An integral part of martial arts such as Brazilian Jiu-Jtsu and Sambo, ground fighting (also referred to as ground work or grappling) is a form of hand-to-hand combat that focuses on both offense in a top grapple position and defense in the guard position. While each art focuses on specific elements of ground fighting in varying degrees, ground work has several commonalities across forms and techniques.
Principles of these in grappling, or the technique of maneuvers and counters which, when applied to a combatant, reverses the physical advantage of the encounter. Improving the relative position, escaping, and causing submission of the opponent are all principle focuses of the art of grappling, and can be broken down into several distinct categories.
The first of these categories is the concept of “clinching”. Clinching is a pre-ground work technique that intends on setting up a defense against throws or takedowns, but can be used to set up long-term offensive patterns as well, resulting in the opponent moving into a better perceived position, while being set up for an effective takedown and being moved into an inferior position.
Another category is that of takedowns and throws. While the concept of a takedown is simple enough, the methodology of how it is carried out can change the entire flow of combat for both the defense and offense positions. The entire aim remains the same, however – if a takedown is carried through properly, it should result with the grappler in a physically superior position on top of the opponent, with an increased amount of relative control.
Throws are a less physical form of takedown, focusing on using the balance or weight of the opponent against themselves. By shifting the weight of the opponent and forcing them off balance, throws intends on moving the opponent forcefully through the air into a ground position. By temporarily throwing the enemy off balance, a certain amount of control is forcibly removed from the opponent, allowing the creation of avenues of weakness in the opponent’s defense.
Another category of ground work is the submission hold. Submissions can be broken into two broad categories, each with different focuses – the first, chokes, intend on disabling the air flow of the opponent, resulting in either complete suffocation or temporary strangulation as a method of ending the conflict. The second, locks, intends on causing damage to a specific joint or muscle group. While chokes are often used to calm and opponent or reduce their effectiveness, locks can be used to disable an opponent during a confrontation, ensuring the safety of the defender.
The final category of groundwork falls into the broad term of reversals. This includes securing and controlling techniques such as a pin, which is designed to limit the movement of the opponent by controlling their movement and securing their position into a stationary location. By pinning their position and preventing escapes or attacks, the defender can move into the position of attacker, controlling the situation and the original attacker with ease and precision. Additionally, escapes and sweeps intend on merely reversing the position of the attacker into defender, moving the defender into a better position of attack.
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