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3 Foundational Ground Abilities

Per request from a great friend (We’ll call this person, coach R), I was asked to discuss the three foundational ground techniques. But asked this question, I feel the more necessary answer lies on abilities. I’m sure there are plenty of significant skills, but among these I will narrow them down to three as concisely and clearly as I can.

1. Evasion and Escaping a disadvantaged position

In my opinion THE MOST important part of any self-defense situation regardless of system you practice.

For example, in the skillset of wrestling if the offense in the wrestler is better than defensive or reversal strategies, the wrestler should opt for an escape in the 2nd round.

In boxing, utilization of space is key to any counterpunching AND evasion is the best way to avoid being bested on offense. Think of a defensive movement like a shoulder roll or a bob and weave, its goal is to evade a punch to set up a counter punch.

The significance of these comparisons are whether you are on your back or they have your back, understanding the situation can escalate faster than we can all process because of secondary assailants, force multipliers (edged weapon, firearm, etc.) or other factors. If you think about it this way, evasion and escape’s purpose is to preserve life. Staying in the fight does not guarantee this because of the possibility of losing life or limb.

2. Covering, Striking and Cognitive Disruption

When at a disadvantage (let’s say you are on your back and mounted) covering is your first priority because if you are knocked out then then Evasion and Escape is not possible. If you are wedged in a corner on the floor and three assailants are stomping you out, a good covering of the CPU (brain) and a plan of escape is your priority in self-defense and not staying in the fight.

When in doubt, strike or inflict pain. If we’re talking unconventional self-defense here then bite, gouge, scratch, pinch. Think of it like, giving a cat a bath.

In the skillset of MMA, a setup of an armbar from the mount is done with a ground and pound (cognitive disruption) first to isolate the arms with a high guard (forearms covering head) cover.

3. Reading counterbalance and opportunity

The system of BJJ is hands down the best teacher of this area on the ground (judo for standing, and wrestling as an intermediate and transitional stand-up to ground; hence why they all complement each other very well as a grappling skillset). But let’s stay on the ground:

If you are on your back (whether mounted or have your opponent in the guard), your counterbalance and opportunity is determined by the pressure they are putting on you. Thus is why if they are putting a lot of pressure on your chest in the mount, then your hips and legs are more likely to be freely available to aid in escaping this disadvantaged position (there’s that word again, escape…now do you see why?).

This is all concept work and you won’t understand it reading a martial arts curriculum book. You have to drill and test these theories yourself to understand. Not that I’m asking you to get into an altercation, but a good training partner and trusting the process of your instructor is key to unlocking these potentials. Most of all, approach every challenge as a learning opportunity and not a win or lose situation in sparring.

There you have it. I hope you enjoyed this read and found this useful. See you all on the mat!


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