Wim Demeere discusses a very graphic video that clearly shows why the ground is not a good place to be when third parties (in this case one armed with a knife) can get involved. As Wim makes clear, the footage is gruesome and viewer discretion is strongly advised. However, it does make very clear that one-on-one unarmed fighting methods and tactics will not fare well when transposed to a civilian self-protection context.
WARNING: GRAPHIC VIDEO - NOT SUITABLE FOR UNDER 18s
Link to the video and Wim’s excellent discussion on it: http://www.wimsblog.com/2015/03/ground-fighting-against-a-knife-attack/
Awareness and a healthy attitude to personal safety are key. We must always do what we can to avoid conflict. But if we can’t then we need to ensure what we are teaching and practising will actually keep people safe from society’s violent minority. In a self-protection context, anyone teaching ground fighting as anything other than an “everything else has failed, regain the feet ASAP insurance policy” would do well to watch this video and see how quickly things can go wrong on the floor (regardless of how effective ground fighting can be in one-on-one contexts).
Ground fighting as play and combative sport is hugely enjoyable and good for mental and physical health. It is high level physical chess that helps develop a flexible and strong body. It has many benefits away from self-protection, but when looking at keeping ourselves safe from the violence of others ground fighting should never be a choice. If we do end up on the floor, then it is regaining our feet we should be looking for, not gaining holds or submissions. As this video makes clear, every second we are on the floor is a second too long.
We need to remember that we don’t always have a choice though. If we have no ground skills at all, then regaining the feet could be very difficult. As I’ve said before, to me, ground fighting (for self-protection) is to the martial artist what crash-landing is to the airplane pilot: It’s a skill they need for when everything else has gone wrong, but it’s not a skill they would ever opt to use.
All the best,