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tubbydrawers's picture
introducing grappling

Hello All,

I teach juniors - ie children that their age ranges are from about 10-14. I also train and help out in other adults classes although I am not the main instructor there.

my question is that I would like to introduce kata based sparring or even a basic 10-15 mins grappling in each of my juniors class.

the problem I have is that I have not got much experience with grappling, only from what I have seen in Kata's or from watching Iain's DVDs. I have also watched the Kata based sparring one too but the other problem I have is time. Because i train and also have my own teaching to do it doesnt leave me much time to go and join the local Judo club or MMA club at the moment.

I am training for my 2nd Dan at the end of the year.!!! and am out most nights doing things and i cant keep being away from the family!!!.

I am just getting to the point where I want to learn and teach this but not too sure on how to go about it. Is it better to leave it maybe till after I have done my grading and then do a bit of judo/mma and then show them. Or take whats in the Kata and show them that.

any help would be great.


Eric Forsythe
Eric Forsythe's picture

Hi Craig,

From my own experience and I am far from having a grappling background..  I went to seminars with dedicated grapplers, I know you mention that you do not have much time.  On this seminar we were taught about a round the body drill on the ground.  I have taken that drill and used it to teach basic ground techniques, looked at a few submissions from these positions and escapes.  To help supplement this learning, I have bought DVD's and books relating to the subject.  We would then try to drill these positions etc in a compliant manner and then when we are happy with how we are doing we would then do some rolling and try to apply what we have learned.

The kata show grappling techniques as Iain has already written about in his books and articles, so I would start off with these.  Start off with some pummelling and see how you can implement the throws/takedowns etc into this. (It's important to note safety concerns i.e. knowing how to breakfall first, mats etc). You can have a pre-set drill.  Pummell then at any point, you can tell your partner that you are going to use say the throw from Pinan Godan as an example and land into the scarf position and look at a few finishes from there, or the person on the bottom can look at ways of escaping and then it would be the other persons turn.  You could then ramp it up from the pummelling or work from the clinch and do the same drill only adding in light strikes to try to add in another element to the mix.

For me, I look at the likes of the ground game as a fun thing to do, the last place I want to be in but its nice to be able to do and apply it.

If you want to get really good at it though, I would suggest going to a dedicated gym/dojo that would work grappling.

Please note, I am far from being a grappler by any means, these are some of the things we do so thought I would share my experience.  Also helps, if one of the guys who you train with does MMA as well so we "borrow" stuff from him too. wink

All the best,


shoshinkanuk's picture

I developed a very simple, stand up grappling method of training based on research and advice from my Seniors, we call it Tegumi to related it to the grappling done in Okinawa (and pretty much everywhere else) in the good old days.

If you think of kids play fighting then your half way there.

Heres the basic outline-

1. it stays within grappling range to begin with 2. watch the head clashes and be very strong about no throws, trips, strikes etc etc 3. explore the principles of push, pull, drop, lift and twist 4. explore grips, understand not grippings benefits 5. explore getting past the elbows and into someones core to off balance them 6. work say 5 x 3 min rounds with partner changes, starting at 25% pace and then building up to 75% pace until they have doen it a few times

The idea is to 'bully' your opponent, dominate them - thats it, then it can build from there.

Iains excellent Kata based sparring was very interesting to me, I only watched the promo but thought there was some real good stuff in there, in your situation for basic grappling however I think keep kata technique out of it to begin with.

It's also a top warm up, cool down or workout dependant on intensity.

Before you move into ground work I feel this is a very good 'range' to work with, then teach them to take a fall/be grounded and work grappling on the ground to whatever extent you wish to - we don't do much, mostly try to disengage and stand up.

PASmith's picture

Bear in mind I come from a more sporting background than Iain (I did BJJ) but what really helped me "incorporate" grappling/groundfighting into my overall game was understanding the main "pin" positions. Mount, side control, guard, taking the back etc. Although they can be very technical positions in sub-grappling and MMA they also correspond to some very common spacial realitionships when two people fight. They are also very common across all the grappling arts in some form. Personally I think such positions are useful if you are interested in grappling as a sport or for real. I see those positions as landmarks when the fight hits the floor and even untrained fighters will naturally use the mount.

After getting to grips (heh) with those positions incorporate some escapes and reversals so you can regain your feet from them. With this in place you have the means to do some positional grappling.

Positional grappling is ideal for juniors, start from back to back or kneeling and have them fight for the best position. Gets them used to rough and tumble, handling body weight (theirs as well as others).

From there I'd say it's up to you. Make the grappling more street based (simple and direct tactics), more sportive (add in submissions). But I feel the basic positions are a really good base to start with.

tubbydrawers's picture


thanks for the replys. made me think a bit more in terms of the grappling.

I was thinking of also grappling from the wrist, head locks, bear hugs too. we have set defence's of these in our syllabus now but I think that some of the juniors would not know what to do if their attacker threw punches as well as grabbing them!!!

I think thats whhat i like the idea of kata based sparring as the juinors might think a bit more about their kata and that it can help thme to understand more about what blocks,punches can do.

We have broken up last night for the school term and so I have a few weeks to prepare and come up with some interesting drills!!! I live in aussie land so terms are different here than what they were in the uk when i was there.

first thing to do though is to teach them how to breakfall when we come back in 2 weeks. We have 2-3 inch soft mats at the school we are in so we can have a good falling session first.!!