NEVER Fight On The Ground: 11 Reasons Why Ground Fighting Sucks
Ground fighting. I despise it from the bottom of my heart. Not just because I lose all the time — no, wait, actually… it’s exactly because I lose all the time. It’s suffocating. You’re trapped. It makes you feel helpless and dependent on others to save you. It’s also the frightening knowledge that I can never beat a guy when it comes to pure strength and I hate it. It’s the complete opposite of what Krav Maga usually makes me feel (strong and independent). It frustrates me. A lot.
That’s not to say that I have zero chance of ‘winning’ a ground fight. And mind you, I use the term ‘winning’ very loosely here. With ‘winning’ I actually mean ‘getting away without being beaten up, tortured or raped’.
You always have a chance of winning because you’re never completely helpless. You’re as helpless as you allow yourself to be.
It’s just that, in this type of situation, my chances of ‘winning’ drop to about 5%. It’s a scary and frightening thought- and that’s exactly why we’re going to discuss it in this post. ;-) Face your fears and prepare yourself during training so you won’t be taken by surprise outside of it.
What the heck do I mean with ‘ground’ fighting?
If you’re just starting out with Krav Maga (or if you’re browsing around, looking for info) the term ‘ground’ fighting might sound odd. Does it mean you punch and attack the ground? Or make little clay-like figures that you kick over? Or little sand soldiers and castles you need to attack?
Nope! When we talk about ‘ground fighting‘ we refer to fighting situations that do not take place with you standing on your feet. You’re either on your knees, or on your back or stomach. Your opponent is either looming over you, about to grab or hurt you or also down on your level: on his knees, sitting on top of you, next to you, etc.
It is a very close form of combat that involves extremely close bodily contacts and basically comes down to grappling/wrestling with each other on a flat surface. Only this is not a form of sport, it’s a struggle in which you – a woman – fights to get out of the – much stronger – grip of a man.
Why? What’s so bad about going to the ground?
If you’ve never practiced ground fighting before, it might sound odd to you. After all, you can way more easily kick someone into the groin from below, right? Your back’s on the ground and you put a lot of force in your kicks that way?
Well, not really. Your assailant won’t stand still as you try to kick him. He’ll only have to keep out of range until you try to get up. In the few seconds you need to get up, he’ll jump you and pin you down.
And that’s only the beginning. Here are other reasons why ground fighting is something to be avoided at all costs:
1. No physical strength. Men and women are not equal in strength. This is a fact. Accept it, deal with it and adapt your strategy. With regular Krav Maga techniques, strength is not an issue, as you specifically target the body’s weak points. When on the ground, however, your advantages are removed because you can’t reach the weak points easily. Physical strength plays a huge role on the ground. Men are nearly always physically stronger than women, which is what makes a fight on the ground so dangerous.
When we do ground fights during training, the guys generally go for my wrists first, because the moment they catch them I can’t use my arms anymore. Pffff. Too bad for them that I have NO problem whatsoever to bite them until they let go. It’s Krav Maga, bitches – we have no rules! (With the exception of during training, but… whatever – it’s ground fighting. If they pin me, I will bite them to get out. D:<)
2. Your opponent’s weak points become unreachable. Weak points in the body are: eyes, throat, solar plexus, groin and knees. You’ll quickly notice that knees, groin and solar plexus are hard to reach places if your and his body are in the way. They might be harder to hit than if you were standing – but still not impossible. Just keep on going and keep on fighting.
Fortunately for us ladies, the groin is such a sensitive area for men that even a small tap will make them cringe. So just keep on using your knees, elbows and fists in that general area for maximum impact damage.
3. Your range is limited. Because you’re lying down and you’re super close to the other, the majority of your regular defenses, counters and attacks become useless. You don’t have enough room for punches or kicks. Knees or elbows can still work, eye gauges are also effective, if you can get one in! Just launch those nails at the sucker’s eyes.
4. No momentum or gravity.When you’re on the ground, due to your lack of strength you will most likely be pinned down or beneath your attacker. This works against you – someone who sits on top of you and punches downwards has gravitational momentum.
Or: when you drop an apple, it will automatically fall to the ground. The same happens with your fist. If you let it drop it already has speed. If you add even more speed, the force of your punch will increase.In the same way, you’ll be at a disadvantage when you have to punch upwards. You have gravity working against you and you won’t be able to put in as much power in your strikes as you would normally.
A knee to the groin will still hurt because it’s such a sensitive spot, a palm strike to the solar plexus probably not so much. Due to the close distance you’ll have problems to build up power and momentum to make it count. That’s why in close-quarters you should always go for the most sensitive areas: the groin, eyes and throat. Bite as hard as you can, jab your fingers into his eyes and keep on kicking and elbowing.
5. It’s exhausting. Ground fighting drains your energy like crazy because so much of it feels like a futile fight and so much goes into just twisting and turning away from the assailant’s body and trying to get at least one limb free to counter. It’s not futile, though. Just keep on going – because think of what might happen if you don’t.
6. No speed. You’re severely hampered in your movement. You can’t dodge or counter any attacks as you normally would. This means you’ll take a lot of damage in a short time – which makes it even more essential to get out as quickly as you can.
7. No defense against more enemies. When pinned down by one assailant, you’re helpless to defend against other, multiple attackers. For an illustration, watch this movie:
8. Men are (WAY) heavier. Two words: body slam. During training we ocassionally practice ground fighting, and one of my training partners did a sort of body slam straight on top of me. Result? All air gone from my lungs (and sore ribs). Instant game-over for me, because the impact shocked and rattled me so much that I couldn’t breathe whatsoever. No breath = no fight.
9. Ground is damaging. There’s concrete, rocks, stone, glass and many other things that will severely hurt your body. On top of that, the initial fall may also hurt or damage you. The only solution is to practice your falls during training – and to avoid going to the ground. (Or avoid getting into a fight at all, actually).
10. It’s hard to get up quickly. There are ways to get up quickly and efficiently from the ground. I, however, am not very good at them (yet). It’s especially hard to get up when someone’s hitting you and pounding on you with one of the striking pads. It’s also very stressful. So it’s a perfect Krav Maga drill…
11. You can’t run away. This might be the root of my whole hatred for ground fighting. You can’t run away because you’re trapped. (And if there is ONE thing I hate…) Running isn’t an option, only until after you’ve kicked the guy off you will be able to escape. If, however, your assailant is a normal man, his superior strength can make it really hard to do so. (Never impossible, though. Keep telling yourself that).
Yeah… sucks, doesn’t it? For this reason, one of the principles of Krav Maga and, indeed, all good forms of self-defense state that you must avoid going to the ground at all costs.
However, that’s all more easily said than done. You can’t really control it if a much stronger attacker tackles you full-force. So Krav Maga does include a part ground fighting, to get some experience of what it’s like to be at an extreme disadvantage, to perform under way more stress and to practice some basic techniques that work in this situation.
For instance, you have the tiniest advantage when the initial struggle is over. Because by the time an assailant is in a position to rape you there are actually some effective moves available to get him off you. Once you’re pinned down – again, there are moves available to get him off. He’s got you dizzy and is sitting on top of you, maybe he’s strangling you? Again – moves are available to get him off.
Does this mean you should give up on struggling and wait to get into a ‘good’ position? NO!!! Absolutely not!! Because you never know what his intentions might be or whether he’s going to pull out a weapon. Always fight, always scream, always give it everything you’ve got to survive and get out.
Some advantages of ground fight training
There’s a few good things about training how to handle ground fights, I guess. :-/
1. You get a realistic image of what it’s like. You’re going to lose over and over and over again. You get a good sense of the desperation and futility some guys can cause, except without the actual negative consequences. As with all Krav Maga training, this helps to desensitize you to this form of combat.
2. The more you practice, the more desensitized you become. You’ll be under so much stress during training that not much compares to it afterwards. And, as with all Krav Maga drills, the more you practice, the (slightly) easier to manage they become.
3. You practice techniques and tricks that might save your life. The more you practice, you more you’ll learn to defend yourself when it comes to a real situation.
4. You experience a slice of reality. Krav Maga doesn’t make you invincible. In some situations, techniques don’t work properly. However, the mentality Krav Maga drills into you during training can still make all the difference in the world when it comes to a fight.
5. You persevere and you you learn to keep on going – even though you lose over and over and over again, right up until – holy CRAP – did you just get a WIN?!!?! Your first after 20 losses! YAY!
:D So it IS possible.
Side note: some martial arts (such as MMA, Sambo, Judo or Brazilian Jiu Jitsu) focus on ground fighting. There are whole sets of moves that deal with close combat grappling. These, however, might not be the most practical when you have to fight on the street and deal with concrete, rocks, glass and other nasty stuff (dog poo).