by: Dynamic Defensive Arts
Happy spring! Winter this year was brutal, but now we’ve officially hit spring season! Sunnier days and increasingly warmer temperatures are here as well.
On the down side, temperatures that shift dramatically and drop at night can still mean you may have to contend with ice, pooling water and muddy areas. Basically that means that your footing can change from stable to slippery and back again in an instant depending on where you step next. That can be quite troublesome in a self-defense situation. You can’t be aware of everything all of the time – even with a fair amount of situational awareness training.
An efficient reaction to a startled response can be hard enough to train into your brain and muscles without having to worry about slips and falls – but if you want your self-defense reactions to be effective, you need to have a back-up plan if you end up on the ground – whether it’s by force or by accident.
Ground defense is one of those topics that can create some debate. Some insist on making ground defense a major part of their training. Their view is that most if not all fights (self-defense situations) end up on the ground so ground defense should be a primary focus. Others avoid ground defense training at every turn believing that their skill will always keep them on their feet.
I believe that if you are training to defend against real world scenarios - meaning multiple attackers, surprise attacks, uneven footing (dirt, gravel, stairs, etc.) - then you should have a least a basic understanding of defending yourself from the ground.
Ground defense is part of our overall training here at Dynamic Defensive Arts. The goal, if you are taken (or slip and fall) to the ground, is to use your training and experience to get back up on your feet; not to try to hold, pin, or lock your attacker. By getting on your feet, you are better able to plan your defense and escape. And most are familiar with ground techniques from popular fighting competitions where there are rules and referees. In the real world, holding, pinning and locking could make you vulnerable to your attacker’s buddies; if you are busy committing a submission hold, there isn’t much you can do about multiple attackers before it’s too late!
Remember, in an attack situation, this is self-defense plain and simple. It is not a mixed form of martial arts, wrestling or any other sport style or competition. You are not waiting for a referee to recognize a “tap out.” Your attacker(s) will not fight fair. Defend yourself on your feet, on your knees or on the ground, retrieve and be ready to use any weapons or improvised defensive tools (keys, pen cell phone, other), be ready to use them (if legally justified), recover to standing and get out of there!
In any self-defense situation, the amount of space you have can give you more time to make the best decisions in rescuing yourself (in addition to anyone with you that you may feel responsible for!). If the ground is slippery, you are not only at a disadvantage in enacting your defense, but also at a disadvantage for gaining traction in getting distance – the thing that will save you the most!