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Avoiding the Ground

I recently watched a DVD by Bas Rutten (see BassRutten.tv) entitled Lethal Street Fighting. Mr. Rutten is a competitive martial arts fighter and a tough grappler. He showed many useful techniques in his DVD.

One thing he mentioned caught my attention. He said that in a street fight, you should avoid going to the ground. He mentioned two reasons. The first, of course, is that the attacker could have friends who could attack you once you were tied up with groundwork. The other was that you could become injured by the ground itself. The street is made of asphalt, not tatami. I think that he gave very practical advice.

I learned ground techniques studying Judo, Aikido, and Kenpo. No matter how skilled you are at ground techniques, it is true that you have to watch out for additional attackers. If you are pinning one attacker, you cannot easily defend against another. The other attackers might even be hiding, just waiting for an opportunity.

At the same time, it would not be good to learn Karate without practicing any groundwork. It is always possible that we could be tripped, thrown, or pulled to the ground, or even just fall. We have to be prepared for these possibilities. If we are skilled at ground work, it will help us to escape and get back to our feet as quickly as possible.

When I recommend that my students avoid the ground in a fight, it probably sounds theoretical. When grapplers like Mr. Rutten say it, it sounds very practical.


Charles C. Goodin