Monday, July 27, 2015

Does grappling work "in the streets"?

Two short stories about grappling.

Yesterday I was at an open training session. I was training with my cousin and had him in a side control (wrestling pin) position. In an effort to escape, he started jamming his elbow in to my throat. This is actually a fairly effective move to get someone off of you. Nevertheless, we both had a good chuckle about it, and I threw a few friendly knees to his ribcage to let him know that I could also be mean if I wanted to.

My cousin and I have a good healthy training relationship and we often do these types of “dick moves” to one another. We’re never trying to injure one another, but we definitely do play rough, generally rougher than we would against other training partners.

Five minutes later, the tables were turned. My cousin was tired and I started getting dominant positions and doing dick things. Grinding my chin into his nose or my forearm into his ear — all in good fun, of course.

Then this morning, I read a Facebook post from a BJJ training partner in Hong Kong. Apparently some road rager freaked out, slammed on the brakes in front of him, and attempted to provoke a fight with him. The BJJ guy double legged him and got to a dominant position. The aggressor attempted to bite, scratch and eye gouge the BJJ guy, but my friend held him down until the cops arrived, neutralizing him without throwing a punch or causing him any bit of harm.

The key takeaway from this is to be wary of the notion that grappling or MMA is ineffective “in the streets”. While it’s true that a well-placed eye gouge or groin shot can cause series damage, it’s pretty hard to do these things when you’re pinned helplessly to the ground. It turns out that the best way to learn how to fight dirty is simply to learn how to fight.