Sunday, August 06, 2006

Good GrappleArts Q & A: Grapple or Strike for Self-Defense? and Grappling in MMA Competition Today

Sam and Mike settle things on the ground
Stephan Kesting answers
two good questions:

  1. "For self defense would it be better to study the grappling arts or the striking arts?" and

  2. "Why did grappling dominate early NHB / MMA events, but now striking seems to have the edge"

He answers this way on the first question:

"Obviously it is best to have a background in both striking and grappling, but if you could only study one type of art then I believe that the grappling arts are superior for self defense. Rorion Gracie said it best: most real fights end up on the ground. For women the situation is even more extreme, as virtually 100% of rapes end up on the ground. Another advantage of grappling is that it allows people to spar at close-to-full intensity with a relatively minimal chance of injury. This gives the average grappling practitioner a chance to apply his or her techniques under adrenal stress on a daily basis. To do the same thing with striking would be difficult and unappealing to most people. The average recreational striker doesn't want to getting blasted in the face with a full power right cross, or heave up their lunch after getting kneed in the ribs, as a regular part of their training."

To which I would respond, study the grappling first, then learn a striking art, in other words I agree completely with Stephan's initial response, that it's "best to have a background in both striking and grappling." Why? I would add that while it is probably true that most fights end up on the ground, they don't start, nor necessarily finish that way. You should be able to finish a fight on the ground, but in self-defense, the goal isn't to "finish a fight," it's to survive. A very skilled 110-pound female grappling stylist should be able to defend herself to a point where she can get away, not try to "win." On the ground, or standing, her chances are slim against an average male, but a psychopath killer or rapist may have size and strength going for him, but also pre-planning so that he won't get caught. A female needs to get to her feet and get away or get help as quickly as she can.

OK, let's duke it outThe other problem with a grappling-only mentality, is that in self-defense you don't want to be on your back, or even face-down on someone else when you don't know who is around you. No answer is going to be perfect on this point, but I take the point of view that you should be an expert in grappling (I'm not), and be good enough at striking to stun or maim so that you can get away. I think a danger in martial arts is being so prideful in your range of combat that you stay there to your demise. The same applies to strikers, for sure. Just a thought.

Stephan gives such a complete answer to the second question that I won't quote it here because I want you to read the whole thing. The main point is that striking is easier to understand, so that promoters are gearing the rules toward it for the $. I agree, and I think that it's a shame, for two reasons - grappling is safer and "humane," and that the quality of the striking isn't usually very good. Because of these rules you get a watered-down version of both. Please read his whole post, and check out the whole site, it's excellent.

This post had some bad links - I fixed them and reposted. Thanks- NDT

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