admitted that I don’t (or didn’t) have a love affair with groundwork. We’re all entitled to our favorite styles of personal defense, me included. I’m just verbalizing what almost every female out there thinks about groundwork . . . before they try it and before they understand how it can really help them in practical application.
For the past 6 months, I’ve been researching what’s out there to help me be better prepared in the event I was involved in a ground assault (someone blind-siding me and knocking me to the ground or someone bigger and stronger throwing me down OR someone who knew a little ground fighting themselves). So I’m looking. And looking. And more looking. Oh God, PLEASE let there be something else that’s just as useful as Brazilian Jiu Jitsu out there for me. (uncomfortable silence) Oh. Nope? Okay. Fine. This was the messy process I had to go through to remember something I learned almost 20 years ago, and sort of forgot.
It’s not the art. It’s not the sport. It’s about YOU. What do you need from it? Why are you doing this? It’s the annoyance-before-you-find-your comfy-spot-in-the-overstuffed-chair feeling I had to go through before I realized that as with anything, I get to take from it what I need and discard the rest (or save that stuff for another teachable time)! Liberating to say the least.
So now, I’m being a little geekish about it and breaking down each technique, reading everything I can, and finishing each study session with, “Will this help me in a real world scenario to defeat the asshole who’s attacking me and get away?” And I’m coming up with a lot of yeses.
Last night I taught some adult students a technique from the guard (For all the non-Brazilian Jiu -itsu people, that just means that I was on my back and someone was kneeling between my legs.), which could absolutely happen in a real-world struggle. When I told them what we were going to be doing, I thought they were all going to run for the door! And this was coming from students who have been learning the basics of groundwork (breakfalls, side control, positioning, etc) but hadn’t really worked any techniques that most of them would consider just for the sport.
They asked if they had to wear the “puffy pajamas” with the belt. Nope.
They asked if they were going to walk away with broken bones. Nope.
They looked at what I wanted them to do, and said, “I can’t get my legs to do THAT!” Yes you can.
It’s all about angles. I showed them how using their leg strength, hips (because we all know hips like (mine) battleships have a lot of strength!), and leverage can get them out of a bad situation. After some repetition, I could see them starting to relax and understand how this can work, and maybe even a couple grins when the light bulbs finally ignited! That was cool.
After class we sat on the mat and talked about the details of that particular technique, the reason WHY the “puffy pajamas” can be an important training tool, and the fact that we’ll be doing more intense core work in the conditioning classes next week! But more importantly, we talked about how this could be used in the event an assault heads to the ground and we have to defend ourselves. How great to see their excitement for groundwork increasing and their fears and doubts fading away.
So, just to be clear. GROUNDWORK DOES NOT SUCK! Far from it to be perfectly honest. And I prefer Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu as my main ground fighting technique. But that’s not to say we won’t be testing out a few other ones in the future. And who knows, they might not suck either!
See. Told you. Straight talk.
Enjoy your day!