Another email reached us via Best Self Defense Weapons Mailbag that reads, “I read your article about the benefits of using grappling in self defense. So, I just want to know when grappling in self defense is not recommended?”
Grappling is definitely a good fighting style to master as it can get you out in many situations. However, based on experience and advice I got from experts, there are self defense conditions wherein grappling in self defense is impractical or ineffective.
Based on Experience
First of all, I want to share my experience as a grappler. I am a judo practitioner with a strong background in ground wrestling, and submission holds. This enables me to go head-to-head with strikers and bigger opponents in the dojo. There were also times wherein I could take down and incapacitate opponents bigger than me in an actual street fight.
However, I learned my lesson one night while I was in college as I was walking home from dining outside. I was confronted by a man who demanded by cell phone. He was slightly bigger than me, so when I refused, and he engaged me, I immediately reacted by reflex. I was able to subdue him and deliver a ground-and-pound move.
I thought I had him, when I suddenly felt two objects poking at the back of my neck. It turned out that he had accomplices. It was a big mistake on my part.
One is armed with a machete, and the other had a long pipe. That’s when I came to my senses and surrendered, realizing that it is only my cell phone and wallet they are after, and those things were not really worth my life.
Of course, the guy I beat up was so mad, and he made his accomplices hold me by the arm, so he can take a good shot at me as a payback. He took a shot at my temple and grabbed the machete. He swung it at me.
Fortunately, he was a bit dazed that he only scratched my head with its tip. Then, by some strike of luck, their vehicle suddenly stopped by and the three hopped on it to make their getaway. I should note that there were additional two people in the vehicle too.
The lesson to be learned here is that grappling, particularly in the ground, can place you at a disadvantage when there are multiple opponents, especially if they are not immediately visible.
According to a Legendary Hand-to-Hand Expert
Quoting what William Ewart Fairbairn—the developer of the Fairbairn System—said, “Once on the ground, you are more vulnerable to attack. It is, therefore, obvious that you should concentrate on remaining on your feet.” I certainly learned this one the hard way.
Moreover, in a real combat, it is not advisable to spend your time grappling. Instead, focused direct hits on the vital parts of the body are more recommended. Dispose your opponent as quick as you can by playing dirty. Hit him in the nut, claw or poke him. It does not matter as real-life combat has no rules anyway.
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