Combat Grappling in Krav Maga – also known as groundfighting.
A comprehensive breakdown of how we incorporate and train grappling in Krav Maga.
I like to call what we train at the Bristol Titans for our groundfighting as Combat Grappling. Although I am a submission wrestling instructor, once past the basics I prefer 90% of our training on the ground to include strikes. I believe that strikes not only massively change how you fight on the ground but also that in any street fight or attack that they will be included.
So what do we train in Krav Maga Combat Grappling?
Ok full disclosure, I love training and I’m a full on geek when it comes to this so I’m going into some technical terms that might not mean anything to you unless you have trained to a reasonable standard on the ground. Thats fine, this is an article on grappling, not a how to grapple article.
So the Bristol Titans Combat Grappling includes:
- side mount
- back position
- closed guard
- half guard
- knee on belly
- north south
- submissions eg chokes, armlocks etc (from these positions)
- guard passes
- submission counters
Then of course we have striking from these positions, takedowns and entries. Sparring typically starts standing up (you have to earn your position) although of course sometimes we isolate movements and use positional sparring frequently.
The Krav Maga side of things:
So most of this you will learn in any decent MMA club, and all fight mechanics or combatives as we call them will have many similarities. Krav Maga grappling or groundfighting is different in several ways:
- Always fighting different weight classes – techniques are geared towards having to fight someone much larger or smaller (or same size) than you so certain movements are different and different techniques are selected. Combat sports have weight classes so this isnt an issue whereas on the street you may be fighting someone ourside of your weight class.
- Assumption of weapon – I tend to focus on, for example, controlling the right arm as 90% of people are right handed so statistically if they have a knife on the there is a 9 out of 10 chance thats the arm to worry about. Again this also changes the techniques we select to teach.
- Always including strikes – grappling without strikes is very different from grappling with strikes. If you grapple solely without strikes then you will find yourself at a massive disadvantage against someone who grapples with strikes. Its as different as Boxing vs Muay Thai. Or Rugby to Football.
- No heavy use of the gi – now personally I’ve done a lot of gi work, I like the gi it looks cool but the gi is a very specific bit of kit which isn’t really like modern clothes. I know there is some debate that you could be fighting someone who is wearing a suit. In which case a gi is quite close to a suit. But where I live in Kingswood, literally no one wears suits not even to court lol. The chances of someone wearing a suit and trying to rob you or fight you in Kingswood, you’ve probably got more chance of someone attacking you with nunchuks or with a trident. The only person I’ve even seen wear a jacket is Ken the old boy who lives up the road on his mobility scooter on his way to the shops. Gi chokes work great on guys wearing gi’s. They dont work so well on a tshirt from Primark. So although we can train gi work, until fashion changes, we tend to focus more on no gi.
- Restraining – I teach some of the restraints that I have used over the years working on the frontline security, there are only a few that I rely on but they are strong and they work well and I can access them under pressure. Some Krav guys will say there is no need for restraint in civilian training, that we should always look to escape as soon as possible, which of course I entirely agree with but there are also some situations that may require control and restraint. For example a friend or family member is attacking someone and needs to be restrained. Or, for example, one of our members had to restrain a burglar in his house whilst he waited for the Police to arrive. If all you have is combatives, having to repeatedly knock someone out for 15 minutes could present some legal issues, whereas being able to restrain them could be a better option. The same goes for the family situation, if Uncle Steve gets drunk at a wedding and needs to be restrained, although knocking him out is one option, restraining him safely is also a good and more socially responsible alternative.
Krav Maga has a solid and comprehensive ground game, its focus is not on point scoring but on escape, reversal or restraint. Or causing large amounts of damage enabling the student to then be able to escape or restrain as well as keeping it real by the inclusion of strikes, weapons and a stand up game as well.
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