I would like to welcome our most recent guest writer to the Urban Combatives website; Combat Jutsu and reality Self-Defence instructor Kevin O’Hagen who will be presenting two excellent articles this month. Kevin is no stranger to writing and has written many books relating to our field along with having scores of articles published in various martial arts magazines.

Kevin 'O' Hagan is a U.K. based Instructor of Combat Jujutsu, Grappling and Street Self Defence. He has 30 years experience in the Martial Arts and holds a 5th Dan in Kempo Goshin Jutsu, 1st Dan in Japanese Ju jutsu, 1st Dan Atemi Jutsu and 5th Degree Street Self Protection. He is the Author of 3 Self Defence related books and has produced a library of training videos. This article is an extract from Kevin's book 'Grappling With Reality'. You can view Kevin's books and training videos as well as other articles on his web site www.bristolgoshinjutsu.com Email: kevinohagansas@yahoo.co.uk

 

Realistic Street Grappling

With the sudden wave of interest in ground grappling techniques sweeping through the Martial Arts world, it may be interesting just for a brief moment to sit back and read this article!  Hopefully it can shed some light on just where ground grappling fits into the world of Combat Martial Artists repertoire of techniques and also it's strengths and weaknesses, plus what is essential to know if you go to the floor in a fight!  Firstly just look again at the last paragraph 'If you go to the floor in a fight', what I mean is a real street situation not a Judo, Wrestling or Ju-Jitsu contest or match. Floor grappling in the street is a whole different world to any form of contest no matter how 'no holds barred' it is, it is just not the same. Let's look at the major differences between 'street' and 'contest' floor grappling and see why some of the 'good moves' you see being executed in a ring, or contest area, will not necessarily hold up in a real situation. Firstly let's get it straight the floor is the last place you want to be in 'live' street fight. It is an extremely dangerous and vulnerable position to be in, the bottom line is avoid going to the 'deck' unless you have no other choice. Why? Well look at the negatives. Number one, ground grappling may be strong against one to one opponent but if he has a weapon, or there is more than one opponent, it could be suicidal. Number two, when two opponents are rolling around on the floor any onlookers, no matter how impartial they may be, suddenly get the urge to 'pitch in', they will start either kicking away at one or the other person on the ground (normal in this situation, either of the two will pick up the damage) or they might decide to batter the 'top' man with a chair, bar stool, dustbin lid (depending on where the fight may be), even worse they may come in at an exposed back with a knife or a broken glass or bottle.  Another scenario is for some 'hero' to rush over and proceed to pull the two combatants apart, then usually one gets a good shot at the other or we have a third person to the fight and then all hell can break loose. A crowd 'fired up' can be like a rabid pack of dogs. It is a very frightening situation and I have experienced this from being in crowds at football matches when trouble has erupted, and I tell you on the floor is not the place to be. Thirdly think of environment (no not if the ozone layer is still deteriorating!) but where you might be if you hit the deck. Remember most grappling arts like Judo and Wrestling are done on mats or canvas, so you have no fear of hitting the ground. Arts like the now famous Brazilian Ju-Jitsu were practiced in a warm climate on country where the exponents fought on sandy beaches, lush grassland. They were not rolling round on icy, hard, cold, uneven and uncompromising pavement in the middle of January on a winter night, nor was it designed for thrashing around on a beer soaked or glass covered bar floor or dance floor after trouble has started or neither for struggling on a urine drenched toilet floor! Remember, if you are out for a quiet night with your 'lady', with your best 'designer' gear on, looking cool, the last thing you want to be doing is rolling about in three different kinds of dog excrement (note how I cleaned that up, I wish someone would!) in front of the local 'takeaway'. So hopefully by now you can see some of the down points to floor grappling. Also to be considered is the time factor, the longer you are on the floor the more dangerous it becomes for you.

 

Not much good

Wrestling and Judo pins are not much good in 'real combat' they can only serve as time buying 'maneuvers' to get into a better finishing technique. In the street you will not be looking for a quick finish and get back onto your feet, it won't be timed bout with the 'ref' ready to step in. an opponent who may submit to a hold or a lock can and may get up and suddenly up the stake by drawing a weapon or fashioning one out of something at hand. It really is best to make sure he doesn't get up again in a hurry so you can make your exit!  So what do I do if I go to the floor? Well there's plenty but the rule for the street is to make it quick, do not let your opponent settle into a good hold or get into a superior position. The following techniques, concepts and theories are taken from the system of Martial Arts I teach 'Kempo Goshin Jutsu', they have worked for me in and out of the dojo, they are not by any means unique but they are what I teach my students to do on the floor, remember 'how you train is how you react'. I believe if you don't have command of the following techniques you will struggle badly on the floor, especially against a large and aggressive opponent. These techniques are an overview, not the whole picture; otherwise it may take a whole magazine to demonstrate. If you go to the ground and you are on top of opponent, cushion your fall by landing on them. There is a certain sickening feeling about landing on a pavement on your kneecaps or elbows. Try and drive your knee into their groin and then fall dropping the point of your elbow into the sternum (breastbone) or solar plexus, naturally from there let your head snap forward in a butt to their face, best target the nose. Climb so you straddle their chest, consolidate your balance and bang away with fist, elbows, palm heels and butts, then get out quick. If pulled down close by an opponent immediately bite into nose, ear, cheek or neck for a release then gouge into the windpipe with a claw hand squeezing it shut or thumb gouge into the eyes or ram finger up their nostrils and rip. Grabbing the hair or ears and banging the head on the floor has quite a 'sobering' effect on your would be attacker, so has a fast choke hold.

 

Rest hands on floor

If you feel you are losing balance in this 'mount' position lean over and rest hands on floor put your chest into opponents face, when he pushes you off take his straight arm pivot off his chest to the side and dislocate the elbow with the famous cross arm bar (Juji-gatame), make sure you drive the heel of your arm locking legs into the face and body of your opponent to prevent them attempting biting your leg.  If you go down underneath, then get opponent between your legs in 'the guard' position if he attempts to punch you, pull him forward in the scissors until he loses his balance, pull his head down to yours and bite into his ear, get one of your feet between his legs and flip him over and off. If he is strangling you, push back with your legs and hips, grab his straightened arm and swing your foot over his neck and pull him over and down for the cross arm bar again. If he has mounted your chest and is choking you, drive your thumbs up into his eyes, then grab the back of his head and his chin and crank his neck around in a hard twist to take him off your body. Gouging or finger thrusting into the Jugular Notch (the indentation at the base of the windpipe) is a good move, as is ripping the side of his mouth with your thumbs or digging a knuckle into the mastoid behind the ear. Combine these with butts then twist the opponent off you. If opponent is on his stomach and you straddle his back, hit him with elbows and short punches to spine and back of neck. If he attempts to push himself up, then go straight for a choke or kneel on the back and pull up on his chin to finish.

 

Lying sideways

If you are lying sideways across opponent's body and he has your neck locked then grab and squeeze his testicles or pinch flesh high on his inner thigh, also push your bony forearm into his neck or up under his nose to relieve pressure then bite his body anywhere (nipples, pec's, flesh on floating ribs) until you can get out. When you are under in the same position, hammer away at his exposed kidneys and floating ribs, get a hand under and between to squeeze his testicles and bite at any exposed target, then twist out and get on top. The list could go on and on but hopefully this will show you the different sort of technique and mental attitude you need for 'street wrestling', these moves are equalizers especially for smaller people. I know loads of arm bars, locks, leg locks, strangles, etc, but in a street situation you will not have time to execute them, you have got to adapt. Some say the moves are brutal, but in answer to that, unless you have experienced a situation where your strength is ebbing, your arms feel like lead, your guts feel sick and you have a larger, heavier opponent lying on you, you will have to know and use the techniques mentioned.

 

A good grappler

One of my regular training partners and fellow instructors is a 14 stone plus PTI in the prison service. He is a good grappler and a hard opponent, he makes me work and takes me to the limit of physical endurance, which is great because I know my techniques will get me out along with good physical conditioning (which is essential in ground grappling) and mental stamina. How many instructors out there grapple or spar or whatever with their instructors or students? You will learn a lot about yourself, your belt or position won't matter once it goes down. Win or lose you will learn, if you are prepared to give it a go! In the street the attacker will not give a darn what who you are and when it goes to the floor you will have to separate contest grappling and street grappling to survive. I hope this article has gone some way to explaining this. Quote: ‘’It isn't important to come out on top, what matters is to come out alive’’. Bertolt Brecht - Jungle of cities.

 

Functional Strength for Combat

With the martial Arts world turning more and more towards realistic fighting sports, competition, sparring and pressure testing, there has never been more need to be in good physical condition. In whichever arena I have competed I have never lost a fight due to lack of fitness. If you get beaten by a better fighter then there is not much you can do but go away and train to become technically better, but losing as a result of poor conditioning is your own fault and you cannot have any excuses. I have always been a great believer in being a fit Martial Artist and those of you who have followed my articles or books will know my thoughts on this subject, if you have viewed my Impact Ju Jutsu Videos Vols. 1,2 and 3 then you will have seen a lot of interesting and diverse fitness drills.

Sometimes though, everybody gets stale in his or her training and the body seems to adapt to a certain workout and you don't seem to be progressing.  As a professional instructor I train six days out of seven, as well as teaching and, as I rapidly approach the big four-0, it can get tough to get motivated in your own personal exercise regime. Even after being involved in Martial Arts training for 25 years plus!  So you need to discover new routines and exercises to stimulate mind and body together to push to new levels.  I am a great believer in functional combat exercises. This means exercises that are specific to your chosen art/sport/fighting system. Being able to run a marathon or bench press 300 lbs are truly admirable feats but they will not necessarily help you in your Martial Arts training. For example if you lift weights to supplement and enhance your martial Arts skills you should be looking to develop functional muscle strength, which will simulate the activity you are doing.  In this article I am going to briefly touch on a method of weight training that I first read about in an old book about the wrestlers of yesteryear. Being intrigued by their methods I decided to explore them and experiment and myself.  The exercises involve lifting a barbell plate and moving it around the body in different ways. Most of these simulate movements used in grappling and can certainly be adapted to the striking arts as well.  Lifting the unusual shape of the plate, rather than a bar, places more stress on your grip and forearm muscles. It can also give you more scope for movement.  Secondly the movements work many muscle groups together rather than just isolating one or two as in a body building routine. The first exercise is a clean and press. This explosive action of taking the plate from floor to chest to pushing above the head is a great overall strength builder. It works legs, back and shoulders. Done in good form with a steady pace and minimum rest between sets it will shock the muscles and will also get the heart and lungs pumping. The second exercise is deep leg squats. Clutch the plate to your chest with a four-finger grip and then bend the knees deeply and push back up, keeping your back as straight as possible. Not only do the legs get a blasting, your grip will be put under severe strain trying to hold the plate tightly. This exercise simulates clinching and lifting a body perfect.  Next we go to the floor and rest the plate on your chest. From there, push up into a shoulder bridge position and hold it. Now press the plate directly upwards until the arms are straight and pump out 12 reps. Take a short rest and go again for two more sets.  The holding of the bridge works many muscle groups under a static dynamic tension exercise, the pressing of the plate helps work the correct muscles for pushing an opponent off the mounted position.  Still staying on the floor you then roll up into a reverse neck bridge. This exercise is an advanced movement for those who already have good neck strength, do not attempt this otherwise.  From bridging on your head with the plate, press it upwards towards the ceiling for your number of reps/sets. This is a massive neck exercise guaranteed to build great neck strength to help withstand the rigors of neck cranks, strangles and general wear and tear of grappling.  These four exercises are great ones to start with the complete routine is outlined on 'my new video release', 'Impact Ju Jutsu' Vol.3 'Hardcore training for a winning edge'.  Along with the plate drills, is an advanced 'abdominal blast' workout, advanced standing to floor training, grappling, Self-Defence and much more. For those who have viewed the Impact series 1 and 2, this 3rd volume will take your training to a guaranteed higher level.  If you use the plate routine regularly it will increase strength and stamina within a six-week period, if you drill it strict and true. You will notice the difference in your grappling skills and overall fitness. Lastly it develops the functional strength that you will feel when grappling. Plus it will push your cardiovascular system to the limit, if done correctly. When you start, select a plate, which you will be able to push in three sets of 12 repetitions at a time. The 12-repetition range gives you equal work on strength, power, endurance and cardio. It will not bulk you up so you feel too stiff or slow your movement, particularly on the floor. Have a good smart workout and train safely and smart.

If you are interested in Impact Ju Jutsu Vol. 3 you can contact Kevin at www.bristolgoshinjutsu.com Email: kevinohagansas@yahoo.co.uk