Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Self Defense On The Ground

Kick...often and rapidly!

In self defense, mobility is an asset. The more you’re able to move about, the greater the chance that you’re not going to get hit. And the greater the chance of escape.

Nowhere is mobility as important as on the ground. There is a small window between the moment you’re knocked or pushed to the ground and when an attacker either jumps on you or begins kicking you (usually in the head or the ribs).

Hong Kong's famous "Monkey King" Chan Sau Chung

Here is where I particularly admire Monkey Kung Fu. Practitioners of this art have such complete versatility on the ground. Plus they’re so elusive. They’ll roll backward, forward, sideways…and attack at any angle 360 degrees. They’re capable of breaking an attacker’s leg, again from any angle; they’re able to leap up and fall back to the ground with ferocity; and they’ll attack anything that stands in their way – joints, muscles, tendons and arteries. They’ll even leap up and sink their teeth into the jugular of an attacker.

My students spend a lot of time mobilizing on the ground. In one simple exercise, I’ll ask 7 to 8 people to stand still at various points. The rest of the class will drop to the ground.  I advise them to treat the ground as a friend who supports them. They then go on the attack, shifting quickly across the floor, attacking their standing partners as they move.

The leg scissors is another popular self defense technique from the ground

In another drill, I’ll set up 3 to 5 standing students. Then I’ll ask 1 or 2 students to go to the ground. Their goal is to take down all the standing students within 3 to 5 seconds. (I now have a few students who can individually take down 3 partners in just under 3 seconds).

Real mobility on the ground involves lots of practise. However, if you’re not a martial artist or you don’t have the time to practise, here are some suggestions you can follow if you’re ever knocked or pushed to the ground –

1.  Counter-attack immediately. Don’t have a passive mindset just because you find yourself lying on the ground. Self defense on the ground is aggressive. If you take the fight to the attacker, he might back away in surprise. An aggressive response may also delay his chances of grappling with you and holding you down.

2.  As soon as you touch the ground, slide toward the attacker with “machine gun” kicks. Kick rapidly and often. Target his knees.  (The higher you kick, the more effort it takes. The attacker also has a good chance of grabbing your leg if you aim high).

3.  Pull the kicking leg back toward you fast. Now you’re ready to kick again. Don’t leave your leg out for him to grab.

4.  Never lie with your back flat on the ground. Your kicks will have substantially less power. Aside from putting more strength into your kicks, the half sitting position allows for faster and easier shifting from side to side. You’re also halfway off the ground which will make escaping much easier.

I can think of dozens of posts on the topic of self defense on the ground – how 
to defend with “everyday weapons” on the ground; how to defend against multiple attackers who are either standing or are on the ground with you; targets on the legs such as the femoral artery and the K9 acupoint.

Please check with a law professional about your right to self defense. Be fully armed, not just in your capability to defend yourself, but in your legal knowledge as well!

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